However, I do think the current pricing is quite high when given the expected timeframes that this sort of service can have. For example, I have one client where I have had their software in escrow with a local lawyer now for over 20 years! I believe my lawyer only charged me < $500 for the drafting of the contract way back then, and I've never seen a bill from him in 2 decades now for the CD of code that he has in his safe somewhere.
Mind you, that CD would be totally out of date now, with the incremental changes that I have made to the system over the years, and I have no real guarantee that the CD is in fact still in a safe somewhere as I have not spoken to my lawyer about this in some years.
That's why I think that this Codekeeper service is a good thing, as it always ensures your latest code is available. But the drawback are:
1. Is this service still going to be around in 10+ years?
2. The cost per month is still quite high. Given my project I mentioned above, it would have cost me $11760 to date to have my source code in escrow. If I am going to be around for another 10 years, then that is going to cost me another ~$6000.
I could conceivably pass those costs on to my customers, but then that is another thing I have to track and ensure they are billed etc.
We also do verification, but that's mainly when there is 'less than optimal' trust between the developer and the licensee.
Anyway, M-Discs are a recent development in the optical media field promising 1000 years of reliability, but of course nobody will be able to test that claim anytime soon.
But I guess this is the crux of my issue with a service like Codekeeper. The timelines could be WELL over what we initially estimate.
For the particular programming project I mentioned above, I only expected the code to be in escrow for about 3 to 5 years max. Never in my wildest dreams would I have envisaged my client using my software for 20+ years to drive their business! Had I known that in advance, I would have put in place some other form of long term storage.
As it happens - all that code is now on my BitBucket account as well as other offsite backups, but I am thinking having a unique read key and having that stored with my lawyer may be a better bet. If CodeKeeper was in the $100/year range, then I could conceivably charge my customers a fixed 'holding fee' to store it with them. But the Catch22 is that they probably need more revenue in order to stay in business longer, and I need a business that will stick around for the long term so that I can entrust my code to them. Ironic.
Source code escrow has to be an ongoing process too, which is also why it's differently priced than it was before.
Being developers ourselves it’s designed to keep your life easy and works in pair with Github, Bitbucket and the other SCM platforms.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions to make it fit even better inside your development or software business.
Are you using smart contracts to power this?
Congratulations on shipping this! It looks like a very compelling offering!
Yes smart contracts are on our roadmap.
Marketing wise, we have several distribution channels that help us out at the moment. If you have ideas we'd be happy to hear them.
Make a source code release and encrypt it. Put it somewhere accessible to the customer, e.g. an S3 bucket owned by them. Arrange for the key to be given to the customer under the terms of the escrow agreement, e.g. send a letter to your lawyer with the terms of release and the key.
I can see value in having someone handle this for me, with a nice UI. It's fundamentally a clerical job, though, with some legal process / responsibility. So $50/month is already a fair amount, to say nothing of $1000.
That would make you unhappy quickly. Also the lawyer would not do this for free.
I guess it's a matter of finding the right balance between cost and convenience.
The client then knows that the solution works and is runnable. The integration onus is then on the client, because the software has passed inspection before delivery.