Monday, July 11, 2011

Software Distributors

I am puzzled - not sure how to deal with software distributors.

Here at Rorohiko Workflow Resources, we've been hard at work for many years now, to build a whole range of tools, mainly for users of the Adobe Creative Suite. Our range of tools is slowly but steadily increasing.

In order to sell and try to make our investment pay back for itself, we've built an automated software selling system, which works relatively well: we have a peculiar approach to how we sell our software, which allows us to sell our tools at very low cost despite aiming for a limited market. Part of the secret is automation.

E.g. you can purchase an activation for TextExporter for all of US$19.00. This low cost means that purchasing an activation for one of our tools pays back for itself very quickly.

We're gradually getting more and more traction in the market - which is cool.

Now, lately we've been getting more and more requests from software distributors who want to distribute our products - but most of them have the same puzzling approach.

They want to know what their dealer margin is, and where they can send a purchase order.

A few times, we've tried to accommodate such requests, but invariably, we ended up holding the longest end of the stick: working with software distributors invariably costs us more than it's worth.

- They cause a whole lot of additional administration (purchase orders, paper or PDF invoices,...). Such additional admin costs us money.

- They want to send us a purchase order and in return get an invoice. Then they take their own sweet time to pay up.

They often need one or more reminders. Their purchase department is typically insulated from the rest of the company, and once our invoice is in the slow paper mill, it can take six months or longer before we finally get paid, and there is nothing much we can do about it.

- They want to pay us by cheque or credit card, and don't want to use PayPal. As Rorohiko is still small, and establishing credit card facilities would cost us both in time and money, we make do with PayPal.

(We've looked around, and after that exercise, we think that despite a number of obvious shortcomings, PayPal is one of the better payment processors on the market. Through PayPal we can accept credit cards. People with corporate credit cards seem to have a few extra hoops to jump through - but once they set up an address-verified PayPal account, things seem to work fine.)

- They don't seem to have time to read: we have a lot of info on our web site, and, granted, it's not that well organized, but these people clearly have not even visited our web site. They don't know what our products do, and are not interested in learning how our licensing system works (

In the end, we sell a single $19 activation, and end up with costs that far surpass that amount - paperwork, having to wait to get paid... it all adds up.

As such, we see any such requests from software distributors as a 'win/lose' scenario: they win, we lose.

My question is: are there some software distributors out there who understand the idea of a 'value proposition'? If you're a software distributor, and you like our products: before e-mailing us, make sure you have something of that is of value to offer in return for the extra hassle. There's many ways you could make this work.

Also, reading up on our products and our approach to licensing beforehand gains you brownie points!