Recently, I wondered why many portals(also Information ones, not only software vendors) give away a few free licences in a lottery-like game! You just type Email Address and Name, and off it goes. Well, the portals definitely don’t make any income from this-so why do they do it then?
When you look at these giveaways a second time, you immediately understand that only people visiting the portal can participate. Thus, a possible reason is generation of new visitors! But, people who don’t know about the portal won’t even hear about the giveaway-and thus won’t come. This reason cannot really be accepted then! Criminal motivations(selling the addresses) will be left aside now..
However, looking more thoroughly at the pages, usually a list of prices can be found. As software portals are getting more and more expensive(an ad for SplashPhoto was spotted in a German newspaper called c’t), it gets more and more difficult to tell users about your new or updated app! But without advertising, nobody will find the program. Nowadays, even the smallest categories at PalmGear’s contain more than hundred applications!
When the user participates in a giveaway, he usually looks at the prices to know what he can win there! And alas, he sees the new/updated app. His interest is awaken, and he googles up a demo version that should be readily available and not too crippled! If he wins it, he is lucky. If not, there is a chance that he buys it off his favourite portal!
So, to cut a long story short: Developers, support giveaways at your local/global portal! If you offer a few licences of your app for free, you may get 20 times as many registrations and net a nice profit. The “loss” that you make will still be much less than the cost for a newspaper ad(the c’t is expensive, boys). In addition, users will think of you as a “nice” developer.
And that’s always good!