Please consider a donation to the Higher Intellect project. See or the Donate to Higher Intellect page for more info.

Shareware Vendor's Guide

From Higher Intellect Vintage Wiki
Revision as of 22:36, 22 May 2020 by Netfreak (talk | contribs) (Created page with "<pre> DISK VENDOR'S GUIDE Copyright 1992 by Association of Shareware Professionals...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
                             DISK VENDOR'S GUIDE

                              Copyright 1992 by
                    Association of Shareware Professionals
                               545 Grover Road
                           Muskegon  MI  49442-9427

                                March 15, 1993


                            CompuServe 72050,1433

          A limited license is granted to reprint short extracts from
          this guide as long as credit is given and a copy is sent to
          the address above.  Individuals may copy this guide for each
          other as long as no fee is charged.  Others including disk
          vendors, BBSs and User Groups may distribute copies of the
          unmodified self-extract VGUIDE.EXE file as long as the file or
          its contents are NOT renamed, modified or made part of some
          larger work without the written permission of the ASP.  A BBS
          may rearchive the unmodified VGUIDE.DOC file that is contained
          within VGUIDE.EXE as long as the resulting archive name is




          The primary author of this document is George Abbott. 
          Contributing authors are Nelson Ford, Eric Isaacson, Tom
          Wagner and many others.


          To contact the ASP, write to Association of Shareware
          Professionals, 545 Grover Road, Muskegon MI 49442-9427,
          telephone 616-788-5131 or you can FAX to 616-788-2765 and ask
          for a Vendor Application kit.

             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

                              Table Of Contents

     1.   Forward  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    3
          1.1  What Is Shareware?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    4

     2.   Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    5

     3.   Getting Started  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    6
          3.1  Identify Your Market Niche  . . . . . . . . . . . . .    6
               3.1.1     Local Shows & Flea Markets. . . . . . . . .    6
               3.1.2     Selling Shareware From Your Retail Store. .    6
               3.1.3     Shopping Malls. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    6
               3.1.4     Mail Order Shareware. . . . . . . . . . . .    6
               3.1.5     Rack Vendor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    7
          3.2  Collecting Shareware Disks - Overview.  . . . . . . .    7
          3.3  Reviewing The Disks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    8
          3.4  Logos & Letterhead  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    9

     4.   Preparing Your Catalog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   11
          4.1  Honesty In Advertising  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   11
          4.2  Use A Good Word Processor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   12

     5.   Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   13
          5.1  Computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   13
          5.2  Do NOT Depend On 1.2m Drives  . . . . . . . . . . . .   13
          5.3  Disk Duplicators  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   15

     6.   Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   16
          6.1  Catalog-On-A-Disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   16
          6.2  Compression Software  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   18
          6.3  Disk Duplication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   20
          6.4  Virus Scanning  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   22
          6.5  DOS Tutorial Shareware  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   23

     7.   Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   26
          7.1  Diskettes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   26
          7.2  Mailers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   27
          7.3  Label Stock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   27

     8.   Trademarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   29

     9.   Collecting Shareware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   30

     10.  Providing Technical Support  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   32

     11.  The Association of Shareware Professionals ("ASP") . . . .   34


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

                              Table Of Contents

     12.  Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   37
          12.1 Telephone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   37
          12.2 Credit Card Merchant Accounts . . . . . . . . . . . .   38
          12.3 A Banker's Perspective  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   38

     Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   46


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     1.   Forward

          The purpose of this guide is to provide tips on how to start
          and run a shareware disk vending service.  A shareware disk
          vending service (Vendor) is defined as someone or a company
          that gathers and maintains a collection of shareware
          evaluation disks (creates a library), keeps the library up to
          date, publishes a catalog (printed and/or on-disk) and sells
          evaluation copies to end users.  Some vendors specialize in
          mail/telephone order, others operate booths at fairs, flea
          markets, booths in malls, etc.

          A variant of a disk vendor is one that places racks of
          shareware in one or more retail locations.  This is usually
          referred to as a "Rack Vendor" as compared to a "Mail Order
          Vendor" as described above.  The Rack Vendor shares a portion
          of the sales price with the owner of the rack location.  Racks
          are often found in airport gift shops, convenience stores,
          retail chain stores like Walmart, K-Mart, book stores, etc. 
          Further, the Rack Vendor replenishes the supply of disks in
          the racks.  The racks vary from cardboard displays to fancy
          wire or metal racks.

          Another type of vendor are those that produce CD-ROMs that
          contain shareware software.

          This guide is going to folks who are considering starting a
          disk vendor business, so some of the points may seem obvious
          or elementary to experienced vendors.

          The information and opinions in this guide are drawn from
          talking to many vendors from the ASP headquarters and from the
          contributions of many ASP members.  Many of the ideas and
          concepts in this document are discussed from time to time on
          the ASPFORUM on CompuServe.  If you have access to CompuServe,
          GO SHARE to reach the ASP forum and "talk" to hundreds of ASP

          This document has been put together and freely distributed in
          the spirit of sharing. The ASP does not make money from it.
          All input, new information and corrections are gratefully


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     1.   Forward (Continued)

          1.1  What Is Shareware?

               Nelson Ford (one of the ASP's founders and historians)
               relates the following: "Andrew Fluegelman started the
               formal shareware concept (he trademarked the name
               Freeware for it).  Andy did not say that everyone who
               spent an afternoon writing a program, uploaded it to a
               couple of BBSs and sat back and waited would get rich. 
               He said that the freeware approach provides a way to let
               the users decide (rather than the people who control the
               advertising prices) which programs should succeed, based
               solely on the quality and usefulness of the program."

               Later, an article in InfoWorld used the term "shareware"
               and as far as we know, Bob Wallace (PC-Write) was the
               first to use it with a shareware product.  Also during
               that time, Nelson Ford wrote a column called "The Public
               Library" for the late SOFTALK magazine.  Nelson asked his
               readers to submit names for this new way of marketing
               software and the word "shareware" was the winner.  Over
               the years, the ASP has fought trademark cases in several
               countries when someone tried to trademark the word
               "shareware".  The ASP firmly believes that the word
               "shareware" should be freely used by anyone.

               Nelson continues, "Shareware is not some magic way to get
               rich from trivial or substandard, amateurish products of
               limited appeal or usefulness.  Some shareware programmers
               who have failed prefer to blame the shareware approach
               rather than themselves.  They think that millions of
               people are using their programs without paying and that
               the shareware concept just doesn't work."

               "To these people we always reply: If shareware doesn't
               work, how are Button (PC-File), Wallace (PC-Write), and
               others making over a million dollars a year at it? 'These
               are exceptions!' they reply. Sure they are exceptions.
               Anyone making a million dollars a year at anything is an
               exception. Many others are making lesser, but
               respectable, incomes. Not bad for a business that anyone
               can get into at virtually no up-front cost."

               "Yes, shareware definitely works.  Like anything else,
               how well it works for you depends on hard work, ability,
               and even a little bit of luck.  And even luck often boils
               down to being prepared to take advantage of opportunities
               when they coming knocking.  We hope this guide will help
               you get prepared."


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     2.   Introduction

          These days, it seems that many people that recently  purchased
          their first computer and ran across the shareware concept
          think they can easily get into the shareware disk vendor
          business.  They see the catalogs produced by other vendors and
          say "I could do that."  Or, they realize that there are no
          disk vendors in their part of the country.

          Starting a shareware disk vending business is a lot more work
          than first meets the eye.  There are hardware, software and
          knowledge requirements that must be considered and mastered. 
          First, you need a shareware disk collection AND permission
          from the authors (copyright holders) to distribute the
          shareware.  Next, you need appropriate hardware.  Most
          importantly, you need a lot of marketing, computer and
          software knowledge to succeed.  If you are just looking for a
          fast buck, are not willing to review the programs you carry,
          don't plan to get the latest versions, don't plan to prepare
          an organized catalog, GIVE UP NOW - you will probably fail in
          this highly competitive business.

          However, if you don't give up, realize that there are
          thousands of disk distributors in the world today.  New ones
          start up almost daily.  Unfortunately, vendors fail and go out
          of business fairly often.  Where you will fit into the
          shareware picture is largely up to you and your efforts.  We
          hope that after reading this document, you will either be a
          successful shareware disk vendor or you will have the detailed
          information to cause you to explore different profit
          opportunities.  If you are already a shareware disk vendor,
          this document may give you tips on how to be more successful.

          Keep in mind that a shareware disk vendor does NOT own or
          control the copyright on the shareware programs, documentation
          and supporting files provided by the author.  The author owns
          and controls the copyright.  The author can select who will be
          allowed to copy his/her shareware and how it is to be
          distributed.  The copyrights ARE enforceable.  RESPECT the
          author's copyright.  Examine every disk, not sent to you
          directly by the author, to see if the author has placed any
          copying restrictions on the disk.  You will likely need to 
          write to the authors asking permission to carry their
          shareware.  You may get both permission AND the latest
          version.  Some will even send major future upgrades.

          There are some authors that require that all RACK and CD-ROM
          vendors get written permission and SOMETIMES royalty payments
          BEFORE the vendor can place the author's copyrighted works on


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     3.   Getting Started

          3.1  Identify Your Market Niche

               What got you interested in becoming a shareware disk
               vendor?  What are your objectives?  How much time can you
               devote to disk vending?  What are your financial
               resources?  Have you formulated a Business Plan?  What
               level is right for you to start?  How big do you want to
               get?  Are you prepared to succeed?  Are you prepared to

               3.1.1     Local Shows & Flea Markets.

                         A really low cost way of starting is to take a
                         card table to a local computer show, swap meet
                         or flea market and set up a "booth".  You have
                         a box full of shareware disk copies, a list of
                         titles and a cash box.  Sounds easy?  Well, a
                         lot of work is behind that simple "booth".

