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Distribution and marketing of software


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I recently needed to figure out a good way to get a piece of shareware (developed i LabVIEW) distributed to the various popular download sites. It does not really matter which programming language or tool(s) were used in the development so I did not search for help on this here or at ni.com. One good source I found was this https://www.fatbit.com/fab/promote-software-app-online/

It did strike me as a bit curious though that we never really discuss such matters. Most applications developed in LabVIEW are probably not generic enough to be released through such channels, but sometimes they are, and unless you have your own sales and marketing people that are familiar with software you might need to do the job yourself. Perhaps some of you have been through this with your products already and have some tips and tricks to share? One generic product we have *not* released this way yet uses the OPC UA API. The distribution license requirement NI puts on it makes it too cumbersome to handle 😒

One of the things I discovered from the mentioned web site was the use of PAD-files. I created an account at AppVisor and started working on a file for the shareware we were to release. You can edit, save and publish the PAD file, but very few download sites automatically discover your software that way so I soon came to realize that I needed to pay AppVisor a fee for them to submit the software to the download sites. I did try to submit to my favourite download site myself first (download.com), but they never published it on their site. The AppVisor submission service came in different price categories and as I did not expect the software to generate that much sales I chose the cheapest option for now which only gives you 4 submissions per year to 100 sites, but it is a starting point. One thing I soon learned was that the download links should be made permanent. At first I used links that contained the version and build number , and that got cumbersome very quickly as we soon needed to submit a few bug fixes and updates... I also had to create program descriptions of various standardized lengths, provide links to icons, screen captures etc. Having a video or two showing some of the features is probably a good idea as well. Reading tips and tricks from other sites I started mentioning and/or linking to the product on social media, but tried to do it rather discreetly as I personally hate obvious marketing🤢. I still got marked very quickly as "spam" on one site - even though I had only mentioned the product in a relevant setting, and along with similar competing products 😦. It makes me appreciate the work our sales people normally do for us. They are too busy selling our main products so I have not bothered them much with this.

Edited by Mads
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NI have (at least used to have) a facility where you can give them the software and their sales team will sell it alongside their other products. You get an NI product number and it's included in their software catalogue.

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1 hour ago, ShaunR said:

NI have (at least used to have) a facility where you can give them the software and their sales team will sell it alongside their other products. You get an NI product number and it's included in their software catalogue.

I have not seen that. It is not the NI Tools Network your thinking of, is it? We did put one product there as it relies on NI hardware, but otherwise it feels more right for libraries and coding tools than generic applications...

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6 hours ago, Mads said:

I have not seen that. It is not the NI Tools Network your thinking of, is it? We did put one product there as it relies on NI hardware, but otherwise it feels more right for libraries and coding tools than generic applications...

You don't get an NI part number just by publishing on the Tools Network. Granted, when I was asked if i wanted to take advantage, it was a product on the tools network but it becomes a part of their product catalogue. Companies can then order it through NI themselves along with their other software and hardware and NI then pay you.

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Wasn't there something in the NI rebrand/one of the partner meetings shortly afterwards, about them having NI certified products from third parties. I can't remember what they called it but from memory it was basically a scheme where NI may push your 'solution' using their regional representatives (Or whatever their frontline sales people are called now)

 

Note: the above is full of half remembered facts from things I was only half paying attention to at the time so might be total drivel.

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