I was tabulating the income from XRay registrations and thought the graph might be interesting for other shareware authors:

The initial peak is probably due to the fact that I had a relatively long public beta period – about 6 months, if I recall correctly – so the product was already well-known when 1.0 came out. I suppose that software released without a public beta would have a registration peak some weeks after release. After such a peak, if the product is left alone, registrations fall exponentially, approaching but never quite reaching zero.

The 1.0.5 release seems to have been well-timed; the curve had already stopped falling steeply and there was demand for new functionality, so the new version attracted a number of new clients. Publicity was favorable and XRay had been included on several CDROMs (some of which published the previous version), so there was a new, shallower peak.

For various reasons I then stepped on the ball, as they say here, and essentially left the product alone for nearly a year, except of course for user support. I should have begun working on 1.0.6 (or even 1.1) immediately, aiming for a release date around November 2002, to jack the curve up again. When I finally went back to the old drawing board a couple of months ago, the initial buzz about the product had long died down, and some of the functions which made it attractive when Mac OS X 10.1.x was new had been gradually added to later releases over time.

So the slight peak for the recent string of releases is due solely to some new users attracted by the release notices; there’ve been no reviews for some time, though I believe a couple will come out now. So part of the lukewarm reception is probably due to a lack of proper publicity; the bulk of downloads, from what I gather from my e-mail statistics, was from already registered users.

So the correct strategy now seems to be, release 1.1 with sufficient additional functionality to attract a substantial number of new users, and generate sufficient publicity around it. I’m working on that…