I'm in the midst of launching something pretty awesome. Of course, I'm not objective about it. 🙂 But I think it's going to be a very welcome addition to your toolbox. I can tell you that I love having it when I need it.
The thing is, the actual program has been operational for many months. In fact, I've been using it regularly since late 2005. But it's just becoming available now.
The reason it has not been available is that there have been weeks where I've done nothing but the peripheral stuff to market the product. There's the web site itself, the offer, the flow of the site, the payment processing, the sales copy, the affiliate program, and scores of other little details that can be maddening, none of which have anything directly to do with the functionality of the tool.
I can certainly see why people go the open source route, rather than trying to market their work. Aside from the simplicity of doing it for the love of it, there's also the fact that the number of loose ends to be handled can be so high that many projects would simply never get off the ground. (I think this is also why open source makes me so (J)cranky: So many of the loose ends never do get tied up, so it's the user who goes mad, rather than the creator.)
As I blogged about in February, I've swallowed my pride and purchased a PHP-based application that offers many of the features that make it possible to successfully sell a digital product online. After months of exhaustion, I came to the brilliant realization that it doesn't have to be Java, and it doesn't have to be written with my own two hands.
Given the fact that I only get a few hours a week to work on my "science projects," it can take the better part of a year to get anything worthwhile done. When you consider what my time and sanity are worth, $100 at http://www.rentacoder.com or $1000 for a turn-key marketing system are genuine bargains. To write, debug, and test either of the scripts below would have taken me over a year, and that only gets me the infrastructure to sell my software, as opposed to writing the actual product itself.
1500 people purchased Butterfly Marketing during the first round. It is back again, for a limited time.
There's also a remarkably similar-looking script for about one-fifth of the price at http://www.motivatedmarketingsystem.com/. I can't imagine it's as capable a product, but, at the price they're asking, how can you lose? It beats writing it yourself.