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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:19 pm   

Live from Shareware Industry Conference
 
Greetings all!

I'm at the Shareware Industry Conference in Denver, CO this week. I have web access most of the time so I'll still be able to see the posts in the forum while I'm here.

Spending most of my time here in various marketing sessions in preparation for the marketing of eMobius.

We got a glossy flyer for zApp put into the "goodie bag" for each attendee, and have given each Developer (about 200) a zApp CDROM that was made specially for this conference.

Stay tuned for more details later...now I need to listen to the current session :)
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bortaS
Magician


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 320
Location: Springville, UT

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:25 pm   
 
I'm green with envy!

I would love to be able to attend conferences and stuff. Haven't been able to do it in my career. Hope you get a lot of mileage out this conference!

Do keep us updated, and we will live vicariously throug you. ;)
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bortaS
~~ Crusty Klingon Programmer ~~
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theNerd
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:48 pm   
 
I agree with you, bortaS. Hopefully next year I'll be there. Very Happy
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 1:24 am   
 
Found out today that the Shareware conference for next year (2006) will also be held in Denver!! So, I'm sure I'll be attending that one too and promoting eMobius then.

Looked at various ecommerce and copy protection vendors today. Digital River has been aquiring a bunch of small ecommerce companies and consolitading support and data centers. RegNow, which is now part of Digital River, just lower their prices tremendouly, from over 12% per transaction to 6.9% plus $1 per transaction. This is comparable to what I pay to ViaTech for eLicense. And they integrate with the SoftwarePassport solution from Digital River, which is a new version of the Armadillo copy protection that DR bought a while back. Looks like it has the same features as eLicense, but with a few more options and more ways to customize it. For example, they can work directly with PayPal via RegNow.

I was able to spent about an hour of one-on-one time with one of the Software Passport experts and ask all of the hard technical question that I've learned over the years from eLicense experience. All of the answers were pretty good, and their general attitude of how they handle development and support of the product was exactly what I was looking for.

I'll still need to research these companies and prices more to see if there is any reason to switch to a different solution for products like zApp and eMobius. Any comments from people with experience with Digital River, RegNow, SoftwarePassport, and/or Armadillo are welcome.

Tonight was the reception was sponsered by Digital River and was a "western bbq" (Denver is considered a western town), and they had a mechanical bull you could ride and get scored for your performance and win prizes. You didn't miss anything...I didn't try it. Looked like a good way to kill my back. But it was amusing to watch some of the others try it. The grand prize was a 20" flatscreen TV, which was a motivation for some people.

Looks like it's already been worthwhile even in the first day. There are about 400 attendees, which I think is a new record for the SIC. It's a nice and small conference to network with people. I've attended conferences by Borland, Lotus/IBM, and Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) in the past, and they all just got too huge. Not to mention the waste of time and money going to E3 a few years ago. Even though the hotel here isn't cheap ($99 a night), that's still half price from normal rates, and with the low conference registration of $129 or so, it's a great value. Especially if you live close enough to drive to Denver. Plenty of stuff for the family to do here in Denver during the conference too. Highly recommended.
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theNerd
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:12 pm   
 
How has the reception to zApp been?
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:32 pm   
 
I've only taked to a few people about zApp. I think I made some real converts today though. Today we had a presentation from Microsoft on their new Shareware Starter Kit for Visual Studio 2005 (currently in beta). During the Q&A session, Microsoft got really slammed by Shareware developers for their .NET direction and their lack of understanding of small developers.

The Shareware Kit requires .NET framework 2.0, which is still in beta. So the deployment issues are huge, and since .NET 2.0 isn't currently planned for older versions of Windows like Win98, it essentially excludes Shareware on Win98. They got blasted for that. They claim that a C++ version that doesn't require .NET is in the works, but it wasn't clear how much vaporware that statement was.

One developer had statistics on OS usage for his *business* product and had only 10% Win98 usage, but also only 25% with .NET 1.1 installed (and none with .NET 2.0 installed). When Microsoft asked for a show of hands of development tools being used, C++ got about 40% of the audience, Visual Basic (non .NET) got ab out 25%, and .NET got only 4-5 people out of at least 100 in the room. Then he asked what else we used and about 50% raised their hands and cried "Delphi!".

