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Deciding Whether to Offer Your New Gadget as a Product or Service

Keywords: New Products

If you have ever made and designed your own software, you will
have likely already learned the lessons in this article. The
same lessons can be applied to the businesses of most Internet

The main lesson I learned was that it does not matter how good
your software product is, the quality of the product does not
ensure its financial success.

Microsoft of course is an exception for a number of reasons.
First off, Microsoft has always sold their product first to the
computer retailer. Secondly, they have built the legal war
chest to force businesses to pay for their products. They also
have the war chest available to promote their products with
tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.

My business is not a Microsoft and yours may not be either. So,
we do not have the lock on selling our products as a necessity
to the middle man, and we do not have the same kind of budget
that Microsoft possesses. Even still, we should never ever give
up on our hopes and dreams of success.


I am able to share this message with you from a position of

See, I am a programmer of moderate knowledge. I have undertaken
software projects on several levels while searching for that
infamous pot-of-gold.

In the early, early days, I wrote three separate software
packages for direct resale to the public. The first and second
time, I supposed that it just was not the right package to get
the attention of the public.

The third time out, I approached the project with the shareware
attitude. I sold one copy of the package.

The fourth time out, I gave the software for free, but supported
by ad revenue. Selling advertising on an unknown name is tougher
than giving away the software. I gave away several hundred copies
of the package, but did not sell a single ad lot, so I ended up
serving my ads alone.

The fifth time around, I finally got a grip on the challenge. I
had developed software for my own use, and thought others might
like the package. I was right.


I could have offered the package for resale, but it was software
that could only be used by a very tight niche market. There were
only about 500 people who I suspected might be interested in the
product as a stand-alone application.

If I sold the package for $100, I might could have made $50,000
on the product alone, but that is optimistic. At $100, I am
willing to venture that my takers would have been fewer than
50 strong. So now, my gross earnings on the product may have
been $5000.

Realistically, I would reach my largest market base at about
$20 per user. If I could have turned that $20 on the 500 users,
then my earnings would have been a maximum of $10,000 earned on
the product. Granted, that is not too shabby, but it is far from
exceptional. It is definately not on the scale of Microsoft.


I finally realized that if I were to offer my software as a
service, then I could resell the service to the same people
over and again. By offering the product as a service, I could
then insure that I would have a continuous source of income to
spur the upgrades that are discovered to be needed down the

Over the last three years, I have tweaked and prodded the
software to offer more and more value to the service and to
increase the ability of my clients to get real value from my

My service is designed to help writers of free-reprint articles
to get their articles delivered to ever-expanding groups of
publishers who are looking for great content to reprint.

Since January of 2002, I have managed to triple the number of
publishers and webmasters I am able to reach with my client's
content. Along the way, I have been able to improve my program
to add even more added-value services to my basic package. I
could realistically increase the cost of my service by five
times, and my clients would still be getting their money's
worth from my service. And yet, more added value services are
right around the corner.


I have finally learned the lesson of how to sell my software
online. With my future software products, some will be offered
as a free service so that I can get the additional exposure,
and others will be offered as pay services.

I have earned more money for my service than I had ever hoped
to earn as a software product. And the money is continuous
which gives me the opportunity to receive additional benefits
to my pocket book when I decide to upgrade the software.

My latest individual software package has been put up on my
site as a free service so that I may receive the additional

If you are a webmaster and you are using content written by
others to spice up your site's value in the search engines and
in the minds of your visitors, then this new software will be
of good value to you.

In order to meet the terms of reprint stated by the writer of
the content you are using, you must hyperlink all URL's in the
article copy. Doing this hyperlinking by hand is a real painful
experience, especially if you are using lots and lots of content
written by others. By using my newest, most nifty little tool,
all you have to do is to put the text copy of the article into
the form and click "convert," and the software will hyperlink
all URL's in the copy that you are working to prepare for quick
and easy placement into your site.

This software is called the "TPW Text-to-Hyperlink Conversion
Tool" and it can be found at:


Even though this software is mostly used by the webmasters who
take my client's content for reprint on their websites, from my
site's article archives, this software is actually an added
value to my paying client's as well.

By targeting the software to those who will use my client's
content for reprint, my client's are assured that there is no
reason why the webmasters would not be able to hyperlink every
article that is used from my website. My client's benefit from
this tool because their terms of reprint are honored much more
frequently than ever before.


By targeting my software to both sides of the equation, my user
base and my client base, I am offering added value services to
both groups and providing my potential clients more reason to
buy my services.

Perhaps as you look down the road with what you are going to be
doing with your website, you will find more ways to extract more
income from your own website.

Copyright 2004, Bill Platt
the Phantom Writers

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Posted by Angie at June 17, 2004 05:53 PM
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