               3.1.2     Selling Shareware From Your Retail Store.

                         You already operate a computer, book, or other
                         retail store likely to be frequented by
                         computer users (almost anyone these days).  You
                         operate like the flea market fellow except that
                         you have counter or shelf space in place of the
                         card table and you have a cash register rather
                         than a cash box.

               3.1.3     Shopping Malls.

                         This approach is similar to the Flea Market
                         approach except that you operate out of a small
                         booth in the walkway of a shopping mall.

               3.1.4     Mail Order Shareware.

                         You put together either a printed or on-disk
                         catalog for your customers to make telephone or
                         mail order purchases.  You advertise in trade
                         magazines, local newspapers, local "shopper's
                         guides" or you make blind mailings to targeted
                         purchased mailing lists.  You should be able to
                         take credit card orders to succeed in telephone
                         or mail order.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     3.   Getting Started (Continued)

          3.1  Identify Your Market Niche (Continued)

               3.1.5     Rack Vendor

                         A Rack Vendor is one that places racks of
                         shareware in one or more retail locations.  The
                         Rack Vendor shares a portion of the sales price
                         with the owner of the rack location.  Racks are
                         often found in airport gift shops, convenience
                         stores, retail chain stores like Walmart, K-
                         Mart, book stores, etc.  Further, the Rack
                         Vendor replenishes the supply of disks in the
                         racks.  The racks vary from cardboard displays
                         to fancy wire or metal racks.

               You can combine any or all of the above as dictated by
               your resources and situation.

          3.2  Collecting Shareware Disks - Overview.

               Investigate the marketplace.  See what others are doing. 
               Determine how you want to tackle the market.  Your disks
               must come directly from the author so that you get the
               latest and don't have copyright problems.  However, you
               can obtain disks from the various sources below so that
               you will know which authors to contact.  Make sure the
               list you put together IS of shareware or public domain
               and NOT ripped-off commercial or traditional retail type

               Section 9 will cover Collecting Shareware in more detail. 
               Following is a quick overview of some of the ways to
               start your shareware list.

               3.2.1     You have been involved with a large local User
                         Group and have obtained a copy of their
                         collection to build a list of authors.

               3.2.2     You are an avid BBSer that has downloaded a lot
                         of shareware to build a list of authors.

               3.2.3     You purchase disks from various other vendors
                         to build your list of authors to contact.

               3.2.4     You obtain a CD-ROM disk containing hundreds or
                         thousands of shareware and public domain
                         programs.  You use this to build your list of
                         authors to contact.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     3.   Getting Started (Continued)

          3.3  Reviewing The Disks

               Scan EVERY disk for virus infections.  Be sure you also
               scan shrinkwrapped "retail" software as tens of thousands
               of infected disks are shipped by major retailers every
               year.  They think viri are a shareware or BBS problem
               (NOT TRUE) and they are careless and sloppy in preparing
               their master disks.

               Know what is in your collection.  Don't just quickly read
               the on-disk documentation.  Many ASP authors have a
               VENDOR.DOC file that contains any copying or distribution
               restrictions, a list of the files that must be present
               and a catalog description.  Starting in 1994, you will
               see a VENDINFO.DIZ file that will eventually replace the
               VENDOR.DOC file.  However, you should install the
               shareware and run it.

               By running the software, you may find that you have
               obtained a damaged or incomplete disk.  If you distribute
               this disk, you will get expensive to handle technical
               support calls and you will have to give credit or send
               out another disk.  Or the customer will call the author. 
               Most authors send these customers a new disk AND
               recommend some other vendor to your PREVIOUS customer. 
               The same authors also recommend other vendors if you
               insist on carrying old versions.

               If the software isn't better or different than what you
               are already carrying in your catalog, you may not wish to
               carry the shareware.  Or, you may find the new system
               better and use it to replace an existing catalog entry. 
               For example, YADS stands for "Yet Another DOS Shell" or
               menu system.  Seems like everyone thinks they have
               designed the best there is.  They haven't even looked at
               what is already available in the shareware marketplace. 
               You just can't afford to carry all of the menu systems,
               screen blankers, clocks, tickler systems, etc. that are
               constantly being designed by the authors.

               LOOK FOR the author's distribution restrictions.  Some
               authors will NOT allow you to carry the shareware unless
               you get written permission from them.  As mentioned
               before, you should contact the author anyway as you will
               probably get the latest version if the author gives you
               permission.  SOME authors not only require written
               permission, but may also require royalties from rack and
               CD-ROM vendors even though they may have sent you their
               disks in the first place.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     3.   Getting Started (Continued)

          3.3  Reviewing The Disks (Continued)

               Look for files advertising other vendors.  The files
               placed on disks the other vendor distributes are probably
               copyrighted by that vendor and you can not issue disks
               with that file.  Further, you don't want to advertise
               that other vendor's service.

               Vendors can copyright "compilations" of many separate
               small shareware systems on one disk.  This is often done
               with small utilities.  The vendor can NOT copyright the
               individual programs and documentation (not written by the
               vendor), as the authors retain their own copyrights. 
               BUT, they can copyright the compilation.  Don't forget
               you still need permission from many of the authors to
               carry their system even in a compilation.

               You must build up your own compilations that don't
               infringe on the other vendor's copyrights.

               If you use disk numbers in your catalog, don't copy some
               other vendors numbering system.  You could end up in
               court.  Do your own thing.  Don't use the program
               descriptions out of some other vendor's catalog.  This is
               another way to look for copyright trouble.  However, the
               same description may appear in many vendor catalogs IF
               they all use the author's description found in the
               VENDOR.DOC or VENDINFO.DIZ files used by many authors. 
               You may use the author's description if it isn't pure
               hype.  Be sure that you describe the shareware on the
               disk and not some retail product the author is pushing in
               place of the shareware.

               If you are/become a member of the ASP, you will receive
               the latest Official ASP Catalog each month that contains
               the author written program descriptions.  You will also
               receive a CD-ROM approximately monthly.

          3.4  Logos & Letterhead

               If you really want to go into a business, get your ducks
               lined up first.  Pick a company name.  Coming up with a
               unique name could be a tough one, particularly if you use
               the word "shareware".  Also, avoid the word "freeware" as
               Headland Press still owns the Trademark on that word.  A
               lot of authors of shareware REALLY don't like to send
               their disks to an outfit with the words "public domain"
               in their name as that implies "free" (read that as no
               registration income).


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     3.   Getting Started (Continued)

          3.4  Logos & Letterhead

               A logo always looks good on your letterhead.  If you are
               not artistic yourself, or do not have an artistic friend,
               go to your local college Art Department and see if you
               can find someone to design a logo.  At least get some
               help laying out your letterhead even if you don't use a

               Create a Business Plan.  Prepare a budget for the next
               several years that compares your expected income with
               expected expenses.  What advertising schedules will you
               use?  Where are you heading or where could you head? 
               Look at the market.  What penetration do you expect?

               Go to your local IRS office (in the USA) and find out how
               to get a Federal Tax I.D. number.  It costs nothing. 
               Even if you have no employees, you will need it for your
               Tax Schedule C.  Many states that have Sales & Use taxes
               will use the same number for your State Tax license
               number.  Contact your State sales tax office.

               Get a business checking account.  It makes it easier to
               track your costs and income for tax purposes.  If you
               have a good history with your bank, you may be able to
               get a Master/Visa Merchant account from them.  Being able
               to handle credit card sales is a real asset.  Do you have
               a sharp looking business card to hand to the bank manager
               when you are applying for a credit card Merchant Account? 
               You should be dressed in a business like manor.  Have
               every phase of your image be business like.

               The image you present is very important.  It conveys a
               lot about your drive and commitment to succeed.  Send out
               professional looking letters to the authors and others. 
               Many authors will "round-file" (read that - trash)
               letters not on letterhead paper printed with a 9-pin dot
               matrix printer in the draft mode.  If you received such a
               letter, would you consider the sender to be "for real"
               and commit the expense to send disks?


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     4.   Preparing Your Catalog

          If you are a Rack Vendor, your catalog may consist of a Table
          of Contents type of listing on your rack.  You may only have
          the descriptions on the disk packages.  If you are a Rack
          Vendor, you may be able to skip after you read Section 4.1.

          4.1  Honesty In Advertising

               Over the years, many of us in this shareware business
               have seen many of the sleazy shareware advertisements and
               catalogs touting FREE!, FREE!, FREE! Software.  You don't
               find too many any more as most of those vendors have
               failed or have decided that honesty is the BEST policy. 
               After all, the entire shareware industry is based on
               trust between the author, vendor, BBS and end user.

               You should prominently display a description of shareware
               and the registration process.  This is also true for Rack
               Vendors.  You must make an attempt to educate your
               customers on the nature of shareware.  You can write this
               information in your own words or use the ASP wording:

                    "Shareware is an exciting marketing method which
                    allows you to try top-quality software before you
                    pay the author. With Shareware, you cannot be
                    disappointed spending money on a program that's not
                    right for you. The small fee you pay to us covers
                    only the duplication and distribution costs, and
                    permits you to evaluate the program."

                    "If you continue to use the program, you must send
                    the author an additional payment which may entitle
                    you to technical support, printed manual, bonus
                    programs, and more. Your payment supports the
                    authors, enabling them to continue writing newer and
                    better Shareware programs."

