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Software Success Story: Agnitum

by NotePage, Inc.

Founded in February 1999 by Mikhail Zakhryapin and Alexey Elagin, Agnitum's first application, Jammer was released later that year. Jammer was initially released as freeware, it was used to remove trojan horses. Agnitum's initial intent was not to make money, but as the program's popularity grew and users requested feature enhancements, it seemed logical to begin selling Jammer.

Internet marketing was chosen as the main sales model, due to the target audience and it's global reach, low cost of entry and high return. The Internet was able to provide Agnitum exposure to the western world, with Russia's long history of piracy it was important to sell beyond it's borders. Agnitum has just recently started selling their products in Russia, trying to target an audience that understands the importance of intellectual property and is ready to pay. They have developed a strategies for targeting the Russian market.

Agnitum's second product, Tauscan, was released in 2000. Tauscan quickly won public recognition and high ratings from the renowned PC Magazine. In 2002 Agnitum released it's best known product, Outpost Firewall Pro. Outpost Firewall, was developed as a niche product, a firewall for home users. Firewall products that existed at the time, were difficult to use and overly complex. Outpost Firewall, provided users' security, and the software was presented in a less complicated fashion. Outpost Firewall was developed with four major goals in mind, security, control, privacy and ease of use. The idea was to provide software that would be able to avert all known kinds of web attacks, preserve user's privacy and protect PC's from infiltration. In an effort to gain brand awareness and instant market share, a free version was released and placed in many online catalogs. The popularity of the free version and previous products resulted in Agnitum being extremely well-known.

When I asked what factors or marketing ideas Agnitum attributes to their success, their answer surprised me. After the release of Outpost they built a community through a forum, which has resulted in one of the best security forums on the web. It is extremely well known among firewall users. Agnitum's expertise lends credibility to their product line and the useful feedback from users on a regular basis has allowed them to improve Outpost with new versions. The viral community resulted in branding and dissemination of information about Outpost on the web. At this point in time Outpost is considered to be one of the best standalone firewalls on the market.

Agnitum has also benefited from licensing agreements with giants such as Buhl Data (Germany), Novell (USA), and Canon (Japan). Today Agnitum has 14 distribution agreements in place.

Agnitum is growing significantly each year and the company currently employs 19 people, with a projected 35 employees planned by the end of 2005. Sales have grown by an amazing 1600% since 1999.

Agnitum advises new developers starting out, to find a niche, monitor the market, study the feature sets of related products, and read forums to understand customer expectations. Ultimately Agnitum's feeling is that walking in the user's shoes will make your product successful.

Additional information about Agnitum can be found at http://www.agnitum.com

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for the NotePage http://www.notepage.net and FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com product lines. Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com , and http://www.small-business-software.net

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