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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Acquisition 2’s trial isn’t a very good trial

November 26, 2008

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I’m all for independent developers charging for their applications. In fact, I don’t mind really good indy devs to charge a premium for their product if they’re going to do their best to support their customers and build a great product.

I do mind when applications that cost money, which include a trial, do not really offer much of a trial at all.

Acquisition 2, a P2P and BitTorrent application, is probably the worst possible example of how I think developers should try to get people to purchase their applications. As irony would have it, Acquisition is an application most-often-used to steal applications, music, videos, etc. but that is besides the point.

While most application trials last for 30-days, Acquisition’s lasts for 1 hour. In fact, it doesn’t even last that long. The trial version of the application severely limits the use of the application in several ways. The unregistered version of Acquisition states that “search results [are] ignored randomly”. So you can never really tell how good Acquisition is at finding what it is you’re trying to download. After an hour Acquisition throttles the bandwidth that it uses for downloads. In my experience this limit is set to just under 10Kbps. Acquisition also shows you an “nag screen” ((A screen that asks you to purchase the application.)) that you can not hide even if you hide the application itself. It is a floating “window” that will not go away so long as you have the application open. These are thing things I found in my usage before turning the application off and uninstalling it.

Some trial.

While Eliza was painting our living room we had to unplug our Tivo so I needed to find the latest episode of Heroes. BitTorrent, my usual method for downloading TV Shows when things like this happen, wasn’t working for reasons I’ve yet to figure out. So, I thought I’d give Acquisition a trial.

To be clear; Acquisition is a very well designed application. Dave Wantanabe is a very good developer and has a few successful projects under his belt. I just think the unregistered version of this application is a bit too annoying for my tastes. It isn’t a question of quality, it is a question of methodology.

I am not sure what the solution to this problem actually is. My best guess would be to offer a real trial of the software, without any limitations whatsoever, for at least a few days. Then show the nag screen. Then, maybe, limit the software’s ability to download things quickly. ┬áHaving it not find the files you’re looking for makes the application seem crippled, not limited.