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‘Honeypot’ pages to try to convert people searching for cracked software (successfulsoftware.net)
150 points by charlieirish 69 days ago | hide | past | web | 87 comments | favorite

When searching for the crack, it means someone thinks that the software isn't worth the value being asked (or they might not have any way to pay). The honeypot page doesn't provide anything useful to the question. I think scaring customers who are looking for cracks with "you're sooooo gonna get malware, stop doing that" sounds a bit cheap and might turn some away. Having that page sounds like a smug idea to 'outsmart' the customers (which I think is dangerous). It gives the impression 'ahaha I knew you will do this, caught ya' -- you're trying too hard like a car salesman. Best case, they grudgingly pay for your shit. What probably will happen is that they click back and move to the next result.

There might be some actual, helpful solutions to the customer given you are facing a customer trying to save a buck:

1. Actually giving them a discount: Providing a discounted license. Giving them a student discount. Providing a reduced/lite mode/ad-enabled license (for example, powered by... on the printed cards). Providing WinRAR-style functionality. Extending their trial period. Actually offering them a way to email you to ask for a free license and explain why they can't afford or pay for it.

2. Showing a cheaper (but inferior, possibly) software/solution that does the same thing as the thing you're trying to sell.

3. Showing the customer a way to DYI.

After trying 2 or 3 and the customer concluded to themselves "fuck it, it sucks even more for me to try saving a couple of bucks than to buy this outright," then there is a chance they might actually be happy to buy it.

I'm not 100% sure what is your experience with others but these kind of people are pathological customers. At least in my business.

You can test this by adding something like this to your honeypot page or home page:

  if you have do not financial needs or you are student 
  please email us and we can discuss how to you can get
  software at discounted rate or free.
And you will get just bunch of hate emails. And we even decided: "who ever writes us an email that email contains "thank you" to "please" phrase (or nice in any other way) they will get our service for free". Just that: just be nice and you will get it free. And you know what: you will get maybe two or three emails in a year which have "thank you" or "please" in the email. All other emails will be rude emails demanding something. Like "I'm retired I do not have money to pay for your shit. Give me free or fuck yourself" (actual email).

It very much depends on the market. Someone pirating a $40 table plan program is almost certainly pathological, granted. A lot of other software is totally unaffordable for keen amateurs or people in developing countries.

In my field (music technology), most software ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. A serious composer might have $30,000 worth of software licenses. Cut-down licenses are usually available, but they're often too barebones to be useful; paying for software that's worse than the pirated version is difficult to stomach if you're on a tight budget.

I fully understand why a 19-year-old EDM producer might choose to torrent Ableton Suite and Komplete Ultimate, rather than trying to find $2,000 for full licenses or paying $300 for a tiny fraction of the full functionality. Even the cut-down licenses seem absurdly expensive if your price anchor for software is $0.99.

It's a really difficult problem and I'm not sure what the solution is. I suspect that there's now a tragedy of the commons problem - piracy is so rampant that the costs are being priced into software, which just makes it less affordable. The minority who do pay for their software are subsidising the majority who don't. Heavy-duty DRM solutions like iLok[0] have barely made a dent on the problem and created a huge amount of annoyance for legitimate customers.

The bigger players are deeply integrating their software with proprietary hardware[1][2][3], which seems to be a promising approach.





I don't think the makers of software costing hundreds or thousands of dollars per unit are the target audience of the article.

> Even the cut-down licenses seem absurdly expensive if your price anchor for software is $0.99.

If your price anchor for software is $0.99, you're not going to be able to afford any software that's worth more than $0.99. The music software you refer to is certainly worth more than that. I agree that it shouldn't have to cost $30,000 for a serious composer to have the tools they need; but I don't think it should cost $0.99 either. There is a lot of value in that software.

> It's a really difficult problem

I think a big part of the problem is that much software, like the music software you refer to, has a very small market. Yes, "very small" is a relative term, but what I'm comparing it to is, for example, the market for Microsoft Office. The main buyers in that market are large corporations and organizations, that buy thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of copies every few years. That's why Microsoft can afford to give heavy discounts to many other buyers, like students: those buyers are just a trickle anyway compared to their main revenue stream, and giving the discounts is probably a net win anyway once you factor in PR and lock-in (after all, the large corporations buying Office know that everybody learns how to use it in school).

There is no counterpart to those huge corporate buyers in markets like the one for music software. So the makers of software that sells in those markets simply can't afford to offer the kinds of pricing tiers that Microsoft can; they would go out of business.

