Shareware is just software

The ASP, formerly Association of Shareware Professionals, has changed its name to Association of Software Professionals.  I’ve been a member of the ASP for many years.  In fact, I served on the Board of Directors for two years.

I welcome the name change. The word shareware has a positive ring to it for me, but I have come to realize that for most people, it only serves as an unnecessarily confusing moniker for what is now a normal means of software marketing — trying software before buying it.

Back before the Internet was ubiquitous, someone wanting to market their software without going through the normal retail channels could encourage their users to “share” the application with others, who would pay for the software if they liked what they tried.  These days, there is no need for “sharing” a disk or uploading to a BBS, since one can simply visit a website to download the program.  There is a lot of debate over what the “first” shareware program was or whether or not it was even “shareware” at all, but the point is, shareware described a software marketing method, not the software itself.

The distinction is lost, however.  Therefore, it is wise to discontinue using the term altogether.

Though I market my software with “try before you buy” download versions, I haven’t used the term “shareware” in many years, because I’d rather describe my software to someone instead of defining idiosyncratic marketing terms.  My company does what other software companies do: design and sell computer programs.

So, kudos to the ASP for getting this done and moving on.