What is Shareware?
by Dan Housley
What is Shareware?
Shareware is software that you can try before
you buy. Software developers post trial versions
of their software on websites. Consumers can then
download the trial version to their computer and
evaluate it. If the consumer likes the software
they can purchase it. Shareware is also called
try before you buy.
Today almost every big software company including
Microsoft, Winzip, and AOL use trial versions
or a form of shareware to market their software.
Why is shareware better than
any other marketing method?
Shareware is a good way to market software. It
allows consumers to evaluate an application prior
to making a purchase decision. They can easily
determine if it meets their business or personal
needs, which usually results to a satisfied customer.
In addition because shareware companies are often
small they can provide personalized service that
is not found in larger companies. Shareware also
allows for instant gratification, there is no
need to wait for a shipment. Consumers can download
and use the software immediately.
Freeware vs. Shareware.
As you know shareware is a marketing method for
software. Freeware is also a way of marketing
software. However, freeware is free so the developer
does not ever request any money. Shareware is
free to distribute but cannot be used for an unlimited
amount of time, unless the developer is paid.
Freeware can be used an unlimited amount of time
and can be freely distributed; payment is not
required. Many developers use freeware to draw
attention to their shareware applications.
What is software piracy?
There are several kinds of software piracy. One
kind of software piracy is hacking into software
and disabling the copy protection. Software pirates
then distribute or sell the hacked software. The
developer does not receive any money for the software
the hacker distributed. This is an infringement
on the developer's copyright.
Another technique used by hackers
is to illegally obtain a registered copy of software.
Pirates purchase the software once and use it
on multiple computers. Purchasing software with
a stolen credit card is another form of software
piracy. Unfortunately there are many kinds of
software piracy that has slowed the industry's
growth. In order for developers to continue to
develop software and provide support the software
needs to be profitable.
A registration incentive is something that makes
the person using the shareware version of the
software want to buy. There are a number of incentives
developers use to encourage users to buy. One
popular registration incentive is to limit the
time of the trial version. This is clever because
then the user can't use the shareware version
forever. It encourages them to buy the software
so they can continue to use it when the trial
period is over.
Often shareware versions will have "grayed out"
features on the menu that the consumer can see,
but not use. Typically there is a pop-up windows
in the software encouraging users to register
in order to take advantage of the additional features.
This is a popular registration method because
if the person wants to do more things with the
program, then they are forced to buy the registered
version of the software.
Another innovative registration incentive shareware
developers use allows customers to receive discounts
on other software once they have purchased the
Developers also provide support incentives. The
shareware version of software will have everything
the registered version has, however, if a person
buys the registered version of the software he/she
will receive tech support, newsletters, and upgrades.
Developers can also limit the number of times
you can use the shareware version of the product.
The trial version may expire after 10 uses meaning
the user has to register if they wish to continue
using the software.
Shareware now and how the term changed.
Though the meaning of the term shareware has not
changed the perception of shareware has evolved
since it began. At first when you had a shareware
program there was a note that asked for a donation.
Now you are required to pay for the registered
version of the shareware program. The shareware
industry has also evolved and grown into a billion
About the Author:
Dan Housley is currently a student interning with
NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net
developers of SMS and wireless messaging software
and Software Marketing Resource http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com