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Comments on: Developers Protest Rising Software Portal Commissions

A number of handheld software developers are organizing an effort to create a union against software portals. The Union aims to fight against rising commission rates that the portal operators take out of each sale. The groups claims ESd rates have significantly increased over the last few years without sufficient justification.
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Support for Shareware Developers

wwelsh39 @ 8/17/2004 5:06:23 PM #
I'm not a Shareware Developer, but I do support the efforts of this group!
RE: Support for Shareware Developers
Strider_mt2k @ 8/17/2004 5:30:29 PM #
Shareware developers have been getting the short end for a few years now.

Did PalmGear ever payback those developers it ripped off a while back?



RE: Support for Shareware Developers
maven @ 8/17/2004 6:11:22 PM #
Its still paying us off.. over a 3-yr period... without interest.


RE: Support for Shareware Developers
Calroth @ 8/17/2004 6:57:30 PM #
To support this effort...

...find whatever web store they open up, and spend $$$ there. It's all well and good to say "boycott PalmGear" but you need the carrot as well as the stick.

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
reinbeau @ 8/17/2004 7:42:19 PM #
I always check for a webstore at a developer's site before I buy. I'd much rather cut out the middleman and give all the money to the developer.

**************************************
Ann - happily using her Garmin iQue3600
RE: Support for Shareware Developers
acaltabiano @ 8/17/2004 8:46:19 PM #
Isn't Palmgear now intertwined with PIC?

Bravo to Ryan for taking the high road and reporting a side of the story that is contrary to what its cohort would like publicized. I highly respect that.

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
abosco @ 8/17/2004 9:47:37 PM #
If the app is useful, word of mouth will do its part and developers will get big sales from their own sites. Made good apps that can make a headline that will turn a couple heads and you won't have to worry about 25% income from searchers on PalmGear.

Still, what PalmGear considers reparations for all the money they *ahem* laundered a while ago, most of us call scamming. Three years sans interest or only a percentage payment upfront is slipping developers the johnson. They should not be able to get away with that. But this subject has been beaten to death, no sense STILL talking about it. Bottom line is I can understand the developers' concern over this growing problem, but my point is you wouldn't have this problem if your app was good enough to be spread by word of mouth and bought at your own site!

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
rsc1000 @ 8/17/2004 10:51:36 PM #
>>Bottom line is I can understand the developers' concern over this growing problem, but my point is you wouldn't have this problem if your app was good enough to be spread by word of mouth and bought at your own site!

What 'word of mouth'? Remember - a survey done last year showed that most Palm owners don't even install 3rd party software and a surprisingly large percentage didn't even realize they could install 3rd party software. My point? Aside from the hardcore geeks (ie: us) - most of those who buy 3rd party software for their Palms just go to PalmGear - they don't hang out on sites like this or equivalant messageboards. For most people who buy 3rd party palm software, they just go to Palmgear. Period. No other site (other than Handango) is even on the radar. Most PalmGear purchasers have zero connection to anything to provide 'word of mouth'. This brings us to the age old pda software developer crisis - retail channels. Selling pda software is a b!tch. There is next to no shelf-space at retail level, and - aside from palmgear and handango - nowhere to go to 'find' software (as far as the average palm user is concerned).

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
RhinoSteve @ 8/18/2004 1:12:38 AM #
I have found it very disturbing how quite PalmSource has been over this issue.

A monopoly of on-line distribution of Palm OS software will take resources from innovative developers that will continue to come up with even better products. This can only hurt the Palm Economy. How I would love to be a fly on the wall around PalmSource marketing when they got word of this.

This problem can be easily solved with PalmSource going public and using their huge PR engine to condemn this monopoly while simultaneously supporting their own ESD store with smaller margins. Thus the money goes to where it deserves, the innovative developers and not some fat cat with a merchant account, server farm and a part time staff of mostly college students.

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
mikecane @ 8/18/2004 8:34:16 AM #
Good for the developers. I too always look for the developer's site first.

And while I've got this soapbox: DON'T restrict payments to PayPal or credit cards alone! 1) Some people (ok, ME!) don't have plastic, and 2) Some people (not me, in this case) still won't transact online with plastic (or get a PayPal account).

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
jnolan @ 8/18/2004 8:59:58 AM #
You can see another view on ESD Union here http://makeashorterlink.com/?O2E923419

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
ardiri @ 8/18/2004 9:29:04 AM #
    You can see another view on ESD Union here

not to mention that cross linking to your own site is going to annoy palminfocenter; (disguising it in a shorter url) but, pdalive is the *only* news site to report this and critize the goals of esd-union.com. to counter this, you even want to promote it regardless of the negativity some users have reported back to your original news item.

http://www.pdalive.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=41202

where you have also put up a poll shows faily solid figures (well, not enough votes to be conclusive) that there is over whelming support for esd-union (the one negative is most likely your own vote).

the one thing i miss from a good news story is the ability to post neutrally about it (ie: without putting your opinions as an editor into it). infosync and pdabuzz did great articles; letting the user know about it then letting them make up their mind as to how they feel about it.