               This is important in maintaining customer satisfaction. 
               Too often a customer purchases a disk from a vendor only
               to be offended when s/he learns that an additional
               payment is required.  Customers should be fully informed
               before their purchase.

               Some rack vendors have failed when they were not honest
               up front with the user.  The user thinks the price
               sticker is the ONLY cost of shareware.  They get angry
               when they see the author's registration requirements,
               demand their money back from the store owner and the
               store owner dumps the trouble causing rack.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     4.   Preparing Your Catalog (Continued)

          4.1  Honesty In Advertising (Continued)

               Users are not "encouraged to register", they are
               "required to register".  Please do not imply that a user
               registers only if s/he "likes" the product.  Liking the
               product is irrelevant if the user continues using it
               beyond the evaluation period.

               Registration is required for use beyond evaluation, and
               emphasis should be placed upon the individual author's
               registration requirements.  The user's trial or
               evaluation license is determined by the copyright holder. 
               This is a legal requirement, not an optional formality.

               Please do not make promises which the authors can not
               fulfill, such as stating that registration always brings
               printed manuals.  Usually this is true, but the actual
               registration benefits depend upon the individual author. 
               Each author has his/her own registration incentives.

               Actually, the above is a requirement, not just a
               suggestion, for ASP Vendor members.

               If you throw honesty to the wind, both you and the
               authors will get complaint calls and letters.  Authors
               getting these complaints will almost always recommend
               some other vendor that the author knows believes in
               honesty in advertising.  Another opportunity for failure
               in this business {grin}.

          4.2  Use A Good Word Processor

               There are many excellent shareware word processors that
               will produce excellent looking printed catalogs (be sure
               to register {smile} ).  Or you can use a good non-
               shareware word processor.  There are excellent shareware
               Desk Top Publishing systems if you wish to include screen
               captures in your catalog.

               If you are preparing an on-disk catalog, almost ALL word
               processors can "print" to a straight ASCII file that
               contains no control characters except a Form Feed (ASCII
               12) after line 59 on each page.  Do not pad blank lines
               to make a full 66 lines per page.  The HP laser printers
               (and compatibles) can handle only 59 or 60 lines before
               they eject the page.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     5.   Hardware

          5.1  Computers

               At a minimum, you will need a computer with BOTH 5.25"
               360k and 3.5" 720k disk drives.  These days, a 400m hard
               drive is very reasonable in cost.  You need a good
               computer to review the shareware and public domain
               software that you may place in your catalog.  Get the
               latest and greatest that you can afford.  At the time
               this document was last updated, fast super VGA computers
               with at least 200m hard drive could be purchased in the
               $1,500 (or less) range.

               You may also want to pick up an old machine with a
               Hercules type monochrome monitor to see if the color
               selections used by an author will give a readable screen
               on an old monitor.  A laptop with LCD display may be
               another good test bench for the same reason.  Some
               authors just don't take the time to shut off color so
               that the program can be used on the older monitors. 
               Naturally many games these days are written for VGA as
               many serious gamers have up to date monitors.

          5.2  Do NOT Depend On 1.2m Drives

               You MUST have a TRUE 5.25 inch 360k drive.  You may also
               want a 1.2m 5.25 inch drive, but you MUST have a true
               360k drive to make your 360k disks.

               Some vendors distribute NO 360k disks anymore as the
               demand is fading.  Hovever, most disk vendors still
               distribute either 360k 5 1/4" or 720k 3 1/2" disks.  A
               few distribute collections on 1.44m 3.5" disks.  Very FEW
               vendors sell 1.2m 5 1/2" disks.  Don't let a computer
               store or mail order outfit tell you that you can make
               360k copies on 1.2m high density drives.  Sure, sometimes
               you can.  Often a customer will NOT be able to read the
               disk.  You will get a LOT of calls from those to whom you
               have sent disks.  It will cause you loss of big bucks,
               lost sales and frustrated customers.  Sort of akin to the
               end of the world for a shareware vendor.

               Why?  The answer is fairly simple.  To get 1.2m on a
               5.25" disk, the disk drive "paints" a track that is 1/2
               as wide as the 360k drives so it can place 80 tracks on a
               disk rather than 40.  Sure, you can ask the DOS FORMAT
               program to tell your disk drive to lay down only 40
               tracks for a 360k format, but they are still THIN tracks.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     5.   Hardware (Continued)

          5.2  Do NOT Depend On 1.2m Drives (Continued)

               If the disk was previously formatted, and often suppliers
               sell pre-formatted disks at no additional price, the
               vestiges of the 80 tracks are STILL there, even though
               your disk drive just wrote a 40 track 360k format onto
               the disk.  A true 360k drive has a WIDER head and will
               easily pick up portions of bits from the adjacent
               unerased thin track that was laid down previously.  The
               360k drive reads garbled data and DOS gives up.

               Even if you make 360k disks with disks that have NEVER
               been formatted before, the tracks are too thin to be read
               by many 360k drives.  A slightly out of adjustment 360k
               drive can read true 360k disks just fine, but will choke
               on one of those darned disks made on a high density

               This problem does NOT exist with 1.44m 3 1/2" drives. 
               The track width on both the 720k and 1.44m formats is the
               SAME.  Eighty tracks are used for both 720k and 1.44m. 
               The 1.44m format just has twice as many sectors to the


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     5.   Hardware (Continued)

          5.3  Disk Duplicators

               You can use the DOS DISKCOPY command to make copies from
               your shareware masters.  If you are not familiar with DOS
               commands, most high schools have Continuing Education
               courses that will teach you how to use a computer.  See
               Section 6.5 for training shareware.

               Hopefully, your sales will reach a point where you can no
               longer keep up with using a computer and DISKCOPY.  Below
               are several companies that supply disk duplication

                    Midwestern Disk          o Has 4 and 5 at-a-time for
                    Duplication Center         360k, 720k, 1.2m and 1.44m
                    509 W. Taylor              disks.
                    Creston  IA  50801       o Carries the Ventuno line of
                    515-782-5190               3.5" & 5.25" bin autoloader
                    800-221-6332               type duplicators.
                    FAX: 515-782-4166        o Call for prices.

                    MediaFORM                o Xpress autoloaders and disk
                    75 Uwchlan Avenue          labelers for all types of
                    Exton  PA  19341           disk media.
                    215-524-7600             o Call for prices.
                    800-220-1215             o 12% discount for ASP members
                    FAX: 516-363-3735

                    Micro-Technology         o Axiomatic 4 at-a-time  for
                    Concepts                   360k, 720k, 1.2m and 1.44m
                    258 Johnson Avenue         disks.
                    Brooklyn  NY  11206      o Call for prices
                    FAX: 718-456-1200

               If you are in need of disk duplicators, be sure to call
               all of the above companies to get the latest price and
               feature combinations so that you get just what you need.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software

          6.1  Catalog-On-A-Disk

               CATALOG-ON-A-DISK (from EmmaSoft Software Company, Inc.)
               makes it easy for your computer-using customers to buy
               from you.  They can browse or search for products and
               order as they go along using only the (Enter) and (Esc)
               keys, arrows and numbers.  The order form is sent to a
               printer or text file, with taxes and shipping calculated,
               to be mailed, faxed, called in, or sent by modem.

               The program is particularly appropriate for selling
               shareware because all your customers have computers, it's
               a unique and modern way to distribute the catalog, and
               the program itself is shareware.  It's a fast way to get
               a catalog put together, and is less expensive to produce
               than a print catalog.  CATALOG-ON-A-DISK also offers
               unique ways to distribute your catalog.  Businesses
               distribute catalogs on floppy disks, on the hard disks of
               computers they sell, and even have customers download
               catalogs from their BBSs.

               CATALOG-ON-A-DISK makes buying easy because it is based
               on the (Enter) key to make choices, and the (Esc) key to
               back out.  There are very few keys for the user to find,
               so ordering goes very quickly with no obstacles between
               your customer and your products.  You make your catalog
               files with your favorite text editor, then compress the
               files using the Companion program.  Compressed files fit
               an enormous number of products on a floppy disk.  They
               are read directly into memory - no intermediate file is
               created so it displays fast and pricing and other catalog
               data is secure.

               You make the catalog screens to best represent your
               company.  Opening Screens display your splash screen,
               tell about the catalog, your products, and your company. 
               The Main Menu displays categories of products.  The
               "Exit" menu is where customers print the order form,
               review an order, or view Special Forms (discount coupons,
               informational text or ordering details).  You can set up
               your own help screens and a help bar.  If your catalog is
               not in English you can translate the program's internal
               text.  Address and date formats can be set for US or
               international use.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.1  Catalog-On-A-Disk (Continued)

               You can also set your catalog to automatically calculate
               sales tax for one, all, or no states or provinces.  You
               can also build shipping options into the catalog, letting
               the customer choose an option so the shipping will be
               calculated into the total on the order form.

               Trial shareware versions are available from:

               Electronic Service   Area      Library    File Name

               CompuServe          GO WORK      14      CATALG.EXE
               Genie               HOSB         12      CATALGxx.ZIP*
               ESC BBS             Files        1       CATALGxx.ZIP*

               *Replace the "xx" with the most current version number.

               Example:  CATALG21.ZIP.

               Plus many vendors and BBSs around the world.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.2  Compression Software

               It is a challenge for many authors to fit their entire
               system on one disk.  They often use compression software
               that can squeeze the files to 50% or less than their
               original size.  Compression software is always used on
               Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) to reduce download times and
               save room on the BBS hard disk drive.

