Time Limited or Feature Limited Trial Version?

The first thing you have to decide before releasing a free trial version of your software is how to limit the free version (after all, it only exists to encourage people to pay for the full version).

A time limited program just stops working after a predetermined time usually 30 days after installation – the idea behind this is that the software is "addictive", that whoever is using the software will not want to stop using it.

A feature limited program doesn't stop working, but it has some key feature disabled – here the idea is that the user can explore the program and see that it does what he needs but can't complete his or hers work without buying the unlimited version.

A time limited version is obviously a bad choice if the software is something that is likely to be used only once (like password recovery).

For yaTimer I went with a time limit, my reason for choosing a time limit is that I couldn't find any feature that I could remove from yaTimer without making it almost useless, I went with 45 days because I believe if someone uses it for this long he will not want to stop using it.

I believe that feature limited software has the advantage that people are more likely to buy it shortly after downloading it, with time limited software it looks like most people will wait until the trial period is over before paying.

I'm going to experiment with different time limits to see how it affects sales, future versions of yaTimer may have different time limits and at least one of he other programs I'm going to release will have a feature limited trial version.

posted @ Wednesday, June 13, 2007 10:27 AM

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