Software License Giveaways – Go Big Or Go Home

imageIf you get the impression that this article is a bit of a rant – you’d be right.

As a popular Blogger, I receive giveaway offers from software developers virtually everyday. You know the type – “Contest: We have 5/10 licenses to giveaway to your readers”, or something similar. I avoid them like the plague – and here’s why.

It’s a sweet deal for the software developer.

The Blogger writes a review on a piece of software he may not otherwise have even considered, which amounts to free publicity for the developer.

Depending on the Blog’s readership base, this can amount to significant free exposure.

The Blogger does all the back end work – testing the application (although I’m aware of some Bloggers who don’t), writing a review, replying to the contest entries; setting up the drawing to pull the winning entries; notifying the winners, etc.

All of this for what – so that 5 readers out of perhaps as many as 4/5000 daily readers, get a free one year license for a piece of software? All of this for a marginal increase in Blog traffic, which at best, is transient.

Contrast that type of low end giveaway with a “professional” giveaway, such as the following.

Zemana, the developers of the highly regarded security application AntiLogger, on two occasions in the past year, set up a special giveaway download page for Tech Thought readers, which resulted in 2,000+ licenses  being given away. No fuss, no muss, no waiting, no trusting to luck, professionally handled, and a win-win for all involved.

Ashampoo, a German software developer with over twelve million customers, periodically offers free multipacks of their programs for download with the only requirement being registration. At the moment Ashampoo is offering five of their best selling applications, at no cost.

Since I posted an article on this offer late yesterday, 300+ readers here, have taken advantage of this generous offer. Definitely beats a low end 5/10 license contest hands down. There’s no entry to fill out, and then having to trust that lady luck will reward you. Best of all – there’s no waiting.

You might wonder why I’d bother writing a piece like this. There’s a simple answer really.

It allows me to answer the many reader inquires I’ve received, as to why I no longer promote skimpy software giveaways.

It allows me to point out to readers, that mature software developers (like the two above), focus on the big picture in creating opportunities for users to benefit from giveaways – not 5 or 10; but, significant numbers of users.

It allows me to point out to other Bloggers that getting involved in low end giveaways is a mugs game – that the only marginal winner is a software developer, who has yet to grasp the fundamentals of marketing in the Internet age.

And finally, it allows me to point out to fellow Bloggers the truth of that old axiom – “If you work for nothing, you’ll never be out of a job.”

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Filed under Bill's Rants, Contests, Giveaways, Personal Perspective, Point of View, Software Giveaways

16 responses to “Software License Giveaways – Go Big Or Go Home

  1. Ranjan

    Hey Bill,
    When i first read the tilte, i thought, ‘Go Big or Go Home’, what kind of software is that…
    After reading, i got the point and i agree completely..
    Those low end giveaways are simply a waste of time (seeing the ratio of participants to winners), atleast for those with ill or no luck at all, like me. Moreover, what really grinds my gears is when someone makes the rule to share this on social networks and that your winning chances are directly proportional to how much you share.. I know that it gives them more visitors but are giveaways the only medium? Absolutely no, your visitors count will automatically increase if you post interesting stuffs.. A nice example is yours… Your articles are worth reading..
    Apart from that, those straightforward giveaways profit more people, more people get the chance to use their app and ultimately more recognition to the vendor.. Good for both the consumer and the producer.

    • Hey Ranjan,

      Thank you for this very thoughtful comment. The real trigger for this article was – this week I got one of these invitations for 10 licenses, provided my readers logged in to Facebook; something you pointed out in your comment.

      I can’t imagine agreeing to that type of arrangement; given that Facebook is the biggest scam and spam factory – ever. The only way to do this is to sponsor wide open free offers – just as you point out. Anything else is simple unfair to readers. Bloggers owe their readers much more than just being a mouthpiece for technology companies.


  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Absolutely agree with you on this article. And you’re right about Facebook, the biggest load of crap website ever invented. Anybody who signs up to this crap website needs their head read, considering that even mainstream news reports how much malware exists on Facebook.


    • Thanks Mal.

      The worst thing is, it’s not at all unusual for me to get an invitation where Facebook is part of the package. You have to wonder how plugged in these people are. Not very, I’d venture.

      Have a great weekend.



  3. RoseD1st

    BRAVO Bill! I totally agree!

  4. Dave Curtis

    Bill. You are still THE MAN. Thank you.

  5. Liam O' Moulain

    Well said Bill.

    I’m with you on this, I hate those contests. And, your point is well made – these companies involved in this, need to get into 21st century marketing.


    • Hey Liam,

      It’s the same old – same old, with companies who practice this type of marketing. There are so many good examples of how successful companies market with giveaways, I’m surprised to still see these silly 5/10 license contest.

      Thanks for commenting.


  6. Ruchir Bansal

    I think only persons having low self esteem will apply for these 1,2,5 licenses. If you are not one don’t waste time to even read these ridiculous luck based offers.
    The gainer is only the developer,gaining free publicity and many of us are so hopeless to try their luck.
    As Bill M says,there are equal or better free replacement for all of sharewares. Just continue reading and maybe you will know everything one day. It is a one stop blog where you will get simply everything you need.

  7. Kathleen Drotar

    You are so right, Bill. I’ve been able to take advantage of several excellent giveaways from your blog without having to resort to selling my soul and providing free advertising on items I’ve not even had the chance to really try out yet. Both Zemana and Ashampoo have provided me with quality products that I’m pleased to recommend after using them for a short time.

    The only exception has been a SuperAntispyware Pro lifetime license that I was grateful to have won here. I had always found their free product to be a wonderful addition to my security efforts, so having the paid version was a perk I didn’t expect. And I didn’t have to provide them with free advertising in return!

    Thanks for all you do to keep educating me and everyone else who has the smarts to read your blog regularly.


    • Thanks for your support on this issue Kat.

      I’m gratified that readers, like you, are speaking out on the frustration attached to these low end giveaways.

      Good to hear from you.


  8. corker

    Hi Bill,

    Your rant has opened a new perspective for me who is also running a blog. Starting now on, I will be more selective in arranging giveaway for my readers.

    Thank you and best regards!