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How I converted a software thief into a customer (blurity.com)
176 points by tghw on July 17, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 84 comments



The popup you wrote had a humanizing effect. It's not just a faceless piece of software anymore. It's a a genuinely nice guy who built a cool product and wants to get paid.

As a concept, people know that there's a real person behind every application. But it's not until moments like these when they're actually confronted with that person. Much less offered a deal for trying to rip them off.


I think that the early shareware game days did a good job of this and I miss it. Instead of a "Click this link to purchase" you got a message from, usually, the sole developer or small team of developers. It was very humanizing and it was great.

The message would thank you for trying out the game. It would usually talk about how the game was awesome and what you were missing out on. It was clearly genuine. You didn't feel like you were purchasing something from some giant company trying to sell something. You felt like you were supporting some people who were passionate about the art they created.

I miss this about games and think it may be the reason that I've sort of stopped playing the big titles after 25 years of non-stop gaming. I find myself much more drawn to independent developers on the mobile platform or the wonderfully simple and innovative games from small teams.


It may also have had an 'oh my god, I've been caught!' effect - no longer is the user anonymous, in their own eyes.


Yes

I expected "something nicer" maybe not using the word "stealing"

Still, my paranoid side thought of something:

"Oh, they're giving away this code so we give them our contact info, then they know who pirated the software"


Notch, of Minecraft fame, is well known for these types of shenanigans, even shaming a Minecraft pirate in a Quake 3 match (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120412/07474418467/friend...)

Not sure it's scalable, but sure makes for a fun alternative to perpetual legal battles


Some indie game producers release on piratebay right from day zero. Usually with some kind of easter egg version, e.g. all in-game characters have a pirate hat, no other hats are available like in a legitimate version. This makes sure that no-one pirates a badly cracked buggy version and gets a bad experience and decides not to buy the game.

Thankfully free demos are coming back so it is easier to test a game legally before making the decision on the purchase.


Sadly, it's still common for a demo to not be really representative of the actual game.


But then are pirates still in violation of copyright law?


Does it matter? If you're an indie game developer, you can't do much about piracy. At least through legal means. Your game is going to end up in piratebay and it will get pirated. If it doesn't end up being pirated, it's probably not a very good game and won't make you money anyway.


That's an interesting question. I don't have an expert opinion, but if I was to have some speculative fun I'd say that in the U.S. if you use the software without proper licensing then it would still be breaking civil copyright law. After all no one sells software, they sell EULAs that give a user license to use their copyrighted software.

I'm not sure if a developer is allowed to intentionally leak their software without proper licensing and then claim that the user must still purchase a license to use the software. And if they openly admitted in court to having uploaded their software for anyone to download, I'd assume a judge would laugh them out of court.


Also: should the developers be in violation? I imagine it's a little like (sorry) kiddie porn, where, even if you're the kiddie, society doesn't want you supporting a community that it considers to be negative.


I believe he means the developers are releasing their software for torrent in a trial or easter egg form.


> should the developers be in violation?

Legally? No, copyright law doesn't work that way. The people who own the copyright to a given work have an absolute right to give away the rights copyright law gives them, to conditionally give them away, to sell them, or to share them with others.

Morally? Of course not. We must fight tooth and nail to prevent copyright laws from becoming that insane.


Depending on jurisdiction, though. In some jurisdiction authors cannot give up some rights, such as the right to attribution, in theory at least.

In practice, what are they going to do? Ban publishing things anonymously on the basis you are violating your own moral rights?


> Depending on jurisdiction, though. In some jurisdiction authors cannot give up some rights, such as the right to attribution, in theory at least.

Entirely correct. My post was based on American copyright law, which has no concept of moral rights.


Well USA are signatories to Berne Convent (http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?treaty_id=15) which includes moral rights in Article 6bis.

FWIW TRIPs includes an element of moral rights in Art.s 13/14 but specifically disclaims the inclusion of every right in Berne Art.6.

It would be interesting to know why the US dont want to allow people the right to be named as author of their own work? (and if they led the exclusion in TRIPs).


> It would be interesting to know why the US dont want to allow people the right to be named as author of their own work?

You can have that right if you negotiate for it in a contract or make it a condition of the license you release the work under.

The more interesting question is why other countries want there to be rights granted by law that authors cannot give up.


Is that a French thing - IP rights that can't be given up?

