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My solution for this problem is to use VMWare and install a VM Windows (you'll need the Windows install disk), once installed I make a zipped copy of the VM. Then I use the VM to try downloaded programs. When they pass the tests I install them on my main Windows (also in a VM). To test another program I extract the test VM and use it again. This helps protect my main Windows.

Living Room / Re: Greatest shipping ripoff ever?
« on: December 15, 2012, 10:35 AM »
In the case of eBay, the shipping can be refunded and it doesn't matter what the seller mentions on his item's description. As far as I know, just ask Paypal a refund and you will get one if you returned the item (with tracking and signature) or didn't receive it. As long as you make the request directly to Paypal and not work with the seller. But the problem is that it will cost you about the same to ship the item back with tracking and signature.

As for the shipping price, "protection" requires that sellers send items with a tracking number and signature and this costs alot on international shipments, whatever you ship. Some sellers take the risk of sending cheaper without tracking but this means that any customer can request a "item not received" and will win. So the seller potentially loses both his item and money.

I recently sold a $250 statue from Canada to Germany and it cost $215 for shipping. It could have shipped it by ground for about half the price but then it would have taken up to 3 months without tracking. This is very stressing as I would have been months wondering if the customer would claim an item not received item. And if he did I would have lost almost $500 on the transaction. So I only offered the $215 with tracking option.

Living Room / Re: Question to all new members (10 posts or below)
« on: December 15, 2012, 10:17 AM »
Thanks Mouser.

I've been reading the two threads and found them interesting. I think that one of the main points is that the decision of the method used to finance (paid, donation, ...) or not (freeware) software depends on the nature of the software and the potential public using the software and how the software is developped.

For example, in my case my software is aimed at small businesses or independent sellers (like on eBay). So I will have a rather limited number of potential users and these users will probably consist of a medium to high proportion of people not knowing how to use computers very well. This implies that the software has to be very user friendly and this takes way more time to develop.

On the development side, I have had the chance to work on my software almost full time for 2.5 years and will eventually need to have serious revenues from the software (let's say about $25K per year would be ok for me) for me to continue working on it full time. So at $100 per licence I will have to sell at least 250 per year (about 20 per month). Were I to offer the software as donationware I would have to get 2500 donation per year (200 donations per month) with an average $10 donation. This is not very realistic and is a huge risk for me and the software users as not enough donations would force me to stop development of updates and new versions and stop support.

I believe that the potential market for my software allows me to charge $100 for my software. Especially if the software help my users sell more of their products and help them reduce fees if they already sell on sites like eBay by selling on their own web site. Since I have some (limited) design talent I will include some basic templates with the software but will also offer templates for purchase that will directly work in my software with a few clicks. And I will probably also offer the possibility of doing unique templates for a higher price. I think that in my case, this is the best possible avenue to pursue.

I think that software developpers should ask themselves these questions before even starting:

- Do I develop for fun or for the revenue (but should include the fun factor)?
- What is the potential market for my software?
- Who are my competitors?
- How much money do I require from selling my software?
- What are the connex possible avenues for revenue?

On another note, one thing that I would like to see on this forum is a section devoted to people who have finished programs and would like to write a "debriefing" of their project for others. I forgot the term but it's a small to large document that tells the story of what happened, what went well, what went bad, what was learned, ... I think that it would be a good addition to this forum.


P.S. I remember now, it's a post-mortem.

Living Room / Re: Question to all new members (10 posts or below)
« on: December 14, 2012, 05:08 PM »

I am currently programming a POS, ecommerce and general business management software for Windows (2.5 years of work, almost ready) and wondered for a little while about donations as a way to finance my program. So I searched about donation software sites and eventually stumbled on this site. But I have since changed my mind and will sell the software instead of asking for donations as the kind of software that I'm working on will not reach the sufficient number of people to offer it as a donation software.

When I was wondering about donation for my software I was also thinking about selling "hours" of work. For example, instead of asking for donations I would ask people to buy me time to work on the software. I could charge let's say $20 per hour and people would have bought as many hours as they would like (from $5 for 15 minutes to full hours, I find donations below $5 a little ridiculous). I thought that it would be a good idea to help donaters realize how much work they are actually buying. I would possibly have made a chart of the hours of work bought per month.

So what am I doing here since I won't be asking for donations? When want to relax I read web sites and this forum still has interesting topics that are of interest to me (mainly General Software Discussion, Living Room and Developer's Corner).

So that's about it.


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