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It's me again. Steven from Belgium working on a Software Licensing product


#1

Hi all,

three years ago I already posted an introduction. A lot of things have changed since then.

I quit my day job 1.5 years ago and have been successful in booking my time as a freelance mobile and web developer. I have sold the domain name and whatever code I already had for CyclingPlanner in order to focus on my freelance career.

Now that I have enough cash in the bank I can shift focus again to my original goals: building a series of software products that generate enough income for me to live on my own projects.

I’m currently doing customer development for my first product which is a tool for software vendors to take the pain out of software licensing. A SaaS or on-premise tool to manage, grant, expire and validate software license keys. If you are (or plan to start) selling licensed software, I am very interested in picking your brain about the licensing process.

I’m glad to be back and excited to meet and talk to all of you.
Steven


#2

hi, I already have licensing code, it was not hard. took max 2 weeks, and I have my own unique licensing module. so… it could be difficult for you to sell this


#3

Also ended up building licensing into my homegrown app for selling digital products. Needs were too specific to use any of the existing sales platforms (verify licenses sold by third-party, not automatic subscription billing while restricting access when license ends).

For something not-so-complex but not-standard like that, I’d feel more comfortable building it in directly rather than relying on a third-party.

To me integrations make sense when you’re betting the farm on it, or it’s super simple like Stripe. Otherwise I’d just build the custom module.


#4

Hi @startrinity and @brendanfalkowski, thanks for your input.

I understand the basic licensing problem is not that complex and can be built in a matter of weeks but the problem still has to be solved by every company that wants to sell licensed software. As you said Sergey, you spent two weeks on it. That’s two weeks you’re not writing new features or marketing your product.

I’m trying to figure out if there is a set of features or added value that make it a no-brainer for companies to adopt a solution instead of building it from scratch.

Would you mind answering three questions about your current licensing modules?

  1. What exactly does it do right now. (1 vs multiple products? dashboard? analytics?,…)
  2. How much time/money have you spent building it?
  3. If you had a magic engineering wand, what would you change about it?

#5
  1. One purchase grants one license, or verify a third-party issued license to add it to your account. Licenses can be active or expired, and then renewed for 12 months. Users can see their list of active/expired licenses and some basic info about each (links to receipt, etc). No analytics for myself (I’ll just run queries).

  2. About $3k for the licensing parts of the shop app. Probably a week of developer time + a couple days thinking it through.

  3. It would be nice to offer buyable license packs where each can be activated at the user’s discretion — but nobody has asked for that. Currently at purchase you have to specify the domain the license is for and it activates immediately.

I haven’t built any license phone-home stuff. Fighting piracy is a cost center, so I just don’t worry about it. The only point of issuing licenses (for me) is facilitating support (only for valid licenses, and the license tells me their domain so I don’t have to ask for it).


#6

@vbsteven, there is one thing missing in my current licensing module: getting hardware id of parent machine which runs current virtual machine. my code is used for 1 product only.
analytics is done by a different module.

one more advice: consider an option of using your licensing system without need of external dll file (maybe sell a static lib file) - I’d require it to be inside main exe file so customers don’t know vendor of my licensing module


#7

one more thing im going to do - an ‘online’ license - right to use a product for a period of time like 1 week. it would connect to my licensing server via internet.
good price for such product is 500usd. I think you can make money from it, good luck.
dont know what happens on the market, have you made a research of competitors?
also please consider a semi-opensource marketing model


#8

For licensing I ended up buying Infralution with the source code. It didn’t do everything that I needed but with a bit of work I was able to modify it to my needs. The most important thing for me was:

  • Customer management
  • Generate license keys for IPN’s
  • Support subscriptions.
  • Source code so I am covered in case they go out of business etc.

The trend seems to be for everything to be in the cloud but then you are 100% locked in to a vendor. Will the vendor be around in 5 years? Something for you to consider.