               Phil Katz's PKZIP system is the most widely used
               compression system.  For BBSs, the author compresses all
               of the program and documentation files into one ZIP file. 
               For example the SmuggyWrap shareware (fictitious) Version
               2.1 may all be ZIPed into a file named SMUGGY21.ZIP. 
               Some authors send their disks to both BBSs and disk
               vendors as a single ZIP file.  In this case, your job
               will be to run PKUNZIP to expand the compressed ZIP file
               out into the various program and documentation files so
               that you can evaluate the system.

               It may be the author's intention that you place all of
               the files in the ZIP (after uncompression) onto a single
               disk for your shareware distribution master.  Hopefully,
               the author will communicate this to you with a letter or
               on-disk instructions.  Authors often have a VENDOR.DOC or
               VENDINFO.DIZ file for this type of instruction.  Other
               authors expect you to be a mind reader and this type
               author often gets few registrations due to poor

               If you plan to send out shareware disks to your
               customers, they will need to already have the PKZIP
               system or you will have to include PKUNZIP.EXE on each
               distribution disk that contains ZIP files.  Further, your
               customer will have to figure out how to unZIP the
               compressed file.  This is a REAL problem for end users. 
               Those users that already understand how to unZIP a file
               probably obtain their shareware from BBSs and won't be
               your customer anyway.  If you include PKUNZIP.EXE on your
               distribution disks, you will need a license from PKWARE

               To solve this end user problem, there is another type of
               compressed file used by many authors called a "Self-
               Extract Program".  It is an executable program (.EXE)
               where the PKZIP software is at the front of the file and
               the remainder of the .EXE file that is the compressed
               data (normally in a ZIP file).


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.2  Compression Software (Continued)

               When you run this type of program, it uncompresses all of
               the author's program and documentation files to recreate
               the original files.  It is the author's responsibility to
               get a license from PKWARE to send you this self-extract
               program file.  You do not need to pay any further
               royalties to PKWARE as the author has already done so.

               Many authors include an INSTALL program or BATch file to
               properly install the shareware on the users hard drive. 
               Therefore, you never want to uncompress the self-extract
               if the INSTALL program is looking for the self-extract

               Every disk or rack vendor should get a registered copy of
               PKZIP.  Call PKWARE at 414-354-8699 to get your
               registered copy and ask them about royalty arrangements
               if you wish to send out disks with just the PKUNZIP

               Another popular compression system is LHA.  It competes
               very favorably with PKZIP as far as compression rates and
               (as of this writing) has no royalty requirements.  There
               are copyright notice requirements that must be followed. 
               This software is available from most disk vendors and


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.3  Disk Duplication

               Your computer came with DOS.  One of the DOS files is
               DISKCOPY.EXE.  You can easily copy disks with DISKCOPY 
               A:  A: (Enter) to make one-at-a-time copies.  You have to
               run it for each copy and each time, it needs to load your
               master disk.

               The following duplication software is available from
               several ASP authors.  The descriptions are from the ASP
               Official Catalog.

               Product: Disk DUP
               Author: FormGen Corp., 416-857-4141
               Version: 5.9a (11-08-90)
               Needs: IBM PC, DOS 3.2 or better.
               Registration fee: $25.00
               Registration benefits:  Printed manual, master disks,
                                       unlimited technical support,
                                       product discounts.
               Look for: DUP59A.EXE on BBSs; DUP59.EXE on CompuServe
                         in CIS:IBMHW forum LIBrary 1 (or contact
                         userID 70446,76 for assistance).
               Download size: 75k (about six minutes with a 2400 baud
                    Speeds the duplication of disks. Master images are
                    stored on hard drive, but data compression saves
                    valuable space. Copies can be produced at lightning
                    speed. Multi-disk option for up to ten drives at
                    once! Disks can be serialized at your option.  Many
                    options, excellent user interface, full status
                    screen.  Very powerful, yet easy to use!  If you
                    need to make multiple copies of disks, DUP will make
                    it quick and easy.

               Product: DISKCOPY
               Author: Feico Nater Shareware, 31 74 438373
               Version: 1.0 (01-01-92)
               Needs: IBM PC, DOS 2.0 or better.  Hard disk.
               Registration fee: $15.00
               Registration benefits:  Phone/mail support, free
               Look for: DISKCOPY.* on BBSs; DISKCO.* on CompuServe in
                         CIS:. forum LIBrary 0; DISKCOPY.* on GEnie in
                         0 forum LIBrary 0.
               Download size: 13k (about one minute with a 2400 baud


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.3  Disk Duplication (Continued)

                    Copies an entire floppy disk onto a file on the
                    fixed disk and back again.  Provides: Easy copying
                    of a floppy disk from A to A or from B to B, without
                    the need to swap disks several times.  Make many
                    copies of a single disk without the need to use a
                    source disk. Includes automatic formatting.

               Product: FormGen Utility Pak #1
               Author: FormGen Corp., 416-857-4141
               Version: 1.01 (10-30-90)
               Needs: IBM PC, DOS 3.2 or better.
               Registration fee: $25.00
               Registration benefits: Printed manual, master disks,
                                      unlimited technical support,
                                      product discounts.
               Look for: UPAK1.EXE on BBSs; UPAK.EXE on CompuServe in
                         CIS:IBMSYS forum LIBrary 3 (or contact userID
                         70446,76 for assistance).
               Download size: 146k (about 11 minutes with a 2400 baud
               Description: 12 excellent utilities!
                   QCOPY  fast single drive copy, makes multiple
                          copies, no swapping
                   SERA   secure file erase ** MEETS DOD STANDARDS **
                   DUMP   high performance hex dump
                          fast and very secure file encryption
                   FEED/EJECT  TSR page eject
                   GDAY   your morning smile
                          multifile search/replacement
                   LOCASE    converts files to lower case
                   ZIPPROC   automated file processing
                   TIMESYNC  sets your system clock to time standard

               You can obtain the above systems from almost any ASP disk
               vendor or you can call the author's company directly.  BE
               SURE you register all shareware that you use after the
               evaluation stage {smile}.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.4  Virus Scanning

               YOU MUST CHECK EVERY DISK that you receive.  Don't trust
               anything, especially the so-called "retail" shrinkwrapped
               software.  Shareware authors, BBSs and vendors are
               routinely careful if they expect to stay in business. 
               Before you even do a DIRectory of any disk, run your
               virus scanner software against the disk.  Contact the
               person that sent you the infected disk as they may not be
               aware of the infection.

               You may never find a virus.  They actually aren't as
               common as the press would have you believe.  Second to
               retail software are the computer repair shops at
               spreading virus attacks.  Some rarely, if ever, check a
               disk brought in by a customer that wishes to try out a
               new computer on the floor.  Some don't check computers
               that they bring in for repair.  The customer's hard disk
               could be infected and the repair person can easily infect
               the test disk used to diagnose the computer.  Every
               computer checked by that test disk thereafter will be
               infected.  Some retail computer stores re-shrinkwrap
               returned software and place it back on the shelf without
               checking it.  Scary, isn't it?

                               SCAN EVERY DISK!

               Integrity Master is an excellent easy to use, up-to-date,
               anti-virus, data integrity, change management, and
               security program.  It provides a single comprehensive
               solution to assure that all your programs and data are
               safe.  In addition to scanning for known viruses, it
               detects unknown viruses and unlike other products will
               detect files which have been damaged but not infected by
               a virus.  Integrity Master protects you against all
               threats to your data and programs not just viruses!  To
               order with Master or Visa card, call 800-788-0787 or 314-
               256-3130.  You can subscribe to several upgrade packages.

               Virx - A so called "free" demo of the of Datawatch's
               retail "Virex For The PC".  The latest Virx version can
               be obtained from the VIRUSFORUM on CompuServe, many BBSs
               and disk vendors as VIRX.ZIP.  It is only the scanner and
               will detect over a thousand viri.  If a virus is
               detected, you are warned so you can send back or destroy
               the disk being scanned.  However, if you want to remove
               the virus, you buy a copy of Datawatch's "Virex For The
               PC" which can be purchased through computer software
               stores and mail order houses or by calling Datawatch at


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.5  DOS Tutorial Shareware

               Many startup shareware disk vendors have little knowledge
               of the computers they are using.  Further, the people
               that answer the phones have little knowledge of what they
               are sending out.  They don't even have the knowledge to
               tell the user to do a DIRectory of the disk they sent to
               the user to look for .TXT and .DOC files that can be
               printed by the user.  They even don't know how to tell
               the user how to COPY the README type files to the

               There are several excellent shareware programs for
               learning the DOS commands.

                                  DOS Sumary

               Product: DOS Summary (Hypertext)
               Author: Computer Knowledge
               Version: 2.0 (02-15-92)
               Needs: IBM PC, DOS 2.0 or better.
               Registration fee: $25.00
               Registration benefits:  Printed manual with command
                  examples not found in the software, master disks,
                  bonus utilities.  Shareware disks of other products.
               Look for: DOSSUM20.ZIP on BBSs; DSUM02.ZIP on
                         CompuServe in CIS:IBMSYS forum LIBrary 1 (or
                         contact userID 75655,210 for assistance).
               Download size: 150k (about 11 minutes with a 2400 baud
                 DOS Summary is a hypertext tutorial and reference
                 product which covers all DOS commands and drivers
                 through MS-DOS 5.0. Also added are tutorials covering
                 memory management and how DOS starts. The program can
                 be used in standalone or resident mode.  When
                 started, you have the option of an alphabetical
                 command menu or a menu where commands are grouped by
                 function. You may also start the program with a DOS
                 command name as a parameter and be taken immediately
                 to that command.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.5  DOS Tutorial Shareware (Continued)


               For a tutorial on using DOS, try "DosEA", which is a
               six-program hypertext series.  Here are short descriptins
               of the six programs in the series.

