for a couple of years we have been working on software products and sold them quite well. It’s one-time purchases (plus cheaper upgrades for new versions). We were above the “industry conversion average” of about 4% (purchase vs. downloads) but always wondered why software has those low conversions generally. Btw: we found that Google Analytics is generally great and it is awesome in combination with campaigns (URL builder from Google) to track and optimize downloads instead of purchases - simply because the number is 10-20x as big and FB/Google can thus optimize the ads better… Saved us a lot of money in advertising eliminating campaigns on FB/Google that showed many clicks but low #downloads. Bing is just awful. Cheap clicks but no value.
Aaaanyways. Back to the important parts:
We do use LimeLM and we are actually very happy with it. We are aware, that LimeLM only makes sure that “users cannot share a license with friends or on more computers than its allowed”. So in essence with LimeLM (as far as we understand and speak from experience) we can make sure, that a product key that was rightfully purchased cannot be used beyond the number of activations we intended. We always had our software cracked within a couple of days - but that is not LimeLMs fault. Replacing the license verification in machine code with a “pass” is simply a problem of the system itself… We are looking forward the new LimeLM release and we are quite excited about the “verified trials”. I personally like Wyatt - he has the most competent customer service I know and I particularly like that he tells people when they ask stupid questions which are explained in detail in the handbook. Kudos.
What is your take on software protection? We have Windows and Mac applications and many solutions come at cost of the customer experience/false positives in antivirus. False positives are an issue for us - whitelisting our software helps. Still, there are many antivirus solutions out there who flag any software as malware and don’t even have a whitelisting… So those overprotective solutions suck. What’s your experience here?
We started using DigiCert EV. Time will tell whether it’s worth the additional money. However: they have a very responsive customer support. Comodo is just bad. I have never met more incompetent people. Always caused trouble as well - and Symantec could not explain the verification process in detail, so we went for DigiCert. Whats your experience?
Btw: I cannot understand why Microsoft/Apple do not enforce valid certificates. If executables/programs could not run with an invalid certificate/tampered executable, cracking would in essence be impossible. They could stop piracy essentially tomorrow. Of course some “freeware developers” would moan about 100 EUR/year for certificates - but the rest of the industry just suffers. I also cannot understand how Google is so little concerned about “cracks etc.”. Sure, comes in handy to harm competitors if your own product sits on your servers and cannot be cracked and shared for free… Plus crack generate search traffic…
Cracks and DMCA
The Crack Tracker is actually really cool. It gives great satisfaction to send out dozens of emails to those morons. Its very convenient to use. We can see the results, which is great. Is there something like that available for torrents as well? Generally, DMCA requests really seem to work. Facebook, Youtube and Google are quite responsive to that. Also: a lot of those “crack sharers” are just average smart - they have their page hosted on godaddy.com etc. So it is actually a quite effective idea to check out WHO shares your cracks, search the ISP on WhoIs and then send an email to them (the ISP/Godaddy). Usually they take down the entire homepage (I get a lot of cry emails of those “crackers” moaning about their pages being taken down) lately I would encourage you to do so as well. It’s not Hydra. Work on it regularly, send out those DMCA requests to the ISPs and they TAKE DOWN the pages. Some of those crackers are even as dumb as listing their own name/phone number on WhoIs for their “free program sharing page”. I can recommend calling them at night. How do you take down torrents? We have searched manually on the most popular torrent pages and DMCAs sometimes work - but a tool would be better. We also use Muso.com for a while - but they are somewhat slow…
Don’t start with “you can never stop cracking” or “cracks don’t matter”. Cracks matter. We have about 150 downloads per day for our software - and found that ONE torrent spread the crack to 2000 people in 6 weeks. Great for sales. People are dishonest. We had people sending us support tickets from their COMPANY email address sending us screenshots of their cracked software (they didn’t know we spotted) and asked for trouble shooting… Calling them in person also works very well in this case. Keep in mind: those people sharing your programs often come from a village somewhere in Pakistan - and do it as a hobby. They are not smart or sophisticated. The crackers may be. The people downloading the cracks are not evil people - just regular persons who don’t think “stealing software is bad”. We tracked down those sharing our program and those using the cracks. There is no “sophisticated scheme” behind it. Punch them in the face - real hard. What is your suggestion coping with torrents? Any tools?
Our experience: invest some time, track them down, beat them up. No mercy.
Let the discussion begin