Review: Europe Shareware - @Aug 08, 2002
What is Europe Shareware? Europe Shareware is a middle-man organization of sorts. It allows for a very easy ordering of commercial and shareware products for primarily Atari, but also for Macintosh too. Europe shareware benefits both West and East countries by allowing a common currency ordering system (USD and CDN Dollars in particular) as well as a central location to order a very vast number of software projects from.
Without Europe Shareware to order 5 software packages, you would have to: Write up 5 little letters, get 5 International money orders of different denominations and currency, do currency conversion, work with the author on a price for overseas shipping and other details, and pay postage for five letters. Europe Shareware, at least in my experience allows Americans the ability to buy a number of usually available overseas packages all in one shot, in our own currency. One single money order to Canada got me ACS Pro, the MagiC SDK, AtarICQ, Aniplayer, Winframe, and Thing desktop.
Let's also keep in mind that Europe Shareware carries an incredible amount of software from organizations like Anodyne Software and Application Systems. There are a lot of titles you might not expect to find in there, and even some titles I didn't know about.
So how did it all go down? Roger Burrows who also runs Anodyne Software received my money in a week, maybe a little more. I sent it normal US Mail versus a priority or express mail which would have arrived much quicker. While Europe Shareware doesn't accept Paypal (yet?) it was still a value to me so I went ahead and put forth the extra effort of going to the post office ;-). With the prices clearly detailed I knew exactly how much money to send and it went all in one shot. It really couldn't be easier. As soon as Roger received my money, he sent me an email indicating as such. Right away, within 1-2 days the authors of keyed shareware products sent me emails with the key to their software, this includes AtarICQ and Aniplayer. Some of the other products seem to have gotten lost in the mail somehow. Particularly ACS Pro, MagiC SDK, and Winframe. After I sent an email to Roger indicating that I received nothing from any of these projects, he sent a reminder email to Sylvain? (Do not know who/what this is) and suddenly I received an email from Eric Reboux with my Windframe key. Okay, so 3 packages down, only 3 to go. Roger informed me rather quickly after receiving my money that Thing Desktop was no longer available due to non-communication from the author, so instead he applied some extra money to a mistake in my math and sent me the rest (Only $9USD or so) in a checque back to me! How professional! The author of ACS Pro was on vacation and I believe Roger Indicated to me as such and Olivier Landermarre reported he had to get something ready in order to finalize sending me the MagiC SDK. After a short delay I had ACS Pro and finally via Economy Mail today I received MagiC SDK. After receiving the MagiC SDK package I can understand why it was sent economy mail - to save on the bottom line. It was a reasonably heavy package with some thick manuals that probably would have cost a lot for airmail.
So was it all worth it? Yes. Based on the quality level of service, and support from Roger and the authors that he is dealing with, I will buy from Europe Shareware again, probably sooner rather than later. Europe Shareware is a non-profit organization but it is quite an exceptional effort. It gives anyone out there (like me) literally no excuse to register and purchase commercial software from overseas. The prices are very fair and out of the whole experience I would rate the entire transaction a 9.
Why not a 10? Well the only disappointing thing was that it did take a while for ACS Pro and MagiC SDK to come. It's nobody's fault really but the transaction didn't go 100% smoothly and that's just the way it is. And of course there was the lost email problem where Sylvain didn't get Roger Burrows' email. Still it's definitely not a big deal and every party involved handled the situation very well and in a timely manner. It's nobody's fault that anything happened. Based on the fact that most of these projects are spare time projects and the authors may not check their mail every day, Joakim Hogberg, AtarICQ, Didier Mequignon, Aniplayer, and Eric Reboux, Windframe - ERS Software, should get a medal of honor for their incredibly speedy and personal service.
PS: I also apologize for not producing the special characters used to spell these authors' names correctly ;-)
Related Link: Europe Shareware.