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Shareware is dead – long live shareware!

June 15th, 2010
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Today it is relatively easy to market your software (through a web site), distribute the software (via Internet downloads) and collect payment (using an online payment provider). It wasn’t so easy before the Internet existed. “Shareware” appeared in the 1980s as a way for small commercial developers to reach a large market.

Shareware was one of the surprises of the early personal computer industry. Who would have thought that you could make a living from software paid for on the honor system? Make it publicly available, invite people to make copies of it and give them to their friends, and base your income prospects on a little notice asking people to send you a few dollars if they found the program useful.

Michael Swaine, Dr Dobbs, January 2000

Early shareware pioneers including Andrew Fluegelman, Jim Knopf (Button), Bob Wallace and Marshall Magee proved the commercial viability of the shareware concept, reportedly making millions. Read more…

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12 Tips to Increase User Feedback

June 4th, 2010

User feedbackWhen you start out with a new software product, you may find it difficult to get feedback from users. Here are 12 ways to get more feedback.

1. Release a Beta

Launch a beta release, either publicly or by invitation-only, to gather feedback before a major release. This helps you discover major problems before releasing major changes.

2. Ask other developers

If you hang out somewhere online with other developers, ask them for feedback or offer a free license in exchange for testing and comments. ASP members frequently get valuable feedback from knowledgeable colleagues in the ASP newsgroups.

However, keep in mind that colleagues are often more knowledgeable than your average user and may provide a different kind of feedback than a typical computer user. Read more…

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