Limited Features or Limited Time?

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Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren.

I was chatting with a software vendor recently about their decision to introduce a free but feature limited version of their product. It’s a tough decision.  Trying to put enough features in the product to make it valuable to the person downloading it, but no so good that they won’t consider upgrading to the full priced (and full featured) version as some point.

The other model we see is the full featured install that is time limited. This makes sure you see the total value of the features, but the time limit is often so short (I’d guess 14 days is average) that all it takes is an interruption or two at work and you never get to spend time with it. There are even hybrids – free with limited features but a much longer evaluation period.

In most cases I can quickly decide if I don’t like a product using either method. But deciding I like it well enough to purchase? That takes time. It takes time for me to use it repeatedly, to solve some problems with it, time to see if it’s really solid or just a shell.

Given the option of free but featured limited, or full featured with a short time limit, which one are you more likely to try? Which one do you think gives you enough information to feel confident about recommending a purchase?

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