Or maybe when they searched for a crack and found your smug page, they get pissed because they were trapped, and some get even more pissed when they were instructed to beg for a license. I wonder if you see a difference if you just put out a button on the page (that is not searchable by an engine) with a 75% off coupon, so they feel like they 'saved' the money by just being smarter than other people. To you as a software developer, I don't think it will hurt the business because those are the ones that aren't going to pay the full price anyway (and because the coupon cannot be shared/searched as a standard discount, you won't risk people who are willing to pay the full price).

We had it on pricing page. But it does not matter - because that is not the point. You should not have these kind of people (rude, pathological, etc.) as customers because they will hurt your business. If you cannot get money from somebody at least that person needs to be nice so that your support is not stressed out, you have pleasure working with that person, etc.

If you don't want them as your customers in the first place, then why bother setting up the honeypot to trap them and convince them to pay?

> If you don't want them as your customers in the first place,

> then why bother setting up the honeypot to trap them and

> convince them to pay?

Because stupid me was thinking that people who are looking for discount / free do not have money (students, financial difficulties, etc.) and they need help. No - that is not the case. Majority of people who are looking for discount / free are pathological.

I don't know about you and how you set up your page, but I think how you approach those people matter too.

I have seen Parted Magic's author, Patrick, being a pain in the ass about offering a free student version [1]. So in that case, technically a student version is provided, I don't think anyone would ever choose to beg for the license, or they will send an email and say mean things. Of course, his intention might be good, but with that page, no one would want to take his good intention.

Case in point, so even I was a student, I still chose to pay full price for Parted Magic after reading that (not very happy, but OK), and got a download link to a version that had a bug (very disappointed). So what did I do? I didn't bother to ask the author for anything, fearing I will upset him, and just went ahead and downloaded another version on thepiratebay that works.

Can it be handled differently instead of having that page ranting about people being assholes? I think so. Just ask them to verify the .edu address automatically by sending them an automated email. I am sure I am so much happier being offered a 50% discount being a student and get verified automatically than to get a free version when I beg.


You've been giving valuable insight in these posts, but that page isn't asking for begging, the message is simply "be a legit student".

I think having to provide a scanned ID and driver's license, and being reminded "you can't afford it?" and "have some self respect" is far from requesting the person just "being a legit student." It is saying I don't trust you being a good person by default, and I pity you for not being able to pay for it. You give discount or free program then just do it, like how MS do dreamspark, don't do it and antagonize people like that. Everyone knows that a person having to resort to those kinds of discounts are tight on budget - they aren't willing to pay whatever the price the author asks. Rubbing on those aspects is, to me, being a pain in the ass - which the author does have a right to.

But everyone else does have a right to what they do as well, to which they might choose to either unhappily not take that offer and pay, or unhappily not take that offer and pirate. In which case, the whole discounted/free student thing becomes a joke, rather than actually helping anyone.

Now you've become another one of the angry people who's angry that everyone else is so angry.

The article's author is Andy Brice. I see no evidence that HN user tlogan setup a honeypot page, let alone a "smug" one. As tlogan claimed, the ability to get a discounted or free copy was directly on their pricing page.

This is why I am always polite when I have to deal with customer service, the guy at the drive-thru, anything like that.

The general public is (generally, heh) self-entitled and abusive, so a polite tone and a smile can go a long way.

I think msft well understands the value of letting your product get pirated (within reason: you still need a "crack").

Of course this lets the pathological people cheat and get your system for free, but it also lets students learn and use your product so when they graduate to money makers (and decision makers) they will naturally gravitate towards msft products.

What would you say if someone offered to mail cash to you? Or asked if you accept Bitcoin?

Anecdote: Bingo Card Creator got a lot of customers from the checking account generations. Anyone offering to send in a check (or pay via a school purchase order) got the software for free, because accepting a check would cost us more than the value of the software.

If the email was nice (no profanities, thank you or something) we will just give it free - just keep it simple.

The point I'm trying to make here is that offering something cheaper via webpage will attract wrong type of people (patio11 calls them pathological customers).

I think there was also 37signals post about why they do not offer discounts for students or similar.

In short, just keep it simple as Veen said: If I offer a service or product to what I assume are reasonable, rational, intelligent human beings, the deal is this: you pay me what I ask and you get the service I'm offering at that price.

Yes, that's fair enough.

