How long should your “trial” period run?

I’ve had this running debate with a handful of friends – I’d love to throw it out there for comment. The questions at hand are 1) whether companies should offer a “free trial” period for their software/web service; 2) if they do, how long should it last; and 3) what information should you ask for before starting a trial (specifically should you ask for credit card information up front). Here are a few thoughts. I’d love to hear your opinion. While you know that your web service is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s really really hard to convey the chocolaty goodness that is your product to the average consumer. You have to pull them in and offering a…