                        *********  DosEA  **********
                        **  Product Descriptions  **
                        **   Order Information    **

               Langin Software offers a series of tutorials and a book
               to help users learn DOS.  The tutorials are called
               "DosEA" and are a play on words for a dossier on DOS.

               "DosEA 1 -- For Absolute Beginners" is a tutorial which
               demonstrates the hypertext system used in the series.

               "DosEA 2 -- What is DOS?" is a tutorial which explains
               the development of DOS.

               "DosEA 3 -- 10 Easy Commands" is a tutorial with hands-on
               practice of 10 easy DOS commands.

               "DosEA 4 -- Find That Command!" is a utility which helps
               determine the appropriate DOS commands for various

               "Beginner's Pak" is a package of the first four programs
               in the series (DosEA 1 through DosEA 4).

               "DosEA 5 -- All About MS-DOS 5" is a reference of the
               many additions, deletions, and changes in MS-DOS 5.

               "DosEA 6 -- Switched on DOS" covers the 238 DOS switches.

               "An Easy Course in Using DOS" is a humorous illustrated
               book for those who hate computer manuals.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     6.   Software (Continued)

          6.5  DOS Tutorial Shareware (Continued)
                                                         US$ Price Total
                                                        --------- ------
               DosEA 1 -- For Absolute Beginners           10.00  ______
               DosEA 2 -- What is DOS?                     10.00  ______
               DosEA 3 -- 10 Easy Commands                 10.00  ______
               DosEA 4 -- Find That Command!               10.00  ______
               Beginner's Pak (DosEA 1-4)                  25.00  ______
               DosEA 5 -- All About MS-DOS 5               10.00  ______
               DosEA 6 -- Switched on DOS                  10.00  ______
               An Easy Course in Using DOS                 18.00  ______

               Shipping and handling (US)                   4.00  ______
               Shipping and handling (non-US)               5.00  ______

                                                           TOTAL  ______
               Prices subject to change without notice.
               Credit card orders:  -- Mastercard -- Visa
                                    -- American Express -- Discover
               Phone:       713-524-6394          * These numbers *
               Toll free:   800-2424-PsL          *    are for    *
               FAX:         713-524-6398          *   ordering    *
               CompuServe:  71355,470             *     only      *
                 P.O. Box 35705
                 Houston, TX  77235-5705

               The above numbers and address are for the Public
               (software) Library and are for ordering, ONLY.  For
               information about dealer pricing, volume discounts, site
               licensing, shipping of product, returns, latest version
               number or other technical information, see "Langin
               Software" below.

               Cash orders:  Send check or money order to Langin
               Software at address shown below.  Non-US payments should
               be drawn on US bank. Traveller's checks accepted. 
               Canadian postal money orders accepted.  Include your Name
               and Address and disk size.

               Mail to:
                    Langin Software
                    532 W. 3rd St.
                    CENTRALIA, IL  62801 USA
                    CompuServe: 73770,615
                    Fax: (618) 532-0075
                    Voice: (618) 532-4899


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     7.   Supplies

          The following information was obtained from messages on the
          CompuServe ASPFORUM over the years, and information sent to
          this author by various companies.  This list is by no means
          complete and you will need to do your own research to decide
          just where you will obtain your supplies.

          7.1  Diskettes

               There are countless suppliers of disks.  Many (if not
               most) obtain their disks from Taiwan manufacturers.  The
               quality of disks can vary widely from one supplier to
               another.  This document will list no disk suppliers as
               they seem to come and go due to the highly competitive
               nature of this market.

               Check computer magazine ads and try 500 or so from
               several suppliers.  Keep track of the failure rate. 
               Switch vendors if the failure rate is more than several
               percent.  Pick a supplier that has a good replacement
               policy for bad disks.  Make sure they pay the postage if
               they require that you return the bad disks.  This writer
               once had 48 disks fail out of one package of 50 disks. 
               That supplier got blunt phone calls.

               If you pay extra for pre-formatted disks, be sure that
               your duplication software does a CRC check (DISKCOPY /v)
               as even pre-formatted disks can have a bad failure rate. 
               You can't afford the returns when you send out faulty

               Keep up with what is going on in the computer industry. 
               Subscribe to several computer magazines.  A lot of folks
               got caught not being able to obtain 3.5" disks in the
               Spring of 1992 when Microsoft had their Windows 3.1 and
               DOS 5 and IBM had their OS/2 major upgrades AT THE SAME
               TIME.  Microsoft and IBM gobbled up every 3.5" disk in
               sight.  The ASPFORUM was full of panic messages from both
               authors and vendors that got caught.  This writer was
               down to only 7 disks while in the middle of a major
               upgrade on a shareware product.  Normally, you can get
               almost any quantity in several weeks.  So, be aware! 
               Don't let your stock of disks get too low.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     7.   Supplies (Continued)

          7.2  Mailers

               Consider the following as a starter for obtaining disk
               mailers and other supplies.

                    Calumet Carton           Sterling Disk Duplication
                       Company               11495 N. Pennsylvania Ave,
                    P.O. Box 405                      Ste 204
                    16920 State Street       Carmel  IN  46032
                    S. Holland IL 60473      317-575-3390
                    708-333-6521             FAX: 317-575-3389
                    FAX: 708-333-8540

                    Pack & Wrap              Mailers
                    466 Derby Avenue         40650 Forest View Road
                    W. Haven  CT  06516      Zion  IL  60099
                    800-541-9782             800-872-6670
                    203-389-1983             FAX: 708-872-4842
                    FAX: 203-389-9416

                    The Sirgo Company        Mail Safe
                    P.O. Box 58              4340 W. 47th Street
                    Schereville IN 46375     Chicago  IL  60632
                    219-865-6092             708-872-6677
                    FAX: 219-322-5194        800-527-0754
                                             FAX: 708-872-4842

                    Quill Office             International Media & Supplies
                      Products               3501 Coffee Road, Suite 9
                    P.O. Box 94080           Modesto  CA 95355
                    Palatine  IL             800-835-5515
                         60094-4080          FAX: 209-571-5757
                    FAX: 708-634-5708

          7.3  Label Stock

               With font programs, you can make small quantities of
               laser labels at a low cost that look like they were
               custom printed.  Nelson Ford feels that Avery Label Pro
               is the best laser label program.  Paul Mayer recommends
               CompUSA for laser labels.  If there is not one near you,
               you can call them at 817-261-7702 or 800-342-7638.  They
               accept mail orders through this number by credit card. 
               Prices on 6/1/90 were:

                    8-1/2 x 11 sheets (100)     $17.99   Stock #853262
                    5-1/4" disk labels  (840)   $26.49   Stock #853901
                    3-1/2" disk labels  (630)   $26.49   Stock #853892


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     7.   Supplies (Continued)

          7.3  Label Stock (Continued)

               Avery will send you a sample pack of laser labels for the
               purpose of getting your software to work with them. 
               Write to them at 777 East Foothill Blvd., Azusa, CA
               91702-1358 or call 800-541-5507.

               The Computer Label Company, 800-332-4223 (619-322-3030)
               and MEI, 800-634-3478 (614-481-4417) have good prices on
               standard 3.5" by 1" labels.  You can also call United Ad
               Label at 800-423-4643 (714-990-2700) and ask for a free
               catalog and sample label kit.  They specialize in
               audio/video labels but they do have both pin-feed and
               laser sheet labels for 3.5" and 5.25" floppy disks.

               Another good source for labels is Lyben Computer Supplies
               313-268-8100.  They have the Avery labels.  They are also
               one of the few suppliers that carry the continuous
               fanfold label stock that can be used for 3.5" disks.  The
               labels are 2 3/4 by 1 15/16 inch and are Stock # 0300.

               Almost all types of label stock can be obtained from
               Quill (see above for address).


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     8.   Trademarks

          Generally, if you start using your company name without a (TM)
          notice by the name, you lose the trademark protection. So
          spend the extra four keystrokes and put it on.  The trademark
          office requires that you send them copies of artwork currently
          being used with the TM indicated next to your word or phrase. 
          The patent & trademark office will then issue you a paper
          telling you that your word or phrase is now a Registered
          Trademark and then you have the right to use the circled R in
          place of TM.

          CompuServe has a service called IQuest (GO IQUEST) that will
          allow you to scan the Trademark Data Base for about $35 to
          $150 depending on how many ways you search.  The search cost
          depends entirely on the exact mark and goods involved, how
          many "hits" come up in the search, etc.  This may a quick way
          to check on whether or not someone else has already registered
          your words.  However, the experienced lawyer may well find
          more information than the novice searcher and save you a lot
          of problems later.

          The Association of Shareware Professionals currently uses
          Lance Rose for copyright and trademark advice.  Lance has
          handled the ASP's lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. and was
          instrumental in having a bill modified that otherwise would
          have virtually eliminated any copyright protection for
                         Lance Rose
                         87 Midland Avenue
                         Montclair  NJ  07042

          Lance told us that "properly speaking it's not the words
          themselves that are registered, but the mark at issue for
          specific goods or services.  The whole question of
          registration, of course, does not exhaust the issues raised by
          the question of can I use the mark?  An unregistered trademark
          won't come up on an IQuest-style search, but the owner of the
          mark can sue someone who starts using it later.  In this case,
          neither the registration search, nor registration itself, will
          keep the second user from getting beaten by the first user. 
          They will want a copy of your package and need to know the
          first sale of the product with the "trademark" used."