But the point is that there are people who would pay you, but can't do so using credit cards. That's pretty common in parts of Africa, Middle East, etc.

Sure - as you probably know if run a SaaS business you will be receiving requests for users wanting to pay using alternate methods (Orange payment, invoices, bitcoin, onecoin, etc.). But not via this email: these were normal support requests.

To me this seems like an odd way to approach customer acquisition. If I offer a service or product to what I assume are reasonable, rational, intelligent human beings, the deal is this: you pay me what I ask and you get the service I'm offering at that price. No other deal, accommodation, or offer is on the table. My services don't include being your therapist, your mother, your whipping boy, or anything other than a person who will sell you a product or service and treat you with the respect you're accorded as a fellow human being in the world.

Your status as a customer gives you no more rights than that. You are not, by virtue of being my customer, excused the normal standard of interaction with a social equal. You are not entitled to take my offering without recompense. You are not entitled to abuse me or in any other way behave in an uncivilized manner.

If that arrangement is not amaenable to you because you suffer from a deficiency of character or intelligence, that's not something I feel obligated to accommodate.

I sympathize with your view. I think this approach would be fine in a world with 'good guys' who always pay and 'bad guys' who never pay. But many people fall on a bell curve between these 2 extremes (this is backed up by the work of Dan Ariely on honesty). And some these people on the curve might 'do the right thing' with a nudge in that direction.

Back in the day I sold shareware which used successive keyed hashes to generate the registration key. While they key generator used all the keys the software only validated against the first n keys. When the software was inevitably cracked and a key generator was published the software would be updated to validate n+1 keys which would render the cracked keys unusable.

This left hundreds of pages of invalid keys across various crack sites with no way for anyone searching on Google to separate the needles from the haystack.

The software phoned home during the registration process as well and our analytics showed that 30% of our paying customers had gone to one or more crack sites and attempted to enter a product key before eventually deciding to purchase the software. This was a utility in the $20 to $30 dollar range so cost wasn't a major factor.

Or it means the customer is a teenager for whom the quoted price might as well be "infinity dollars."

Even if affordable, they probably don't have a way to make electronic payments without involving parents, and that's icky.

16-year-old me wanted to use professional media production tools. The combined price of Creative Suite, Logic Pro, and Final Cut was more money than I had ever seen in my life. That didn't stop me.

In college, I finally got legitimate access via site licensing and media computer labs. Lost it when I graduated.

As a working professional (not in media production), if the need came up I'd pay for any of those products easily.

I got my start using pirated Macromedia and Adobe products and now I'm a full paying customer. Product suits like this would greatly benefit from giving schools access to free student licenses to get young people hooked and trained on their products so when they enter the workforce they're ready to pay for it.

Or even better: the Microsoft approach of giving students everything for free, so there's no reason for colleges not to use Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, C#, you name it. They're all good products, so there's little reason not to use all this free Microsoft software and teaching material. I don't think I've seen many European IT college graduates who weren't basically Microsoft schooled, with a small side of HTML and Java.

Of course, computer science is a little more agnostic. Universities in general are, where they even accept digital documents that are PDF. But Microsoft's model seems to be very effective. It doesn't cost them anything to give people something they wouldn't be able to pay for, and it gets them, like you said, hooked and trained.

> it means someone thinks that the software isn't worth the value being asked

Um... or it means, that it means that (utility - list price) < (utility - FREE).

If there are no consequences, a HUGE number of people are happy to just get something for free. And frankly, with enforcement near 0, it's a logical conclusion.

It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your price. It means people are happy to steal if they won't get caught.

I think it's more like

(utility - list price cost) < (utility - finding a crack cost)

Finding and using a crack is does not cost nothing, it takes time and effort. In the past it might have been easier, nowadays it's very hard to be able to download a legitimate crack .exe file over HTTP. It's almost guaranteed that the file is a malware or adware. Do people know that? I think unless this is the first time they pirate something, they know.

Sure - it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with the price. It means that the people who choose to find a crack think their time and safety is worth trading for not having to pay for your software. It means that some of them might buy it if they see a lower price.

> When searching for the crack, it means someone thinks that the software isn't worth the value being asked

Why would you think that is true in general? People even pirate $1 phone apps. Someone can think an app is worth the money but would still rather take it for free if they can get away with it. If they're taking the time to pirate the app and use it then it's presumably worth something to them.

>If they're taking the time to pirate the app and use it then it's presumably worth something to them.

