I've decided to introduce free trials for my two main products. As a micro-ISV, these types of decisions are always a bit tricky. I've done pretty well up to now sticking to online demos. By their nature, the products (a csv parser and an xml parser), are not that suited to downloadable demos. They are API-based components, after all, so there's nothing to see, as such.
But I've decided the time is right to experiment. You don't get anywhere in business if you stick to the same old strategy regardless. Based on visitor comments and usage of the online demos, I think that the lack of a downloadable trial for the products is hurting my sales. By how much is hard to say. But we'll soon find out!
One reason that people do not offer a downloadable trial is fear of copying. Well, to be frank, this is just not a problem for me. I don't know why people are so afraid of copying. To my mind, those who copy could probably not afford to buy anyway, so you've lost nothing, and gained a user. I already offer my products free to charities and public bodies, so this is an extension of that line of thinking. Sure, some will never buy, but down the line, quite a few will. Maybe that's terribly innocent, but hey, I believe in people!
The other question about demos is how to structure them — time-limited or function-limited. I don't really like function-limited. It makes a bad impression. And it mucks about with basic functionality. So I've gone time-limited. You'll get your standard 30 days. That should be enough time to see if the components work on your CSV or XML file.
So check back here in a month or two and we'll see how this little experiment goes.