I had a lot of fun selling my own software for a while. I encountered some interesting folks along the way.
A person from France registered MailSend by sending me a $10 bill in the mail … from France to the United States. It made it to me! He said that was the most convenient way for him to pay me in U.S. funds. For a while, I kept all of the envelopes from customers who sent registrations via postal mail. I had a number of them from various places around the globe.
A young woman approached me about removing the limitations of the trial version. She told me that she tried everything to avoid paying for it, but she finally spent the $10.
There was a guy who used social engineering to make me think that a co-worker of his had ordered a copy of MailSend and that they were in desperate need of it. So, I sent him a link to the fully-functional version. I never heard from him again.
I hadn’t realized that people would be unfamiliar with the term “Windows console mode application.” They would click MailSend.EXE after downloading. This caused the early versions to open a DOS-looking window which then immediately closed after the help text was displayed. One guy thought I had broken his OS because he had problems after double-clicking my software. He and I worked through whatever was happening on his system. I later changed MailSend so that there was a pause requiring the operator to hit ENTER after displaying a portion of the help text. This allowed people to examine the console screen without freaking out about the “weird DOS window that popped up.”
My software was once an attachment to this huge group email where everyone kept replying to all “take me off of this email list” … which kept sending emails … with my software link … to hundreds of folks who had already seen these emails.
I was surprised at how handy my command-line mail tools were for people using some older tech. A few people were using some older versions of Nantucket’s Clipper xBase language. They were able to use MailSend and MailGrab to automate email processing from their programs. One customer used QBASIC to drive MailSend and MailGrab for a mail automation system for his church.
The person who owns the hosting company for this page, NetOne Communication https://netonecom.net , was one of my customers. He personally urged me to obtain my own domain and he guided me through hosting on his service. Originally, I had just used my personal web page at my ISP to host my downloads. Then, my ISP changed hands and my home page’s URL now had a tilde (~) in the URL where it hadn’t before, breaking all of the links I had placed throughout the Internet. I should’ve secured my own domain much earlier.
Although I quit selling software, I didn’t quit publishing software. I think my most popular utility is my command-line MP3 player (cmdmp3) that I wrote just to exercise the Windows Multimedia API’s.
At one time, I had a command-line Twitter client called Twimmando. Twitter changed their API’s quite a while ago, which broke the utility. I have also published various batch utilities and other programs over the years.
I also tested the mobile waters with a free Android app. I had been meaning to release some apps for both Android and iOS, but it can be really tough to do so. If you actually sell the apps, taxes seem to be something that can be kind of a pain.
Well, I do have some software that I’d like to finish up and publish, but it’s very difficult to just place software on a web site expecting that people would be able to install it on their own. Windows can be outright hostile to some download links and to some files after you’ve installed them. If I can figure out a simple enough way around the issues so that people who want to run my software can do so without fighting with their OS, then yes … I’ll probably publish more stuff.
Thank you all. The years that I’ve discussed in this series of posts were quite a fun ride!