Question: How do you get recognized in a highly-saturated market?
Answer: Do something different.
In the case of AlphaZip, they’ve tried something unique, but incredibly obvious. They’ve gone for a software program that is actually is easy to use – and targeted people who are not comfortable with zip files.
Hard to believe? Unfortunately, many tech heads (myself included) find zip files straightforward, and just another way of passing information around on the Internet. At least, until we run into someone who doesn’t eat, sleep and breath hexadecimal.
For those people, AlphaZip can provide a real benefit – and a smooth introduction into that all-important format, zip.
For instance, the initial install gives you the option to view an online tutorial. I’m a big fan of providing as much explanation as possible (since surprisingly enough, not every user knows everything), and AlphaZip has a nice one, which starts off explaining the basic controls, to discussing what .zip files are, to describing settings and the use of plugins.
(Note: when I refer to .zip files, I’m actually referring to one type of compressed packaged, or archive. There are many other types, such as CAB, TAR, JAR, and so on, which AlphaZip also supports).
The included help file continues in this vein, providing plenty of information, including a How-To section.
The help is plentiful, but may not be needed, since the program runs so smoothly. You start off being able to open current archives on you computer, or create new ones. Verification of archives, and creation of self-extracting ones (where a unzip program is not needed to unpackage – great for providing files to others on their computers) are some of the features, which allows it to match many on the market. The use of plugins also allows it to add more features in the future (and the startup option to ‘check for updates’ means that you will get the changes easily).
Zip managers are somewhat common, so I think AlphaZip’s emphasis on helping the customer gives this package a real legs-up. In a crowded archive manager market, AlphaZip’s strong focus on making clients comfortable using the product is a welcome change – and I hope they benefit from it.
AlphaZip comes as shareware, allowing you to try before you buy. Available at http://www.AlphaZip.com
(Note: in conjunction with this review, AlphaZip has provided a special coupon for readers – 20% off the regular price, until March 15th, 2005. Just place an order, and entry the coupon BIGBBALPHA on the order form to qualify.)