blog: rapidshare to the dog house

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nikos
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blog: rapidshare to the dog house

Post by nikos »

here's a late night edition of the blog
http://www.zabkat.com/blog/14Mar09-crack-tracker.htm
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Post by Tuxman »

Hmm, I got my keygen from eMule back then when I first stumbled upon x². :) (I'm just being honest.)
Actually, P2P software is still #1 to get warez, just because you can't take the files down from there. You can try to sue some sharers, but that's all. Decentralized approaches are the past, the present and the future.
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Post by aelfwyne »

Maybe I shouldn't say so, but I used illegally obtained copies of xplorer2 before I finally bought it a few years ago.

Problem is, people are expected when they start using computers (now as kids/teens) to not only come up with the cost of the computer, but also for ALL the software they use. Many people cannot afford the software they use until they get older / get better jobs, etc.

Myself, now that I'm out of college I have been going through and purchasing many programs I used illegally in the past. The ones that don't get bought are the ones I never developed a habit of using - in some cases because they were too troublesome to pirate. I simply buy what I use. I don't justify past actions by this, but simply stating a fact - many people are like me. When you get older and busier, the hassle of always hacking/cracking gets to be too much, you want to reward the authors, and you buy stuff.

No objections of course to your efforts to control it either, you have every right. Just saying, sometimes a high piracy rate goes right along with a high purchase rate. I doubt for example, that most Photoshop experts bought the copy of Photoshop they learned on.
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Post by Tuxman »

aelfwyne wrote:I simply buy what I use.
I use to buy what I pirate if I really like it. Hunting piracy will decrease sales, I presume.
aelfwyne wrote:I doubt for example, that most Photoshop experts bought the copy of Photoshop they learned on.
I wonder what's so "fine" with Photoshop. I recently tried to demo latest PS CS4, but all I noticed was an expensive, sluggish, bloated version of Paint Shop Pro. It seems that Photoshop is only of any interest because it costs too much to buy it legally.
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Post by IneedHelp »

Did you consider that piracy contributes to a software's popularity more than people spreading the word does?

When you're entering the scene with a product that could turn to be great you must also be prepared to challenge piracy, and the best way to do that is by doing nothing. The harder you try, the worser it gets...

Let's presume there is not a single illegal copy of x2 on the Internet, nor is it possible to pirate it by any means. Do you think people will bust in buying the product? They'll focus their attention to some application that has to offer a bit more than the x2 lite version does and that can be obtained illegally as fully functional.

So, unless you can bring down piracy to 0 on a global scale, you'll have no interest in eliminating the piracy of your product alone.

On your warez.htm page I see you're saying that you may be forced to pull down the shutters and fold the whole operation- obviously, that wouldn't be to your benefit in any way since one xplorer² order more or less makes a difference.

It is true that Keygens and cracks may harm your computer, but you'd be surprised how prudent people are (some are even overacting) in regard to illegal releases.

Saying you won't develop the application anymore or that cracking it may harm the system doesn't impress much the elitist users, I'm sure about that. The only thing plausible is that you're struggling to survive- which should make people feel a bit uncomfortable knowing they use x2 on a daily basis without having paid for it.

Having all that said, people pirate because it's more convenient (time and money wise). In most cases, wouldn't you chose the more convenient way over the more troublesome, ethically-correct path?

And then there's the obsession about downloading stuff that you were talking about.. quoting from wikipedia:

Code: Select all

Digital hoarding

Digital hoarding involves collecting files on one's computer beyond the point of usefulness. Often, files can be acquired through the Internet at no monetary cost, leading to extraordinarily large collections. Examples are music collections, often beyond what one enjoys or can listen to and television shows, movies and computer games. Hoarders, or "digital pack rats",[12] often resort to buying optical media or new hard drives[13] to store their collections, rather than deleting what they may never use.

Digital hoarders find it just as difficult to press delete as traditional hoarders find throwing items in the trash can. They have the same feeling of clutter and chaos, and feel that they might find the item useful "someday," and similarly spend large amounts of time acquiring and organizing their collections.[14] However, unlike physical clutter, automated systems exist to organize digital clutter. Scientific American remarked that humanity's propensity[15] for data collection is growing at a rate faster than their ability to store it.[16]

Digital hoarding is not a currently recognized subtype of compulsive hoarding by the DSM.
I myself am aware that I'm suffering from it... I remember when I got my first premium rapidshare account some years ago... I was downloading stuff frantically and I do so since then... filled boxes of DVDs and TB hard-disks with literally all kinds of stuff... I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm spending my life in front of the PC as a power user instead of going outside from time to time to meet people face to face and maybe get a girlfriend- but that's not too comfortable since I have over a hundred smart friends from all over the world in my box, is it? I know that downloading and organizing stuff is a stupid purpose I was given by myself... I'm not even sharing stuff back or making use of it (although my subconscious tells me I may find it useful one day)... just an extreme collector. My parents aren't wealthy, I'm currently earning my money as a multimedia freelancer so this obsession or illness is certainly hurting me. This is as stupid as smoking.

