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No Charge

Get the software you need--gratis.

Big brands dominate today's software market, making it terribly difficult for newcomers to gain a foothold. But a new breed of coder is winning users over by simply giving programs away--and that's where you stand to benefit. Freewareis neither crazy business thinking nor inadequate software that couldn't find buyers. Some freeware is excellent--and it will get the job done without costing you a penny.

Surf over to FerretSoft (, and take your pick from eight gems that make hunting for information on the Internet faster and more efficient. Top titles include EmailFerretPRO, which prowls various e-mail databases for addresses you want; PhoneFerretPRO, which does the same for phone numbers; InfoFerretPRO, which allows you to search for news from CNN, Time and more with just one click; and WebFerretPRO, which hunts in multiple search engines simultaneously for the information you want.

Or you can head to Conducent (, for such goodies as Reuter Personal Stock Monitor for tracking ticker movements; Vulcan FinanceCalc97, which allows you to use 14 high-powered financial calculators; and Debt Relief, which helps you create a debt-elimination plan.

And don't miss Alexa (, a plug-in that works with both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. It allows users to navigate the Web a bit faster, but more important, it offers "Site Stats," one-click information on how much traffic a site gets and how fast its servers are. Download it, then check out your competitor's sites--and your own. It even lets Alexa users vote on a site's value; those numbers will be yours to see with the download.

To contact Robert McGarvey, e-mail him at

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Charge.

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