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Revisiting the idea of simplifying the DC big app license key stuff

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Another possibility would be:

* 1. Click here to get a license key that will last until you upgrade the program to a new version
* 2. Or donate any amount to become a lifetime member and get a permanent license key.
* 3. If you are part of a non-profit organization, or are a freeware author, or have considered the ideas of the site and have decided that you will not be donating for whatever reason, send us an email describing why and we will send you a non-expiring license key.
The change here would be that instead of requiring a new license key every X days, you need a new license key when upgrading.  And no need to sign up for a key, you get one just by visiting the page.

This seems like it would be less annoying for most people.. the downside would be that it might lead to more irritating upgrades and people less likely to want to upgrade, and perhaps less donations.
-mouser (February 22, 2011, 01:50 PM)
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The idea sounds good because it is not just a random date and it gives the user a nice feedback on how much work is being done on the app: "if the software is not updated, I don't need to get a new key, but if I need to get a new key, then at least I also get a new version". I like the "win-win" situation, but I also fear that it might cause people not to update in fear of the work the update might involve. It'd be nicer if we could find a better way to do something similar to this.

Also, It just occurred to me that the "there's a new update available" dialog is a good opportunity to remember the users of how much effort is put into the software. Maybe something along the lines of "This developer is working for you and there is a new version available of this free software! Care to donate?" could be added for non-paying users. I believe that a user that sees this message frequently might be compelled to donate ;)

... help the coders on the site ...
-mouser (February 22, 2011, 04:13 PM)
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That's easy enough to initiate - set up a commercial section, visible from the top level.  Then those that wish can establish IDs, mention strengths, reference previous accomplishments.

Yeah, there'd be more to it than that, but just implementing such would help to overcome the inertia of inaction.  Doesn't have to be perfect, refinements can be implemented as traffic increases.  A skeletal implementation could be fleshed out in a progressive fashion.

You could put up a topic for the coders to announce themselves, another topic to let consumers specify requirements, perhaps subtopics for each reflecting specific disciplines.  As a consumer, I could browse the coder information, post requirements in a general area or in a specific discipline area.

That is a functional model in current use by sites that serve a middleman function to connect consumer and producer.  You should have no trouble adding it here.  

A number of years agone, I was involved with a sailing site.  It had a forum for various boaters/sailors, even topics for certain boats, e.g. a J-boat section for racing sailors.  It also had a boat-wanted and a boat-for-sail section, as well as a kind of want-ad section - sailors looking for jobs, owners looking for captains/crew, and the like.  The site failed after three (3) or four (4) years, because the owner had no concept of marketing/advertising, just relied upon search engine traffic.  That just wasn't enough to make the site viable.  However the boat sale aspect and the captain/crew job part worked very well.  So, the site was functional, but the business model was poorly planned/executed, if planned at all.

There are aspects there that you could apply to DC without markedly affecting the rest of the site.  With a bit of wise marketing - no, that's not the horrible word/concept many think it to be - and some word-of-mouth, it could quickly become viable, whether monetized or not.

Just a couple of thoughts based upon past direct experience.

Or even 10¢.  Agree with that but... perhaps can't access a mechanism by which to pay that 10¢?
-cranioscopical (February 22, 2011, 05:59 PM)
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Dunno the ins and outs of it, but there was a recent announcement that PayPal was accepting micro payments ... would that be of use?  Of course, that would assume that the payer had mundane things such as a bank account, payment card(s), and the like.  (I can remember being a kid and sending in Postal Service stamps in an envelope as payment  :P.)

I'm always pimping the article I wrote about "micro-donations" and DC a couple of years ago, I hope you all forgive me for doing so.

The take home message from my standpoint is that all of the effort to let people make "micro" payments with low fees is addressing the wrong problem.  The real focus needs to be on getting EVERYONE set up to make reasonably small donations on a whim, without any risk or hassle.  The problem isn't the AMOUNT, the problem is the MENTAL WORK involved in donating.

The success of things like the App store, and Steam for playing games -- shows how immense the effort barrier is in stopping people from paying for things.  If you make it so people can click a button to buy something, without feeling like they are incurring any risk in doing so, and without having to go through any extra steps, they empty their pockets on things they don't even need.  While on the other end of the spectrum, if someone feels like it's going to take them more than 60 seconds to make a purchase, they won't pay a buck for the object of their dreams.

