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What is Shareware?

Shareware is copyrighted commercial software that you are allowed to try out before you make the purchase decision. It is a marketing concept, not a type of software.

Shareware marketing is typically used when the author doesn't have a huge advertising budget. High end software like Lotus 1-2-3, dBASE IV, etc. may have advertising budgets of over a million dollars. A full page advertisement in a magazine like PC Magazine can cost over $10,000 an issue. Smaller software companies, like MaeDae Enterprises, usually don't have that type of advertising budget so shareware marketing is used.

Many people question whether software distributed via shareware is of as high a quality as the software they see advertised in commercial magazines. Good commercial advertising can sell almost any software regardless of its quality. Shareware must be of equal or higher quality than commercially available software for users to register. You, the user, have the opportunity to evaluate the shareware and find the real gems. With commercial software, you purchase the software and then hope it works as advertised.

Note: Don't feel guilty about passing around copies of shareware. You are helping the author distribute his software. Even though shareware is commercial software, you are encouraged to pass around evaluation copies!

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