There is no dispute that they see the value in being able to use the software. The question is at what cost?

In economics terms, pirating costs the person too (time to find a working crack+frustration+malware risks+no updates/support). If a person chose to pirate it, it means that all those costs they have to pay by pirating have to be perceived to be less than the cost to get a software license. In rare cases it might not be true, for example, people in third world countries might not be able to pay, or people who have the habit of doing that. But that, in general, I believe is true.

I think it explains a lot how people don't generally pirate movies and music nowadays. Streaming and buying it legit is the lesser cost to pay. People pirate $1 games because people who have time to play games often have a lot of disposable time, including time figuring out how to pirate games.

I disagree. If the 'customer' has gone as far to search cracked version, they obviously do see the value in the software. I'm sure everybody sees the value of Microsoft Windows, but there are certain parts of the world where nobody pays for it.

Many newspapers are still sold using the honor system (collect a newspaper, put the money in a pot). In such a system where it is easy to steal (which is similar to software piracy), there are many people for who 'opportunistic theft' is a default behavior.

> If the 'customer' has gone as far to search cracked version, they obviously do see the value in the software. I'm sure everybody sees the value of Microsoft Windows, but there are certain parts of the world where nobody pays for it.

There is no dispute that people see values in Windows or OP's software, I think the better way to think about it is at what cost? The cost to go around the net searching for a cracked version for two hours until they find something that actually works, or actually buying it outright in 5 minutes. The answer for a person who makes $7.5 per hour might be different from the answer for a person who makes $30 per hour. I think that it's a reasonable assumption that at different prices, different numbers of people will choose to pirate the software because they perceive the costs differently.

About the fact that in some regions, people mostly pirated: I was in one of those third world countries. It wasn't because there weren't people who aren't willing to pay for it, it was because, for 99% of people, there was no way to pay for it. In which case, telling the person to pay anyway like OP did wouldn't help.

Moreover, it is a feedback loop too, because when you're in those places, pirating is the norm and a person don't have to search for the net for 2 hours to do it, they walk 2 steps to a CD stand that offers it. makes it much more _economically sound_ (not only in the monetary sense). In which case you will have to have a very strong incentive to make people switch to a legitimate system. But that is not impossible -- if Windows was free to get in those places, then do people still go through the pain to use GNU+Linux? It turned out that people still did because Linux provides something Windows doesn't. What can you provide in those places to get people who can afford the software to start using the legit version of your software?

Lol $7 per hour? When I was pirating software by default, I was making more like $4 per hour. At a "few hours per day" job alongside high school.

You betcha I pirated everything. A Windows license was like 1 or 2 months of my work.

Oh and I was really well paid for a high schooler. Those of my friends who did have jobs made more like $2 per hour.

Windows 10 is free. Or rather you can download it, install it and simply opt not to enter a license key, legally and with Microsoft's blessing.


Valid point, but searching for the 'cracked' version could also be cultural. It's not like people could not afford, they would prefer to 'feel smart' by having the cracked version instead. For that sake, this 'honeypot page' is good, but could include more info on why paying is so important to keep the lights on.

He says he gets conversion sales from the page. So some people searching for the crack must find it to be worth the price.

They were never going to buy a single license or in some cases an additional license

There are a lot of apps that make you buy a license for pc and your mobile devices


While I agree with your ideas but isn't giving them a discount = rewarding bad behavior?

It just gives the wrong idea and is unfair to other customers.

Companies selling stuff much more expensive for the early adopters because they know the customers are willing to pay for it. As long as you're making profit, you should sell to everyone at the maximum price they're willing to pay for. Selling something = maximizing profit or sales, not "making it fair for everyone." You'll see it a lot of that in Kickstarter's tiered-reward structure or processors being sold nowadays.

If a person values my software at $100 and 5 others value it at $20, I am better off selling it for all of them and get $200. If I had wanted to make it fair for everyone I have to set it at $100 which I will get $100, or $20 and get $120.

To give people the impression that I am making it fair to everyone is not hard. I just produce different "editions" of the same software. But under the hood, I don't think it is about making it fair.

Selling the same thing to different groups of people at different prices is called price discrimination and can be illegal.

That's true, but selling marginally different "models" or "editions" of the same thing, in the hope that people will self-select according to their budget, is called market segmentation and is ubiquitous across many different industries.

It's not discriminatory, because you allow any customer to buy any product they wish.

