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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
Toying with the idea of instead of paying for an app, my customers would pay for the data instead. Kind of like how anti-virus apps give the app away for free, but you pay for the sig files that detect the virii.
Is this a good approach? Seems to me it's a good way to prevent piracy. The files paid for would be encrypted and tied to the purchaser's email address, so if they share the file, they can be identified and removed from my customer base.
Sounds like a plan, as long as you don't mind being tied into providing data.
Be careful with your TOS and never use the words "for ever"...
Thursday, December 26, 2013
You're one step closer to what you actually want: a web app. With a web app (in place of a downloadable app) you'll have 0% piracy. The trade-off is that you now have other problems: scalability problems, preventing hacking, selling a web app is much harder than selling a downloadable app. That's all on t op of all the forms of credit card fraud that come with selling anything.
>> "so if they share the file, they can be identified and removed from my customer base."
This is an ill-considered idea:
1. This won't stop cracking, or sharing of the data within elicit circles (e.g. people who buy with stolen credit cards and have no intention of legitimately buying your software). For examples of this see anti-virus software and mapping data for those mobile GPS units. The "encrypted" data is decrypted by fraudulent users (stolen CCs) or decrypted & altered to remove traces of the originating user by malicious users who want to protect their source (e.g. a malicious user stealing the data from their company -- the ones who bought the data).
2. This won't stop "casual piracy" (sharing of the data within an organization -- e.g. a company).
So if your home-baked method won't increase revenue beyond what serial-only licensing can, then what's the point? If the point of doing it is to make you *feel* like you're doing something without actually doing something, then go for it. Feels will be in abundance with your method.
You might as well just make serial only licensing: http://wyday.com/limelm/features/why/#serial-only
It has the exact same end result as your plan.
Oops -- "illicit" no "elicit". Stupid me.
Avoiding scalability issues is a good reason for letting the user's download the app and use their own computing power.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Ok? That was my point. No matter what you choose there are trade-offs.
Tie the data to the customer, something more sophisticated than putting "Brian's personalized data" in a header. Everyone has different information needs, if you can find a way to deliver a unique package of information for each customer, you eliminate the "sharing" problem. Sell your data in packages or bundles that can be easily perceived as containing a minimum value to justify the cost, while allowing your customer to re-use the data multiple times and thereby obtaining more value than what he/she paid for it. From a sales perspective, the more quickly the data gets stale, the more often you can sell data to the same customer.
"Everyone has different information needs, if you can find a way to deliver a unique package of information for each customer, you eliminate the "sharing" problem."
Yes, this is what I want to do. I call it the "reading glasses" technique -- nobody steals another person's reading glasses, because there's no point. :)
As an example, some suppliers to banks use this model. Think Bloomberg and Reuters, although there are others.
They typically can use the data for internal manipulation/calculation for immediate display (i.e. no broadcasting/transmission).
Here, the ability to access the data for manipulation (e.g. asset pricing) is crucial. Would that apply in your circumstances? If so, it would be hard to envisage this being a good way to prevent piracy (of the data at least).
Another aspect to consider is the perceived 'value' the client is purchasing is in the data and not the software. If that's the case, you may also want to consider what other substitutes or alternatives your clients have to the data you provide.
All the best
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