Piracy – How to embrace it and work with it

By March 21, 2014Company Updates

In the recent weeks, AppDupe has become increasingly popular and it is becoming hard for our team to service our customers in the best way that we’d like to.

When you are a product company, good things come from popularity, you get all excited because you are becoming a brand, synonymous with your line of product category 😀

Not so fast…remember the quote “With great power, comes great responsibility!” in our line of work, it is “With a slightly respectable popularity, comes inevitable, massive piracy of your products!” Some people will be quick to point out that there is irony here” “You cloned Whatsapp, and that’s what you get, your Whatsapp Clone will get pirated!” But here’s the thing. While we did not come up with a product idea, as ingenious as Whatsapp, we certainly spent more then 18hours a day, for 45 days trying to reverse engineer and build a product that has extremely complex features, elegantly sophisticated design and a big focus on sidestepping what could be called their intellectual property.

Skip this paragraph if you want to:

What we have done, in reality is looking at a Hummer H2, studying it, reverse engineering its features and design, created one just like it, from scratch. All the while, making sure not to step into infringing their IP and so finding new ways to doing the same things they are doing. But instead of calling it some unique name, we chose to call it “Hummer H2 Clone”. Why? Because we are not funded and so, cannot be discovered and we cannot afford to acquire people with this intent through any paid acquisition channel. So we started selling it as Hummer Clone, so that people will know exactly what it is and what it can do and they did. They bought it and started launching it as their own in new markets not yet explored by the original or launched it for a specific niche that the original does not service.

So here we are, where our monthly sales volume started to go down. I started investigating (Googling). I found a bunch of places where they were openly sharing nulled versions of my clone scripts. I understood what individual developers coding night and day and launching a theme or pluggin in Themeforest or Codecanyon have been feeling for so long. People were robbing me…plain and simple.

startup-piracy

Why pirate?

So what can I do? People say the music and movie industry has to adapt to new technology delivery systems because their archaic DVD or Bluray is what is driving people to pirate in the first place. But developers like me and the ones on Codecanyon etc are making it as comfortable as possible for people to buy our products. Hmmm…I began wondering, maybe it is the price. My products, any developer will know, is priced 1/30th of the actual cost of creating them. But maybe, some people wanted an even lower price…maybe my price needs to be so low that, it is only the slightest inconvenience to actually downloading it from say…Zippyshare or Uploaded.net or Torrents.

My road to solution?

So I decided on one of my products being most pirated: the 6Gag.TV – “9Gag.TV Clone Script”. Hollywood studios have teams of lawyers sending take down notice. What can I do? I am just the little guy…that’s when it hit me. I am just some guy, who put in  hardwork and hoped to make a living on it. Surely the people who pirate my products are also people with dreams and work hard. Let me try talking to them.

And I started here:

http://bestblackhatforum.com/Thread-GET-6Gag-TV-%E2%80%93-a-9Gag-TV-Clone-Script-By-MetroPirata?page=2

I became a member of that forum and posted this:

antipiracy

I openly requested them to not pirate my product, but buy it for such a throw away price.

Within 24 hours, I have had 6 people use this coupon to buy the product.

I personally emailed the people who, even though had the chance to pirate, chose to do the right thing and support a small bootstrapped startup founder 🙂 the little guy. This is the only solution I found effective. I personally spent 3 hours sending take down notices to various file hosters, got fed up of it and tried this. May be there are more ways to approaching this.

I shall delve deeper and post my findings on how to, instead of combating piracy, embrace it, accept it and do business with it. I hope it helps more digital content creators and sellers everywhere.