serial numbers on standalones

Mark Talluto userev at
Sun Mar 17 11:16:38 EDT 2013

On Mar 16, 2013, at 1:30 PM, Timothy Miller <gandalf at> wrote:

> You've convinced me (unless someone later on this thread changes my mind).
> With software, it seems, one way to limit piracy damage is to upgrade routinely. With literature, it might help to release periodic revisions, or regularly add new material.

The concept that software piracy can be viewed as a form of marketing is an interesting concept.  Give people the software for free and they will convert and/or possibly convert others to use your software into actual sales that you can feed your family with.  But, this is useful to a certain subset of products.  It is death for others.  

For the portion of products that it can serve well, you can approach them in a more productive way.  One of the keys to a successful software business is to know your customer.  Build a relationship with them.  You can not do that with pirated software.  You do not know anything about that individual.  So how can you utilize the power of trying software to its fullest? Give you software away from your site and other download sites.  There are a number of reputable download sites like:,, and others.  Consider giving your software away with a 30 day to year long trial with no limitations.  Now you have the power of "free" working for you while not losing the ever important connection with your client.

The power of free marketing only works for tools that are not one time utilities.  If you make a product that solves a very specific task, the pirate or trial user will get the milk for free and be done with your product.  Sure, they may need it again in a year.  But if they can use it for free, they will rationalize the theft as I am only using it rarely.  This of course questions the validity of the creation of that type of product in the first place, but that is another topic altogether. 

If I may take a minute more of your time for consideration…consider selling your software as a service.  Many products can dove tail nicely into this market.  To beat a dead horse once more, I will demonstrate this using one of our products as an example because I can know the statistics that are real and useful for this conversation.  

We used to only sell our software in a traditional sense.  It retails for $1750.  In the last two years we started experimenting with the SaaS model.  We priced the software from $19/mo to $79/mo with our customer base.  We did this by offering it to different groups with varying prices to see which prices worked the best.  

The results were very interesting.  The lower the prices did not work.  People thought the product quality matched the lower pricing.  The higher pricing actually sold with much higher conversion rates from the trials we handed out.  We also tried various trial lengths.  We tried everything from 14 days to 1 year.  In short, 3 months ended up being the highest conversion rate with individual buyers.  1 year ended up being the highest conversion rate for organizations.

You can still use the free trial in your guerrilla marketing plan.  Let your users use the service for a period of time, no credit card needed, and build a relationship with them in ways piracy can never achieve.

Best regards,

Mark Talluto

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