Useful shareware related sites
This page is a little "thank you" to sites that have helped me one way or another in promoting my AscToHTM shareware. This isn't just a list of reciprocal links (for that click here), as only sites I particularly find helpful are listed.
Many of these sites are software libraries, each offering a slightly different take on how to do this. Features include
- Links to home pages. Annoyingly, not all libraries do this.
- Links to screenshots. A number of libraries do this. Most take a copy of the screen shot, a few link direct.
- Links to downloads. Those that link to download files are called "Virtual" libraries.
- Counts of how many downloads the site has recorded. Some do, some don't. As an author, it's nice to get a handle on how popular a download your file is.
- Reviews of the files and rating systems. Users like reviews as they help sort the wheat from the chaff. Authors like good reviews, and grumble about the bad ones. Sometimes reviews seem inaccurate or to "miss the point". No wonder, with so much stuff needing to be reviewed.
- More recently some sites have allowed users to offer their own ratings. At the present time not to many users seem to be doing this, so be warned that the results may not be statistically significant.
- Automatic or manual update pages. All sites allow updates, for some this is like completely re-submitting your software (with several days wait), for others it can be done instantly provided you remember your password from last time.
Virtual Software Libraries
These sites list available shareware, but don't actually host the shareware themselves. Instead they point URLs to the author's site. Some of them keep statistics on the number of downloads, but with those that don't you've still got the possibility of monitoring downloads yourself, as they come from your server.
- C|Net's download.com. This is part of the C|Net online community. This site counts downloads, and has all its entries in a database, allowing you to list entries by name, date or popularity.
- Windows 95/98/NT software library. This is a popular repository of Windows software. Their category pages get quite large, with the most recent entries listed near the top. This means you get lots of downloads when you release a new version, less thereafter,
Most of these sites are starting to offer their own on-line registration services, and add cute icons where this is available. Only usually if it's available with their service though.
Physical software libraries
These sites actually take a copy of your software. This means you can only monitor throughput to the extent that these sites tell you.
- ZDNet software library. ZDNet offer a complete online community. Their shareware library has the added advantages of reviewing your software (AscToHTM got 5 stars) and counting the downloads.
Software promotion sites
- VirtualPROMOTE. This site is dedicated to web page promotion. They actually use AscToHTM to turn their weekly newsletter into HTML. Which is handy, as each week they have links to many interesting sites concerned with promotion on the web.
- Position Agent. I recently discovered this wonderful site (via VirtualPromote... see what I mean). This allows you to see how your web page rates in all the various search engines.
- selfpromote.com. This is one of a number of sites that will submit your URL to search engines and indices in a way they can understand. A great time saver which you can try for free, before volunteering to cough up some dough (like I did, honest!).
- dpdirectory.com. Al Harberg offers a highly thought of press release service where for $99 he will mail your press release to 1000's of Computer press. A very professional service, with the prospect of getting your release some high quality exposure.
- http://mini.net/sax/ The Shareware Author Index allows you to list your company and products. You can post announcements that are then mailed to an opt-in list of shareware site webmasters and other.
- Rather fun is the 200 shareware links. This is a first in, first out list of 200 links. A simple idea that produces a useful page to browse every so often.
Association of Shareware Professionals
JafSoft is a member of the trade organisation Association of Shareware professionals. The ASP does much to promote the concept of shareware and to help its members share knowledge and information. Special discounts on software and services are available to ASP members.
Recently they have introduced PAD, an XML-based method of describing shareware submissions that greatly aids the automated submission of new titles and updates to the many shareware libraries that are available. The ASP have produced a utility PADGen to aid authors in producing PAD files. This utility is offered free to all software authors (regardless of membership).
Registration services offer to take credit cards on your behalf. Often they offer to do more, but in my experience collecting money is the most important thing they do :). They vary in how much they charge, and how they pay you, but most charge in US dollars, and charge a fixed amount and a percentage per copy, with the percentage going to the credit card company, and the fixed charge going to the handling company.
I chose my service on basis of geographical location (I'm in Europe, and most are in the US).
- SAX's registration services list. Everyone lists this site, as it compares all the major registration services. Quite right too, that's how I found...
- ShareIt. Based in Germany, these are the people you can buy AscToHTM from via credit card. Try it out by buying it from here!
- Atlantic Coast. On the other hand, these people contacted me.