Earlier this week, Avast kicked off a campaign to introduce their End Point Protection Suite into the US public educational system (schools and libraries) for free. This has always been a paid product.Avast! End Point Protection Suite is a business product that provides two management environments: the business console that supports 200-300 computers, and the enterprise console that can handle up to 30,000 machines.
If the campaign proves to be successful, the company’s CEO, Vincent Steckler, plans on extending it worldwide.
Touted as altruistic in the first place, the move is beneficial to both parties, and Avast does not deny it. First of all, the public educational system receives good software free of charge, thus saving money that could be used to further invest in education.
At the same time, by being present in schools, Avast gains visibility among the students and school staff, thus increasing the chances of them installing the free product at home or recommending it to others. In turn, this leads to increased sales of the premium products, since the company relies heavily on upgrades from the free version of their software.
It’s the same strategy they used in the early days. Only this time, it all happens at a much larger scale because they’re tapping into a market segment with 130,000 schools with about 79 million students (approximately half of their total user base for the free product), according to the US Census Bureau.
The free consumer product is normally barred from usage in these institutions but, with this campaign, it can be installed in public or non-profit schools as defined by the IRS Regulations 501(c) and in public libraries.
In return for the free products, the company asks (it is not a requirement, though) from the schools to provide a link to avast! Free Antivirus to students and their parents.
There’s a thing in social psychology called “reciprocity,” which states that a friendly act is generally answered with friendliness from the recipient. In the case of Avast, this is working very well.