Moral rights to me are embodied in the right to be named as author of your works. And I can't see why you'd want to allow that to be taken away, eg in a contract of work, against the authors wishes. Where's the benefit in stimulating creative expression or for the public domain?

Generally USA has rights that can't be given up; though you can chose not to exercise some of them. For example you can't sell yourself in to slavery AFAICT (or at least it wouldn't be lawful to be bought which in practical terms is equivalent).


> But then are pirates still in violation of copyright law?

Certainly not from getting the game from the developer, assuming the developer owns the copyright as opposed to having signed away the right to control distribution.

Also, copyright law doesn't control use. So using it is legal assuming you don't find a way to use a game that is in violation of some other law.

If the developer doesn't want the pirates redistributing the game, though, any pirates who do are violating the law. Redistribution and the right to control it are granted by copyright law. Again, this right can be sold or given to others.


That's the quake 3 match with team Avo, the same people who released the minecraft login exploit. (I say released, it wasn't found by them, as far as I can tell, but by Nodus, another griefing groups.)


Somewhat related, when I was younger I had no money and didn't have much of a problem pirating software (times have changed and I realize how stupid that is). I tried to pirate a piece of software and upon entering a fake key got a popup similar to yours. Basically, it said "I'm not able to stop you from pirating this software, I'm not even going to disable activation for your clearly invalid key. Just remember that I'm not some huge corporation, I'm a family man trying to support my wife and kids (with a link to picture of his beautiful children). Consider buying this to help keep me afloat and to ensure continued development."

It hit me hard, made me realize that it isn't a victimless crime and that I was literally depriving this guy of what he deserves, payment for his hard work. Definitely one of the leading factors that caused me to stop piracy altogether. Even pirates have a heart, and by humanizing the product, it is way harder to steal it and feel okay about it.


While sounding fine, its a form of error in reasoning - A fallacy of a kind. The logic does not scale. If I go to the supermarket and buy cheap imported goods, I deprive the local market of the possible purchase of their goods. It is very easy, almost impossible, not to deprive someone of payment if payment is based on who has worked hard and what could have happened.

The logic also demand that there is a zero sum game going where every copy equals a lost sale. Copying is as about as simple as needing. If needing results in lost sales, then each time I am hungry, I create lost sales for restaurants if I dont buy something immediately. That might also sound fine logically, as if I am hungry I will buy food, and if I didnt need to buy said food, I am depriving someone of payments for their hard work to create food I could have eaten. It is also crazy! the world is not a zero sum world. It is way more complicated and social economics (how should creative people get payed for their work) should be decided by economics and politics, not law.


Just because something doesn't scale into the macro doesn't mean it can't be true and relevant in the micro.

Also, you've extrapolated from "non-zero sum, not all equations balance" into "there is no math", which makes your argument more fallacious than that to which you were responding.


>Just because something doesn't scale into the macro doesn't mean it can't be true and relevant in the micro.

Call me extremist but, I don't agree with this. There's no deprivation happening. It's a crappy thing to do, no doubt, but I can't see any analogy to the 'lost sale' meme tossed around by the various *AA groups that doesn't break down immediately upon any kind of scrutiny.

On another note, I pretty much winced every time the author said "steal". Can we all agree to stop doing this? It's wrong, we know it's wrong, we chide the AA's for this every time they do it, and it's just the same when anyone else does either, going back to one simple fact: nothing has been stolen.


The hand-wringing over 'steal' that crops up in these threads is hilarious. If the whole piracy thing was as logically tight as the armchair economists would like you to believe, then the misappropriation of terms would not be so offensive. It'd be merely annoying. Instead, we often find vast treatises on semantics.

I'm not saying you pirate (that's your business), more observing the disconnect between the argument ("it doesn't hurt anyone") and the tone ("but DON'T call it stealing!!")


People may find arguments about semantics silly, but they are important. Just take a look at the whole brouhaha about evolution just being a theory: a large part of that whole disconnect stems from two meanings of the word "theory" that are not synonyms but are still very close. This is exactly the problem we want to avoid with "theft"--calling copying theft says as little about it as calling evolution a theory.

That is, there is either the proper meaning in context (e.g. infringing copyright) which does not mesh with the common definition or there is the common definition (depriving somebody of property) which does not mesh with the context. People framing copyright infringement as "theft" want to take advantage of emotional connotations of the word in much the same way as people capitalizing on the fact that evolution is "just a theory".