---
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
aaron_ardiri@mobilewizardry.com
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/members/aaron_ardiri.php

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
ardiri @ 8/18/2004 9:34:29 AM #
    DON'T restrict payments to PayPal or credit cards alone

so, how do you purchase software? paypal allows cheque payment; but, you say yourself you dont want to get involved with this?

i know one of the biggest issues with the tapwave zodiac and online sales is that a lot of users are < 18 years old. they either dont have a credit card - or, are afraid to use it. this is definately where the retail distribution channels come into place. if you want to pay cash? i guess, walk down to your walmark or best-buy :)

---
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
aaron_ardiri@mobilewizardry.com
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/members/aaron_ardiri.php

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
mikecane @ 8/18/2004 10:04:19 AM #
There are things called Money Orders. They have those where you are, don't they? (IIRC, you are over the pond somewhere.)

New Palm Store...?
CADJedi @ 8/18/2004 10:33:35 AM #
I have two questions:

1. When will the "ESD-Union" start their own web store? This seems like the simplest solution. Years ago there were more "user" run software sites... actually thats how PalmGear got started. Why not start a new store, I'm sure many people would support it. Maybe even partner with a news site that already has good exposure like PIC??

2. I am curious what other developers think of this issue. So far I have only heard from developers that I've never heard of before (I don't mean that as an insult, just my own lacjk of exposure to their work). I would like to hear from other developers to see if they think the exposure they get from the 2 big ESD's is worth 40%? Maybe we could hear from C. E. Steuart Dewar (Datebk5), Normsoft (PocketTunes), Mike McCollister (McPhling), Mark Rupert (BigToDo), Mike Davis (APCalc), TealPoint... just to name a few.

Respectfully,
Eric

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
Toysoft @ 8/18/2004 11:23:38 AM #
"I have found it very disturbing how quite PalmSource has been over this issue"

Steve, remember that on PalmOne or PalmSource's site they actually partner with Handango/PalmGear for their own ESD. They get a cut of the commission when a purchased is made on their site. so i dont think Palm cares.

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
Nechasin @ 8/18/2004 11:32:42 AM #
ardiri,

Before you rebuke someone for "disguising their link" to their own site, read the notes at the bottom of the comment page. He followed palminforcenter's instructions.

Here it is:
Please try keep URL's small and all on one line, else use: Makeashorterlink.com

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
ardiri @ 8/18/2004 11:49:09 AM #
    When will the "ESD-Union" start their own web store?

this is actually a topic of hot discussion - and, it is being discussion quite actively. there are plans amongst developers to run a low-cost ESD - however, it has been pointed out copying PG and handango isn't the way to go (look at the trouble they are in). it has to be done differently. ever wonder why google was so successful?

    I am curious what other developers think of this issue. So far I have only heard from developers that I've never heard of before

there are two sides to this story; developers doing this stuff for a living are first of all a bit cautious of getting involved with such a movement - even if they depend on it. they fear that PG and handango may turn on them, and it just shows how much of a monopoly they have. there is nowhere else to buy software - that is why they are rising the prices in the first place.

as for unknown developers - maybe you dont know the names :) also, this isn't limited to palmos only, it seems to have also gotten a little bit of interest from pocket pc developers as well (try clicking on the links).

more and more names are being added hourly. why not forget about the developer name? and consider the product? lets go through a few:

    Atari Retro, Lemmings, Stock Manager, Breakout, Facer, Launch 'Em, Legacy, Liberty (gameboy emu), EDGE, Crazy Cart, MMPlayer, Monsta, Micro Quad, Warfare Incorporated.

now, you cannot tell me you have *never* seen or used one of those applications ever.

some developers also partner with these ESD's specifically - now, not everyone is on the 40% rate. i have received a bunch of emails from various parties telling me otherwise (yet, still support the cause).

i dont expect to see some developers (especially the large ones) get involved with this - why do they need to? they already have a good deal to work from.

    Maybe we could hear from C. E. Steuart Dewar (Datebk5), Normsoft (PocketTunes), Mike McCollister (McPhling), Mark Rupert (BigToDo), Mike Davis (APCalc), TealPoint... just to name a few.

i know/have met some of these people - i am sure they just haven't had time to get involved; or, by doing so they could be putting their business relationships at risk.

i dont think there is anything wrong with expressing your concerns. it wont be long before its 50.. 60.. 70%. something needs to be done NOW.


---
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
aaron_ardiri@mobilewizardry.com
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/members/aaron_ardiri.php

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
ardiri @ 8/18/2004 11:57:16 AM #
i think it is great there is debates going on about this - many users are either not aware of the situation or dont care (bad too). it is important to try and gather the realities that are holding this concept together.

you'd be surprised exactly what is going on - once you look into it. i know ryan has a partnership with palmgear (affiliate) on this site - but, i am honored that he see the concerns that we are raising and wants you, the visitors to palminfocenter.com to know about them.

keep in mind the facts - www.esd-union.com

---
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
aaron_ardiri@mobilewizardry.com
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/members/aaron_ardiri.php

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
Tere @ 8/18/2004 12:38:31 PM #

Instead of a store, how about starting a list service? Developers could sumbit listing for products via the web the give basic infor, name, version, description, update history, developer name and a couple contacts (URLs), one for sales and one for product/developer home page.

