Shareware Beach

Thursday, 17 March 2005

Digital River Acquires SWREG

Filed under: Shareware Industry — Jan @ 21:59

How ironic. Just yesterday, I finally got around to publishing the long overdue privacy policy. In an attempt to increase customer confidence with transparency, I wrote:

SWREG has a solid reputation in the software industry for providing reliable and honest services. [...] Jan Goyvaerts (owner of JGsoft) and Steve Lee (owner of SWREG) are personally acquainted.

This morning I logged onto the SWREG control panel. I was greeted by a message from Steve Lee saying he’d sold the business. Privacy policy invalidated one day after publishing. Must be some kind of record.

Anyway, I perfectly understand Steve’s motives for selling. I wish him the best of luck and lots of fun driving his oversized buses (or having them driven) all over the place. I guess we won’t be engaging in friendly banter at shareware conferences any more.

SWREG’s open policy and the willingness of Steve and his employees to candidly talk about their business, including screw-ups, always made me feel confident using their services for the most vital part of my business (or any business for that matter): taking money from customers. This candor will be the first casualty of the acquisition. Digital River is publicly traded. They’re tied by strict laws when it must say what, and when it musn’t say what.

It’s not the end of the world though. JGsoft will continue using SWREG’s services for the foreseeable future. I really like the way their “advanced level” system works. Though it’s a bit of work to set up and maintain, it’s incredibly flexible. None of their competitors offer something similar. Hopefully, Digital River will recognize the value of this technology, and position SWREG as the hands-on-total-control flavor of their portfolio of services, rather than the low-cost flavor. Not that I’d mind keeping the grandfathered $1 + 4% rates. :-)

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