>more observing the disconnect between the argument ("it doesn't hurt anyone") and the tone ("but DON'T call it stealing!!")

I don't think anyone is claiming it doesn't hurt anyone (if everyone did it... etc), rather protesting against the fact that the copyright maximalist lobby has campaigned, with great success, to conflate two unrelated crimes in people's minds. (I'm not even going to touch the whole 'piracy' thing) I don't know about you, but I hate seeing people be played for fools.

Copyright infringement and stealing have about as much to do with each other as speeding and vehicular manslaughter.


I like the word "pirate". Everybody understands its meaning. Its not confused with the unlawfull appropiation of somebody's property ( stealing ), but it does have a negative connotation.


Was that supposed to be a joke? Piracy is robbery at sea - ie stealing by force using a boat.

It's like calling bullying 'murder'.


Check a recent dictionary. Take it up with Princeton if you don't like the definition:

* (pirate) copy illegally; of published material

* (pirate) someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation

* (pirate) commandeer: take arbitrarily or by force; "The Cubans commandeered the plane and flew it to Miami"


The parents point was that it is not confused with 'stealing' though. Whilst, as you and I both noted it in fact means stealing (well robbing).

Copyright infringement is just that, or 'unlawful copying' if you're afraid of longer words.


Except it also means, as per pretty much every dictionary, to copy unlawfully. The same cannot be said of theft/stealing.


So if a headline refers to, let's say, 'Somali pirates' you disavow any confusion in the scope of activity in which the subjects are engaged?


In which case you rely on the context (you know, like you have to do with every other ambiguity in English ^^)

Considering how often Somalian criminals have been hijacking ships, and how this has been covered on pretty much every media form, I don't think there will be any confusion on this matter anytime soon.

Also, the verb form (Someone is pirating something) is in my experience almost exclusively used for copyright infringement. I've never heard of pirates pirating a shipment, but I've heard plenty of pirates pirating music.


In my completely uneducated view of the world, this situation is different because, whichever supermarket you pay at, you're cashing in on the skill and time which you previously contributed to society. You're also "voting with your dollar" and giving society some feedback about what it needs less and more of.

When you take something without paying for it, and that thing has a price, then you're saying that society owes you more than what it has judged your own value to be. That price of that object has been set relative to the price of your wages, in a long process of trial and error. Others need to work in order to pay for this thing, but you don't think that you do. That's how I see it from a moral standpoint.

I'm not following your train of thought in the second paragraph, but the statement "copying is needing" needs more qualification. And on the topic of needing: if you truly don't need something, then you should in fact let society "cut the fat". But if there was no one to make the software that you pirated, and if you actually never got to use the thing which you claim (I think) not to need, then would you have been just as happy? I think, if you use something that you "don't need", then you're just lying.

My own restaurant analogy for this is that piracy would be like a very stupidly run restaurant opening a free all-you-can-eat buffet out back, in addition to a full price menu. In the absence of a disincentive, no self-serving person would pay full price.

The supply of copyable software is infinite, but not the supply of time needed to make it. In order to make sure that B isn't undervalued, we can do any of the following:

- Artificially limit supply of A (drm).

- Find someone who values A more than you do (advertisers).

- Make people pay for B rather than for A (kickstarter).


You bring some interesting points so let start with the moral standpoint. If voting with your dollar should be the method to give society feedback what is needed, roads and water should be the most expensive items one pay for. Voting with your dollar sound fine in theory, but try to find a single study proving it. There is none, and studies like "The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism" by Economist George Akerlof, and those produced by Amartya Sen should shine some light on why.

Copying is as simple as needing, that is the amount of energy and action needed to copy something, is about the same as just simply needing something. Like star trek replicators, you ask for something, and a perfect copy materialize. If I was hungry and I asked the replicator for a piece of bread, would I be depriving the baker of salary? So the question ends up, how should the baker be payed for the first loaf of bread. A dollar for each copy made from it? When the poor is then denied said bread and dies because he does not have that dollar for a copy, is that then murder or good for society?

