Quit nagging!

If you're going to charge for software, don't nag your potential users into submission. On my computer, that's grounds for an uninstall.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor

Lately I've been experimenting with Python for prototyping a symbolic substitution algorithm that will eventually be written in Java (if I can ever figure out what the requirements are and how to implement them, but that's another story). So I downloaded an Eclipse plug-in named PyDev that provides support for Python programming.

It worked fine, but a few days later after an update that loaded some extensions, I got a rude surprise - a nag dialog. This one said that if I wanted to get rid of the nag dialogs I needed to buy the software. Well, I'm not even sure I'm going to be using it very long so I just hit OK to make it go away, after waiting for the clever little delay that grays out the OK button to make SURE I read the dialog.


A few minutes later it was back again. I wasn't even using the editor, I was reading mail or something and *poink* up it came. Grr, go away, *click*. A few minutes later: *poink* *poink* *poink* (yes, I got three of them in a row).  Ok, that's ridiculous.

I'll give the developers the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't designed to pop up quite that often, but I uninstalled the software anyway. I'm not opposed to paying money for useful software, but this is not the way to extract it from me. Does anybody like nag screens?

If it's not going to be free, then I'd rather have time limited software. Full functionality, for a trial period. For example Camtasia hooked me by working for free until the week before I had to deliver an important online presentation. I liked it better than any of the free alternatives, so I ponied up. But it was my choice.

Before adding a nag screen to your application, ask yourself this: Do you really want to start a relationship with your customer by annoying and nagging them into giving you money?

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