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Niche Marketing
Posted by: Michael M. Shaw Date: May 28, 2000 at 14:56:15
In Reply to: Re: Is genealogy software non-profitable? by Bob Velke of 11492


Nope, I haven't given away any software and will not. I believe that the only way to keep software companies in business is to pay for the product and let others do the same. My decision to buy any particular software package includes the hope that my purchase will allow the developer to make a profit.

While paying for software--and not giving it to others--does not ensure that the developer will stay in business (other market forces are always in play), at least it allows me to say thanks in a tangible way for providing me with a product I use constantly.

I do not expect every business to stay IN BUSINESS forever. I didn't expect my Commodore 128 to last me a lifetime, and I don't expect that my recent purchase of TMG through the UFT-user upgrade program to be my last purchase. I am, after all, expecting to upgrade to the 32-bit version of TMG.

Many--if not most--of the persons posting here are not the "average" genealogy software consumer type (if there is such a type). We expect FAR more from our programs than PAF or FTM can provide. Those programs are designed for the persons who may not care to document sources to the degree that many of us document, or may not want to visit NARA or an FHC to photocopy for days on end.

FTM is marketed in such a way that there is always a new CD hitting the market that the casual genealogy buff may hope will "do the research" for them and spare them the endless hours in libraries and courthouses. FTM has become for genealogy software what BOSE has become for home audio: not anywhere near the best product, but the product most people RECOGNIZE. We have marketing to thank for that, both pro and con.

Non-audiophiles: do you recognize audio names such as KRELL, Audible Illusions, Wilson Audio, or Wadia? Would you be surprised to know that they're all American-made, top-of-the-line audio components that cost thousands of dollars? Would you be surprised to know that there are thousands of people who willingly pay this kind of money simply because that's the only way they can get what they want? Are you surprised to learn that on high-end equipment, most vinyl records sound better than CDs, and that tube--yes, tube--and not solid-state equipment is often "the state of the art"? Marketing got most of us to buy CDs and dump our LP technology, not better sound. Marketing got many people to buy FTM, and lack of marketing killed UFT, as I believe G.c hoped it would.

In much the same fashion as audio, the casual user of genealogy software may not even be aware that many of us are documentation-obsessive. They may not have even THOUGHT about "getting proof"!

Many of us realize that niche software such as TMG is designed for the genealogist or genealogy hobbyist who wants more from software than a mass-market package can offer. And we'll pay for it. The law of large numbers works here. Sell a hundred thousand copies of FTM and make a bundle. Sell a thousand copies of TMG and make...a living? I hope so. I hope TMG survives, much in the way American audiophile products have survived. If you want what the product offers, be it superior documenting and flexibility, or superior sound, you pay for it. That's why we paid hundreds for ROOTS and will keep on paying when we need to.

Sure, I want my data to survive. And if 10 years from now new technology demnads that I buy another new software package, I'll do that, too. I hope it'll be from a company that understands--as WhollyGenes seems to--that "one size does NOT fit all".



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