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Preparing your product for sale in the global product channel is important. The needs of the on-line evaluator and customer are very different from customers that you might typically have sold to face to face in the past. Whether you need help on how to make an evaluation version or need advice on marketing or pricing and licensing your product - we are here to help.
If your query is not answered in one of the above sections, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Do I need to create an evaluation or trial version?
A. Full product evaluations are a virtual necessity in the component and development tool market. There are many products available that assist you in creating evaluation versions of your software. ComponentSource strongly advise you to make your evaluation or trial product expire or time-out after 10 to 15 days for a basic product and a maximum of 30 days for a complex product. It is also important to make the evaluation fully functional, as customers may not realize that the reason a particular function does not work for them is because it has been disabled in the evaluation version. This makes the customer think that there is a problem with your product and they move on to evaluate a different one assuming that your product does not work.
Q. We have a two-phase unlock - is that OK?
A. Providing that the process can be automated and, thus, scalable... yes. ComponentSource markets to a worldwide audience of developers. It is unrealistic to expect a developer in New York, NY, buying at 9am New York to wait 3+ hours until 9:00 AM California time before he/she can use the product that they have just purchased and downloaded from our Web site. Imagine what the customers in Berlin in Germany or Sydney in Australia would think - as they would have to wait for 9+ hours or until the next business day to get their software working fully. If the two-phase unlocking process is automated to gather the required information at install time, transparently send it via the Internet, and automatically receive and process the license information, then it is suitable for the commodity component and development tool market.
Q. How do you handle products that need a specific piece of hardware?
A. Virtually all software components and development tools have certain pre-requisites for use - be it a particular operating system, development environment, etc. If the hardware required by your component is commercially available, you can list it as a pre-requisite. For example, if you created a component to give an application IEEE 1394 (Firewire) support, you can assume that anyone wishing to use it would already have a firewire card, or at least would know that they need one. Firewire cards are available commercially, so you could simply list it as a pre-requisite.
Q. Can I enforce licensing of my component or development tool with a hardware dongle?
A. This practice is not generally accepted or well received in the component and developer tool community. Remember that your component is likely to be only one of many in use in the developer's application. If each component required a hardware dongle, the customer would very quickly run out of ports for the hardware. Any software component that requires a dongle is therefore more likely be dismissed by the developer in favor of a comparable component with only software licensing requirements. ComponentSource strongly advises against the use of hardware dongles for licensing components. Dongles have their place in the arena of licensing high value applications against copying, but are not applicable to the commodity component and developer tool market.
Q. If my product only works with another piece of software, will I need to bundle it?
A. This depends on the software. Virtually all software components have certain pre-requisites for use - be it a particular operating system, development environment, etc. These can simply be listed as pre-requisites in the product information page. If the required software is proprietary, you will need to make arrangements with the publisher to bundle it with your component. It is your responsibility to insure that all legal redistribution requirements are met.