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How NOT to Conceive Software Trials (and some new ideas around them)

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Offer a now-to-be-installed 6 months trial for which the prospect will probably be in need of in some 7, 8, 9 months - and possibly get even good "reviews" for spending big ad money, speaking in general here and not in allusion to any specific software (it's just an idea of mine)

Some mass-market computer journals, in their (more expensive) DVD version, often come with a "full version" of "Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery" (preposterous name if there is any), and that's also here and then on some give-away sites.

Just some days ago, I saw it again in some of these journals, so I looked into the latter, and right, in quite tiny character size, they told you, somewhere, that it's a "fully-functional 6 months license" you had to install almost immediately so the counter could start to run.

I had installed that thing, from another, similar source, some 18 months ago, and then, some 9 month ago, I made a little mistake - I mean the harm done was not so big -, and was in need of such a program, on a comp no other tool of this kind was installed; I had the spectacular GetDataBack installed on another pc only - Kroll's is as good as the latter (I had tried both, both with success, and many others of which most failed, some years ago on a real ugly problem, some unreadable usb stick), but incredibly overpriced (subscription).

So from that "Stellar" thing, I got told, "your license has expired"; the problem here, I hadn't had the slightest idea of the time limit of my "license", and I pay attention to such things, so I'm quite sure that at the time, they didn't say a word about that, but I can't pretend for sure they didn't,

Fact is though, currently (at the very least), they say so, except of course for the fact that many a people buy those crap journals, with a big, fat "Full license of Stellar included" on the cover, FOR that "full version", and then will (hopefully, but it's too late anyway for not spending the money) discover at home they will have got an extended, but very probably useless trial.

Btw, when I had installed my "full version" of that thing, there was NO mention that it was limited to 6 months on the screen - but perhaps somewhere within the "endless" general conditions nobody reads for such things; I don't know about the current state of affairs though.

Anyway, if there is no such info (as was in my case) you think there will be help in case of data loss, and there is not; people who lose data every some weeks, so that they will really and possibly take advantage of this tool, should not work on computers anyway.

So what's the outcome? If you KNEW about the limitation, you possibly say to yourself, my fault; I buy it then (and that's the idea here); on the other hand, if you remember you had bought the crap journal for this tool, without knowing it'd work for just 6 months in case, you will probably NOT buy, so they clearly play with your memory limits here; but if this info comes as news for you now (as in my case), I cannot imagine somebody masochistic enough in order to buy the license.

Sometimes - this is not the case with "Stellar" -, those journals print a tiny "special edition" beneath the name of the software, and "special edition" invariably means "crippled and/or time-limited version"; for details, you must then search thru the journal.

There's another aspect to this form of marketing, done within mass-market journals: You probably get lots of good "reviews", because you're a good customer to those journals - of course, you (i.e. the developer) pay lots of money for this prominence -

whilst the naive journal reader might think it's the journal which pays the developer, in order to get the chance to spice up the journal, so that it gets more buyers on the newsstand.

Fact is, in the case of data loss, it's a very good thing for the recovery tool to be already installed in your system, so just buying a license may be tempting if, well, if, you're not sufficiently in anger against that tool which now lets you down if you don't pay something around 100 bucks in order to get help, from a program which you will not have chosen by any criteria, but which just sits there, already installed but not working before paying:

It's not a trojan, but you see what I mean: There are (far) more than a dozen such programs, and this one here got its way into your system in quite a vicious way; in some way it's certainly a smart way to beat the competition, but then, you feel the (lack of) "choice" you have now (paying, forgetting your data or getting out your hdd into another system, for the installation of some OTHER, probably better data recovery tool not further harming your lost data) has been FORCED upon you, by some marketing geeks:

In other words, if being buggered isn't your thing, you will not be happy with the situation.

On the site of PCMag - PCMag being one of those mass-market computer journals which have been done this add-on software marketing for more than 20 years now - "Stellar", together with Kroll, is the "Editor's Choice", whilst GetDataBack is not even mentioned, whilst I can confirm it's on par with Kroll, and of course I don't have the right to infer any conclusions from this, but I have the right to ask, how many times "Stellar" has been a free add-on in PCMag over the years, how much did "Stellar" pay for this, in case, and did PCMag seriously review GetDataBack, too, before leaving it all out of its comparison table?

In any case, this "Stellar" marketing can be described as "very aggressive" and "not very open" - even today, you only get the limits by searching inside the journal for them, so it would be of high interest for the competition to know about the conversion rate when users get their "your license has expired" slap into their face.

What the competition could do, in the meantime, though:

Market a journal version which really works once (and even after 6 months), and then, AFTER the (hopefully) successful recovery, invite the user to buy it now, with 40 p.c. off, for further use. (The question which arises here, being: Will journals even charge you for this, real, added value to the journal? Not even thinking of them paying you for it...)

If I ever find back that "unreadable" usb stick (which, as said, GetDataBack and Kroll could read, without any fault for both, but which even TestDisk, the mythical read-it-all tool could not), I'll promise I'll try with "Stellar" and update this.

In my case some months ago, the harm wasn't so much as to justify getting the hdd out, so I tried - unsuccessfully - with (the also-installed) Recuva, then left it at that.

And of course, even if functional tools are installed already, pull the LAN plug as early as possible (and close down the WLAN connection, too).

Btw, it's a known fact - also proven in numerous legal proceedings over many countries -, that again and again, so-called financial advisors very often recommend - what do I say: push - those investments that pay them the highest commissions; it's another fact that those mass-market journals I regularly see the software offers of on the newsstand, with few exceptions, do not offer some tool today, and then, some months later, the respective tool from another competitor, but those very same tools again and again, as if there were no other in that category: Even if you just superficially monitor those journals, month after month and over the years, you will discover this - you just don't have the right to draw any product-specific conclusions from your observation.


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