Limited Features or Limited Time?

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  • I would prefer the full-featured... but the time limit needs to be a least a month. Like you mentioned, all it takes is getting caught up in a few things at work, and a few weeks are gone.

    What I've also seen is a full-featured, but after a time limit it "down-grades" to a limited feature set.

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  • When I am evaluating software for work, I absolutely want full-featured, for a limited time. Usually vendors are willing to give you extra time if you need it, especially if there is something in there that displays "trial version" when you use it in your application so they aren't worried you're going to deploy the trial without paying. We spent several months constantly renewing trial license keys while attempting to integrate a brand-new product that we weren't fully sure would meet our needs -- and we did eventually buy it and spend a lot on licensing, so their cooperation paid off.

    At home, where my personal software budget is more limited, I prefer free versions with limited features. I still buy software that I need, but free versions are greatly appreciated 🙂

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  • I would always prefer the full-featured trial version with atleast a month evaluation time for big feature rich products.

    I would also go for the full-featured but the one which displays a message that it is a trial version, even in the deployment, so that i can convince my client to evaluate it and go for it.

    The other option of limited feature is actually a loss for the product company, since anybody will continue to use it if they find the feature they want in the free but limited version. If there is a feature that i need but not included in the trial, then it will be very hard for me to choose the product, since i am not able to use and test that feature.:-)


  • I remember trialling the XMLSpy home edition (no longer available). It had the very basics, but on each day one of the 'power features' was available (and the next day a different power feature would be available). That way you got a chance to try out all the functionality, but clearly you didn't have all the benefits of the full product.

    Reminds me of the movie channel in the hotel get to see a few seconds of a film at a time, but to see the whole picture you've got to pay!

    In short I think vendors should be more creative.

  • My votes:

    Full featured product with limit on number of uses

    Hybrid - fullfeatured for at least one month, then limited

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  • I wish I could have had a 180-day evaluation of my car. I definitely would have taken it back 🙂

    My preference is the longer evaluation. If I decide I like it, I will check if the limited/free version will meet my requirements and if not, make a case to buy the fully-featured version.

    James Stover, McDBA

  • James Stover (6/4/2010)

    James Stover McDBA - is that like an Irish DBA?

  • For me it has to be time limited with full features. I have found that it's not always a bad idea to give a fully featured product a longer period.

    As I work in an environment that leans towards this weeks hot potatoe ends up as the neglected potatoe salad at the back of a students fridge the following week.

    I have found that 14 days is just not enough time. On the occasion I have found one that does a long fully featured taster it has given me time to to use it feel the benefits and actually incorparate it into my working environment.

    Then all of a sudden I get you have 3 days left. If it's then within budget and I can actually prove to those that hold the purse strings of it's real not just percieved benefits and you then have the sale.

    This is all IMHO of course


  • For me the preference is full featured for a short time which then automatically disables some features and goes into "free" mode or at least "I'm going to irritate you untill you get your wallet out" mode.

    There is plenty of software which is free for casual users but charges for those who want a bit more advanced functionality and/or support. I don't want to pay £100 for what could well be a great piece of software but has functionality which I may only use for a couple of hours a year.

    (I'm currently in that dilema with XML editors, I want something with enough features but they all seem way too expensive for the amount of time I'd actually use them for)

    Personally, I think its a great way of expanding a products user base, especially with modern software and systems there are always going to be bugs that get past testing. So the more users you have, the more chance you have of finding those bugs quickly and getting updates out.

  • If I have a requirement, I'll only look at software that fulfills that need. It doesn't matter how many features are available in a free version of a product if the one I need is locked. Similarly, I'm not going to buy something if I don't have long enough to be sure it lives up to its promises.

    In short, my aim is to plug a gap, and I'll deal with anyone who gives me an evaluation method that proves they can help. If neither standard offering of free limited features or time limited full product allows me to do that, I'll go elsewhere. Any sales person I deal with has to earn their money.

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  • The best trial I've taken advantage of is for a piece of Software called Scrivener. It's for the Mac and is software designed to aid writers. I digress.

    The trial is for 30 days, but it only counts down by a day if you use the product, e.g. you could use it every other day for 60 days, or every day for 30 days and so on. It's been brilliant, because it has given me chance to try it out for a few days, and then when other things got in the way I didn't have to worry about not being able to continue with the trial later on.

  • I would definitely go with time limit offer as in my eyes if we are really looking to buy a product we'd then spend time to find the one that best suit us. So you cannot do this unless you got a product with it's all featured turned on.



  • Mostly been said , but my 2 penneth is Full Features / Limited Time but not too limited .

    As a Red Gate site , I'll use SQL prompt as the example , I used up my 2 weeks freebie , I was so impressed I bought ( I already had the Prompt SQL Predecessor) . Months later I was still finding new bits , maybe I'm slow. If you were prevaricating as to whether to purchase , it just have tipped the balance in not having enough time to evaluate properly.

    2 Weeks is a bit short especialy if the investment is high, a month is usually sufficient.

    Another niggle is being forced to use some one else's "Tame Database" rather than applying the product to one of those "Real Db with warts" that none of us have (!).

    Most vendors will extend trial licenses but they hesitate at more than a few days to avoid over trialling . I have also come across some , Codesmith for example, who will allow "Tame Db" restrictions to be lifted to see how it really performs but for a shorter period.

    I know there is the commercial aspect to consider but I believe speculate to accumulate


  • At work - definitely time limited, full featured, and if it's any good then make a case for buying it. In my experience, if you download a free version with limited functionality, the company takes the view that it is free, why should they pay any more, so work with what you've got! Maybe I've just worked for some very tight companies.....!!! 😛

    At home - I like to play around with tools that I use or could use in my work, so having a free version that I can familiarise myself with a product is invaluable. If I find that I would use a feature that is not available with the free version then it is an incentive to buy the full version.

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