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Mike G I was really excited about Bits du Jour when I first discovered it in 2007. Exciting software appeared at least a few times each month--enough to keep me interested in checking back several times a week and posting comments on some of the offerings.

But things seemed to go downhill from there. It's now been several months since I've seen any software I'm interested in. There's been a corresponding drop in comments posted by site visitors. Now it's the norm to see 0 comments. Activity in this forum appears to have diminished over the same time period.

I think the Bits du Jour concept has great upside potential. It's a fantastic looking, well-designed web site.

So, what's the fix? Possibly more than one thing, but the most obvious to me is the need for at least the occasional appearance of popular/well-known software titles. How many visitors will continue returning to the site after failing to find software they're interested in for several months in a row?

Maybe I'm off base here and Bits du Jour is actually inundated with tens of thousands of enthusiastic visitors per day, but it doesn't look that way... I hope things work out for the best!
        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Nico Westerdale Glenn,

Thnaks for your thoughtfull post, but I must say that Roger and myself are a little surprised. I think that the range of software that we've gotten has grown significantly since 2007, and we now regularly feature more than one item a day from a wide range of developers. We've also had on our most popular pieces for repeat performances.

We keep trying to expand our range of items but we've actually found that niche specialist software sells much better than brand name titles that you can get anywhere. Things still keep going from strength to stengeth, sorry if it doesn't appear that way to you!
        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Steven Avery Hi Folks,

Good questions. I have to generally agree with Nico that the software is generally diverse and of good quality. e.g. Today I posted on Easeus Partition Manager on the Donationcoder website, sometimes there is higher-level techie discussion there of the Bits Du Jour specials. Bits regulars might want to look at their forums at the Bits discussions, as well as the discussions here. eg. PowerCmd (an excellent Bits) got a good discussion, with pictures and pluses and minuses compared to the alternatives. For me, it was perfect, but I would have had a hard time deciding without the $10 go-for-it cost.

Overall I find myself buying once a month, very satisfactorily. The biggest concern is "impulse buying" buying a product for the discount that I don't really need.

There are many software products that could be added, maybe Nico and Roger could participate more on DonationCoder (where they are well-respected) on a thread specifically looking for potential specials. Although DC has their own little deals at times, they understand the nice aspect of a larger one-day discount even where they have connected with the same vendor.

I think the problem of lack of discussion here is more structural and cosmetic than interest. These forums here are in the background. And folks don't post on the front page unless ready to buy.. The forums are not real fancy. Maybe they could be hosted differently ? Or as a guest elsewhere ?

Overall, I compliment Bits for their efforts, which for me have been very successful and consistent. And I like the fact that they seem to vette the software well, looking for packages with contacts and support and reviews, only once did I have a forum critique on that account, a product that looked a bit questionable (don't remember offhand the name). I know Nico likes feedback comments, supportive or critical, maybe the mechanism for that can be revamped and encouraged.

I recently got in a little brouhaha with one pay mechanism precisely on that vetting issue.. they call the merchants - "partners" - but they do absolutely no vetting (other than after-the-fact complaints and quiet un-public termination if there are too many complaints). By contrast, I have a strong confidence that the softwares on Bits will be exactly as advertised. A few may be borderline clunkers, but not deceptive clunkers. The worst will be gray area choices. Of course I generally check Snapfiles, Fileforum and DonationCoder as well (my fav review sources, but there are a few others). Sometimes it is a very close call, like the surprise VOIP products the other day, which were very good, btw, even though I did not bite.

Maybe Nico and Roger want to somehow expand the future selection review discussion. Just to get a notch better.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the big name software question. Plenty of the names here are recognizable.

In fact my biggest critique a while back of Bits was doing something with big name Norton security, when all the techies understand that the small guys have better products and that Norton can be a deadly embrace (humorous overstatement) for your op system. While that was probably very popular, I think it was a primrose path, going through thorns rather than lilacs, and we want Bits to always bring us quality.

