Software Marketing Resource Articles: May 2008

You wrote the code, now how do you sell it?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

International Considerations: USA

SUMMARY OF US MARKET - Technological world leaders in both software and hardware an excellent market. Shareware is becoming much more popular and registration rates appear to be increasing.

LANGUAGE - English is spoken by almost all Americans, there is a strong preference for American English. The second most popular language would be Spanish.

CURRENCY - US Dollars. No tolerance for other currencies, almost all transactions are in USD.

HOLIDAYS - The following list of holidays affect normal business operations- all other holidays are typically observed on Sundays, or do not heavily impact business operations..

Full Holidays
January 1 - New Years Day
Last Monday of May - Memorial Day
July 4 - Independence Day
First Monday of September - Labor Day
Fourth Thursday of November - Thanksgiving
December 25 - Christmas

Partially Observed Holidays (observed in some corporations - No US Mail and Banks are closed)
3rd Monday of February - Presidents Day
2nd Monday of October - Columbus Day
November 11 - Veterans Day

Please Note:
The friday after Thanksgiving is frequently a vacation day
The week between Christmas and New Years is a very popular vacation week
The week of the fourth of July is also popular for vacations

COMMON FORMS OF ACCEPTED PAYMENT - The following are common forms of payment accepted in the US.

Credit Cards - Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express
Checks - Corporate Checks, Bank Checks, Money Orders
Purchase Orders -
Wire Transfers -

TAXES - Each State's laws may vary; the following is a summary of US tax laws. If your company has a physical precense (location) in a state and you sell to an individual in that state you are required to collect sales tax. In addition you must file (and pay) taxes in that state. If you sell to an individual in a state where you do not have an office, you are not required to collect tax. The customer in that case would be responsible for paying a use tax, this is their responsibility not yours.

Taxes w/Registration Companies - If you use a US registration company, you will see that they will charge taxes in the states that they have a location in. They will collect and submit taxes for those states. They will not collect taxes from customers in your state (unless they have a location there). You are not required to charge them tax regardless, because their is no charge when items are for resale (assuming they have a resale certificate).

Other Exempt Sales - Non-profit organizations including schools, government agencies, and hospitals are all considered not for profit and are tax exempt. If a company is tax exempt you should request a copy of their tax exempt number.

Information on Companies requireing VAT collection - VAT is a sales tax the rate of which varies in each EEC country. Anyone registered for VAT must charge this tax at the point of supply (note that was supply, not point of sale). That is called Output Tax.

On the other hand that same vendor can claim back his Input Tax on any invoices he has received for goods or service she has purchased from other VAT registered vendors (usually only within his own country unless he buys a lot from the others).

If (the author) is an EEC resident he can elect to be registered for VAT. At a certain point monetary sales level (about 60,000 Euro I understand) he *must* register for VAT. There can be advantages in registering for VAT even
if sales levels do not make it compulsory.

If he is not registered for VAT he is not required to collect VAT.

If he is registered for VAT he only needs collect VAT where he is the supplier to another EEC resident.

The definition of supplier is that he actually makes the supply in the form
of a product or a service.

If he sells to a non-EEC resident the sale falls outside the scope of VAT. That would apply if he "sells" to a US based registration service like Soft Shop for instance. However if the arrangements with Soft Shop require the author to make the actual supply (keycode, CD, software by email, etc.) Then that falls under the rules of Triangulation. Under Triangulation the point of supply and receipt are critical and if these are both within the EEC then VAT must be accounted for (Soft Shop can automatically calculate this and collect it).

There is an exception to these rules. Even if the vendor is a VAT registered EEC resident, if he is able to quote a valid customer VAT number on his sales invoice or supply document, he need not collect the VAT must declare the sale
in his EEC VAT monthly sales report.

US BUSINESS LINKS - Links that are business related

US Patent and Trademark Office
US Copyright Office
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
Idea Cafe

US EXPORT RESTRICTIONS - Legally if your company operates in the US you can not sell to entities in the following countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Serbia, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba.

The Bureau of Export Administration

SHAREWARE SITES - There are typically two kinds of shareware sites Upload vs. Traditional, below are examples and the pros and cons of each.

Upload Sites - You transfer the program file to their server for access

Pros - Hosts your file, typically very large
Cons - Can be selective on the type of software that they choose to list, takes longer to update, requires file to be in specific format, difficult to monitor download stats.

Examples of upload sites: (ZDNet) (Walnut Creek CD ROM) (Tucows)

Traditional Sites - Links to the program located on your server.

Pros - popular
Cons - Tend to be smaller, submissions can be time consuming

Examples of traditional sites:

Specialty Sites - Typically a traditional site, that is geared to a specific market or application type.

Pros - Popular with niche markets
Cons - Tend to be much smaller, typically has strict requirements to be listed

Examples of specialty sites:

DOMAINS - Below are the most common domain extensions

.com (company) - by far the most popular extension
.net (networks) - supposed to be reserved for ISP's but becoming more common as .com becomes saturated
.org (organizations) - non-profit connotation, although anyone can register as .org
.edu (educational) - reserved for educational institutions

DISTRIBUTION - Number of different distribution methods available to authors.

Catalog Companies - A number of catalog companies sell large volume. Typically you purchase ad space in their catalog, and still discount your products. Ad space can be pricey and you still need to establish a branding and market demand in order to be successful in selling through catalogs.

Resellers - Depending on program type, system integrators or vertical added resellers (VARS) can be an excellent sources for multiple sales. A discounted from 20-40% off of list is usually expected. Developing a strong reseller channel can be very time consuming.

Distribution - In order to be accepted into distribution a market demand and reseller base must already exist. Marketing is still the responsibility of the author.

Tech Data -
Merisel -
Ingram Micro -
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