But when I do buy software or donate I feel better on any emotional level.
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Post by aelfwyne »

I wonder, if the piracy rates of xplorer2 are higher than some programs because it so danged useful in ORGANIZING those digital hordes?

Whatever.... didn't mean to contribute the the delinquency of netizens by my contribution to the thread. I have paid for xplorer2 and many other apps in the last few years and continue to do so. However, I would prefer that if anti-piracy efforts were to be increased, at least on the insanely commercial products, that software be available on fair "pay for service" levels.

For example, look at Adobe Acrobat Professional. There have been times I absolutely required the features of that app. For example, someone sends you a PDF document that you need to edit and send back - yet they didn't put in fillable fields, or didn't mark it savable. So the ONLY WAY to edit that document is to have Acrobat Professional. Which is $449. And if they think most people are going to pay $449 for an app they'll use maybe once or twice a YEAR, they're simply insane. Yet that's what they do think. And Acrobat is one of the most heavily protected apps against piracy out there. I doubt it increases sales one iota.  But if they offered a special "Get One week of Acrobat for $3.99" program, I bet people would be all over it.

Now as far as xplorer2 and rapidshare. The price of xplorer2 is more than fair, and the non-pay version is fairly usable. Which is why I actually used just the free version of it until I could afford to buy it. And seriously, I could use a free app such as Q-Dir instead, but I've found the community here to be useful when things aren't working quite well as well, and that's a nice added value feature.

Really added value for paid customers *IS* where its at. That can be in the form of support forums, additional content, tutorials, regular updates, whatever. It varies based on the app and target market, but it works. If people using the app illegally feel they're missing out on a chunk of the "experience" by not being a paid customer, they will be more inclined to pay up. I have subscribed to Stardock's Object Desktop since 2004. That's a yearly $34.95 renewal! But I pay it because the software stays up to date and fresh, and I feel it is worth it. It also gives subscriber access to the user-generated content on their website. If you're running the trial, you can access the content, but you are given a download cap. Yes, you can get around it, but ultimately the experience is better for paid customers. You get regular updates on Stardock products too. I bought Galactic Civilizations I & II, then Sins of a Solar Empire, and I loved all the free updates, addons, and continual bugfixes and material improvements. Compare that with EA who likes to dump a game on the market, stick a fork in it, call it done, and you might get ONE patch or TWO if you're lucky, that usually create more bugs than they solve, then they want to sell you an expansion that contains bugfixes that should have been a given! Needless to say, my money goes to the company that gives after-purchase support.

Now, the whole point of this thread was NOT to debate the right or wrong of piracy, but an innocent sharing of an anti-piracy tip by Nikos with other developers. And yes, it's a good tip. Developers who know where the piracy goes on are best equipped to fight it. They also need to know and accept WHY it goes on other than just that people want to steal their stuff. Really, the blog even mentions $10 rapidshare accounts. You don't have to be a rapidshare premium member to download that stuff. In fact, most "pirates" would scoff at being a rapidshare premium member, as do I, since I pay for my own legal hosting for files I share, and would never expect anyone to pay a 3rd party to download files *I* am uploading.

People pirate because it's easy, convenient, and frequently offers a *better* customer experience than purchasing. They also may feel afraid to share their personal financial information online. I know with me, that's frequently the issue if I come across an app that wants me to pay with a credit card and won't accept Paypal! I simply will not participate in that exchange, the internet is too dangerous to do financial transactions without some kind of intermediary that can be somewhat trustworthy. I have bought a LOT more apps since more developers are taking PayPal. Also, on Android, Google Checkout makes the experience trustworthy. I was very wary of ever buying apps when I had a Palm and you had to deal with each developer personally. I used to pirate the heck out of PalmOS apps. Now I have Android, and buy everything, because I know my credit card won't end up buying tacos in Kazakhstan.

I like for example, that with xplorer2, I can simply download it, search my gmail for the key I was sent when I bought it, and reinstall it, activate it easily. Same with the stardock apps. Yet one app I bought years ago has always caused me heartache: Roboform! I reinstall frequently, and apparently I keep tripping their anti-piracy. I try to activate it, and it says I've exceeded my activations. I then have to email customer support and WAIT for them to manually reset my activations AGAIN... Which is horrible customer experience, because Roboform stores my PASSWORDS which are in effect held hostage while I await a response from customer support. Recently they may have either given me more activations, or revised their overall process, because this hasn't happened as much, but for years I have had to deal with this problem with that one app.

So, Nikos, I hope more people buy your great app and you don't feel you have to go to extreme measures. I like how responsive your support is, and have pushed my friends to using your app in hoping at least some of them will register it. I wish you didn't have to spend as much time fighting piracy, and could spend it improving the app itself. But, that, alas, is the world we live in. I think the best you can do is mitigate damages and make a good-faith effort to stop the casual pirates. You cannot stop the hardcore ones, and it is foolish to spend too much time trying. If you stop them from using YOUR app, they aren't going to buy it, your sales won't increase. What will increase your sales is added after-sale value.

