ASP

The ASP has ceased operations. On these pages, we’ve kept the history of the ASP, the shareware industry, and the ASP Hall of Fame, and some of articles written for and by software developers and microISVs. (That’s small Independent Software Vendors.)

Founded in 1987, the ASP pioneered the try-before-you-buy marketing method that is now universal in the software industry.

During the heyday of shareware and dial-up bulletin board systems in the late 20th century, the ASP played a significant role in making FILE_ID.DIZ files a de facto standard.

Later, ASP members developed the Portable Application Description (PAD) format used to allow software authors to provide product descriptions and specifications to online sources in a standard way. In the early 21st century, the PAD file specification was utilized by over 40,000 software publishers and a 1000+ PAD supported software catalog websites. The PAD system was popular because web sites could pull updated data from a single file stored on the software author’s site. The final release of the PAD specification, v4.0 was released to the public domain as of January 2022.

After nearly 34 years of support by and for Independent Software Vendors, the membership voted to dissolve the ASP. The association stopped accepting new members in mid-2020, and formally ceased operations on December 31, 2021.

Thank you for your interest in the ASP!

Jeff Gibson ASP President (-2021)
Joel Diamond ASP Vice President (-2021)
Howard Sobel ASP Board Chair (-2021)
James Greene ASP Director (-2021)
Steve Faleiro ASP Director (-2021)
Rich Holler ASP Office Manager (-2021)


The ASP was a professional trade association of software developers who create and market leading-edge applications, including successful developers of desktop and laptop programs, software as a service (SaaS) applications, cloud computing, and mobile apps. These members share their experiences of mastering the most promising technologies, benefiting from new marketing strategies, and working through the business challenges we all face.

The ASP invented how software is sold today.

The ASP’s Mission Statement:

  • To educate and assist members in running and building their microISV (Independent Software Vendor) businesses;
  • To inform users about how software and apps are distributed and marketed;
  • To encourage broader distribution of apps and software;
  • To provide a forum through which ASP members may communicate, share ideas, and learn from each other; and
  • To foster a high degree of professionalism among microISVs by setting programming, marketing and support standards for ASP members to follow.

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