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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I have a small product that sells a tiny bit. I had couple of orders for 10-15 sits. At the beginning I just displayed the number of sits in a dialog in the program. The first multiple sit order I got I ended up refunding (I somehow believe it had to do with the fact that the customer did not clearly got the benefit of purchasing the correct number of sits vs just replicating the same license). Then I wrote a simple online activation system where the number of sits is clearly denoted and the customer can issue separate license instances for each sit. I believe things are clearer that way, I even got customers reordering more sits.
I am interested how do you manage and enforce the multiple sit licenses. Do you do any online activation? Simply, what do you do when someone orders 10 licenses of your software? Do you just send him a license where you say '10 sits' and hope he'll be happy with it and that it will justify the price difference? Do you try to enforce it somehow?
I am not worried about hackers or pirates. I don't worry about selling a single license to an enterprise and they use it all over the place. I wonder, should I do an extra step and make the ones that order multiple licenses feel good about it and not ask for a refund for 9 out of 10 licenses.
It's not clear what you're asking. Or rather, it sounds like you already have the answers to your questions.
>> "Simply, what do you do when someone orders 10 licenses of your software?"
You generate a product key that can be activated on 10 computers and no more.
>> "Do you just send him a license where you say '10 sits' and hope he'll be happy with it and that it will justify the price difference? "
Well, no. A well written EULA will cover the legal side of the agreement (see a good lawyer) and a well-designed activation product (like ours: http://wyday.com/limelm/ ) will cover the enforcement side of things.
>> "I don't worry about selling a single license to an enterprise and they use it all over the place."
It sounds like you do. In fact you specifically mention it twice. That's not a criticism -- you should be concerned about getting paid for your software.
I am not sure what I asked and whether I implied anything :-) Let me try to say once again.
I am trying to put on the 'customer hat' that orders 10 license sits from and keep him satisfied. I am not too much worried about abuses (or not right now, if that becomes too big of a problem, I'll be worried).
I think that if someone orders 10 (20, 50 whatever) licenses of a piece of software, he should also get some "satisfaction" or better said "proof" that he really got what he paid for. Some visual clue, or an extra step in making him feel good.
Obviously I cannot express myself good enough, maybe this is stupid. But, I somehow feel that I should treat differently people that order 10 licenses than one that order 1.
It sounds like you feel guilty for selling your software. Don't feel guilty. People are buying your work to solve a problem they're having. Accept their money without guilt and reinvest it into making your product even better.
@ThistimeAnon, do you think that the customers are doing a mistake by ordering 10 copies? Why do you want to treat them differently (give them more respect & comfort)? Or are you worried that they may later find your software worthless & ask for refund?
Friday, April 04, 2014
I just think that if they, after they made the purchase find out that their 10 sits order is no different from the 1 sit order they could make, they may think: we could probably get away with ordering only one copy.
I am not sure, but I simply feel that it has to be something more to it.
Like I said, hardware-locked licensing (a.k.a. online activation) solves that part of the problem.
I think you should develop a licensing mechanism that's directly tied to the user's initial google search terms they used to find your product and then heuristically build a key that mindmaps the modules of your software with a ticking time-bomb feature disabler that reminds the user of their stingy purchasing preferences via nag screen/phone-home/auto-deinstaller mechanism that connects directly to a LimeLM payment processor screen and a data ransom page threatening the user with malware/DoS attacks for life unless they purchase a 50 seat site license (discounted, of course).
Or just put the code on GitHub with a PayPal "Donate!" button and see if it gets picked up by IBM.
It can go either way, really.
The great majority of time the number of copies a company buys has no bearing whats over on how the emotionally feel about the software but everything on how they can use the software.
If the software fills a need and is licensed where they need to buy a license per user then they by the number of licenses they need. Whether its one or 10 the utility for them is still the same.
They also should be treated the same. The person who bought 10 licenses may never buy another one. The person who bought 1 may recommend it or later by 50 licenses. Unless I've negotiated terms of special treatment or I am paying for special support I don't deserve to be treated special.
If you feel you have to 'give' them something post mail them a receipt in the form certificate. "I present this Certification of Sale for your receipt of 10 licenses."
Friday, April 04, 2014
It appears the OP is concerned that a customer that purchased 10 seats discovers the software has no license enforcement and so they could have bought just one seat and ten users could run it. I can see how a company might be unhappy if they discover such. It's like selling merchandise where $5 buys you up to ten items, but this is not advertised. So if the customer doesn't know about it, they pay $5 for one item, then they watch the next guy get 10 for the same $5 and they are pissed off.
My solution is a non-hardware locked licensing system with online activation. It works for me because my customers are IT managers and while they have the skill to circumvent my minimal license enforcement, I think most do not. I sometimes get a failed activation in my activation log on the server when they try to activate the same license a second time -when that happens they almost always purchase an additional license(s). So maybe I have a few cheats out there, but I can live with that. I prefer that to hardware-locked licensing because I think it is unfair to my customers since I am an mISV so if I go out of business and they upgrade machines, they cant use my software anymore.
This reminds me of how some old server licenses worked. You could entered in the number of client license you bought manually. Nothing prevented you from entering more than you really bought. But if you did that you were now not legal if the licensing required you have a purchased license per seat.
If that's how your software works and you can install and use as much as you want regardless of what you actually purchased then shame on you for having an implementation like that. And if a someone bought it with the intention of exploiting that then shame on them. Either way your licensing states you need a license per seat than anyone not doing that is in violation of the license. Those that actually bought the seats they need are just following the rules. Do they need something extra to prove that to them. No.
Like others mention implement an actual licensing scheme that performs some sort of check or is hardware locked. Then you know you've sold them what they expected to get.
Really its only a big deal to you and how you feel about people exploiting the way your seat licensing works.
Friday, April 04, 2014
Bill Anonomist nailed down my worries. My software is a simple utility and I am afraid that hardware locking is too much. Online activation is what I do too, but I am in a process of writing a new major upgrade and I am rethinking about the licensing schema and I believe this with multiple sit license is my biggest worry/doubt.
So, I just wonder how others are doing it.
I have quite a bit of software I bought and paid for and did things with which I can't run anymore because the company stopped running their activation server, got acquired, or went out of business.
Some of that software saved my work in a proprietary format I can no longer read and that work is lost.
I consider people who write such software to be comparable to terrorists and their products I will go far out of my way to avoid.
It's the #1 reason, in my opinion, to use open source software rather than commercial.
I can't risk my work to the extremely high chance your company won't be around in 10 years.
>> "I consider people who write such software to be comparable to terrorists [...]"
Sure, that's a rational response. Also, everyone you disagree with is Hitler.
Saturday, April 05, 2014
I am just looking for experiences, what are people doing when they get multiple sits license orders. Online activation is one way to make the customer appreciate he bought the right license. But, it is not perfect.
But, what is the right way? I believe if I just have single license/business(pro) license and enterprise license and say that single license means you can run it on one computer (or in your home environment). Business (pro) license means you can run it in your office environment. Enterprise license is for enterprises (whatever that means!).
Maybe the above is viable instead of counting each license sit?
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