So how do we make it valuable to develop. My answer would be:

- Society should pay for infrastructure, be that roads, water, or network infrastructure. (Tax)

- Industry regulations should regulate the industry, not private people. If a company want to do earn profit by using software made by others, they should pay. (CC-BY-NC)

- Concepts like media tax would work quite fine, if distributed "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". The current media tax seen at places like Canada and Sweden are twisted forms of that where the collectors take the largest share, and then popularity in radio takes the rest. (Media tax).

- Products do compete against free and sometimes wins. Look at the "$9.99" bin at the supermarket. When the product is offered as convenience, it does not matter if at the back, down the stairs, through the window, next to the gutter, there is a "free all-you-can-eat buffet" of pirated goods. This goes back to Industry regulations. Regulate people who are running for-profit operations and that is enough to create value for the producer. (lets call that economics)


Honestly, I can remember something EXTREMELY similar to this. I now buy all the software I can afford.


I don't like this approach.

Earlier this year saw some referrals from a hacking forum from a young gentleman petitioning the cracking community to crack our software for him: http://www.hackforums.net//showthread.php?tid=2148782 (You may have to register to view the thread)

I engaged in conversation with that community briefly and told them a little about us, and asked them what was unfair about our pricing and if they had any better ideas for us.

The response was extremely positive and supportive, and we received some emails with helpful advice about how to protect our program from crackers like themselves.

I've no idea if we got any more sales than we would of otherwise, but we engaged with a community in a respectful manner and it's likely we delayed cracked versions of our software being made freely available.

The problem I see with the OP's method is firstly I would be peeved if I was a legitimate customer and interpreted this post as rewarding bad behaviour.

Secondly as OP has publicly posted this he might actually lose revenue from future customers purposefully entering wrong keys to gain access to the coupon code. If OP redacts this now, customers might be annoyed by this and ask for discounts, or even find alternatives. So it's quite short sighted to post this in my opinion.

Thirdly and possibly most importantly is that it's boiling the company-customer relationship down into a purely financial one. A relationship with a potential customer (no matter what their software ethics are) should be more than that, and it can have unexpected rewards like we experienced.

The message in the OP is disrespectful as well, it's highly accusing (is there any risk legitimate customers could see this?). It's my opinion that these sorts of tactics don't do your company and favours in the long term, although in the short term you might collect a handful more dollars.


See http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4258035 for the way this is activated. It only shows it if someone has already made it clear they're trying to not pay for the software.


Assuming there's no risk legitimate customers will see this message, it's still a short sighted tactic in my opinion.

For an extra $29 in the bank, you've risked alienating your other customers, and could even lose revenue going into the future - mainly because you posted it on your company blog which I'm sure is read by a lot of your legitimate customers.

It's a precarious position because the $29 isn't much upside at all and can easily be negated by one single customer who reads this post and finds an alternative.

I understand that you feel celebratory about this, but it would be fair to assume that some of your customers will not feel the same way about it.


I've seen quite a few instances of string resources like "I need this money to feed my family," or more humorous "so you think you're leet, do you?"-type phrases placed near easily-defeated serial validation code in binaries.

A lot of the funnier strings convinced me to give money to the authors of software I'd never have purchased or used to start with (I used to download a lot of shareware just to explore its copy protection).

Famously, Mac OS X also contains the "Don't Steal Mac OS X" poem mapped into virtual address space by DSMOS.kext.

The people cracking/pirating software are just as human as the authors - any kind of communication at a personal level increases the chance of a sale IMO.


It's not as much fun if they do something that can trash data of innocent users. "The tree of evil bears bitter fruit" -

(http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=eo4Otm_TcW8C&pg=PT509...)

If the software thought you were running it under a debugger it would try to trash the disk. Unfortunately several errors made the software think it was running under a debugger even if it wasn't, and a few people lost data.


I'd imagine doing something like this nowadays would result in litigation. There are stories of older apps doing all kinds of unsavory shenanigans: (http://www.geocities.ws/johnboy_tutorials/bt.html) (yes, that IS a geocities link)

Some as benign as popping a "gotcha" message like the author here, some as evil as nuking the registry or boot sector. The armchair lawyer in me wonders what would happen if someone who had their drive trashed by gotcha code like this initiated legal action.


I'll never forget that near the store decryption code in iTunes, there was a 16-byte string that stood out like an AES key: DontMessWithThis. It was added a bit after I started releasing code to order from the iTunes Music Store and they started changing the crypto with each release. AFAIK, it's still there to this day, though I haven't checked in a couple years.