          It can pay to shop around for a lawyer. ASP members have
          reported paying $200, $700, and over $1000.  However, the $200
          is impossible these days as the filing fee is now $200.

          For information about Trademarks call the Dept. of Commerce at
          703-557-3158 for a copy of Basic Facts About Trademarks.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     9.   Collecting Shareware

          You need to build a list of the types of shareware you wish
          for your catalog and you need to collect a list of author
          addresses.  Where do you get your shareware disks?

               o    From another disk vendor

               o    From BBSs

               o    From large local User Group

               o    From a CD-ROM

               o    FROM THE AUTHOR DIRECTLY

          Guess which this writer considers the best source?  You are
          right, the authors.  You get the latest and greatest version
          and will probably be placed on the author's mailing list for
          updates and new products.  Further, you won't infringe on the
          "library" or "compilation" copyright of some other vendor.

          If you have no collection at all, you may want to begin
          creating your subject and author list by purchasing many disks
          from several other disk vendors.  ONLY use these disks to get
          the addresses to contact the authors.

          You must look in the authors documentation to learn of any
          copying restrictions stated by the author.  Under the
          copyright laws, you may be prevented from distributing
          additional copies without getting permission from the author. 
          Some authors place no restrictions on copying and others have
          very strict restrictions.  YOU must determine this from
          examining the authors files.  SOME authors require special
          written permission and SOME require royalty arrangements from
          rack and CD-ROM vendors even if they sent you the evaluation
          disk in the first place.

          If you are into BBSs, this may be a good source.  Be SURE you
          use BBSs that are properly networked with the authors and
          other BBSs so that you will be downloading current versions of
          the shareware.  Local isolated BBSs may have very old versions
          and the author addresses will be out of date.  Again, examine
          the disks for any author imposed copying restrictions.  Also
          look for vendor and BBS files that are not part of the authors
          system that you will want to remove.

          User Groups may also have out-of-date versions and care will
          need to be taken.  Again, use this as a source to build your
          author address list so you can contact the authors.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     9.   Collecting Shareware (Continued)

          CD-ROMs are very expensive to create and some are updated
          infrequently.  Further, you may not know if the CD-ROM
          producer made any effort to contact the authors to get either
          permission to distribute or the latest version.  Before you
          even consider using a CD-ROM for your source of author
          addresses, examine the date stamps on the shareware executable
          program files (.EXE).  If they are older than one year, you
          know this will not be an up-to-date source of addresses.

          Recently the ASP started supplying their Vendor members with a
          CD-ROM carrying much of the shareware produced by the ASP
          authors.  At this writing, it is updated and issued monthly
          and there is no extra charge for this service.

          After you have created a draft of your catalog, and made your
          author address list, contact the authors to obtain the

          If you are a RACK or CD-ROM vendor, let the author know that
          when you write to them.  If you ALSO are a catalog (printed or
          on-disk) vendor, let them know that too.  SOME authors will
          require special permission and SOME may require royalties for
          you to place their copyrighted shareware on racks or CD-ROMs. 
          They may or may not require this special contract or royalties
          for your catalog operation.  These special requirements are
          the AUTHOR's requirements, not requirements of the ASP or any
          other trade organization that this author knows of.  The ASP
          takes NO position on any of these special author requirements
          or any royalty requirements and offers NO opinion except to
          warn the vendors that the author's copyrights are legally


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

          10.  Providing Technical Support

          Hopefully you will have customers that have purchased disks
          from your library collection.  Note that they are buying your
          library and disk copying services - NOT the right for
          unlimited use of the shareware.

          Many of your customers will be first time shareware users. 
          They will not know how to do a DIRectory of the disk to look
          for README type files and how to copy them to their printer. 
          YOU MUST provide some type of instruction to allow YOUR
          customer to figure out how to find the author's installation
          instructions.  If the author placed no installation
          instructions on the disk either place your own instruction
          file on the disk, or don't carry that disk in your library. 
          Develop a sheet you can send with each order that will give
          the novice user getting started instructions.

          Don't get excited, you are not expected to provide support on
          the author's programs, just on the package YOU sold.  They
          have to be able to install the author's stuff so they can
          contact the author for support on the author's programs and
          documentation.  You are responsible for only the front end of
          the installation so the user can get to the author's
          instructions.  Some authors provide little or no instructions
          on getting their shareware installed and only a dedicated
          computer nerd could do it.  Just don't sell these disks. 
          Don't let the author's problems become your problems.

          If you wish to add a general purpose Help program to the
          shareware disks in your library, take a look at the following:

               Product: Simply Help!
               Author: SimpleWare, 709-489-3757
               Version: 1.0 (01-07-91)
               Needs: IBM PC, DOS 2.1 or better.  384k RAM, hard disk
               Registration fee: $35.00
               Registration benefits:  Latest version with shareware
                                       notices removed.  Support by
               Look for: SIMHLP10.ZIP on BBSs (call 709-489-6018 to
                         download it at no charge).
               Download size: 285k (about 21 minutes with a 2400 baud
                 Create stand alone help systems or add help to any
                 program. Editor has pull down menus, dialog boxes,
                 mouse support, on-line help, block operations, line
                 drawing, import/export, reports, and many more.  Edit
                 your file and instantly RUN it to see the results.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     10.  Providing Technical Support (Continued)

                 Simply Help! (Continued)

                 Compiler creates EXE files or TSR files with your
                 choice of hot key.  A library for QuickBASIC 4.xx is
                 included. Applications include TSR help for existing
                 programs, catalogs, readme files, manuals, on-line help
                 for QuickBASIC programs.

               You MUST register Simply Help! if you are going to place
               ANY files created by Simply Help! on any disk copies you

          You can have an instruction on all disk labels to show how to
          run your help program created with software like "Simply
          Help!"  Or, you can print the instruction on the disk sleeves
          or an instruction sheet sent with each order.  You can't
          expect your customers to be computer experts.

          If you are going to survive in this business, you must list a
          daytime support number.  You may only need to tell the first
          time user to read your instructions on starting shareware.  If
          you get too many calls, your instructions are inadequate and
          you must improve them.  If you do not provide a "real live"
          support person, your customers will go elsewhere and you risk
          going out of business.

          Too many shareware vendors think that this business is an easy
          fast buck venture.  They think they can make big money
          operating evenings out of their home.  Like the authors, you
          can start that way if you are willing to have the money come
          in slowly at first.  Eventually, you will need at least one or
          two people working full time reviewing new disks and handling
          technical support.  You will need another person to handle the

          This is a tough section for many folks wanting to get into
          this business.  However, it is good advice gathered from many
          sources and is intended to help you decide if you want to
          invest further in shareware vending.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     11.  The Association of Shareware Professionals ("ASP")

          The Association of Shareware Professionals ( ASP is a
          Registered Trademark ) started with an organizational meeting
          hosted by Nelson Ford (PSL) on February 27, 1987 in Houston
          Texas.  Successful authors such as Jim Button (PC-File), Bob
          Wallace (PC-Write) and Marshall Magee (Automenu), along with
          major disk vendors like Public (software) Library (PSL),
          Public Brand Software, PC-SIG, BBS operators, CompuServe
          sysops and many others participated in this meeting.

          These people could have adopted the attitude that they were
          already successful enough without such an organization, but
          they did not.  They paid their own way to the Convention even
          though they were the featured speakers!  Button was elected
          the ASP's first (and second) Chairman of the Board of
          Directors.  Magee became the first President.  None of these
          are "honorary" positions; they involve a great deal of time
          and effort.

          The ASP also owes thanks to the sysops of IBMNET on
          CompuServe.  Sysops Conrad Kageyama and Don Watkins were at
          the Convention and arranged, on the spot, a place on IBMNET
          for the shareware authors to meet electronically and continue
          our plans.  We have been meeting there daily ever since in
          what must be a record for longest continuous business meeting.

          The ASP has grown into a group of shareware Authors, Shareware
          Publishers, Disk Vendors, Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), User
          Groups, Press members and others working together to improve
          the image and marketability of shareware as an alternative way
          of purchasing high quality software.

          The shareware marketing concept is just a different way of
          marketing software.  It is quite different from other forms
          that usually include the Software Manufacturer, Distributors
          and Retailers AND a LOT of expensive advertising and mark-ups
          that often cause prices in the $500-$1000 range.

          The shareware channel consists of 4 distinct groups:

          1.  The shareware Authors who write and hold the copyrights on
          the software.  Some authors have shareware Publishers to
          handle the marketing.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     11.  The Association of Shareware Professionals (Continued)

          2.  The disk copying services (Vendors) which build and
          maintain collections of shareware and public domain software,
          thus providing a convenient source from which users may obtain
          software for evaluation.  The disk Vendors charge for the
          disks to make a profit while covering library, advertising and
          other costs.   User Groups contribute to shareware
          distribution and are usually not-for-profit providing low cost
          disk copies for members.

          3.  Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) which help to distribute
          software by maintaining libraries of downloadable programs. 
          BBSs also provide a means for users to communicate with each
          other, recommending programs, providing technical assistance,
          reporting problems, and more.

          4.  The software user who is the underlying reason for the
          existence of groups 1, 2 and 3.

          What are the benefits of being an ASP member?

          1.  Author and Publisher members benefit by the user's
          recognition of the ASP MEMBER logo.  Author and Publisher
          members benefit from the experience of other members.  They
          work together to help each other with programming, marketing
          and support issues.  Members help each other find better
          sources of supplies, to promote each others products, to pool
          their buying power to obtain better prices, and more.  Author
          and Publisher members benefit from ASP public relations
          efforts.  Author and Publisher members receive a subscription
          to ASPects, the ASP newsletter.