You could aim on occasional for a more general product, like an Online Armor or Comodo professional firewall, or a quality HIPS product. An FTP here or there. There are whole sections that have been only lightly represented, but overall the diversity has been very, very good.

PIM's and such I think you have had Agenda at Once and Ultra Recall and TreeDBNotes, all very fine. A deal with companies like Total Commander, DOpus and Fineprint are probably ongoing efforts. (Sometimes the problem is that the free version of the software is so usable that the public won't spring easily for the Pro version.)

Overall though, I will say that the selection is between very good and excellent, and the mechanism for advance notice and payments are excellent. Spot-on, guys.

        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Nico Westerdale Thanks for the response Steven, you're right that we do always like feedback!

I do agree that the forums here are somewhat buried, it's an issue and we do have several ideas for the future that should help that, namely a suggestion tool, a more integrated blog, and richer tools for commenting including user reviews. We're in the middle of a data-layer re-write at the moment which will give us a a stronger technology platform to be able to build off of. We've built Bits from the ground up as a platform so all of this we have to write from scratch. We really do have a lot planned for the future, as well as more deals to bring you.

I know the folkes at DonationCoder very well, occasionally I weigh in on their threads, but like any other form I wouldn't want to hijack it just for promoting BDJ specials. We did talk to them about a tighter partnership at one point, however their focus is elsewhere.

Thanks for your comments on Norton, we did find that we rubbed several people the wrong way with that. Our aim really is to give small ISVs a global platform for one day and get them publicity for their products that they would not be able to get otherwise. I'm glad to hear that we're doing a good job, we do check out the software, and barring the occasional problem the system has been running smoothly for many months now.
        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Mike G Well if BDJ is doing well I'm glad to hear it. I like Bits and was a little worried by the appearance of low traffic due to so many weeks with 0 comments and relatively little activity in the forums. Obviously only you can say if you're traffic goals are being met.

My perception is partly influenced by comparison with which always has dozens of comments and a busy forum. But this is not a fair comparison since they're giving stuff away. Giveaways will always bring hoards of visitors even though their website and forum are not nearly as aesthetically pleasing, organized and easy to use as BDJ in my opinion...

As for software selection, I have to agree you're doing an excellent job given the stated goal: "Our aim really is to give small ISVs a global platform for one day and get them publicity for their products that they would not be able to get otherwise."

On the other hand, if your primary goal was (visitor traffic x sales) selections might be different, but that would make Bits a very different site--more like the cluttered discount sites all over the web instead of a beautiful, focused site that I don't mind checking once or twice a week even when I don't have a specific purchase in mind.

Still, I'm glad you're always looking to expand your unique product selection. Sites like BDJ make the Web a better place so, again, I wish you the best.
        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Steven Avery Very nicely put, Mike, and I agree. Bits Du Jour adds a little pizazz, a little class, and is very practical for us software and utility mavens.

Like the gentlemen and scholars of software and shareware specials.

Oh, a little aside, notice how Nico and friends don't put up those horrid Google ads for scam software, the ads that make me cringe on many otherwise sincere and reputable sites.

        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Nico Westerdale Again very valid points, we have gone with a very different approach than giveawayoftheday and some of the other sites out there that reply on high volume and generate their income from third party ads. Our main focus has always been to sell the software itself, and not to advertize something else. Many of our customers purchase again and again, and traffic is steadily increasing. I think our comments boards are a little underused, and often are used to ask the developer questions about the software which has been very successful. We're going to keep on working on ways to drive traffic and increase the community.

Competing with sites that offer software for free in terms of visitors isn't exactly a fair comparison, however in terms of revenue we do give them a run for their money as our visitors generate much more revenue per visit than theirs do.
        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
Mike G I can understand and appreciate your approach a lot better now with your helpful explanations and the passage of time. Glad to hear it's working out. Hopefully Bits will be around for many years to come. And I'm finding products of interest on a more frequent basis these days. Keep up the good work!
        Nov 15 2008 at 8:22am
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