A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.
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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
We allow a license transfer as long as the receiving party agrees to our license agreement. We charge a modest fee for the paperwork. Our software sale is minimum US$10k and average US50k.
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Yes, a signed affidavit sort of form, and they original owner has to physically mail it in. If they got physical media, they have to return that, though there are cases where they say they physically transferred the material and though that's not strictly allowed, I usually allow it on a case by case basis. Then the new guy pays a small transfer fee, plus a fee for new materials. These fees are about 15% the cost of the full software, and don't cover the costs of doing a transfer and shipment, but any higher and they tend to complain.
One problem we have is with fraud.
Bob Smith posts on the internet he uses our software.
I get an email from firstname.lastname@example.org saying he just bought the materials from Bob Smith and needs the license key reissued. I contact Bob Smith's last known email and get no response, a dead email, or a response from the same ip address as s0c1al3ng1n33r. I explain to s0c1al3ng1n33r that Bob has to send in a form, and s0c1al3ng1n33r gets mad and says he will post bad reviews of my product if I don't send him the keys.
I email 'Bob' to tell him to send me the form and 'Bob' will then write back and say he gave the materials to the other guy. The other guy confirms it. Then I say great, send me a photo of the box. Then he will say he threw it away. Then he posts negative reviews on the internet.
These cases are rare, looks like about 1-3 times a year. I always have to handle them myself because it's too much of a judgement call for customer service to handle. It's a big waste of time. There's also another similar number that are legit where they manage to prove the transfer was legit. Since it's half legit I can't just ban all of it, and since it's half fraudulent I can't just let them through. So it ends up being this very annoying process. I'd sort of like to just not allow license transfers, but that's punishing one group for the sins of others.
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