Perhaps Morgan should change to shareware?

Subscribe to Perhaps Morgan should change to shareware? 10 post(s), 9 voice(s)

Avatar earlyadopter 1 post

I have been using Jbidwatcher for many years, pretty much near its inception, and it’s been an invaluable tool and felt strongly enough about it to have donated 2 or 3 times.

However, one version about a year ago failed on me and now that I read these comments, I’m reluctant to rely on it any longer.

Obviously, it’s not Morgan’s fault that ebay keeps trying to lock out sniping tools, nor is it his fault that he has a life outside of developing Jbidwatcher and can’t stay on top of those changes immediately and, most inportantly, it’s obvious that Morgan can’t rely on users to voluntarily donate to make it worth his while to stay on top of it in a timely manner.

I, for one, would be more than willing to pay a shareware licensing fee to ensure that this otherwise invaluable piece fo software continues its development.


Avatar ooofest 22 post(s)

Sounds like a fine idea to me.

Avatar afleance 44 post(s)

In enterprise software, there’s many examples of open source software where the company makes money off the service and support, e.g. Redhat, MySQL, JBoss, etc. but that doesn’t work for jbidwatcher.

I’ve always wondered if Morgan could make some $$ off ebay’s affiliate programming? If we are always buying items using jbidwatcher, shouldn’t ebay be kicking back some $$ to Morgan? Maybe because we doesn’t use ebay’s API or other affiliate marketing tools, he’s not able to plug into that. But that would be the most painless way for jbidwatcher users to pay Morgan to keep this fine software updated.

Avatar zappram 290 post(s)

Very good idea.

Except – eBay probably won’t care, as if there’s no JBW, you and I will use another software or if there’s no such thing as a sniping software, people can use the eBay system to increase bids automatically… or big manually.

I would say, we should just do more donations as time goes when we really snipe a big deal. Which happened to me 3 times, that I won items are a ridiculously low price and I donate to Morgan every time when that happens. I do appreciate the use of this software.

Keep up the good work Morgan. Thanks again.

Avatar Morgan Schweers Administrator 1,204 post(s)

I appreciate the kind words, across the board. Thank you, VERY much.

I’ve been loathe to go to a Shareware model, mainly because I have no real idea how many users would remain, or register. Plus, then I’d have to think about fighting the ‘piracy’ battles, which are frustrating and ultimately pointless. There’s a substantial boost to my personal happiness knowing that folks don’t send me money because I’ve threatened them with losing the software, but rather because they feel compelled to because it’s been good for them.

That all said, I admit I’ve been trying to think about ways to make more money from JBidwatcher and related products. It’s been in the back of my head for a long time, but circumstances have pushed me a bit further forward. (Circumstances elided; nobody wants to hear about problems.)

There is a person who has expressed interest in acquiring JBidwatcher and all the stuff that goes with it, and promises to maintain it going forward, but I’m loathe to do that as it rarely ends well for the actual users.

I’m trying to figure out what the right choices are. I have so many JBidwatcher-related balls in the air, I don’t always know what to work on next. I have iBidwatcher which is an iPhone version and has a clear path to making money, but it relies on a server like Gixen or one I’d custom build because you can’t snipe directly from a phone, MacBidwatcher which is a native Mac OS X version that is beautiful AND acts like a real Mac app and could be sold through the Mac App Store but essentially means re-implementing all of JBidwatcher in a new language, My JBidwatcher is the web server that ties a lot of stuff together and would be the ‘control center’ for iBidwatcher but it’s not clear how to make money from it, and of course JBidwatcher, which after 12 years is looking pretty long in the tooth. It’s hard to maintain, hard to improve, and sadly in the modern era of user interfaces, it’s pretty damn ugly and hard to use.

And of course, atop all of this, is eBay’s unending changes to their site, my own lack of time, and the desire to make SOMETHING that has the potential to add some income. There’s a ton of software I’ve written to deal with eBay, but not all of it is in a finished state. So, for instance, I took a week (this was around a year ago) and added really powerful thumbnail viewing for eBay auctions to the iPhone version. It was a waste of time in retrospect, because there were more important features to build out, just to get to a shippable state.

Unfortunately sniping software is banned from the eBay affiliate program, explicitly. (It wasn’t, for a brief period back in 2007 or 2008, and I made around $3500/mo. for about 3 months, with less than half the 7 day active users I have right now. Then I got booted from the affiliate program as they ‘clarified’ their rules.) Sniping software is also disallowed from the API program.

There are not many ways to make money via sniping software. I could sell it, but what do I do if eBay breaks it? Do I give refunds? How fast can I get fixes out? I’m considering making the MacBidwatcher version be a Mac App Store only application, because their rules handle all that for me, but that means fixes are slower.

I could offer an optional sniping service, and charge $0.20 to $0.50 per successful snipe (depending on how many snipes you buy in advance), so that folks could snipe when their computers were off, or otherwise occupied, but that service gets a BIG red target painted on it from the scammers, and I have no idea if enough folks would buy into it. (That’s how I’ll have to do the iPhone Bidwatcher app anyway, if I ever release it.)

I’m really grateful to the folks who donate, and I’m trying to keep the program fresh and capable. I’m very sorry that I fall down on that front sometimes. I’m going to continue to keep trying, though.

Best of luck with your auctions!

— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

Avatar Liam 20 post(s)

I’ll buy your Mac App store version if it’s under $10. Over and I’d have to access the value closer. I’d rather do that than remember to donate occasionally.

Avatar PPBDave 2 post(s)

I, for one, would be very happy to pay $.20 a snipe from an on-line server that’s always up. I have missed many snipes because I shut my computer down, forgetting I had an active snipe.

Another suggestion is to model your software after Brother’s Keeper by John Sneed. His software is free to download and run and you have no obligation to purchase, however, he does say the shareware cost is ~$35.00. I use this software a lot and purchased the license. He also charges to download the manual as well as a minimal charge for a copy on CD.

Thanks for this great program.

Avatar Richard Iredale 5 post(s)

Morgan, I’m brand-new to JBW, having used Auction Sentry for years on numerous snipes.

I can understand the frustration of spending lots of time fixing things when eBay decides to change things—and without seeing much compensation.

Selling the program outright for, say, $49.95 (including lifetime updates) would be one common option. Another would be to slightly modify the current program to include a space on the header that would increment $1 for each successful snipe, and then suggest a donation in that amount.

So after using the program for a while it might show a suggested donation of $7. I’d be inclined to make that donation, for two reasons: (1) there are few programs out there that do this snipe task well, and (2) the very nature of this app demands that it be updated as soon as possible after eBay makes changes to their website. You can’t be expected to work for nothing. And $1 for a successful snipe is a trivial fee to pay.

I would NOT be interested in a cloud-based version. I want total control on my machine. And I don’t share concerns with those who complain that they forget and turn their PCs off. If you have a pending snipe, leave it on!

Best regards.

Avatar zappram 290 post(s)

I think it makes sense for people who use the program and win auctions to pay “some” fees ….

Utility companies will not provide service if you don’t pay your last bill…

eBay will not list your items, if you don’t pay your fees on selling all you stuff …..

so how about you pay $5 and it will track only on your winning snipes, and and deduct accordingly…. and you need to “top up” if you want more snipes?

Lets try to figure out something nice and easy for everyone to use. I had donated a few times already, as I found JBW save me time and “money” so it’s worth it for me… that’s why we use the software for, right guys?

Avatar MEC2 61 post(s)

I tell you what, as soon as this new eBay thing gets all sorted out, $5 is going his way for sure, it will be worth it just to have no more hassles…