Interesting, where is this illegal, and what aspect of it makes illegal? In the US it's extremely common in the form of student or senior citizen discounts. Nearly all airline tickets seem to be sold at very different prices for exactly the same good.

As for most business to business transactions that involve a sales team, consistent pricing for identical products and volumes would be the exception to the norm for most industries.


    In order for substantive portions of the Robinson-Patman Act to be invoked, there must be:

    * two or more sales must have been consummated
    * in a reasonably close time period
    * of commodities of like grade and quality
    * with a different price
    * by the same seller
    * to two or more different purchasers
    * for use, consumption, or resale within the United States
    * which may result in competitive injury.

The key here is

>which may result in competitive injury

It is, in short, "you can't sell an apple to your favorite customer for 20% less than other customers just to help them kill off their competition." All the rest is just hurdle-clearing to address various defenses to the "this was pure competition-killing." It's an anti-trust law.

Price discrimination without anti-competitive traits is legal ("Price discriminations are generally lawful, particularly if they reflect the different costs of dealing with different buyers or are the result of a seller's attempts to meet a competitor's offering.")

> Nearly all airline tickets seem to be sold at very different prices for exactly the same good.

There's nothing illegal about the same product being sold at different prices at different times. Or at different prices from different retailers. Or about slightly different products being sold at wildly different prices (ticket allows changes or cancellations, for example).

Airline ticket price variation is mostly due to those things, none of which is directly discriminatory in the sense of offering different prices to different people. Although they are all, to some extent, deliberate market segmentation (trying to encourage people with higher budgets to pay more).

Sometimes it's a matter of the law not being enforced. In the case of airline tickets, the price differences are mainly due to market fluctuation over time.

No. It's called Windows Home and Windows Professional.

How about a link to alternativeto.net? You may lose a user, but you will direct them somewhere legal.

This is accurate and the best option in my opinion

Not everyone that is looking for cracked software does it because they wouldn't pay. Some do it because the vendor is useless at actually selling them the software.

On 3-4 occasions over the last 7-8 years I have been trying to buy a legal copy of Windows, download it to my Mac and then install it in VMWare. Every time this has been a situation where I just needed to OS to run some piece of software to fix a problem there and then and I didn't have time to wait for physical medium or there were no shops carrying Windows near by.

For instance when I need to adjust the idle-parameters on the engine of one of my cars that has a specialty ECU.

I have _never_ succeeding in buying a downloadable Windows in any of these situations. Not a single time. Microsoft has made such a big mess out of it each and every time I gave up and then found some pirated Windows that I could boot for one time use and then throw away.

A couple of days ago I was trying to buy Microsoft Office. The reason was that I needed to fix a problem in a document and none of the other software I had would deal with that feature. So I go to the Microsoft website. After noodling around for 3-4 minutes I'm still confused what product I really want to buy. I want the cheapest possible alternative that doesn't require me to register for this and that and which will defecate unwanted stuff all over my laptop.

In the middle of the checkout process a popup asks me if I want alerts when there are new products or some similar bullshit.

In the checkout process! If there is one place you should take care not to upset the user it is while the user is handing over his or her money to you.

I am continually amazed at how bad Microsoft are at this. I understand that Satya Nadella is a busy man, but I would take time out of my day, walk over to whomever is responsible for Microsoft's online retail and fire the moron responsible for it.

All the software I use I have licensed. Some of it even though I'm not even required to license it, just because I want to support those who make it. But perhaps once per year I use unlicensed copies of software perhaps once. And it is almost always due to incompetence on part of the vendor.

Can you not just download and use one of these vms?


Are these full-featured Windows VMs, or specifically browser testbeds?

Can Microsoft not just fix their online shopping experience?

I think the _idea_ of a honeypot page is great because it gives you a chance to re-engage with a potential user (not necessarily customer).

There's obviously more than one way to style it, but just like every good marketing how you present it should fit your product/brand.

Personally, I think the page should talk more about the "why" you should pay this guy (who works hard on it, bla bla bla) and less about scaring you into paying, because most people who know what a crack is aren't really scared away by the mention of malware.

I think the software creator is also going to be facing another issue: this seems only one step away from creating an actual malware version and releasing it on the internet. That is not an impression you want to leave on your potential customers.

The second problem is that you might now open yourself up to differentiation from competitors who can now claim they don't create 'manipulative' honeypot pages and thus gain attention to themselves in the worst way possible for this author - by taking a seemingly high moral ground.

