One day your write a cool software utility and decide to sell it on the Internet. Welcome to the club! We estimate that there are about 20000 active shareware companies at any given time in the world. Where to start? This article is covering the basic aspects of selling shareware online.
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Selling Shareware Online - Quick Start Guide

One day your write a cool software utility and decide to sell it on the Internet. Welcome to the club! We estimate that there are about 20000 active shareware companies at any given time in the world. Where to start? This article is covering the basic aspects of selling shareware online.

Create a Website.

Buy a domain name, create a website, upload software screenshots and write program description, write something about it's cool features and why do you think it is useful to people. If you are a software engineer, try to make your description clear to an average Joe.

It is always good to have full software "Help" section available on the developers website. Keep your website clean, the visitor should understand that this site is about software that he could purchase online.

Built a trial license protection for your software.

Usually when you finish writing your software utility it is a freeware that means anybody can run it once installed on his computer. Therefore you must implement a trial limitation to your version.

Two main types of trial protection exist: time-limited and features-limited trial types. With a time trial protection potential customer installs a trial version, which may be feature limited version of the full software or time limited version or both.

Time trial protection is the most popular one. This means that when a user installs the software he can use it "for free" for only so many days, typically 30. Some software developers targeting "impulse buyers" may set it lower, say 10 days, some products, usually that run daily on your PC may have time trial limit set to 60 or even 90 days.

With a limited features trial protection you may limit certain features of the software in a trial version. These could be important pieces of software functionality, say for a file converter you may limit a maximum size of the file to be converted or total number of files that could be converted at once. The user will still be able to use the software, however he will miss the crucial functionality of the product and may buy it later since he urgently needs it.

How to protect your software? You may write sophisticated software protection algorithms yourself but why spend time to invent a wheel? There are many software protection packages available such as Asprotect or Armadillo.

How to collect money?

Ok now you are ready with your product and the website and you want to start selling your software. We estimate that over 95 percent of shareware products sold online are paid by credit cards. But here you are facing an issue that you cannot charge major credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, AMEX) unless you have a merchant account.

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