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You can't even give it away!

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My problem is this. I'm trying to give away some quality free software but this is proving harder than I first thought. It seems to me that people would rather pay £30 in a shop for a named brand than spend 2 minutes downloading something free off the internet. This is what I've tried to do so far: 1) Send e-mails to websites to ask them to put a link to my website. (About five sites have agreed so far.) 2) Apply to computer magazines to see if they want to put it on their cover disk. 3) Post messages in Google groups It has been 3 weeks since I started and I still only get about 60 hits on my website a day (My target is 1000 a day - is this unreasonable?) and 4 e-mails from people who have used the software. I thought that I would get exponential growth as each person told two other people so I'm a bit disapointed. (On previous websites I tried added rude words to the titles to try to increase hits but I don't want to do that this time. Maybe this is why the GIMP is so popular?) I appreciate it has only been 3 weeks but I'm impatient and I just don't know what to do! Any ideas? (This is what I'm talking about.) [Edited by - paulbird on August 21, 2004 10:49:09 AM]

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Be patient. It won't happen overnight.

I created some free software for Windows, people haven been gradually picking it up, and it's in moderate use.

But bear in mind there are a lot of other programs which probably do the same thing.

The best things are personal recommendations on board / newsgroups that count, or having it featured on relevant news web sites (in my experience).

Mark

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I think 1000 a day is a bit much, even 250 will be much IMO, 60 is a good score already.

Posting at gamedev, such as this one, will help. Why not make the link your signature?

BTW, that math program seems handy, when will it be released?

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Hmmm, yes I suppose I am wanting too much too soon I'll just have to be patient!

The math program, which I think is more useful but would appeal to less people, (although that Wolfram fellow seemed to do alright with his didn't he?!) might be out soon. But I'm having a few philosophical difficulties with it at the mo.

1) Mathematics (as far as we know) is not a finite subject so I'll have to decide how much of it needs to be workable within the program.

2) The main problem though is timing. A simple example is expanding the following:

(a+3b+4c+d+e+f+g+2h+i+j)*(2a+3b+c+d+e+f+4g+h+i+7j)

When this is expanded this creates 10x10=100 terms. Which it can do in a milli-second. But then it has to group terms together for example: 3bc + 12bc --> 15bc which requires matching each of 100 terms with the 100 other terms which gives approximately 100x100=10000 checks, which is where it starts to get a bit slow. I'm not sure if there is any good solution to this other than to display a message: "This may take some time..."

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Take a look at the Web Development magazines on sale in the UK (assuming you're in the UK, if not your country will have them too); they often run features about how to promote your site for free and increase hit traffic.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I prefer downloading from a "known" site that already have virus scanned the files I'm downloading. Not that I mistrust you in any way, but if I could download your applications from for instance http://www.download.com/ that would be more convincing.

I care if it's a good program to use, if I have to pay a little or if it's open source or not doesn't really matter.

If your name is well known on for instance gamedev.net, codeproject.com or usenet that of course helps. Mayve you could start posting answers to tricky questions on such sites? Then refer to such posts from your own website.

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You might want to think of a way to make it obvious that it is free without the big "free software" label. If I had come to your site from a search engine, or from a link on a site I don't 100% trust I would have closed it immediatly assuming it was just another site trying to persuade me to install spyware.

Perhaps I am alone in this, but considering the amount of spyware sites that use "Free software!" are almost as common as ones offering "Free screensavers!" I expect it could be a few more than me who would be put off from investigating further.

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Two Things:

1. Make the link to what you're giving away bigger. I didn't even see it. Put in your signature!!!!!

(2) (The subject sounded like a slutty virgin) :)

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Yes, download.com would be good except that it seems you have to pay MONEY for them to list your program which I don't think is right if you are giving away freeware somehow.
Thats life I suppose.

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Quote:

It seems to me that people would rather pay £30 in a shop for a named brand than spend 2 minutes downloading something free off the internet.


How do they know it doesn't have spyware or a trojan? People are paranoid (and stubborn!), so they stick with what they trust...it's that simple.

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I've had that argument before about viruses in your software and such-like, but you can buy compilations of 100 freeware games in the shops with a message on the back saying that the publisher has no responsibility if this damages your computer, and the same people use this without a second thought. For all we know Bill Gates (or an unscrupulus employee) might have hidden a secret code inside Windows XP that will destroy all your files in the year 2005, no-one can say for sure, but (most of us) still use Windows. So maybe its just a case of image?

P.S.
I see that my hits have gone up to 102, mostly from this forum, so it will be back to 60 tomorrow - maybe that is why it is loading slowly?

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what about starting sourcefore projects?

if i need a little tool for something (whatever it is) my first check is sourceforge in one window and in another one google

as far as i know most people trust sourceforge projects concerning spyware/trojans/viruses etc.

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Well, you have to convince people to download your products. If they are free or not, you have to sell your product. The website has horrid load times and looks very bad. If anyone had any sense, they would not download anything from that site for fear of a virus or what not.

You should not be thinking of competing with paid software, just compete with other freeware programs.

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I don't reckon my website is that bad. I just tried to keep it simple like Google. But I suppose it could be a little better! I think I will invent a funny logo like the GIMP character (whatever that is supposed to be) or the LINUX penguin. Maybe an platapus or an armadillo or something?