This database would be much smaller that a PalmGear type DB, since it wouldn't actaully have the app. Sales links could point to PalmGear or Handango for developers who don't want to upset their distributor.

The listing service could charge a small fee for each listing for maintaining the web page/DB. The developer would be paying the listing service as opposed to the distributor paying (or not paying) the developer. The fee would not be based on sales, but rather per listing.

Users get the equivalent of one-stop-shopping, and they know they are using the developers perfered medthod of distribution. They can go the developer's home page if they adamant about not using PalmGear or whatever.

Distributors, big, small and self-, would see more traffic.

Believe it or not, all this just came off the top of my head :) Just and idea...

On starting a new store, Aaron Ardiri wrote:
>>>
there are two sides to this story; developers doing this stuff for a living are first of all a bit cautious of getting involved with such a movement - even if they depend on it. they fear that PG and handango may turn on them, and it just shows how much of a monopoly they have. there is nowhere else to buy software - that is why they are rising the prices in the first place.
<<<


- Tere

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
SSchmitz99 @ 8/20/2004 3:36:27 PM #
I like the idea of a list service - many developers have their own web sites and the hardest thing is to have customers find them.

Scott Schmitz
RealOrganized, Inc.
Organizational Software for Real Estate
RE: Support for Shareware Developers
ChiA @ 8/22/2004 8:51:50 AM #
> > Instead of a store, how about starting a list service? Developers
> > could submit listing for products via the web the give basic info,
> > name, version, description, update history, developer name and a
> > couple contacts (URLs), one for sales and one for product/>
> > developer home pages.

Is this not already offered by:

http://www.versiontracker.com/palmos/

I am surprised no-one has mentioned this site in this discussion before. I believe it's free for the developers to post their info onto this site which can include a direct link to their own website.

RE: Support for Shareware Developers
MikeInDM @ 8/23/2004 3:38:10 PM #
So, why don't these developers get together and start their own 'PalmGear' type site? Then they can keep all the money.

(oh, I forgot, maintaining the site and processing the payments does cost money... maybe it would cost them more?)

DISCUSSION FORUM

ardiri @ 8/18/2004 1:55:28 PM #
http://www.esd-union.com/board/

this topic has been quite hot over the last few days on a number of websites; why not voice your opinion such that it can be centralized and kept for archive purposes in a single place.

there is also a voting option to give postive or negative feedback about the cause - dont miss it!

---
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
aaron_ardiri@mobilewizardry.com
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/members/aaron_ardiri.php

Opportunity for PIC or Brighthand?

Gekko @ 8/19/2004 10:10:31 AM #

Maybe PIC or Brighthand has an opportunity to pick up revenue by diversifying into the PDA Software Portal Business. They already have the brand, traffic/following, relationships, trust, etc. I'm not sure what's additionally needed from a technology standpoint, but I think it'd be a great way to explode revenues if they could provide this service for developers/customers better/cheaper than is currently being done. There is always opportunity in turmoil!

No Different than a Gas boycott

ssnider @ 8/20/2004 7:03:02 PM #
The only way to control the portal commissions is for all the shareware developers to say look we pick on company so we still have a sales channel and pull all their software from all the other portals. Then when the other protals see they have no software to sell, maybe they will not push the developers around.

The 1 day gas boycotts never work because everyone knows they will be back tomorrow. If everyone were to just buy gas from one company you would be surprised how quickly we would get everyone's attention.

As far as a union goes. That is their business, but they will find that in addition to paying portal fees they will have to pay union fees as well. When all they have to do is get enough developers to pull their software from all but one portal.

Me, I support whatever lowers my cost to purchase software.

--------
I was bleeding edge when I bought my Palm IIIxe.......But I sold it [Palm IIIX->Palm IIIXe->Clie SJ20->Sony SJ33]

Developers: Have your own site w/ purchase capability

VisorMiser @ 8/21/2004 10:10:20 PM #
Without exception, my practice (thanks to PalmGear) has become to google the developer of an app I wish to try or register and I ALWAYS register it from the developer's site if possible.

EVERY developer needs a site, even if it just describes his/her product offerings and says how to pay through PayPal (another outfit I dislike). Google is the small developer's best friend!!!! I do NOT want to register through a software portal, though in most cases I will as a last resort.

That is EXCEPT for PalmGear. There are two or three apps that I want to register but had to delete because they only offered registration via PalmGear. If it's PalmGear or nothing, I will go with nothing.

"Distribution is king" is an oft heard mantra in the software industry in general. I need shareware and gladly register the apps I use, and have even sent a few shekels to freeware developers if they tell me how. I will make a good faith effort to do business with any developer directly, just give me a way to find you and buy from you!!!

the VisorMiser
_____________________________________________________________________________________
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. -- Sir Winston Churchill

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