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Regi$ter Online!

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Aug 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/4/97
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To us, *shareware* is personal and (almost) family oriented where
*software* is mass produced, business oriented, and impersonal. Sure,
this is stretching the description spectrum a bit, but I'm really curious to
know what impression these two separate words give you.

After being advised to exchange this concept in our materials, I have no
intention of exchanging these words, for reasons above, and for one very
important reason: people looking for shareware find it. People looking
for software get lost.

I can't for the life of me understand the negativity people claim
*shareware* has...what is it compared to software? Why does
*software* imply better quality or professionalism? It's the same thing!!

I think organizations that want to appear to be more than what they are
prefer the word software. But what does experience show this affect has
on shareware/software consumers? Is there really a difference in
presentation and sales data? And if so, what affect will it have on the
shareware industry?

Opinions anxiously awaited...
--
REGI$TER ONLINE! http://registerline.com
Charge shareware registration fees to your Phone Bill!
No credit cards, checks, or money orders needed!
Home of Design-YOURware Programming Proposal and Creativity Tool


Chris Marriott

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Aug 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/5/97
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In article <5s5q49$n...@suriname.earthlink.net>, Regi$ter Online!
<sup...@registerline.com> writes

>To us, *shareware* is personal and (almost) family oriented where
>*software* is mass produced, business oriented, and impersonal. Sure,
>this is stretching the description spectrum a bit, but I'm really curious to
>know what impression these two separate words give you.

Shareware is a marketting method, not a "type" of software. The range of
software marketted as shareware covers the entire "spectrum", just as
that you find in stores does.

Chris

----------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Marriott, Microsoft Certified Solution Developer.
SkyMap Software, U.K. e-mail: ch...@skymap.com
Visit our web site at http://www.skymap.com

Borje Hagsten

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Aug 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/5/97
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Some related thoughts from Sweden on this:

SOFTWARE.
Often written by really skilled programmers, that never got the chance
to finish their product before it had to be released. Inspite of this,
with more money involved and better marketing, "Software" most often is
a good money-maker.

SHAREWARE.
Often written by really skilled programmers, that actually had the time
to finish their product before it was released. However, less money
involved and less knowledge in how to "market" the product, often has
made "Shareware" a rather poor business.

COSTUMERS.
In many cases, Media (e.g. computer-magazines) have a way of looking
down at shareware, like it was written by "some kids, just playing
around". If we can change this and make them write good, interesting
articles about shareware-applications, like they do on regular software,
I think half the battle will be won. Costumers learn from media, no
doubt about it. If media continues to treat us like "something the cat
brought in", then people also will, no matter how good our stuff is.

CONCLUSION.
We have the product, but we have to learn how to sell ourselves! We
shareware-programmers usually aren't capable of selling our own stuff,
yet we try to do it. I think this is the biggest problem. Once we have
learned to use people with better knowledge in marketing, I think the
shareware-business will be a real "money-maker" for many more of us.
Personally, I think it is far better to pay someone a small amount of
the earnings and let him or her handle the sales, than to spend so and
so many hours in trying to do it yourself and maybe - I say maybe, in
the best case, sell half as much.

Look-out Billy boy, wer'e coming to get some of your fortune soon ...


Borje Hagsten
hag...@algonet.se
http://www.algonet.se/~hagsten

MauriceV

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Aug 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/7/97
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On 4 Aug 1997 23:54:49 GMT, sup...@registerline.com (Regi$ter
Online!) wrote:

>To us, *shareware* is personal and (almost) family oriented where
>*software* is mass produced, business oriented, and impersonal. Sure,
>this is stretching the description spectrum a bit, but I'm really curious to
>know what impression these two separate words give you.

Software is generaly business oriented? Nonsense! Walk into any
commercial software vendor today, and what do you see filling most of
the available shelf space? GAMES. Games and neat little utilities and
a billion little programs that have absolutely nothing to do with
business - programs aimed at the home user.

In respect of the fields covered, there is no difference between
commercial software and shareware - as another respondent has pointed
out, shareware is merely a way of marketing computer software.

Or do you mean to imply that shareware authors are better able to
write "personalized" software? If so, on what would you base such a
statement?

