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How to Make Software Piracy Work For You?


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#1 roosevelt

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 00:17

Hi,

 

As a software developer it is not a good feeling to see your software floating around on different websites but then again I don't think it is necessary to put too much effort trying to nail down the people who use the pirated copy of your software. I was wondering if there is anyway we can employ some kind of strategy that will actually turn these pirated users into raving fans or paid users?

 

For example, if you look at Adobe, Microsoft and many other companies, they know that their products are floating around. But since they have a huge market the losses don't seem to bother them as much. However, for some of the little guys, it can mean living in poverty. Then again if you look at developers like Minecraft or SublimeText, they are practically making their products free to use.,,, And at the same time people are willing to pay them for their hard work.

 

Recently I released a product for free. And lots of people are downloading it and one of the users actually took the time to chip in. Coming from the commercial markets or online marketing world... this is unheard of! But I was surprised to see that someone was willing to pay me even though the product was free to use.

 

Basically what I am trying to figure out is... exactly when people really think it's worth paying someone for their work?




#2 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 00:28

Hi,

 

As a software developer it is not a good feeling to see your software floating around on different websites but then again I don't think it is necessary to put too much effort trying to nail down the people who use the pirated copy of your software. I was wondering if there is anyway we can employ some kind of strategy that will actually turn these pirated users into raving fans or paid users?

 

Basically what I am trying to figure out is... exactly when people really think it's worth paying someone for their work?

Thing I've learned about piracy is, a lot of pirates spend more on buying legitimate versions later, so in one respect, piracy does help legitimate retail, (A very extreme way of looking at it, granted)

The cost of said product is also a contributing factor, I happen to believe the best way to beat a pirate is to price them out of the market (correct or not)

That being said, As you're a developer, you do deserve the right to make money from your labour, so a factor of supply vs demand can also be a contributing factor.

 

Truth be told, I have no idea on how to beat it, but I take comfort in some findings mentioned in this site that a lot of pirates use piracy as an extended 'Try before you buy' and spend more buying legitimate than whatever the average is for non pirates..



#3 Enron

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 00:31

I pay for software when it does what it should reliably and takes advantage of the OS it's made for. There was a lot of great software from smaller developers on the Mac and a few good ones I bought for Windows. I don't pirate stuff anymore (that was about 15-20 years ago) because I can afford software now.

 

As for the big companies, Microsoft I buy because they have the best option for my productivity needs and Adobe I buy because I learned Adobe back when I used to pirate software as a kid.



#4 Raa

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 00:48

Make sure the price is reasonable, the software is compatible and reliable.

 

People will purchase it if it's relevant. Offer choice and convenience to your users - make them want your product!



#5 Hum

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 00:53

I would add, make the software fairly easy to understand -- intuitive.

 

A lot of software out there is frustrating for many users.

 

And depending on the type of software, make it somewhat customizable.

 

Ask what your users what they would like to have in your software.



#6 Gotenks98

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:07

Make sure the price is reasonable, the software is compatible and reliable.

 

People will purchase it if it's relevant. Offer choice and convenience to your users - make them want your product!

This without a doubt. So many softwares are not even worth the bandwidth they would be pirated from. Some developers who have this whole pie in the sky thinking that their software is valued so much but its not even close to that. Just make it fair and worth it and you will get the sales.



#7 +snaphat (Myles Landwehr)

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:17

I feel generating good will goes a long way. You've already given an example of that: providing free applications and seeing people who are willing to give you money in return. You want customers positive about handing their money to you. When I did OSS development, people would donate for the same reason. If you give people a reason to feel negative about what you are providing for any reason whatsoever, then they probably less likely to try to go a legitimate route.

 

Another thing is providing value that isn't there for pirated version. For example, in the gaming sector, if you provide manuals, music, extra content, etc. along with the game as well as community, those are good incentives for pirates to go the legal route.



#8 ACTIONpack

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 04:29

It really comes down to price. A lot of companies over price their software and there is no way the average person can pay it. Good example is Adobe Creative Cloud. $50 a month is over price for the software. Sorry but I Dont need the all the software they provide. Drop the price in half and then I can afford it but until then no money goes to them yet. More so now that I'm jobless.