Anyway, I was talking to a few people after the session and we were whining about .NET and that Microsoft is living in the future and catering to big company developers and not small developers that have customers still using old systems. They were whining about how much better it was with the non .NET Visual Basic, but they hated the look of the user interface buttons in old versions of VB. So I showed off zApp and they were impressed. Hopefully they will tell all their friends.

The rest of today covered various ecommerce and copy protection solutions. I got more information on the SoftwarePassport system from Digital River, and some other smaller solutions. I also learned more about various Affiliate programs which will be useful for selling eMobius in the future, and I might even start experimenting soon with affiliate programs for zApp and zMUD. These affiliate programs would allow you to have a button or link on your own web site to sell zApp and/or zMUD (and other software) that you'd get a commission for.

Tonight is the vendor reception. There are about 20 vendors here with booths to showcase their products. Mostly ecommerce (RegNow, ShareIt, Digital River, eSellerate), download sites (TUCOWS, cNET), copy protection companies, and other misc Shareware companies. Microsoft also has a small informal booth here. So tonight we get to "shmooz" with the vendors, try to win some prizes, and learn more about their stuff (and eat free food of course).
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 3:29 am   
 
They gave away a lot of prizes at the vendor showcase tonight...iPods, Pocket PCs, other MP3 players, Sony PSP, and lots of software (Delphi Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio, etc). Chiara actually won a "laptop travellers kit" which is a zippered kit containing a wireless USB mouse, USB light (for dark airplanes I guess), a USB hub and a retractable long phone cord. She claims she has never won anything before in her life...guess her record is broken Wink

Of course, I didn't win anything myself...oh well.

Didn't meet any vendors that were very interesting. The various ecommerce and copy protection companies that were there were all very small and I need something with a larger market and partner program for eMobius, and I'm not going to use a home-grown copy protection system that hasn't been seriously tested. Talked to more Shareware authors who have used Armadillo and are very happy with it's protection in the newer versions.

Found out that cNET no longer charges for uploads to their site, so I can go ahead and add zApp and update zMUD. Will probably also use the cNET button program to use cNET Downloads as another mirror site for my software.

It was kind of funny seeing Microsoft is a small little booth just like everyone else had. Bet they aren't used to that. They had the beta version of Visual Studio 2005 .NET but I wasn't interested, and I think you can order a free DVD from their web site anyway. Don't need something that's going to be full of bugs and then expire anyway.

Tomorrow is the last day of sessions, followed by the formal banquet where the yearly Shareware awards are presented.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:05 pm   
 
Well, I'm back from the Shareware conference. It was a good conference...unfortunately it's going to take me a week to follow up with all of the interesting things that I learned.

I made some good contacts in various ecommerce companies that I might use for zApp and eMobius (replacing Viatech/eLicense). Plenty of followup work to do with these companies and evaluations of their services. I'll probably use zMUDLite as a test case for these to see which will work best for zApp and eMobius.

I also got some good tips on improving this web site, so you might see some changes in the future. Don't know how much time I'll really be able to spend on it, and I might end up looking for more professional help on this.

I learned a lot about affiliate programs, and also had a great session on the last day about Google AdWords and how to get good results from it. So, in the future you can look forward to some sort of affiliate program for Zuggsoft products that will allow you to earn a commission from selling these products on your own web sites.

Overall, it was very worthwhile just in terms of some of the personal contacts I made. I'll definitely be going again next year, where my focus will be on eMobius.

For zApp, we gave out about 400 White Paper flyers, and distributed about 160 zApp CDs. I was able to make a handful of direct contacts regarding interest in zApp. I'll let you know if it results in any more sales.

My schedule for the coming week will be doing followup on various SIC topics. Next week I'll start work on the next version of zApp that will focus on getting the latest version of the DevExpress components working (the new page control tabs) along with their docking panels. These are all features that are needed by eMobius. You'll see me really focusing on only adding the stuff to zApp that I need for eMobius. My current goal is to have the first beta of eMobius ready by the end of September.
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theNerd
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:41 am   
 
The affiliate program is a very good idea.
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