Ranting: Creawriter

A few weeks ago, I installed and removed a program called Creawriter. It was, as I mentioned on Twitter, the fastest time I’ve spent installing and removing a program: 5 minutes, not including download time. I had two main issues with Creawriter; one was philosophical and the other was technical.

First, the technical. You see, I use a LG LCD monitor. This mean that anything in white is VERY BRIGHT. So bright to the point that it can blind you if the program’s setting was done incorrectly. In Creawriter’s case, there are two settings for the background- either an image or a plain colour background. I decided to use the plain colour background, and discovered that it was white. Clicking on the preferences tab to change the colour brought me to an unpleasant message:

“This feature is available only to donors.”

Which made me go WTF, but I understood. You see, the people behind Creawriter want people to pay for using their software. I don’t mind people making money from their creations, but this is where I started disagreeing with Creawriter violently.

I used to be a copywriter. This meant that I can, and will be, rather anal when it comes to using the right terminology (colleagues and friends can attest to this).

So what is it about Creawriter’s attempt to make money that irked me so?

It was the fact that if you wanted to have “extra” features, you need to “donate.” It’s not pay or purchase. It’s donate, which has a completely different connotation in the English world compared to purchase, which is what you are actually doing in this case. Creawriter, in a nutshell, is based on the freemium model, where the initial product is free but if you want more features you’d have to pay for it.

I’m completely fine with that. What I don’t like is the misuse of the word “donate” to denote a purchase of a product. In the software world, at least from my understanding, “donating” to someone means you’re giving them money as a form of appreciation. There is no legal obligation for the programmer to fulfil your demand in return for you donating to him. To purchase something though, usually implies that the software creators have to provide some sort of support if something goes wrong with the software.

I suppose that could be a reason why Creawriter’s creators decided to call it a donation instead of a purchase. It’s a way for them to weasel out of providing support and still get money from people. I suppose I should have expected this, especially since the donation box is staring at you right in the face when you land on their page.

Next up: a review of Focuswriter, recommended by chet and upon which this rant was written in.