Part of what I say in that article is that to get donations, it should be as easy (or easier) to donate as it is to avoid donating.  Which is kind of how we have approached the license keys and why it's ok to say "if you have decided not to donate just write an email for a full license key", because i judge that it's as much mental effort to write an email as it is to donate.  The situation one wants to avoid is where doing the right thing (donating if you can afford it) is so much harder and more work than doing the wrong thing.

This is also why I'm starting to think the complexity of the process is hurting us.. because the mental effort required by people to even figure out how things work with the license keys is enough to turn many people away..


+1 from me for mousers idea with the "bound to version license key".
+1 from me too for jgpaivas idea for a "New update available" screen.

- Our software is and will stay free with this. Everyone can get the app and the license key without donating and signing up. Removing all that discussions here and there if DC is a freeware site.

- Its at users choice if he will stay and is glad with the old version or if he update and jump throughout the easy to go hoop to download another version bound key (forcing him to visit our page at least once again).

- The update screen should show improvements points though, so that the user can decide if he wants to go for the new version or still satisfied with the old one. And an update notification screen is IMO not considered a nag screen by most users. Maybe the "check for update" should be an option that can be disabled in the app preferences. That will cancel our interest in having the user back on our site though, but if the user is satisfied with his version and don't want a new key he will not visit our pages anyway and from then on the update screen will be considered a "nag screen" by that user.

For me that worked nicely when there was an offer for a free license key of "USB Safely remove". That was not upgradable though. But i was impressed by the generousity of that company and learned that they are nice and customer care related and responsive (they even did a special version soleyly for me when i ran into some coloring problems where i can't see some parts of the screen - WOW!). At the end the successor "Zentimo" from them offered me such a big additional value and i had the strong feeling to support that nice company. So i decided to fold my free key and purchase a paid one for Zentimo.

That make me think this may work for donations as well. If they see there are regularly updates and they benefit from them, they learn to know us more and more better, they think about a donation with more positive thinking over the time and lastly donate and visit our site regularly.

Maybe the free key download page can be combined with the "daily blog" page somehow, so the may get attracted by a new post or article when they go for their new key and maybe switch over to that post and read or in best case want to write a reply what results in a signup.

So i think with this concept we can reach all our goals like:
- Give useres the opportunity to use our programs really free and stop all the rumour all over the net about "Is DC software really freeware".

- Give users the freedom to use our apps forever in the version they got if they don't need updates and are satisfied with the features (and bugs *cough* *cough*) :)

- Give us the chance that users visit the page regularly

- Convince users that visiting our pages that we are kind, nice, helpful and the best site in the net

- Make them maybe donate and/or at least think about to do so.

- Simplify the licensing process

And i think the 3rd choice "if you are not able to donate, write us an email" is totally unnecessary for this reasons:

- Our (mousers?) apps are already great and very useable. A freeware author or non-profit organization can perfectly live with the actual version of e.g. Screenshot capture. There is no need to always have the newest versions or features for them. So they can get the app for free, use it free forever and have no need for a next key. If they really want the new feature they have to go for the new key. So what? A small way to go for a really wanted and free gift that costs nothing more than 2 minutues of time and some mouse clicks, isn't it? I think we can demand that from them in reward for giving them the software for completely no obligations.

- I can't fight the feeling this can be considered "begging" by the email writers. For me i'd feel uncomfortable to write an email "I am soooo poor, please gift me the full time key". And there is no need for it anyway, as i can use my actual version unlimited and when i want the new, i can get the new key for free again and without begging.

- It complicates things again (a third bulleted point in the licensing explanation).

- We don't get any additional value from those that writes an email except additional work for mouser. He had to read, decide and reply to the mails. And we are giving away a full time key for nothing than work. And i think mousers time is better spent in improving FARR & Co. and torture the IRC channel members with teasing them into discussions and then mousering them (for non regular IRC channel members: "to mouser someone" is a new created verb by the DC IRC community that means to just stop responding in a running discussion without any seeable reason, letting the talking partner stand outside in the rain without an umbrella alone :) ).

Last unresolved problem is the "how to donate" topic though. But i think that is not in our hands completely. There are other participants that must give us the opportunity to use an easy to use, for everyone payment system.

Just my 2ct.



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