If there's a way, for example, to badge accounts on the forum of paid users, that's a nice touch - so people who are paid users can feel they get a little recognition. As far as other possibilities for added value, the support is one, obviously. Don't cut off support to non-paid users completely (that's a quick way to prevent them from EVER being paid users) but offer additional guidance with more advanced topics such as scripting in a paid-users-only forum.

And finally, as much as I hate to say it.... I do kinda see how the pay-once get updates forever model isn't very rewarding to the developers when paid users continue to get support and benefits for years after an initial purchase. I don't like the idea of software subscriptions more than the next guy, but really I wonder with some apps I've bought just how fair it is that I have a nice shiny new application every few months that I paid $14.95 for 8 years ago. I have been paying Stardock every year for Object Desktop renewals, because I get the whole suite of apps, when I could just buy Windowblinds (which is what I really use most) for a one-time fee.

I think ultimately, an application can't forever attract new users at a rate that will be financially rewarding. Existing customers who bought in already need to contribute toward the CONTINUING updates and support of their favorite app. The best way to do this is to feature freeze the existing version, iron out bugs and half-finished bits and pieces toward a FINAL release. Then offer a MAJOR upgrade that includes new functionality & features as well as a new and refreshed UI that matches the latest version of Windows, and charge an UPGRADE for existing customers.

You continue to work, shouldn't customers continue to reward you? So long as you release a bug-free FINAL of the old version (and fix showstopper bugs still if they show up), then users that don't want to pay the "upgrade tax" don't have to. There would be no stigma in using the old version, just like Windows XP continues to get support long after Windows 7 has arrived.

And, if you have read this far, you're a better man than most. So I bid good night.
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Post by nikos »

when the first cracks and keygens appeared for xplorer2 back in 2005 i think, i went bezerk with fighting piracy. I soon realized it was a battle i could never win. I have read about ubisoft taking protection to silly limits. That just gives pirates the excuse they are after

on the other hand you have to keep honest people honest. Look what happened to greece, what many people don't realize is that we reached this mess mainly IMHO because the system of justice and reform has broken down. People steal and don't pay for it. So everyone and their dogs are at it

xplorer2 anti-piracy is mild, and i feel we've reached a gentlemen's agreement with the crackers, that i let their keygens work and x2 gets a bit naughty only part of the time

as for the crack tracker? i bet one day it will be a bigger money earner than xplorer2!
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Post by Cosmo »

http://www.zabkat.com/blog/14Mar09-crack-tracker.htm
more than 95% of xplorer² regular users are using keygens instead of paying for the program. ... And where do people get the keygens? From rapidshare ...
http://forum.zabkat.com/viewtopic.php?p=33044#33044
nikos wrote:here's the good manual just for you:
rapidshare.com/...
Hm :idea:
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Post by IneedHelp »

Still, you have to love the Groups that say: If you like it, buy it!
Can't wait to celebrate the day some virgin chick gave birth to a raptor.
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Post by dunno »

Nikos, piracy is a interesting dilemma, some say it increases sales due to pirated popularity. I think that most folks that pirate software don't have any intention of buying a legal version, it boils down to what each individuals value system is, I'm not a pc "power user" hence don't run many apps and I have paid for what to me are essential applications, Sandboxie, X2, and a few other apps, and there is enough free RELIABLE software from reputable creators to fill the gaps in my requirements, Foxit, Picassa, instead of that expensive bloat from adobe, also Open Office, to name but a few.
Unfortunately for independent software writers, and there's plenty, there are hordes of bright young kids which know how to code and regard it as fun and a challenge to crack this or that, basically bright young bored kids killing time indoors, instead of being mischievous outdoors like in the old days, they have this wonderful online medium where they can stretch their imaginations and morals, what do they do when they grow up, perhaps become black Hats, white Hats, malware writers, spammers, mafia coders, certainly a headache for big business let alone independent coders, heck the internet is the wild west where it's only the individuals moral code which defines online ethics.

What business model is going to entice people to pay for software ?, million dollar question indeed...

*now where is that darn crack for M$ Office 2007*
8)
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Post by nikos »

office 2010 == free

some business model!
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Post by Kilmatead »

nikos wrote:office 2010 == free

some business model!
Not really, as the Web-only applications in Office 2010 are a bit on the hobbled side.  They're just doing it to annoy Google.  Cloud Computing, thankfully, will never replace real applications.  Of course, real-applications encourage piracy...
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Post by dunno »

nikos wrote:office 2010 == free

some business model!
It's just a M$O 2010 "lite version" similar concept to your lite version.
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Post by IneedHelp »

I thought you were joking when you said
dunno wrote:*now where is that darn crack for M$ Office 2007*
8)

You don't need a crack. You need a serial.
Can't wait to celebrate the day some virgin chick gave birth to a raptor.
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Post by Kilmatead »

The installed applications still have a "lite" mode... but the user has to tolerate advertisements - limited, at first, to "buy the real version here."  Where they go in time after that... perhaps "McDonald's supports Word '10" coming to a desktop near you... will make nikos' toolbar pennies seem like... well... pennies... hmm... pretty good business model actually...
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