CodeWeavers cancels free giveaway program, honors existing registrations
And then all heck broke loose. The story made the front page of Digg and was reported on countless tech blogs. The CodeWeavers website crashed, although the company quickly got the download links back online. When the smoke cleared, the company gave away about 750,000 copies of its software.
Let's let that sink in for a second here. A company that many people may not have even known existed, had its software downloaded three quarters of a million times in one day. CodeWeavers sent an email this week stating that the move expands the company's customer base by 400%. The value of the free software given away tops $45 million.
In other words, the whole thing might have backfired and ruined the company's bottom line. On the other hand, it could be awesome news in the long run for CodeWeavers. A whole lot of people who weren't aware of the software are now potential customers. Many of the people who downloaded free copies may not really wind up using it, but those who do may decide to upgrade when a new version is available or pay for another year of support when the 1 year of free support expires in a year.
Still, CodeWeavers has decided to cancel the promotion going forward. There had been plans to do another giveaway if housing prices fell, US job numbers went up, or Osama Bin Laden was captured. But that just doesn't seem like a good idea anymore.