Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
irreversible

Commercially releasing a (design) software title (first time questions)

This topic is 2856 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

The question sounds simple: I have a rather minimalsitic, yet apparently unique piece of design software I've written. Nothing fancy, but it's just the initial version - stable and all that, although not THAT thoroughly tested. And now I want to release it for money. One off purchase price, no money back warranty (price range is $20-30, although I haven't decided yet). This is something that I have no experience with, so here are a few questions:

0) I'm not a company and would prefer not to register one officially. Am I required to? What is the minimum amount of legal foothold I have to establish to initiate a sale? Note that I don't want to avoid establishing a company not because I have something to hide, but because I'm lazy and hate paperwork and numbers. I will do what is necessary, though. PS - I do not reside in the UK as my profile might suggest, but rather elsewhere in Europe.

1) what are the primary channels for me to turn to? I'm fairly sure there's a list of websites or, better yet, distributors. However, I would prefer not to plunge headlong into something like that without consulting someone with more experience (in this case yous guys) first.

2) if I can't guarantee (I can try, but in all honesty I can't guarantee) steady support and next-day bug fixes or a list of systems the product is guaranteed to run on, is there anything specific I should do with the EULA? Could someone bring me an example of a good EULA for such a product? Notably, it's a regular Win32 application, so there should be no compatiblity issues regarding hardware.

3) anything this small one creates will become cannon fodder for crackers do their morning exercise on. Would not adding a registration key and selling the program as-is be too naive? My current idea would be to stamp "Unregistered" all over the place and that's it, otherwise no expiration and all that. I really don't care that much about piracy and I feel that saving myself all the brain cells I could lose over this will be much more profitable in the long run. However, for a commercial product, purely from a business point of view, am I better off adding a required key? PS - I rather like the way WinRAR does it - it expires after 30 odd days, but keeps working and only reminds you with a single popup every time you run it. IMO it's an awful nice way to solve the problem without being too intrusive or scaring off the user.

4) what's the simplest and best read on taxing software sold online? I'm not very economically minded, so I can foresee trouble wrapping my head around this: I don't want to evade taxes, but in light of point 3, might I be better off switching to a donation system instead?

5) are there any effective marketing tools for software distribution apart from word of mouth, purchasing a Google Ad and manually promoting it on various forums? For instance, music has Beatport, iTunes, etc that funnel much, if not most of the target group together. Is there something along those lines I may not even know to be looking for that I might pay more attention to?


I apologize for the myriad of questions, but I really am doing this for the first time and I'd like to avoid stepping into the wrong buckets if I can help it :D

Cheerio!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Quote:
Original post by irreversible
The question sounds simple: I have a rather minimalsitic, yet apparently unique piece of design software....

What exactly does this mean. What type of design?

Quote:
0) I'm not a company and would prefer not to register one officially. Am I required to?....
That will depend on local law. As you didn't tell us where your secret underground headquarters is we can't advise you. Talk to a local accountant. It may be possible to trade as self-employed but as I say you will need to talk to an accountant.

Quote:
1) what are the primary channels for me to turn to? I'm fairly sure there's a list of websites or, better yet, distributors.

Sorry I can't help with this. I only deal with game software (and I don't really know what type of "design software" you are selling).

Quote:
2) if I can't guarantee (I can try, but in all honesty I can't guarantee) steady support and next-day bug fixes or a list of systems the product is guaranteed to run on, is there anything specific I should do with the EULA? Could someone bring me an example of a good EULA for such a product? Notably, it's a regular Win32 application, so there should be no compatiblity issues regarding hardware.

What products compete with yours - look at their EULA. Ultimately however you will need a lawyer to draft an EULA (unless you understand copyright law and the various issues that will need to be covered).

Quote:
3) ...Would not adding a registration key and selling the program as-is be too naive? ....

Yes... no.... maybe. It depends on you. You said you don't want to burn brain cells bothering so don't. Copy protection will delay the hackers by an hour or two if your lucky. A better way to get people to pay is to offer regular updates and good support.

Quote:
4) what's the simplest and best read on taxing software sold online? I'm not very economically minded, so I can foresee trouble wrapping my head around this: I don't want to evade taxes, but...

Your going to need to talk to an accountant.

Quote:
.... in light of point 3, might I be better off switching to a donation system instead?

Sure.... if you are a registered charity. If not then any money you get is revenue regardless of what you call it and needs to be declared to the tax man in accordance with your local laws.

[Edited by - Obscure on August 26, 2010 7:17:38 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
>> What type of design?

Visual story design software.

>> That will depend on local law. As you didn't tell us where your secret underground headquarters is we can't advise you.

A small country in Eastern Europe for now, that I'm bound to. I don't think it gets much more clear with names mentioned.

>> What products compete with yours - look at their EULA.

Well, that's the funny bit. I did my research and I didn't find anything that would directly compete with this kind of software (oddly enough) as mine's a lot more visceral than the industry standards out there. That's why I hoped it'd suffice for me to describe my preparedness/readiness... I wouldn't want to find myself in a legal bind because of the EULA when someone runs into a problem I have no way of foreseeing or promptly fixing.

>> Your going to need to talk to an accountant.

Sigh - I was hoping the solution would be a bit more simple. Thanks for the concrete answer, though.

>> Sure.... if you are a registered charity. If not then any money you get is revenue regardless of what you call it and needs to be declared to the tax many in accordance with your local laws.

Ah - good to know! Even though I was leaning towards a commercial release anyway. I've no intention of evading taxes, but the sad bit is that with my current knowledge I might end up doing so unknowingly. Right, talk to and accountant. Got it.

>> Yes... no.... maybe. It depends on you. You said you don't want to burn brain cells bothering so don't. Copy protection will delay the hackers by an hour or two if your lucky. A better way to get people to pay is to offer regular updates and good support.

That's precisely what I was thinking. That's also why I was thinking of not going in the trial period direction, but rather in a "subtle reminding" direction - it's something that wouldn't be as inviting to hackers, it would be less in the face for the end user and would generate less potential urge to pirate the software rather than purchase it if the choice is present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by irreversible
>> What type of design?

Visual story design software.

There is a list of digital distribution companies at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_distribution. I don't know if any of them handle the type of software you are making. Might be an idea to search for script development software and see where that is distributed.

Quote:
A small country in Eastern Europe for now, that I'm bound to. I don't think it gets much more clear with names mentioned.

You think wrong. Tax and business law can vary dramatically from country to country. Any advise or books that anyone mentions may not be relevant in your locale and may lead to you breaking the law.

When you talk to the accountant ask if there is a book they can recommend that covers the basics of your local tax/business law so that you can understand the basics/what they are saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You may also find your government has helpful information on official websites or materials you can order. It is in the UK (plus things like free seminars and courses, Business Link, etc). Worth a shot.

Also can you find any networking groups for other startups in whichever country you don't want to mention? Online forums, physical meet-ups, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Participate in the game development conversation and more when you create an account on GameDev.net!

Sign me up!