>I can't for the life of me understand the negativity people claim
>*shareware* has...what is it compared to software? Why does
>*software* imply better quality or professionalism? It's the same thing!!

The way things are today, it is not the same thing. Commercial
products are developed by programmers who want to develop the best
software they possibly can, not only because they care about their
product, but because this is their livelihood. The vast majority of
shareware authors never expect to make a living peddling their
products - an expectation that is usually met. I'll tell you why.

The average shareware product is a piece of trash. I am surprised when
a commercial product proves to be harmful to my system (certain
operating systems obviously excluded) - with shareware, I've come to
expect it.

When I purchase a commercial product, I expect to be able to use it
without ever referencing the manual. That requires a certain level of
intuitivity. With shareware, I often find that the author has not even
bothered to check something as simple as a tab order. (Expect tabbing
to fling you almost randomly from one field to another.) With
shareware, I expect to find convoluted menus that don't make sense on
any level. When so-called "online help" exists, it is often in the
form of a simple text file - which has nothing to do with online.
(Help is "online" when you can press F1 anywhere in the system and
context-sensitive information is displayed.) Often, the alleged "help"
won't be any help at all.

Should I find the shareware product useful, I am expected to pay for a
registered copy. Sure, I do that, hoping the author will come up with
a new, improved version - except he never does, because hardly anyone
pays for the product. Instead, there are tens of thousands using
cracked copies of the application. Thousands of little hacker-wannabes
proudly make cracked copies of the product available on their home
pages. (I have been flitting about on the Internet for the longest
time, and I tend to find these things.) So I point this out to the
author, and he shrugs and says, Que sera sera, and I wonder when
shareware programmers will realize that in order to be taken
seriously, they have to start behaving like professionals.

>I think organizations that want to appear to be more than what they are
>prefer the word software. But what does experience show this affect has
>on shareware/software consumers? Is there really a difference in
>presentation and sales data? And if so, what affect will it have on the
>shareware industry?

All one has to do is read posts in this newsgroup to realize that
shareware sales are pathetic. A shareware hit will often generate
downloads in the hundreds of thousands - but only a few thousand
sales. I'll bet just about every shareware author who reads this will
think, "Boy! I'd be happy with that!" That is precisely why shareware
fails: Nine out of ten who download the product do it, never intending
to pay for it should they like the product. After all, it's only
shareware, and nobody pays for shareware. That is the mentality - and
until shareware authors rethink their approach, nothing will change.
Until shareware programmers begin to develop professional products
that are marketed professionally (while maintaining the shareware
method), and until they begin to take steps against those who steal
their product, shareware programmers will always have to keep their
day jobs - and the average shareware product will continue to be a
piece of s--t.


--
Maur...@bellsouth.net

Professional software developer.

Chris Marriott

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Aug 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/9/97
to

In article <33ea023f...@news.mia.bellsouth.net>, MauriceV
<Maur...@blahblahblah.bellsouth.net> writes

>Or do you mean to imply that shareware authors are better able to
>write "personalized" software? If so, on what would you base such a
>statement?

Perhaps the original poster meant that shareware software companies are
normally small business - often "1 man" businesses - and it's normally
possible to directly contact the author of the program directly;
something that's rarely possible with large software companies.

>The way things are today, it is not the same thing. Commercial
>products are developed by programmers who want to develop the best
>software they possibly can, not only because they care about their
>product, but because this is their livelihood. The vast majority of
>shareware authors never expect to make a living peddling their
>products - an expectation that is usually met. I'll tell you why.
>
>The average shareware product is a piece of trash. I am surprised when
>a commercial product proves to be harmful to my system (certain
>operating systems obviously excluded) - with shareware, I've come to
>expect it.

That's grossly unfair on the MANY professional software developers such
as myself who choose to sell their products through shareware channels.
There are many people my make excellent full-time livings from
shareware.

>Should I find the shareware product useful, I am expected to pay for a
>registered copy. Sure, I do that, hoping the author will come up with
>a new, improved version - except he never does, because hardly anyone
>pays for the product. Instead, there are tens of thousands using
>cracked copies of the application. Thousands of little hacker-wannabes
>proudly make cracked copies of the product available on their home
>pages. (I have been flitting about on the Internet for the longest
>time, and I tend to find these things.) So I point this out to the
>author, and he shrugs and says, Que sera sera, and I wonder when
>shareware programmers will realize that in order to be taken
>seriously, they have to start behaving like professionals.

