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Software Marketing Newsletter

Software Marketing Newsletter
August 2003 Newsletter - SIC ISSUE

Hi ,
The following is a special SIC issue of Software Marketing Resource.


The drive to Rochester was not nearly as long as expected. The hotel layout was great and perfect for the conference. For the first time I brought my children to SIC with me. They are computer savy and were eager to get involved. I see tech support in their futures, so I decided to humor them and bring them along.

I still recall attending SIC for the first time. It is always a special experience, it allows you to put a face to a name (or newsgroup post), it allows you to see that someone you may have disagreed with doesn't really have horns and a tail but just a different opinion than you. I always enjoy the reactions of developers attending for the first time. Seeing the conference through the eyes of my boys was another interesting twist.

My boys had the opportunity to meet some famous industry developers including Len and Hugh Gray from Eclipsit, Tom Guthery, from Flix Products , and Marshall Magee. Len and Hugh as always were gracious and chatted with the boys who adore Eclipsit's MicroAngelo. Len and Hugh were even kind enough to make the boys artists of the month on the MicroAngelo site . It was obvious that they remembered what it was like to be young and have huge dreams.

My boys had also been beta testers for Tom Guthery and were eager to meet a really "famous" developer. I don't think the boys could have chosen better "heros" for developers.

Meeting Marshall Magee was a real treat and surprise. He was an engaging speaker and someone we could all learn from. Marshall started before there was an internet as we know it and was one of the first "shareware" developers to make over a million dollars in a single year. All of that aside, he was a genuinely nice guy and my boys thoroughly enjoyed talking with him.


Wednesday evening began with a quiet reception hosted by the SIAF. The reception was very elegant with lit candles and small tables for chatting. A variety of appetizers including Shrimp Cocktail and Crab Legs were available to snack on.

The quaint welcome reception evolved into a larger reception hosted by Digital River. Fajitas and an open bar greeted late arriving attendees. During the DR reception the acquisition of Silicon Realms (Armadillo) and the addition of Jean-Guy Ducreux (formerly of WSKA) to the DR staff was announced.


Thursday morning the conference officially began. Made to order omelettes were on the menu for breakfast. The Internet cafe opened and Jake from Lockergnome donated a wireless hub to the cause, providing an additional way for attendees to connect to the "real world".

Sessions were packed, and small clusters of individuals chatted in the foyer on large comfy couches or mingled in the hospitality suites for cappacinos and snacks. I heard multiple attendees say "this is great, why didn't I attend years ago", or "these sessions are just great" or my personal favorite "you look nothing like I pictured". ;-)

I had great conversations with Michael from FileKicker . I've never met anyone quite so absorbed with tracking, but it made for great conversation and started me thinking about alternative ways to market. If anyone is interested in measuring results or discussing productive vs non-productive marketing campaigns he is definitely someone you should talk to. In addition to being incredibly knowledgable he was a nice guy, although sometimes a bit over my head :-).

I also chatted quite a bit with Suda from Centered Systems . Suda is just wonderful and has grown a very successful business by forming some interesting partnerships with hardware vendors. I'm still hoping one day he'll share all of his secrets. ;-)

Thursday evening Digital River hosted a large Casino night. The banquet room was filled with Black Jack, Roullette and Craps tables. All attendees were given $ 5,000.00 in DR money. There is nothing like plopping $ 1,000.00 down on red without any regrets. The night was fantastic and lots of fun for all.


Friday morning attendees were less wide-eyed, and a little less chatty. Many were recovering from Thursday night's open bar.

The excitement of the day was definitely the VAT panel. Presenters from Deloitte & Touche did their best to explain what VAT will mean to registration services and developers. Europeans appear accepting of this new tax, but then why wouldn't they be, in many cases they are at an advantage to a US developer who is forced to charge in many cases a higher rate than an EU developer. One of the more amusing comments that came from the session was that there is a reason that the US is not a Colony of England any longer, its called "taxation without representation" and the reason the Boston Tea Party occurred. Regardless, the varied views made for an exciting panel. Who said accounting was boring? There will be signigicantly more to come regarding the future of VAT and how the various software registration services intend to react to the EU directive (see the September issue of SMR News for details). The panel certainly livened things up and got people's blood pumping.

By late afternoon on Friday everyone was beginning to relax. CNet had Gourment Ice Cream bars in their hospitality suite and the attendees poured in in droves!

I had the opportunity to chat with Ken White from NextUP , as well as Larry McJunkin from WUGNET . Larry, Howard, and Joel from the WUGNET crew have partnered up with eSellerate to provide developers that use the eSellerate affiliate program an opportunity to market their software through a large connected network.

Paul Mayer from ZPay was under cover with a CIA t-shirt under his tie. We had speculated about Paul's background but the t-shirt confirmed any doubts that we had, and my boys were very impressed. :-)

Exhibit night was an exciting time, with all the booths having different themes. Some of the more entertaining booths was Lincoln Beach with a hoola hoop contest and Emetrix with an Elvis impersonator. Nearly all the booths had goodies of some sort and, attendees began to understand why they should have brought an extra bag for their trip home.


This year the number of Russians in attendance was down significantly I don't know if that is because of the success of the Euro Conference , the ISDEF conference scheduled for September, or if they just could not obtain the required US visas.

It was still fun chatting with Misha from Voice Call Central and the Dmitrys from Famatech . I always find it enlightening chatting with the Russians and often find myself with a better cultural understanding and new marketing ideas. This year was no different.

