Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I've noticed a trend among certain software that allows free use of their product, but also offers a so-called 'pro' version. Each time you open the program, you're greeted with a splash screen that reminds the user to the fact that they are using the free version, and alerts them that they can buy the full version. There are usually three buttons: a buy now button, a hell no! use the free version! button, and an enter registration code button.

The trickery comes in when they play with the location of the buttons every time you open the program. It used to be that every time you opened a program, you could, for example, click the left button and get right to the free version, and you didn't have to read the form. Somewhere along the line, a clever (or bored) programmer realized that they could get a certain percentage of the population to accidentally open their website by getting the left button to sometimes be the free version option, but sometimes it's the buy now option.

I've noticed it with WinZip and Limewire. I'd expect that from Limewire, but I was surprised that WinZip does it. Does anyone have any other examples they'd like to share?


At 1:22 PM , Anonymous Andrew said...

Furthermore, what can the full version of WinZip possibly do that the free version doesn't already? I'm not technologically inclined, so if there IS a benefit to high octane WinZip, I'd like to hear about it.

At 1:43 PM , Blogger kevboy said...

I'll bet the only thing it doesn't do is bug you with that frigging splash screen every time you open it.

Maybe WinZip is resorting to this kind of action since there is now a built-in Windows functionality to zip/unzip files (in XP). There are also lots of other free compression applications, too.


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