Again, Maurice, you insult the many shareware authors who are extremely
"professional". Certainly there is a great deal of crap out there, but
there is also a great deal of excellent software. My US publishers, for
example - JASC Inc - publish quite a few programs, ALL of which are
extremely successful (ever heard of "Paintshop Pro"?).


>
>All one has to do is read posts in this newsgroup to realize that
>shareware sales are pathetic. A shareware hit will often generate
>downloads in the hundreds of thousands - but only a few thousand
>sales. I'll bet just about every shareware author who reads this will
>think, "Boy! I'd be happy with that!" That is precisely why shareware
>fails: Nine out of ten who download the product do it, never intending
>to pay for it should they like the product. After all, it's only
>shareware, and nobody pays for shareware. That is the mentality - and
>until shareware authors rethink their approach, nothing will change.
>Until shareware programmers begin to develop professional products
>that are marketed professionally (while maintaining the shareware
>method), and until they begin to take steps against those who steal
>their product, shareware programmers will always have to keep their
>day jobs - and the average shareware product will continue to be a
>piece of s--t.

With respect, Maurice, you obviously know very little about how
"serious" shareware authors operate. There is a HUGE difference between
between some kid releasing a pathetic VB application and the large
number of highly-skilled professional programmers who choose to market
their software via shareware channels. Please do NOT group us all into
the same category!

Regards,

Phil Barnett

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Aug 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/10/97
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On 9 Aug 1997 17:09:50 GMT, wfb...@compuex.com wrote:

> When I see a program advertised as Shareware I see in my mindseye a program
>that for the most part is a functional program that does not have all the
>bells and whistles that the same type of program advertised as "Software"
>would have.

What you should be visualizing is a possibly excellent program written
by a professional programmer who has no marketing experience or
budget. It costs many thousands of up front dollars to print manuals,
shrink wrap software and get it into the distribution channel so that
you can walk into your local Best Buy and take it home.

Most shareware authors do not have the time, money or inclination to
climb that hill when there is another very suitable way to get
software into distribution.

Might shareware software be crap? Of course.

Might commercial software be crap? Absolutely. I've got shelves full
of it.

---

Phil Barnett mailto:philb@iag~net <-anti spam replace ~ with .
WWW http://www.iag.net/~philb/
FTP Site ftp://ftp.iag.net/pub/clipper

Gerry Quinn

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Aug 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/10/97
to

>The average shareware product is a piece of trash. I am surprised when
>a commercial product proves to be harmful to my system (certain
>operating systems obviously excluded) - with shareware, I've come to
>expect it.

Some valid criticisms in your post - but I don't understand the above. How
has your system been harmed by shareware?

Crashes and hidden files do not count as they are ubiquitous in shrink-wrapped
software. Once my sound card was messed about, and shareware was not to
blame.

- Gerry

==================================================================
Mailto: ger...@indigo.ie (Gerry Quinn)
Original puzzlers (Windows or Amiga)-> http://indigo.ie/~gerryq
==================================================================

Patrick W. Jones

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Aug 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/10/97
to

In article <33f5bee0...@news.globalnet.co.uk>,
boo...@globalnet.co.uk (Kate Hadley) wrote:
>The average shareware product is NOT a piece of trash. Sure there are
>some that are rubbish but I've owned some supposedly 'Commercial
>Software' that really is the worse software I've ever come across.
>shareware is the backbone of all software. It's how a lot of the good
>titles started out.

The avereage shareware product IS a piece of trash. The above-average
shareware product IS NOT. There are more *average* shareware products
then there are *above-average*. This is not to say that I don't like
shareware. This just means that one has to search harder to find the
truely exceptional product. I agree that there is also alot of
commercial products that truely suck. And with those you don't know they
suck until you have bought them (so I just don't buy them :-)

>Well I say Maurice, that if you've been on the Internet for as long as
>you say you have - it's about time you had a rest as your ideals are
>archaic to say the least. Open your eyes and take a REAL look at
>shareware today.