An impromptu wine and crackers reception was hosted by Avanquest a new publishing conglomerate late Saturday afternoon. It was very tasteful and gave developers an opportunity to discuss further the issues involved with penetrating foreign markets. The Avanquest crew is comprised of a number of well-known localized publishers including BVRP, Kommunicate, AB Soft and others.

Saturday evening was the gala event. Phil Schnyder from AskSam was MC for the Shareware Industry Awards and I have to say that Phil is undoubtedly the funniest person in the industry. Aside from that, he is great guy, incredibly knowledgable in the way of marketing, and is always thinking outside the box. Phil has a long history in shareware and you can't help but laugh and learn, when chatting with him. The funny thing about Phil is that he was the very first person I met when attending my first SIC. Though I missed Rob Rosenberger, it was fitting to see Phil on stage in the role of MC.

MaryEllen Hopper was the comedian and did an amazing job of keeping us laughing, while not offending some of the younger ears in the audience. I still chuckle when I think about some of her comments. She singled out the Cybration crew. Debbie and Kevin took it in stride.

The awards are always an emotional event. It speaks to how the industry has evolved and this year was no different. With more families in the audience than in the past, it was easy to see that families do not have to be sacrificed in the face of success. Many successful developers consider their families part of the success and it was obvious.

The evening was not without surprises. Mike Callahan managed to shock the SIAF board by recognizing them with special recognition awards, calling each on stage.

The evening was a wonderful success right down to the very cool Chocolate Mousse Mouse that the hotel chef went to extradinary lengths to make for the dessert.

The evening wound down in the bar and I had the opportunity to chat with Jim Mayall from Microvision who never ceases to make me smile. This year he kindly pointed out public speaking was just not my forte, and it might be best left to others. :-)

Before calling it a night I spoke with Mark and Jane Peterson from Rhinosoft . Jane and Mark are industry pros and always fun to mingle with, besides they had very cool hats this year.



1.) The interpretation and implementation of VAT is varied greatly in the industry; it really is poorly implemented; US businesses will be at a very real disadvantage if the US government supports the collection of VAT for the EU.

2.) As the web becomes more crowded serious developers will need to track advertising results so that they can spend their money on items where they have the highest return on investment.

3.) The cost to entry in the industry is higher than it once was; while some find this discouraging it is still relatively inexpensive. There are also still a number of ways to get things for free through trades or just leveraging contacts. There is no doubt that there is still a lot of money to be made in this industry.

4.) Pay-Per-Download is going to be an upcoming theme. With CNet's launch and the success of Pay-Per-Click its likely other download sites will join the bandwagon.

5.) Partnering and networking is hot, more and more sites and developers are joining together to provide a Value Ad. Determine what value you have and reach out to network with others.

6.) Still very few developers target specific audiences (or verticals) with their software. This is still an untapped market.

7.) Search Engine optimization is not a one time thing, its an on-going process and will continue to evolve. If you don't have time to babysit your listings at some point you will need to consider hiring someone to do it for you, or you won't be found.

8.) Many of the search engine tips and secrets that worked a year ago or even 6 months ago are no longer valid. Search engines are becoming intelligent and the quality of those sites linking to a website really does matter.

9). No one even mentions banner ads any more, the talks all center around affiliate programs, pay-per-click, and search engine optimization.

10.) Focus on increasing conversions rather than downloads, its a much easier sale.


SIC Photo Library -
Shareware Promotions -
Turbo Demo -
Emetrix Elvis Pictures -
Rosemary West's Collection - Dejan's Photos -
Mark Peterson's SIC Photos -


For those unable to attend the following speakers have made their handouts and presentations available:

Deloitte and Touche VAT Talks

Chris Thorton's Software Protection Presentation

Phil Schnyder's Presentations Business Considerations Getting More Ink Growing Your Company Outsourcing

Dave Collins PageRank


SIAF 2003 Winners -
SIAF People's Choice Winners -
SIAF Hall of Fame Inductee -
SIAF Lifetime Achievement -


Shareware Promotions -
For many organisations, the Search Engines remain one of the great untapped resources. The fact is that if your website is not setup correctly, you're potentially losing a significant percentage of potential customers to your competition. While there are no shortage of Search Engine Optimisation services out there, many combine questionable techniques, high prices and disappointing results. As a result of this, SharewarePromotions have now launched their new range of Search Engine Optimisation and Website Development services.

SharewarePromotions have been offering Search Engine Optimisation as part of their services for years. In response to growing demand, they are now offering these services on a standalone basis.
Prices start from as low as $600. Details at

Digital River
Announced the acquisition of FileBasket, Silicon Realms and the employment of Jean-Guy Ducreaux. RegNow & RegSoft introduced a new fee structure.

Announced a new auction based pay per download program with a minimum of $.15 per click for completed downloads.

SIC 2004

If you are interested in promoting the Shareware Industry Conference for 2004 banners have been posted at

The conference will be held July 15-17, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency in Rochester, New York.


And of course a huge round of thank you's is in order for all of those who coordinated this event, but a very special thanks should go out to:

Dan & Karen Veaner who were the conference hosts

Mike Callahan who is the board chair and deals with all of the headaches . Thank you Mike.

And finally a big thank you to all of the sponsors at who made the event possible.

Sharon Housley
Software Marketing Resource -
NotePage, Inc. -

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