In my previous post. I talked about how James Thomson of TLA Systems succeeded by internationalizing his software early on.
Actually, James is up to another interesting experiment: shareware sidegrades, which he offers not in a competitive way but in a very friendly manner.
Recently, the people at Sig Software stopped updating Drop Drawers. They have such a strong sense of responsibility, however, that they couldn’t leave
their users hanging in the air.
Instead, they have decided to team up with James and provide a sidegrade to DragThing:
When shareware or even some commercial-ware applications just vanish, users are left at a dead end.
Very rarely, though, some thoughtful developers will offer their users a sidegrade path to equivalent products; I recall several such offers in the mid-’90s.
It is the kind of deal where you get a discount coupon via snail-mail for a competing product at 20-50% off (though you’re still left to regret that you had bet on the wrong horse in the first place).
I think it’s good Sig Software and James could provide a DragThing discount and finish the deal, but what is so nice about them is that they didn’t stop there.
The new version of DragThing even translates the drawer files of Drop Drawers to those of DragThing and tries to make the transition as painless as possible by adding several new features available in Drop Drawers; not many developers can do that especially small shareware developers. I hope this sidegrade offer will be successful for Sig Software, TLA Systems and the users of Drop Drawers, so this trend can spread.
FYI, Even though this particular deal was made in a Japanese restaurant in Scotland, many similar discussions will happen at WWDC this year. WWDC is not only about sessions, but is also a venue for meeting some nice people from around the world ;-) If you haven’t signed up for WWDC, you should consider it. When I interviewed Ron Okamoto, the head of Worldwide Developers Relation for Apple, he said, “WWDC is the one week of the year where Mac developers from around the world join in one place.
So plan well and think how you can make the best use of your time there.”