I would add a picture of the team behind the software to this page. Makes it a bit more personal. Also I would place the second paragraph at the beginning for the same reason.

>Feel free to make a version of the page for your own product, but please don’t copy the exact wording. That would be copyright infringement. ;0)

To be honest this sort of attitude is why many people have little or no respect for copyright. They see people being sticklers for copyright about things that are completely unreasonable to be copyrighted and extrapolate that essentially copyright is stupid and should be ignored. Same thing for patents.

Yeah in reality patents and copyright have their place, but every time someone uses a ridiculous patent or an overly aggressive interpretation of copyright, it turns people off from the entire concept.

Ironically, he seems to have pirated it himself, which makes the copyright claim even more insulting.

PerfectTablePlan: "If you like PerfectTablePlan enough to go searching for a crack for it then why not just buy it? It's a lot less hassle and you won't risk infecting your computer with viruses, spyware and other malware commonly disguised as software cracks."

Dplot: "If you like DPlot enough to go searching for a crack for it then why not just buy it? It is a lot less hassle and you won't risk infecting your computer with viruses, spyware and other malware commonly disguised as software cracks."

There's a bit of rewording in the middle but it's mostly copy and pasted from the other guy's or the common source.

The person who created Dplot seems to have left a comment on that page clearing the air a bit:

"Mine is a mostly word-for-word copy and dates Aug 2015. But as I recall the original was Dexter Bell, who offered this up on the ASP newsgroups and encouraged copying. But as with many other things I may be wrong!"

A google search for "enough to go searching for a crack for it then why not just buy it?" (in quotes) fetches a few results, mostly of businesses with their own "warez honeypot" for the software they sell.

> They see people being sticklers for copyright about things that are completely unreasonable to be copyrighted

There's at least one good reason in this case - duplicating the wording exactly is likely to result in a Google Duplicate Content penalty for everyone involved, which defeats the purpose of trying to get a high ranking on that keyphrase.

I'm not sure the page is a good idea in general, the kind of people who look for cracks are probably not good customers (high support load, unwilling to spend money). I think I tried something similar years ago without success. But it's probably worth an experiment.

Well when I was a poor student with not much money and pirated software, I've been shamed once to buy a software (I think it was from Panic) when I got a message after entering a blacklisted serial number. So, anecdotally, it does seem to work on some people.

But then, as soon as I started working and had money I stopped pirating software so my pirating was mostly due to circumstances.

Yes, his attitude is also quite stiff in the writing. I don't feel any emotion. He could have easily turned this into a friendly "I worked hard on this and make a living from it", instead he just rambles on about the dangers of malware in a cant-help-but-feel-quite-passive-aggressive tone.

correct. the idea is interesting though

See this comment:

> Mine is a mostly word-for-word copy and dates Aug 2015. But as I recall the original was Dexter Bell, who offered this up on the ASP newsgroups and encouraged copying. But as with many other things I may be wrong!

And then the author's response:

> I think I copied the idea, not the wording. But it was 10 years ago and I don’t recall exactly. Your page is different enough to mine that it isn’t a problem.

Every creative work is subject to copyright. That isn't being overly aggressive. It's how the law works. It's only you who wants to have some vaguely less restrictive form of copyright defined by some arbitrary measuring stick that can't actually be constructed to satisfy everyone. The only thing wrong with copyright is how long they last these days.

s/the only thing/one of the chief things/

DMCA takedown and anti-circ would be two other major flaws. Failure to require copyright holders to be accessible and identifiable, orphan works, and the impunity with which rights that don't exist can be asserted ("Happy Birthday" song, f'rex), would be high up my list.

Did you notice the smiley at the end of the sentence?

I think the threat mentioned in the comments of Google algorithmically flagging your site as a warez/malware distribution site and downgrading the main page in search results could be a real one.

Of course the obvious solution to this is to go stick your "cracks are often malware or don't work, why not buy the real thing for only $xx" honeypot on a different domain, probably social media.

Putting it on a different domain would likely make the SEO much more difficult. It's unlikely you could keep it as the first result as no authoritative sites for those keywords would link to it.

Rather than making a honeypot page, you can actually make a honeypot crack (or pre-cracked app) and upload it to torrent sites. I've seen a few apps do this.

This is one of the best suggestions I've seen in this thread.

Not only does it let you get the message out, but it also lets you track the proportion of licensed/cracked software in circulation. If your cracked versions overwhelm licensed versions, you know that your price is too high.

