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 http://www.eclipsit.com,
Tom Guthery, from Flix Products http://www.flixprod.com
, 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 http://www.microangelo.us
. It was obvious that they remembered
what it was like to be young and have
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"
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
Thursday morning the conference officially
began. Made to order omelettes were on
the menu for breakfast. The Internet cafe
opened and Jake from Lockergnome http://www.lockergnome.com
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 http://www.filekicker.com
. 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 http://www.centered.com
. 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 http://www.nextup.com
, 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
Paul Mayer from ZPay http://www.zpay.com
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
Exhibit night was an exciting time, with
all the booths having different themes.
Some of the more entertaining booths was
Lincoln Beach http://www.lincolnbeach.com
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
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 http://www.euro-conference.org
, the ISDEF conference http://www.isdef.org
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 http://www.voicecallcentral.com
and the Dmitrys from Famatech http://www.famatech.com
. 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
An impromptu wine and crackers reception
was hosted by Avanquest http://www.avanquest.com
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
Saturday evening was the gala event.
Phil Schnyder from AskSam http://www.asksam.com
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 http://www.cybration.com
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
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 http://www.mvd.com
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.
TOP 10 THINGS I LEARNED AT SIC
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
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
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
10.) Focus on increasing conversions rather
than downloads, its a much easier sale.
SIC PHOTO COLLECTIONS
SIC Photo Library - http://www.sic.org/03Photos/index.html
Shareware Promotions - http://www.sharewarepromotions.com/conferences/sic/2003/index.htm
Turbo Demo - http://www.turbodemo.com/Eng/sic1.htm
Emetrix Elvis Pictures - http://crm.emetrix.com/SIC/
Rosemary West's Collection - http://www.edu-soft.org/sic2003/page1.html
Dejan's Photos - http://www.alfasp.com/sic_album/index.html
Mark Peterson's SIC Photos - http://sara.DNS4Me.com/sic
For those unable to attend the following
speakers have made their handouts and
Deloitte and Touche VAT Talks http://www.sic.org/files/SIC_conference.pdf
Chris Thorton's Software Protection Presentation
Phil Schnyder's Presentations Business
Getting More Ink http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/getting_more_ink.ppt
Growing Your Company http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/growing_your_company.ppt
Dave Collins PageRank
SIAF 2003 Winners - http://www.sic.org/2003nominees.asp
SIAF People's Choice Winners - http://www.sic.org/peopleschoice.asp
SIAF Hall of Fame Inductee - http://www.sic.org/hallfame.asp
SIAF Lifetime Achievement - http://www.sic.org/lifetime.asp
ANNOUNCEMENTS AT SIC
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
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
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.
If you are interested in promoting the
Shareware Industry Conference for 2004
banners have been posted at http://www.sic.org/advert.asp
The conference will be held July 15-17,
2004 at the Hyatt Regency in Rochester,
New York. http://www.sic.org
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
Mike Callahan who is the board chair
and deals with all of the headaches http://www.drff.com
. Thank you Mike.
And finally a big thank you to all of
the sponsors at http://www.sic.org
who made the event possible.
Software Marketing Resource - http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com
NotePage, Inc. - http://www.notepage.net