#9 +goretsky

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 04:39

Hello,

 

Have you considered taking the shareware route, i.e., allowing people to use full version the software for a certain amount of times, number of runs, etc.?  Another option would be to offer a basic "free" version, that can be licensed and converted into a full "paid-for" version with a license key, file, or network connection. 

 

The key thing is that the differentiator between the two should be enough to allow people to get enough out of the program when trialing it so that they perceive value out of paying for it.

 

The flip side of this is, of course, that once people start giving you money for the software, they are going to want support, bug fixes and updates.  If you are making enough off the software to cover that, than fine.  Otherwise, you're essentially in the position of a hobbyist in that you're not making any profit off that code.  Which may be fine for you, but it is just something to keep in mind.

 

One thing I would suggest not doing is going the adware route by installing a sponsoring application like a toolbar.  Yes, it will make you some money, but your perpetuating a whole malconomy of crapware.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky



#10 astropheed

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:02

Does one quick job, far too expensive, has a bunch of crap in it I have no use for? I'll pirate it.

I've never used it before and want to see if it's better than X? I'll pirate it.

I've heard mixed reviews? I'll pirate it.

No demo? I'll pirate it.

I don't trust your payment system? I'll pirate it.

Not available in my country? I'll pirate it.

I want to buy it? I'll pirate it first.

 

I've tried it. I like it. It's better than others. It does what I expect. Has decent support. Legitimately (and reasonably) worth the asking price? I'll buy it.

 

Don't like it? Too bad, I'm one of the generous ones.

 

I would download a Car.



#11 nvllsvm

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:19

Does one quick job, far too expensive, has a bunch of crap in it I have no use for? I'll pirate it.

I've never used it before and want to see if it's better than X? I'll pirate it.

I've heard mixed reviews? I'll pirate it.

No demo? I'll pirate it.

I don't trust your payment system? I'll pirate it.

Not available in my country? I'll pirate it.

I want to buy it? I'll pirate it first.

 

I've tried it. I like it. It's better than others. It does what I expect. Has decent support. Legitimately (and reasonably) worth the asking price? I'll buy it.

 

Don't like it? Too bad, I'm one of the generous ones.

 

I would download a Car.

 

Has annoying DRM? I'll pirate it.



#12 Luc2k

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:06

Interacting with the pirates and explaining your position on popular torrents of your product seems to work for some indie developers. If this gets covered by TorrentFreak, you will get a bump in popularity and the goodwill generated might even get people, who weren't interested in even trying your product, to buy it. DRM free and fair pricing are other important factors.



#13 soumyasch

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:20

I believe than when a software costs more than the value it adds, people pirate it. And the more annoying you make it by adding anti-piracy features, the more reasons you give for people to pirate it.



#14 Sadelwo

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:24

Not available in my country? I'll pirate it.

 

Here's what ruffles me. A game is released and available everywhere. The sequel comes out and the publisher for second game, usually different from the first, decides its a brilliant financial decision to tell a good portion of the global fan base to screw off and restrict the game's release. Case in Point: Prototype and Arkham Asylum. No problem getting them on steam. Their respective sequels come out and its "Sorry, this item is not available in your region". DaFrance? Has the money I spent on the original and its associated DLC magically become irrelevant to you? And the same studios have the gall to talk about piracy affecting them. Its not piracy, its your blatant idiocracy.



#15 Ian William

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:51

Not sure if it matters, but I'll just throw this in here - I think it may help one's perspective. From Privacy, Security, and Content in Windows Platforms by Microsoft.

What is Piracy?

  • Piracy is the unlicensed use of someone's digital property

Piracy does not automatically result in lost revenue

  • EG, if I were to make a copy of Microsoft Office on a CD-R, and then destroy the CD-R, there would be no lost revenue
  • Some piracy can even foster sales of some kinds of digital property

Eliminating all piracy is prohibitively expensive

  • It also pisses off your loyal customers

There is such a thing as "good" piracy

  • Piracy that actually fosters more purchases of content can be "good"
  • There is no easy way to quantify this