>Some stuff to keep the search engines happy: crack, cracks, hack, serial numbers, keygen, torrent, warez, licence, license, registration codes, full version download.

Just a note, this might work when you have a very small audience and not a lot of strong online competition for this topic. PerfectTablePlan isn't exactly Microsoft Word. The fact that you ARE PerfectTablePlan is also a huge contributing factor to this page being #1.

But if you try this in a competitive space, the swift hand of Google will come to crush you.

Basically right now, Google is saying "Okay this page does mention these words, and their site has a ton of brand authority for PerfectTablePlan, but Goddamnit they are spamming and if I can put a non-spammer up front, I will."

I really like this as a general anti-warez tactic though.

Alternatively, why not have a "honeypot" site that asks for feedback on why the person is pirating it?

Because the feedback would be "I want to use your software, but I don't want to pay for it"?

Its not about honeypot its about price. Few days ago I saw a page here linking to a software for simple image editing, I think it was PhotoBulk. I downloaded the trial, it does what i need, sells for $9. I googled for a serial and it doesnt exist, except malware websites. I searched for freeware alternatives and there are so many, Ill have to find some time to inspect which does the job. Didnt include shell batch scripts, there are dozen of those.

The lesson is: if that software advertised here sold for 1 or 2 dolars I'd buy it. I could buy it for $9 as well, but I could do that only once. Tomorrow I cant pay again $9 for other software because this cycle of instaling software never ends and I dont produce money. I have not been employed for a long time.

So that honeypot page would be useless.

I had the exact opposite reaction. $9? That's a steal. Many pieces of software are needlessly bloated in price. If I'm going to use it once for a few hours, $40 doesn't seem worth it. On the other hand, if it saves me an hour, $9 is totally worth it - it's less than I'd have had to pay a minimum wage person to do it for me.

On the other hand, I'd love to see more people respect the shareware model. Give most or all features for free, encourage people to drop $5-10 in a hat to pay you back. I'm a firm believer in patreon and PayPal tip jars, though I know that they don't work at present for what I believe are cultural reasons. People (rightly) don't trust free, assume that there's some ulterior motive.

People downvoting this are missing a huge point.

Sure, 9$ is a much better price than what other products are sold for, and you and I might find 9$ perfectly reasonable. That doesn't mean Joe Schmoe who's between jobs and is milking the dregs of his savings has 9$ to drop.

It sure as heck doesn't mean that if Joe needs to use A, B, and C, and they're 9$ apiece that he can still afford to pay for all of them.

This works great for coupon seekers for SaaS and eCommerce businesses too.

Seems that the sentence "For a one-off fee of $29.95/£19.95/€26.95 is it worth the risk?" should be re-written...


This is titled 'Why you should ...' but the content is just 'You should ...'

> I have averaged a sale per month for the last 10 years from people clicking through onto this page.

That might be enough of a "Why" to justify the title.

That first phrase has three pieces of linkbait and the second only two.

We changed the title above to representative language from the article.

Thanks - the title here now is much better, to be clear though I wasn't criticising mods or OP here, since it was verbatim the linked article. :)

> Some stuff to keep the search engines happy: crack, cracks, hack, serial numbers, keygen, torrent, warez, licence, license, registration codes, full version download.

I think it's against Google TOS to be that explicit. A better alternative will be "Related Keywords:" without metioning search engines.

I don't think anybody is going to pirate your wedding planner software. you being smug about something you have no control over (re: piracy) is also not going to do anything either.

Oh, no.. this surely will not be another bad site, where company's upload virus infected ripped software and torrents to movies in continuously worsening quality. And surely the reeducation camp will succeed this time.

Is it really so tough to accept the simple fact that entertainment (games) is like a lot of other industrys (nuclear power, bread) a half socialized industry - meaning the state will intervene on shortage and pricespikes. Absolutely noone of those politicians you get to meet as lobbyist at fency dinner partys has a real interest on reducing tv-show and games piracy.

The day they would close the Consolecolosseum, because those plebeians did not pay the entrance ticket - there would be a riot to end all riots. Sure you can turn your back to the bloody show, and preach to the good in man sitting on the ranks for entertainment.

The industries assembled here have taken alot of those "none"-customers there jobs. Now want to take there free entertainment and there food, while they wait for the lifes to drop to zero?

I want it written down into the Pre-Revolution-Chronicles that i did not support this madness.

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