          2.  Disk Vendor members benefit by the user's recognition of
          the ASP Approved Vendor logo.  Author and Publisher members
          are encouraged to send updates and new programs to ASP
          Approved Vendors and to allow ASP Approved Vendors and User
          Groups to distribute their products without requesting
          permission from the author or publisher.  Vendor and User
          Group members benefit from the public relations efforts of the
          ASP.  Vendor members receive a monthly CD-ROM containing many
          of the ASP authored products.  Lists of ASP Approved Vendors
          are made available publicly and users are encouraged to look
          for ASP Approved Vendors as the best source of high quality,
          up-to-date shareware. Vendor and User Group members receive a
          subscription to ASPects, the ASP newsletter.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     11.  The Association of Shareware Professionals (Continued)

          3. BBS members benefit by the user's recognition of the ASP
          Approved BBS logo.  Author and Publisher members are
          encouraged to provide updates to ASP Approved BBSs either by
          mail or by uploading directly.  BBS members benefit from the
          public relations efforts of the ASP. Lists of ASP Approved
          BBSs are made available publicly and users are encouraged to
          look for ASP Approved BBSs as the best source of high quality,
          up-to-date shareware.

          The ASP is a team of Authors, Publishers, Vendors, BBSs and
          User Groups working together to improve the image of shareware
          as a respectable alternative to high priced retail software. 
          ASP members work to educate the public, to let users know that
          shareware is available for them to actually use and evaluate
          before making a decision to purchase.

          How do I join the ASP?

          Join the team today!  To obtain your free ASP Membership
          application kit, write, call or FAX the ASP and ask for the
          Vendor Application Kit.

               Association of Shareware Professionals
               545 Grover Road
               Muskegon  MI  49442-9427  USA

               FAX: 616-788-2765
               Voice: 616-788-5131 (8:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M. USA Eastern)
          If you join the ASP as a Vendor Member, your address will be
          published to all of the ASP authors and the authors are
          strongly urged to send the ASP vendors their disks.  It is the
          author's responsibility to send you their disks.  Due to the
          growth in the numbers of vendors, it became prohibitively
          expensive for the authors to send their disks to all the ASP
          vendor members.  Therefore, the authors voted to raise their
          annual ASP dues to help fund sending a CD-ROM to all ASP
          vendors.  At this writing, it is sent every month and each CD
          contains the full collection as submitted by the authors.  It
          also contains a "delta" sub-directory with all of the
          additions and changes since the previous ASP CD.

          Included on each CD is the latest on-disk ASP Official Catalog
          listing over 1,000 shareware products produced by the ASP
          authors.  The ASP Vendor members also receive the ASP's
          monthly (approximately) newsletter and can use the ASP
          trademarked logo in their catalogs and advertising.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services

          NOTE: The information in this section is subject to change at
          any time.  This information was put together several years ago
          and these price structures change often.  Contact the
          telephone carrier for the latest arrangements and prices. 
          Your Yellow Pages should list the long distance carriers that
          serve your local.

          12.1      Telephone

                    AT&T has a low cost 800-line service called the
                    Ready Line which is relatively inexpensive.  For
                    about 23 cents a minute out of state, about 35 cents
                    a minute in state (for Texas), you can have a fancy
                    800 number just like the big boys.  Most of the good
                    acronyms are already gone, but you should still be
                    able to come up with something.  At the PsL, our
                    number is 1-800-2424-PsL, which we think is easy to
                    remember.  However, we were not able to get anything
                    like 800-PsL-DISK or 800-SHRWARE, which would have
                    been better.  Another shareware distributor has the
                    number 800-IBM-DISK, but IBM clamped down on them
                    for trademark infringement and they no longer
                    advertise the number that way, so we suggest that
                    you not waste time trying to work "IBM" into your
                    acronym.  The Ready Line 800 number is assigned to
                    your regular telephone number, so you do not even
                    have to get a second line, unless you just want to
                    be able to know for sure if someone has dialed the
                    800 number.

                    An AT&T competitor, Sprint, has cheaper rates,
                    although only time will tell if their service will
                    match AT&T's.  Sprint's rates are as follows:
                    $10/month Rates vary with distance and total number
                    of hours: 0-5 hours: $.2125-$.23 5-25 hours:
                    $.195-$.205 25-75 hours: $.1775-$.19 75-150 hours:
                    $.1775-$.1875 Call 800-347-3300 to order service.
                    (Rates above are as of 1990 and are subject to


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.2 Credit Card Merchant Accounts

               MasterCard & Visa

               MC/Visa Merchant accounts can be very difficult for
               mail-order merchants to get, more so in some parts of the
               country than in others.  If you have had a business
               checking account for your business for several years, get
               to know your branch manager well.  Try them first.

               If that fails, your next step should be to check ALL your
               local banks.  It's possible that many of the local banks
               are processed by the same clearinghouse who sets the
               rules for member banks about acceptance of mail-order

               American Express

               While MC/Visa are the big guns, American Express is worth
               contacting after you get your Master/Visa account.

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective

               Following is a document prepared by Eric Isaacson that
               may help you convince your bank that someone in the
               shareware business is worthy of consideration for a
               Merchant Account:


               Shareware Marketing of Software: A Banker's Perspective

                               by Eric Isaacson

               Copyright 1991 Eric Isaacson.

               All rights reserved.  Permission is hereby granted to
               shareware businesses and members of the banking industry
               to freely copy and distribute this unmodified work
               between and among themselves. 

               Your comments are welcome!  Send them to:

                    Eric Isaacson Software
                    416 E. University Ave.
                    Bloomington  IN  47401-4739


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               The Purpose of This Booklet

               In the past ten years a new approach to marketing
               computer software has emerged: shareware.  Shareware is
               relatively small compared to the overall software market,
               and it is very different.  It has been poorly understood
               by bankers wishing to evaluate shareware businesses. 
               This booklet explains the shareware business from the
               banker's point of view.

               Why Software Is Different

               A computer has two components: the hardware and the
               software.  The physical machinery comprises the hardware:
               the main box, various disk drives and circuit boards
               mounted inside, and the keyboard and monitor connected
               via cables.  Computer programs comprise the software: the
               operating system, the word processor, the spreadsheet,
               the accounting package, the database manager, etc.

               The marketing of computer software poses unique problems. 
               The value of software is intellectual: it comes from the
               hundreds-to-thousands of hours spent preparing the
               program and making sure it works perfectly for all users. 
               The price of the floppy disks that carry the software is
               tiny compared to the intellectual value.  This makes the
               computer software industry similar to the video-movie
               industry: both have problems with unauthorized copying. 
               But the problems of computer software are worse: first,
               most computers have the built-in ability to duplicate
               software using just one machine. Duplication of movies
               requires two tape decks placed next to each other.
               Second, copies of software are perfect duplicates of the
               original.  With videotape, there is significant and
               annoying degradation when copying is attempted.

               To combat unauthorized copying, some software publishers
               attempted to make their software difficult to copy.  This
               "copy protection" was common in the early days of
               personal computing.  But publishers have never succeeded
               in devising a protection scheme that doesn't annoy the
               legitimate purchaser of the program.  


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               Today almost all computers have high-capacity ("hard")
               disk drives onto which all software is copied.  If a user
               can't copy the software to the hard drive, that user
               isn't likely to buy the software.  Copy-protected
               software has almost disappeared from the marketplace.

               Other software publishers have taken the completely
               opposite approach to the problem: they market their
               software as shareware. 

               What Is Shareware?

               Shareware is the opposite of copy-protection.  Rather
               than trying to prevent copying, the software publisher
               actually encourages the user to make copies and "share"
               the program with anyone interested.  Complete
               documentation is placed onto the floppy disk along with
               the program.  In the documentation there is an
               explanation of shareware.  Anyone who receives a copy of
               the program is encouraged to try out the program.  If
               they like it, they should send payment (usually called a
               "registration") for the program directly to the
               publisher. Thus the ability to make perfect copies of the
               program becomes a tool for marketing the program.

               Note that shareware authors retain a valid copyright to
               the program.  The author establishes the conditions under
               which the program may be copied.  The author may also
               establish a specific amount of time for evaluation of the
               program, beyond which the user is legally required to
               either pay the registration fee or stop using the
               program.  The validity of a shareware program's copyright
               has been tested and approved by the courts: a Missouri
               shareware author successfully sued a Texas distributor
               for violating his conditions for copying.  Also, a
               shareware author was invited to testify before a U.S.
               Congressional committee evaluating software copyright
               law, and the law was reworded to recognize explicitly the
               existence and validity of shareware.

               Shareware is still a small segment of the whole software
               industry, but it is growing rapidly.  Annual revenues
               connected with shareware are estimated to exceed $100
               million in 1991.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               The Shareware Author's Business

               Most businesses publishing shareware consist of a single
               person: the author of the program.  Many authors develop
               programs on evenings and weekends, while retaining a full
               time job weekdays.  The author invests mostly time and
               not money: a good program takes many hours to prepare,
               but it takes at most only a few hundred dollars to

               Marketing a shareware product consists simply of placing
               it into the shareware distribution stream -- transmitting
               the program to free or low-cost dial-up computers called
               "bulletin-board systems", transmitting or sending it to
               nationwide services like Compuserve and Prodigy, and
               sending copies to companies that catalog and distribute
               shareware.  If the product is good, enthusiastic users
               will spread it themselves, so that an initial
               distribution of a few dozen copies will proliferate into
               many thousands of copies.  A significant number of those
               thousands result in registrations (money) sent to the

               What are the advantages and disadvantages of shareware
               marketing?  The disadvantages are that a program takes
               time to build up sales volume, and the volume will
               usually be much smaller.  Also, a program must be very
               good to succeed as shareware.  It might be possible, via
               skillful marketing and advertising, to fool the public
               into buying a mediocre program when it's shrink-wrapped
               on a store shelf.  But the user can try out a shareware
               program before buying it -- if it's mediocre, the user
               won't use it and hence won't register it.

