The Association of Shareware Professionals emerges victorious.
For more than 20 years, the Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP) has worked to promote the “shareware” marketing concept, as well as the professionalism of those (primarily independent) developers who create the software. From a practical standpoint, some of the goals have been to encourage (among publishers) the usage of shareware marketing to sell software, and to advocate for the acceptance of shareware software with consumers.
On the usage side, one ASP members used to use the line, “Someday all software will be sold this way.” At this point, that vision is essentially realized, as most commercial (mass market) software products have evaluation versions to try before buying. Whether or not the word “shareware” is used, that is what this is.
As far as acceptance is concerned, the word, “shareware”, was the answer to a bonus question on QuizBusters, a broadcast television program (in its 20th season on the air) that is a version of high school quiz bowl competitions (or a trivia game show, if you prefer). I submit that this constitutes mainstream acceptance.
Here is a partial transcript of the questions on the Hartland Eagles vs. Charlotte Orioles episode, aired last weekend (and viewable via the link):
[MODERATOR is Matt Ottinger, the show’s host, and CAPTAIN is Cooper, the Hartland team captain.]
MODERATOR: …on these types of “wares”. First, this term is used to describe intangible programs, in contrast to a computer’s solid components.
MODERATOR: “Software” is right. This term, not to be confused with “freeware”, is used to describe software that is free to try.
MODERATOR: Not “trialware”. No, it’s rhyming: “Shareware“. “Shareware” is what I needed that time.
[Note: Not only was “trialware” incorrect, but it does not pass the spellchecker. “Shareware” does.]
So, as the departing Chairman of the Board of the ASP, I declare that the “shareware” portion of the organization’s mission has been accomplished successfully.
Nevertheless, over these years the Association of Shareware Professionals has grown into one of the most valuable community resources for independent software developers, as well as for the vendors who provide services to them. For a mere $100 US per year, one gets access to numerous resources, including access to the (very active) private newsgroups where one can ask and receive help from industry veterans who have dealt with the same issues and can give sage advice.
If you are in the software industry and are not a member of the ASP, Join Now!