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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Abusive pirate

Preface: I decided to ditch two of my paid apps that weren't selling at all.  Literally nothing after over six months.  My web logs show uninstalls were pretty much equal to installs, so people didn't obviously find any value in them.  I decided to remove them because I consider them failed and don't want to have to support them if maybe one or two people buy far down in future.

This morning I get this email from a pirated user:


Wow, eh?  This is from someone who never paid and admits that he's using my sh*t for free anyway!  If he valued the apps so much, why did he never pay?  And why is he upset that I removed them?  Because he's suddenly realised they'll be no more.  Maybe if he coughed up some dough, I would've been more willing to keep them.  So I LOL at his "greed" comments, because how can I be greedy when I'm not even selling anything?  Oh, dear.

Any advice on how to respond to this twat?  I'm NOT going to gracefully ignore him -- this prick needs something said back.  Ideas?
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
My suggestion is to respond to this person with "May the fleas of a thousand Camels infest your armpits!"

Seriously though, don't respond... Move on.
James Crossley Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
I don't think it's really nessary to fight back, it's waste of your time, which you can make more money hopefully:)
GerryLu Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
+1 for Andy, do not reply or engage with this person at any level.

If there is a silver lining, it that someone cares about what you are creating so that must mean you are creating something useful with your products. Good for you!
maxr Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
What I don't understand is why they don't pay if they like something.  The apps weren't expensive ($9) but it's not until they're gone that I got such a reaction.

Do you think it was too soon to pull the apps?  Half a year is too soon (for one of them, anyway)?  Maybe I made a mistake.  Maybe I should release them as freeware?  I don't know what to do now.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
I know you don't think I should reply, but I decided I'm just going to play with him for a while.  I will see how long I can string him along with frustrating replies.  :)

Here's my first reply:  "Hi William, I can't find your customer info or payment details... can you please supply them so I can help you further. Thank you. Paul."
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
"...What I don't understand is why they don't pay..."
It's not about the money. It never was.

"...I'm just going to play with him for a while..."


You're about to engage with an opponent you know next to nothing about other than he has way too much time on his hands.
Evidently it would appear he's not the only one.
At this juncture you have no idea what he is (or isn't) capable of. I can recommend Sun Tzu.

You're a puzzle PSB136.

You've asked the community for advice which they've provided unanimously based on their experiences.

Yet you're prepared to completely ignore it and expend time and energy (two resources you won't get back) on a heckler.

You seem to be easily deflected. A few posts ago you were itching to get into a new project. Perhaps that's where your time & energy will have a better ROI.

Good luck (I have a feeling you'll need it).
Marcus from London Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Just send him this link to YouTube (really NSFW!!!):


and then forget about the whole situation.
Dmitri Popov Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Just last week in Barnes & Noble I was browsing and found this book about how to be safe in this not-always-safe world, and happened to read the chapter about dealing with psychos that enter your world. It was a compelling read. The takeaway message from the author (who is some kind of personal security expert) was: the only way to win (in fact, the only way to be *safe*, as in, not risking being seriously harmed) is to ignore them utterly. 100.0%. No contact, ever. They may try a few times to get your response, but after 5 weeks the psycho in the story finally gave up. Every time the naive good guy of the story thought he would give the psycho a final tell-off, it bought the good guy another 4-6 weeks of insane monomaniacal nearly life-ruining harassment.

Same thing happened to poor Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection. He got into years and years of a horrible set-to with some flat-Earth nut who did all he could to diminish Wallace's life--and did.

But, if you like this sort of thing and feel your life could use a little excitement, do reply.
Racky Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
(before people respond:  yes, of course, I should say **safer**, and not "safe". Nothing in life is ever a perfect guarantee. You just do what you can to try to minimize problems, and certainly not invite them, as PSB seems to be thinking of doing).
Racky Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Racky buddy I like that book you found. I reached the same conclusion. Maybe there is some genius out there able to defuse the psychopath. I doubt it but lets say its possible. Well that 1 in a billion psychoanalyst genius is probably not you or me. That means the only effective strategy with psychopaths is to avoid them totally.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
I've known someone who has dealt with a few psychos, and now I think he may actually be one. He has even developed a complete indifference to breaking the law. This guy was a straight arrow.

