On the difficulty of not giving away

My first and last experience of releasing software that stick was FScript. It is an extension for the greatest keyboard launcher in the world FindAndRunRobot. I built the largest part of it during the christmass holiday, as I got a cold just before driving to my family home and I had to cancel the trip. I was better the next day but still not good enough to drive that long. So I was left with plenty of time and nothing on my planning. FScript taught me that giving software makes you feel great. You have a lot of good comments, telling you about how you made their life better. Everybody love you, they scream your name in the street (ok may be I dreamt this part ).

Selling software is very different. People don’t see you anymore as the messi, when you come and give things away (or may be it’s santa claus ? ) : they see you as a vilain capitalist.

Kongregate forum has an old discussion about playing flash  fullscreen. The original person who asked that question probably moved away a long time ago, but as the thread is still active, I proposed SwiffOut as a solution. I originally thought that keeping a low price (3$ ) would preserve some of benefits of free product. I was so wrong : The first reaction was that people kept arguing about the price without even trying it.

Then I told that I gave licences to flash game developer and it really changed the direction of the discussion. People tried SwiffOut, I got downloads and interesting opinions, bug reports. Curiously, to this day nobody asked for free licences. I’d still like to give them, so if you are a flash game developer, do not hesitate.

I really want to give away licences, partly because I need to get some users to get a little bit of word of the mouth to propagate, partly because I remember of giving things away and how great it feels. Balsamiq Studio  was sort of webfamous for doing that and it didn’t go too bad for them. As you can’t give it to everybody because that would be freeware, you need to select some groups that are closed enough and that sort of deserve it from the project point of view so that it makes a little bit of sense.

Bloggers that promote your stuff are a good group to whom you really want to give licences. This probably apply for any project : Exposure being the lacking resource on the internet, you shouldn’t be too cheap on that.

While talking to kongregate forum I felt that flash game developers were a great group too, as good games really contribute to SwiffOut and it’s better for me if they can signal me that SwiffOut doesn’t work on their games.

Confrontation was good anyway and it helped me to emphase differences between SwiffOut and Flash Game Maximizer on the website. I also discovered others extensions like “better kongregate” that I didn’t know exists. Hopefully, they are not better than Flash Game Maximizer because as you know SwiffOut is the best browser extension for playing flash games fullscreen (shameless autopromotion ).

The signal here is that $3 price is probably too low. Paying customers tell me it’s too low, dc member mouser (and FindAndRunRobot creator ) tell me it’s too low, and people seem to only care between free and not free. This is why the price will go up to $5. It won’t be before the 6th june, because SwiffOut would be 1 month old, but it’ll be very soon. I’ll announce it on the SwiffOut intermediate page anyway, so if you use SwiffOut, you’ll know it before the price increase.

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