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Marketing via new toys for my CD software?

I’ve finally made some progress with my new licensing functionality for my maths cds.

I can now accept a few of the users details along with a 14 digit numeric key, all of which I will print at the bottom of the customers packing slip. Thus making my life tonnes easier as I can create cds before I get the orders and not waste tonnes of time, when I’m busy.

I haven’t really touched the code in the program since 2006 and therefore I was a bit unfamiliar with it. However, the code I have now added provides me with room for some creative marketing.

Firstly, the program only use to work with a license key file, which I included in the setup exe file, re-generated at order time for each CD. If the license key is deleted, they are given a 30 day trial period. Obviously not something a paying customer would do; also not something I’m really worried about, if someone were to want to try and copy my program and use without the key file.

However, this functionality does give me the option to provide users with a period, perhaps a trial or a grace period. My initial thought was to give customers maybe 5 days before they have to enter the key. Then I thought, why should I do that, I’ll just lock them out if they don’t enter the key etc.

Now, I’m thinking a little about the marketing side of this, if I give people a 5 day grace period / trial and market the cd, so that people are allowed to pass on to their friends, I could get some extra sales.

Secondly, I’ve kept in my first licensing strategy which either accepts a key file (as provided when i use to burn a cd per customer) or more interestingly, to accept a key block provided as provided by ShareIT online.

So I could add a button to my paper license acceptance screen, something ‘Help Options’ which would show a screen with radio buttons. Options could be, A) help me enter my paper license info (I’m an Idiot), where I could send them a license block over email. B) Purchase a new license online via ShareIT. C) Maybe purchase a new CD.

Maybe I’m getting carried away with all these extra toys?

I’m just not sure what to do?

Also how to term things, like grace period, trial, etc, after all it might upset customers who have bought the CD?

Lots of questions.

by JM

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{ 4 } Comments

  1. illusion | February 13, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Well I think it’s a great idea.
    Extra security is always the way to go and some
    customers may get a bit bored. However it’s what is
    expected now-a-days. If they have Windows, then they
    should already be familiar with entering in serial codes,
    keys or even browsing to license files.

    5 days doesn’t seem long though, normally you have a 30
    day trial. This does seem over excessive on the
    programmers side and never long enough for the user.
    You have to weight up the pros and cons really. 30 days
    could be to long for the user to go, well I don’t really to
    buy this, and then forgot it. But you also don’t want them
    to go, this licensing is pissing me off and abandon your
    I would go for a good 10 day trial. Then hopefully it will
    be enough time to play with it, but not enough for them to
    get bored! 🙂

    Keep up the good work


  2. Dipsy | February 13, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I just want to add Denises comments.

    As this will be a CD that is bought by customers, not trial software, she thinks a 2 day grace period id more than enough for people to enter the key etc.

    She also doesn’t like the idea of people being permitted to copy the cd or loan it to their friends. She thinks people will do this and copy the key / license details too.

    I guess if it their friends, they would trust their friends with their name, phone number and email address, enough not to give them away to anyway. Although, I’m not 100% sure about this, for the
    sake of a few pound to buy a license vs giving away proof that I’ve stolen something. Hmmm.

  3. MikeL | February 13, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I agree with Denise – keep the trial period short. Don’t
    allow 2 weekends free use for example – so 2 or 5 days
    sounds about right.

    I like the other comments about copying or loaning too. I
    get these from my wife. Unforntunately no system of
    protection is perfect and you have to weigh up the admin
    (and real) costs of any stronger protection.

  4. MikeL | February 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    What I meant was that I found Denise’s comments about
    preventing copy very familiar – my wife expresses the
    exact same concerns about our software!

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