Archive for September 2008
How many clicks will an end-user put up with to download a software product?
This isn’t a new question. The most common answer is “any click is a barrier”. But I think this whitewashes the complexity of the interaction between the publisher and the consumer. I believe the answer lies in the inherent value of the content transferred in the transaction, and how “heavy” the click.
Distribution or Delivery?
Imagine walking down the sidewalk in your town. You pass a casually dressed young person, aggressively distributing handbills printed on neon green paper. Did you take it? Did you alter your path to avoid having the flyer thrust into your hand? Did provide your userid and mailing address in exchange for the leaflet?
Now imagine heading to the Post Office to pick up a box that didn’t fit in your mailbox. A quick flash of your ID to verify your name and address, and away you go.
How many clicks would each of these scenarios encompass online? Are all the clicks the same?
No real data
We’ve looked for click rates studies and abandonment rate studies to help us understand the software design implications of this user behavior. We’ve found no real scientific evidence we can point to that provides evidence of a ratio for clicks to abandonment (if you have one please point us in that direction).
Value Drives Clicks
We’ve put a stake in the ground that an end-user’s point of indifference is based on the inherent value of the download to the user. This seems pretty obvious to us, but is hard to generalize and measure. Our purely anecdotal benchmark follows the price of computer-games; if the download is valued at less than $29 USD the end-user’s willingness to “click” or provide specific information about themselves diverges greatly from those software products that are valued at greater than $29 dollars.
Let us know if you have found a better description of the “how many clicks” barrier.
What is in a name?
Imagine a world where a rose at night meant something different from a rose during the day. Imagine a world where context makes the difference between night and day. Welcome to the world of ESD. No, ESD for me is not electrical static discharge however the definition on one web page starts out promisingly as “an ESD system comprises a user-accessible subsystem” however it continues on as “(for example, a first gasoline pump), a local ground …”. That comparison aside, ESD can mean different things to different companies and people its all in the context you see. For instance, OMS SafeHarbor and other companies have electronic software delivery (distribution) systems while Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) like our own partner Akamai have ESD services. So this blog explores how our ESD is different from a CDN’s ESD and how, in fact, they are complimentary.
Let’s start out with a broad definition of ESD; the kind that is shockingly fast not the kind with electrons leaping to a grounded source. Electronic Software Delivery at its very heart is about delivering software products to end users via the internet versus physical delivery. The basis for all software delivery is digital assets (electronic finished goods – the software and documentation). Digital assets refer to any files related to a product. Okay actually here is the first difference between us and CDNs; they are focused on files while we define products as a collection of files. In the end we both want to deliver the file(s) but where we start defines where we can go. In actual fact, CDNs are very much about networks, point-to-point delivery and file downloads while our ESD is about entitlements, products, users, and downloads.
Entitlements are simply the tangible obligations software vendors have to their customers. A customer purchases product A and therefore has an entitlement to the deliverables associated with product A. Entitlements can be shared between users through accounts or through other means, they allow company ABC to have a number of people access the digital assets associated with product A. Products are a collection of files (deliverables/digital assets) but have a structure, content and metadata associated with them. Files have attributes, a name and a size, and have a binary representation.
OMS SafeHarbor’s ESD provides controlled access to digital assets through entitlements. An Entitlement Center is dynamically constructed for each user based on their personal or account entitlements. It provides the list of products which have descriptions and other metadata along with a structure for the digital assets (release notes, CD1, install zip and user guide) and each of those digital assets have content (files). So here is why we are partners with CDNs like Akamai, because they make the delivery (point-to-point) for files go faster and more reliably across the internet. CDNs need web pages, emails or some other event driven process (like our entitlement center access) to make the link between a user or computer and the file to be downloaded. We provide the control center and they provide the network.
In the end, ESD is all about getting the software delivered but how you get started defines where you can go. For instance starting with an eCommerce system to purchase products and a CDN to deliver them you can effectively perform Initial Product Delivery (IPD). The customer can buy the product and download it as fast as the transaction is approved but what about subsequent support (updates, lost files and license management). Start with our ESD system, bolt on eCommerce and integrate with a CDN ESD and you have a complete vehicle. The customer buys his software online or through traditional sales channels, the orders flow into our ESD solution to create entitlement and notify the customer they can access the product now and again in the future. Release a fix or service pack use product chaining to identify those who have a base entitlement and then notify them they can come and get it now (or later) when they access the entitlement center. When they click on the file to download, we can have them accept the EULA (license agreement), we can validate them against government lists and verify by geolocational lookup that we are following export compliance regulations and your business practices and then we can call the CDN to delivery point-to-point through the internet. That’s the universe we live in, where ESD meets the complete needs of offering customer self-service for IPD and updates, where marketing intelligence can meet product registration and entitlement management, where integration, automation and digital product management can meet the challenge of replacing manual and physical processes to deliver software efficiently and cost- effectively.
About 13 months after VMware raised nearly $1 billion in an initial public offering, virtualization technology is still creating some buzz. Virtualization chip maker 3Leaf Systems said today it raised $35 million in a third round of funding.
3Leaf, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said it would use the funds to accelerate development and expand sales and marketing. The company came out of stealth in March and announced it has licensed Intel’s new processor data pathway (known as the QuickPath Interconnect bus) as part of a custom chip that creates memory-efficient links between data center servers. The company’s first product is expected to be a custom chip using the HyperTransport bus created by Advanced Micro Devices. That product is due in 2009.
The virtualization technology basically creates one big pool of computers from a collection of Intel-compatible servers. With it, the company can run a single operating system across as many as 16 servers, creating a powerful multiprocessing system out of a bunch of low-cost servers.
The company previously had raised $32.5 million. It will compete with a variety of companies in the communications chip industry.
For anyone interested in the details of how “public” networks are organized, and how that organization drives costs, this is the article for you.
Network neutrality is more than just regulatory dilemma; the way that these issues are decided will have a major impact on the costs and nature of connectivity in the enterprise. Ars takes a look at the basic economics of how the Internet currently works.
OMS SafeHarbor is pleased to announce the availability of our Data Verification and Export Compliance Service. This new service allows either standalone or integrated access to verify personal identification details against US and other government controlled lists. The 24/7 service is operated by OMS and continually updated as government lists are updated. In addition to the government lists, corporations can maintain their own custom lists. This allows companies to standardize and centralize control information and make it accessible both through a GUI and via a web services API to multiple applications.
Additionally, the service is integrated with our Electronic Software Distribution solution, automating the necessary compliance checks before allowing access to digital assets.
Click the link to read more about this service on our website You can also download our Service Brief: Data Verification and Export Compliance Service from that page. You can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.