I've been on the internet for a long time also (since ~1987) and
I opened my eys and took a REAL look at shareware today and it seems that
any idiot who can run Visual Basic is putting out shareware. That is why
most shareware today is junk.


Doren Rosenthal

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Aug 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/10/97
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Patrick W. Jones (Ding...@ix.netcom.com) wrote:

: The avereage shareware product IS a piece of trash. The above-average


: shareware product IS NOT. There are more *average* shareware products
: then there are *above-average*.

The great thing about shareware is people can try it themselves. Authors
are just people and some write clever things and some don't. The same
people write comercial software and/or shareware.

What I like best about shareware is it gives little guys the fredom to
introduce new ideas, and we can do it without answering to anyone else.
Great programs or crap is a determination the user will determine for
themselves.

I can give you some examples of my own. When I first introduced my
"Rosenthal UnInstall" Paul Mayer selected it as his editors choice in
"Compute" magazine. The publisher heard that it automaticaly removed
software and pulled it, feeling it was too dangerous.

I took my System Monitor to several comercial software publishers years
ago and got laughed out of their offices. I put it out as shareware and
you'll now find it built (under the hood) into the top tech. support, help
desk and OEM service centers. Because I could put it out all by myself as
shareware, the product found a place in the market.

That's the advantage we shareware authors have. No boss directing
your efforts, no corporate na-sayers limiting our creativity. We answer
only to the limits of our abilities. NO ASS KISSING REQUIRED!

Outstanding or crap is a judement only our users can make. We can author
our work and place it before the public who determine its quality for
themselves. Now we can even put it out to users directly on our own www
url.

: I've been on the internet for a long time also (since ~1987) and


: I opened my eys and took a REAL look at shareware today and it seems that
: any idiot who can run Visual Basic is putting out shareware. That is why
: most shareware today is junk.

No, I see that as an advantage myself. People with great ideas can share
them even though they may not have the technical skills. It opens the
shareware forum to people who couldn't participate before. The cream will
always rise to the top anyway.

Doren Rosenthal
Author of "The Rosenthal Utilities (tm)" http://slonet.org/~doren/


Techno Toys

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Aug 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/10/97
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>
> The avereage shareware product IS a piece of trash. The above-average
> shareware product IS NOT. There are more *average* shareware products
> then there are *above-average*. This is not to say that I don't like
> shareware. This just means that one has to search harder to find the
> truely exceptional product. I agree that there is also alot of
> commercial products that truely suck. And with those you don't know they
> suck until you have bought them (so I just don't buy them :-)

You are absolutely right - most shareware is garbage. I would say that I have
deleted 80% of all shareware programs I have downloaded within 2 minutes of
installing them.

This is the main reason I debated getting into shareware for so long - the
cruddy programs give most people the impression that ALL shareware is crap.
And it's also the reason I don't use the word "shareware" anywhere in my
advertising.

Apologies to the many shareware developers who DO put some effort into
creating a quality product - but you understand; you've seen the same stuff
I've seen.

--
Jim Johnson
Metaphoric Software
-------------------
Makers of Techno Toys
Software for Electronic Music
http://www.technotoys.com
in...@technotoys.com

Jeff Vogel

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Aug 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/15/97
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> So I point this out to the
> >author, and he shrugs and says, Que sera sera, and I wonder when
> >shareware programmers will realize that in order to be taken
> >seriously, they have to start behaving like professionals.

What the heck is this?

I make a very good full-time living off my shareware. My products and
service are very professional. Yet, when someone points me to cracks of my
games, I tend to shrug.

Why? What else am I supposed to do? Sue 13 year olds? Spend my
irreplacable time chasing down every warez site on the web? Get all mad
and twitchy? No ... I accept it as a necessary and unfortunate drain, part
of doing business in the software industry, and get on with my life.

If you feel this makes me somehow unprofessional, well, you're showing the
same lack of clue which made the rest of your post such a pip.

- Jeff Vogel, Keeper of Exile, Spiderweb Software, Inc.
Check out Exile: Escape From the Pit, Exile II: Crystal Souls,
and Exile III: Ruined World, the hit shareware rpg's for
Macintosh and Windows 3.1/95. Find them at http://www.spidweb.com

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