The only way to successfully get abusive people to back off is:

1. Ignore them. Indifference works 100% of the time.

2. Abuse them incessantly and at a higher degree than they do you. This also works 100% of the time, but takes much longer.

3. Agree with them in a comical way. "Oh yeah, we were making so much money that the bank needed a new vault. Instead of bothering to find a new bank, we just decided to pull the software. It will be back up when the vault is half empty."

My 2c: indifference is the best revenge.

But a close second is that email you sent in reply. I often send something similar.
Bring back anon Send private email
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Okay, I won't contact him anymore.  I guess I'm still too naive about all this.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, December 04, 2015
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, December 04, 2015
Racky - I read 'Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work' which provided the same advice.

Simply don't engage.

Marcus from London Send private email
Friday, December 04, 2015
It's hard not to, though.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, December 04, 2015
True, but there's no way to win with a psychopath and they definitely want you to respond. This guy is provoking you hoping you'll bite because he wants to have some fun thrashing you around in ways you can't begin to imagine. You might your site hacked, credit thrashed, identity stolen, and be swatted by the time it is through if you dare to engage.
Scott Send private email
Friday, December 04, 2015
If you want to engage, do it in David Thorne style, just for fun. I've done it once, and was lots of fun.
edddy Send private email
Friday, December 04, 2015
If you want to understand a bit about psychopathy I recommend this interesting and entertaining book:
(NB/ By a journalist, not a psychologist).
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, December 07, 2015
To me, it is an automated email sent to all authors when his system detects 404 Page not found for all download links on his website.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Monday, December 07, 2015
Or at least he sends this standard email to all 404 page note found download links.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Monday, December 07, 2015
There's been no further reply from him since my reply for his customer info.  But it's weird that he said my decision to remove the apps was due to greed.  I can't understand that.  How is NOT selling something, being greedy?  Strange guy.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, December 07, 2015
" It's hard not to, though."

No, it's not. Hit the "mark as spam" button and move on. That's what I do.

What he said or why he said it is not interesting at all, unless you want to study mental deviations. There's no business value in emails like his.
handzhiev Send private email
Monday, December 07, 2015
Like everyone said, it is best to ignore people like that.  Though if you do respond, your response was great and did make me laugh.  Here's some psycho cussing you out and you're all professional/innocent: "I assume you're a good, paying customer so please help me help you..."

I would be very tempted to play with someone like that.  But the reason you should not, even for your own entertainment, is because you have no idea what he is capable of.  He could damage your business.

Also - even if this nut job is harmless, you already struggle with worrying about people thinking you're greedy just for being in business.  So you should not let your focus linger on some psycho who is trying to tell you that -- even if you think you are just doing it for your own amusement.  Not to get too deep into psycho babble but it may reinforce your insecurities!

As to what makes this psycho tick -- who knows but he's probably not a programmer because he could not pass logic 101.  How can you not want to make money and be greedy at the same time?

But I'll tell you this - the internet is filled with websites where people can argue and cuss and shout each other down all day if they're so disposed.  What motivates a person to go off on a total stranger like this?  They are looking for attention and probably got kicked off of every forum on the internet because they're so deranged.  Don't feed the wild animals unless you want them moving in with you!  You don't want to be the one person who gives him the attention no one else will spare him and then have him become obsessed with getting a reaction out of you and trying to ruin your life.

LAST THOUGHT: The things he said to you are SO INLINE with the concerns you've expressed on this forum, that I would not be surprised to learn he is some insecure person who hates himself and saw you posting your concerns on here, seeming unsure of your business, and figured out who you are and picked you as a  soft target for someone to take down to make him feel better about his loser self.  Although for that to be true he'd have to be following your every move and then pounce when you took the software down.  More likely someone like that would have made up something to complain about rather than waiting.  But look at what his message targets - your big concerns:

1. Pirating your software.  Says he has ALL your stuff?
2. Saying you've got issues that you don't want to make money.
3. Saying you are greedy if you make software and don't give it away.
4. A hostile, unhinged, PIA "client" (though not really a client) but the kind of nightmare we worry about having to deal with.

PS I forget who posted the Thug Life video but it was awesome.  Perfect.
Emily Jones Send private email
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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