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Sorry but, YUCK!
Applications should never make abundant use of bright colours in their GUI. It makes the program look like it's trying to appeal to 3 year olds, which is odd considering it is for considerably older people. Even though the background gradient may look kinda nice, and I can understand wanting to get away from that awful Windows 95 grey colour.

There is some Microsoft book which I can't remember its title of, which explains the dos and don'ts of interfaces. Making it more professional looking might be a way to get more copies used out there.

I'm sorry to be the one telling you this. Please remember that this IS merely constructive criticism. I'm sure it's wonderful in terms of functionality etc.

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Web search will probably be the most common way for people to find your program. There are several things you can do to improve the chance of your site being found:
- Research on using HTML "META" tags for keywords and description of your page. This makes it look better on search result pages.
- Explicitly submit your site to Google (http://www.google.com/addurl.html).
- Find forums for users who might be interested in your programs, and post there. (Make the thread title something like "free utility for X", and say something like "comments and suggestions welcome"). A very important criterion for Google and other page rankings is how many pages link to you. With some luck, these people will also point others to the software.

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Quote:

There is some Microsoft book which I can't remember its title of, which explains the dos and don'ts of interfaces. Making it more professional looking might be a way to get more copies used out there.


That or any Human Factors book will do. I took a human factors class which talked about this kind of thing.


-SirKnight

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Quote:
Original post by paulbird
2) The main problem though is timing. A simple example is expanding the following:

(a+3b+4c+d+e+f+g+2h+i+j)*(2a+3b+c+d+e+f+4g+h+i+7j)

When this is expanded this creates 10x10=100 terms. Which it can do in a milli-second. But then it has to group terms together for example: 3bc + 12bc --> 15bc which requires matching each of 100 terms with the 100 other terms which gives approximately 100x100=10000 checks, which is where it starts to get a bit slow. I'm not sure if there is any good solution to this other than to display a message: "This may take some time..."


If there are a lot of terms, first sort them according to the variables in the term (O(n log n) time); then any terms which need to be groups will be adjacent. Standard trick.

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Not to stray off topic, but I have to agree a bit with iMalc. Image means alot. As I'm sure the coding is of a professional quality (otherwise why release it), the interface as well as the site could be improved upon. I do not know any books on GUI design, but I would agree that the bright colors give it a kindergarden look, which is not your target audience. There is a decient book that I had to get for school for web site design though: "Shaping Web Usability", by Albert N. Badre, which states some of the do's and don'ts of web site design. There is probally something like that for interfaces as well.

Also go with the idea (I like the armadillo one) of creating a logo, give yourself a name and a mark to be recognized by, even if you don't register or trademark it. Make it as professional as possible. I have not dl'd any of the programs, but there should be a better legal disclaimer than the one provided on the pages in the program itself before install. If one is there ignore this. I saw no mention of who you are on the site. Place contact info on the home page or supply a link to it there.

As to getting the word out, doing things like posting it here are a big help. This is where all of us heard of it! There are also many sites that offer free software, try getting them to link to your site and such.

Another side note: I do not know the areas you are trying to appeal to via search engines and freeware sites but you may also try to get the math one linked by homework aid sites for students. Look for art sites for the image editor and educational sites for the math prog that may link to your site or even host the programs. I know that would have been great for me in H.S. - A program that will do my algebra homework for me... AND FOR FREE. (Granted this raises the risk of creating a decrease in the average I.Q. of the masses, but we are so far gone it is beyond hope).

Keep at it. If 5 sites are providing links to you, good. Get more. There are thousands of sites in the areas of graphics and math/education.

As others have said please accept this as constructive criticism.

Though I have enough graphics programs, I am looking forward to the math one... and for free too. Best of luck.

-0100110101100011010000110110111101111001

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It seems like noone has mentioned the obvious yet:
None of the software which you offer is of much interest to me. :)

Please dont misread this as an insult, I simply mean that its just not for me - and that may be the case for a large segment of the population.

I play some games, write some code, listen to music, and doodle images. None of the provided applications are relevant.

Also, as mentioned above stating that something is free so emphatically may frigten off a few people, much like adding quotes around otherwise normal words can make a sentence confusing or suspect.

Thats my "two" cents.
- Jacob

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Wow lots to think about.

About "YUCK", yes I pretty much expected that, I suppose it is my attempt to make a maths program look interesting! But it isn't out yet so rest assured that the final thing be toned down to within acceptable levels of blandness.

Anyway got to go now as it is 11.30pm in good ol' England.

Bye.

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Nowadays, most people expect things fast.

Which was unforunately not what I was met with when trying to go to the individual pages for your programs. When I finally got there, they look nice, but you may wish to use a catchy name to advertise your free product, but I don't think you need to resort to really rude words. "Media Task Bar 1.0" and "Brush Strokes Image Editor" don't really stand out from anything else, really, but "Math Cheat" does.

Also, you may wish to submit your program links to sites such as http://www.freewarehome.com or similar.

Good luck in your endeavours!

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Its not impossible it just takes time, about 7 months ago our site(here) only got about 19 hits a day, now it gets about 4000-6500 hits a day(about 40-110 posts in our forums a day)

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