               The advantages of shareware are low risk and low
               overhead.  Through traditional (non-shareware)
               distribution channels, it takes from $200,000 to $500,000
               to properly launch a software product.  Markups must be
               granted to both retail outlets and their supplying
               distributors, so that the publisher might get only 15% of
               the retail price, and the author even less.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               Some shareware programs fail: they aren't good enough to
               generate registrations.  But the author doesn't thereby
               go bankrupt.  He or she simply loses the modest,
               out-of-pocket initial disk-and-postage investment.

               There are hundreds of shareware authors who make enough
               money from shareware to substantially supplement their
               regular job income.  About 50 authors are making a living
               from shareware receipts, and have gone full-time with
               their shareware business.  Many of them can make a
               handsome profit without even needing to hire anyone else
               to help out.

               Some shareware businesses grow into full-fledged
               companies, with dozens of employees and multi-million
               dollar annual sales.  To reach that level, the author
               typically supplements the shareware marketing with
               traditional advertising and dealer distribution.  But
               even for those companies, the risks are low because the
               author moves into traditional distribution only after the
               product is generating significant revenue through
               shareware marketing.  The expansion is financed via
               existing profits, rather than venture capital.

               Shareware Businesses and Banking

               Shareware marketing is completely unique -- the only
               other business with its try-before-you-buy philosophy is
               Public Television; but Public Broadcasting stations do
               not enjoy the low overhead that shareware authors do.

               The uniqueness of shareware makes it poorly understood in
               the banking industry, especially those handling
               credit-card merchant accounts.  Shareware has some of the
               characteristics bankers normally associate with poor
               risk: payments are made almost entirely by mail or
               telephone, and all but the largest shareware businesses
               are operated out of the author's home.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               In reality, however, shareware authors are ideal
               credit-card merchants from the banker's point of view. 
               Unlike other mail-order businesses in which the customer
               doesn't see the product until it arrives, with shareware
               the customer already has the product.  If the customer
               isn't happy, he or she simply stops using the program,
               and never pays the author in the first place.  If the
               customer wishes to defraud the author, he or she simply
               uses the program and never contacts the author.  Thus,
               all of a shareware author's paying customers are both
               happy with the product and honest enough to pay for it. 
               The level of customer complaints and chargebacks is close
               to zero.  Credit-card fraud for shareware is

               If a banker knows about shareware, he or she should
               welcome a shareware author's business.  How can a banker
               identify a bona fide shareware business?  To start, the
               banker can ask the author for a copy of the program.  If
               the banker doesn't feel "computer-literate" enough to
               verify that it's a genuine, non-trivial program, he or
               she can ask for references.  Many shareware authors are
               members of the Association of Shareware Professionals
               (ASP).  The ASP screens applications for membership, to
               ensure that only legitimate authors of non-trivial
               shareware are admitted as author-members.  The ASP would
               be happy to verify any claims of membership -- they can
               be reached at (616)788-5131, weekdays 8--5 eastern time. 
               Other prominent authors have chosen not to join the ASP,
               but their programs are listed in the catalogs of
               shareware distribution companies such as Public Brand
               Software, P. O. Box 51315, Indianapolis, IN 46251; or the
               Public (software) Library, P. O. Box 35705, Houston, TX

               Shareware Distribution Companies

               Bankers should be aware of another major component of the
               shareware industry, distinct from the authors: the
               shareware distribution companies.  These companies take
               advantage of the fact that copying of shareware is
               allowed, by providing a cataloguing and distribution
               service of shareware disks.  Customers of distribution
               houses are sent lists of available programs, for which
               they can pay a copying fee of between $1 and $5 per disk.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               There is no business arrangement between authors and
               distribution houses: authors neither receive any
               royalties for disks sold, nor do they pay anything for
               the publicity given them.  Customers understand that they
               are not paying for the software, but merely for the
               distribution service.  Most shareware authors allow
               distributors to handle their programs, because it spreads
               their programs even further.

               From a banker's point of view, the shareware distribution
               houses are closer to traditional mail-order businesses. 
               Their profit margins are much lower than authors',
               because their overhead relative to revenues is higher. 
               They must advertise in order to build business.  Some
               distribution companies haven't charged enough for disks
               to cover their overhead costs, and have thus gone
               bankrupt.  But others, such as Public Brand Software and
               the Public (software) Library, have built solid,
               profitable, multi-million-dollar companies from shareware

               A banker wishing to evaluate a shareware distribution
               company can use many of the usual criteria: length of
               time in business, size of business, profit sheets, etc. 
               There are a couple of pointers specific to shareware
               distribution that can enhance the evaluation: first,
               companies should be charging at least $3 per disk in
               order to be profitable.  There can exist "Mom and Pop"
               outfits, run out of homes, that make some money charging
               less; but if they try to expand into real businesses,
               their overhead almost always overwhelms them.  Second, a
               banker can check the distributor's integrity by asking
               for a catalog and for advertising copy, to make sure that
               they are adequately explaining to the customer that they
               are a shareware distribution service and are not selling
               the software itself.  If the customers understand what
               they are getting, the level of complaints and chargebacks
               will be much less than that of the average mail-order
               business; if they don't, it will be as much or greater.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP

     12.  Services (Continued)

          12.3 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)

               For More Information

               The booklet "Shareware `Try Before You Buy' Software" by
               Rob Rosenberger describes shareware from the consumer's
               point of view.  You may purchase it by sending $4.95 plus
               $1.75 S+H to Paradise Publishing, 3111 S. Valley View
               Blvd. Suite B-105, Las Vegas, NV 89102; or calling
               (702)253-1940.  For free catalogs listing the best
               available shareware programs, you can write to Public
               Brand Software or the Public (software) Library at the
               addresses already given, or call them at their respective
               numbers: (800)426-3475 and (800)242-4775.

               End of Eric's article.


             Shareware Vendor's Guide - Copyright 1992 by the ASP


          1.2m Disk Problems  . . . . 13     On-Disk Catalog . . . . 12, 16
          800 Numbers . . . . . . . . 37     Rack Vendor . . . . . 3, 7, 11
          American Express  . . . . . 38     Rack Vendor Definition  . .  3
          ASP . . . . . . . . . . . . 34     Registering Shareware . . . 11
               Catalog  . . . . . . .  9     Registration Incentives . . 12
          ASP CD-ROM  . . . . . . . . 36     Shareware Compilation
          Association of Shareware                     Copyrights  . . .  9
                    Professionals . . 34     Shareware Copyrights  . . 5, 8
          Banker's Perspective  . . . 38     Shareware Definition  . . .  4
          Catalog Software  . . . . . 16     Shareware Description . . . 11
          Catalog, ASP  . . . . . . .  9     Shareware Registration  . . 11
          Catalog, On-Disk  . . . 12, 16     Simply Help Shareware . . . 32
          CD-ROM - ASP  . . . . . . . 36     Software  . . . . . . . . . 16
          Checking Account  . . . . . 10          Catalog  . . . . . . . 16
          Collecting Disks  . . . . .  7          Compression  . . . . . 18
          Collecting Shareware  . . . 30          Duplication  . . . . . 20
          Compression Software  . . . 18     Supplies
          Computer Equipment  . . . . 13          Disks  . . . . . . . . 26
          Copyright                               Label Stock  . . . . . 27
               Compilations . . . . .  9          Mailers  . . . . . 27, 28
               Shareware  . . . . . 5, 8     Technical Support . . . . . 32
          Credit Cards  . . . . . . . 10     Trademarks  . . . . . . . . 29
          Definition                         Tutorial Software
               Freeware . . . . . . .  4          DOS Summary
               Shareware  . . . . . .  4               (Hypertext) . . . 23
          Description Of Shareware  . 11          DosEA  . . . . . . . . 24
          Disk Collection . . . . . .  7     Vendor  . . . . . . . . . .  3
          Disk Mailers  . . . . . 27, 28     Vendor Advertizing  . . . .  9
          Disk Organization . . . . .  8     VENDOR.DOC File . . . . . 8, 9
          Disk Suppliers  . . . . . . 26     Virus Scanning  . . . .  8, 22
          Disk Vendor Definition  . .  3     Virx/Virex-PC Scanners  . . 22
          Duplication Software  . . . 20     Visa Card . . . . . . . . . 38
          Duplicators . . . . . . 14, 15     WATS Lines  . . . . . . . . 37
          Federal Tax I.D.  . . . . . 10     Word Processor  . . . . . . 12
          Fluegelman, Andrew  . . . .  4
          Freeware Definition . . . .  4
          Help Software . . . . . . . 32
          High Density Disk
                    Problems  . . . . 13
          Integrity Master
                    Anti-Virus  . . . 22
          Label Stock . . . . . . . . 27
          Letterhead  . . . . . . . .  9
          Library Collection  . . . .  7
          Logos . . . . . . . . . . .  9
          Mailers, Disk . . . . . 27, 28
          Market Niche  . . . . . . .  6
          Master Card . . . . . . . . 38
          Merchant Accounts . . . . . 38
          Niche, Market . . . . . . .  6