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