Very nice anecdote. There's a lot of controversy on how to handle piracy and piracy attempts. Many developers and companies get angry and create police-state quality authoritarian solutions that punish their legitimate users. Obviously from the way I express it I feel this is not the best response. We draw the line at providing hand holding customer support to pirates, but we do gratefully accept well formed bug reports from them, without judgement. Being polite but firm and reasonable sometimes results in a conversion.


But what was the origin of the invalid numbers? That's the teaser I kept reading for ...


There more info here: http://www.keacher.com/1060/how-i-got-to-my-first-sale/

The first result for "blurity serial number" points to https://www.trademarkia.com/blurity-77870929.html

Edit: Entering the serial number does indeed produce the easter egg dialog, with a coupon code that still works. BTW, there is a typo on the buy page 'regsitration'.


We have a winner!

After I discovered people were doing that, I was rather surprised that they thought that the trademark serial number would be a valid registration key. I guess people don't read.

Edit: Thanks for the heads-up about the typo. Oops!


Mind the sampling method, it only suggests that software pirates don't read ;)


Think like someone trying to get software for free, and you should get it.


OK, I'm thinking like someone who's trying to get software for free. I still don't get it.

If they were modifying an existing valid key, it doesn't seem like people would keep using the same one. Unless people are downloading a keygen or something.

Any more hints?


To me it seems like these keys were shared on a site somewhere and when people Googled for free blurity key or whatever these came up.


If that were true the author would have been able to find the keys, but he said Google failed him.


Maybe they didn't search on Google then, but another forum or site that isn't indexed by Google.


It's possible the serial was posted on a dark net, such as Tor.


Maybe the invalid key was posted on a warez site and everybody was trying to use it.


Besides a keygen, software might be bundled with a list of keys to use when downloading from certain sites.


Interesting tidbit: > I couldn’t figure out where those numbers were coming from. The people trying the invalid numbers seemed to have nothing in common, and my Google-fu failed me.

You seem to suggest here you track user information to such a degree that you can Google for the individuals in question. That's creepy as hell!

I think you've scared me away from your software forever.


Actually, I assumed he tried Googling the invalid numbers. And logging browser + geographic information in error handlers is standard practice.


"Standard practice" for whom? The CIA? Gah! The very idea that some bit of desktop software needs to surreptitiously phone home in the event of an error really rubs me the wrong way. Not only is it wholly unnecessary but it's also a serious intrusion of privacy.

OP: does your software tell people up front (i.e. not hidden in some 10 page EULA) it's going to phone home? Do you allow them to opt out? If there is an option, what's the default?


To make this assertion also makes it clear that you probably haven't worked on much desktop software distributed to a large number of users. There are so many different configurations that the only real way to figure out why it isn't working for a particular user is to have it phone home with a stack trace and basic system info. Otherwise, pretty much every bug would not be reproducible.

If you don't like your software doing that (and, believe me, most of it does), then lock down your firewall and only let a whitelist of programs communicate with the outside world. A lot of your software will stop working, but at least you'll know that no information (well, not none, just less) is getting sent out to various servers.


Let me see if I have this right: instead of asking nicely for permission to send your errors and crash reports you want your users to setup a firewall and prevent your program from phoning home. What a dick move.

It shows you care not a whit for your customers' privacy or consent; only the data on their computers which, for some bizarre reason, you feel entitled to.


I've stated elsewhere in this thread, I don't write Blurity. It seems that you so want someone to attack for perceived violations of user privacy that you haven't even stopped to consider who you're attacking.

As I said before, most desktop software phones home. In fact, by necessity, any software that auto updates and most software that requires registration phones home. Thinking otherwise is just naive.


It asks the user for a registration code. It obviously needs to communicate with a server to verify the code. When someone enters an invalid code, it will clearly be logged and the OP notified. It is not doing anything like "phone home" in secret (From what I can tell after reading the article).


I have two issues with this argument:

1. The user is not ever made aware that their registration attempt will involve sending out information over the Internet. The application is therefore surreptitiously phoning home.

2. There is no reason to keep logs such as the OP currently has -- the kind that enables him to segregate people into buckets like "honest", "pirate", "converted" and then crow about it online.


1. The user is not ever made aware that their registration attempt will involve sending out information over the Internet. The application is therefore surreptitiously phoning home.

It's 2012. This should be assumed. Mentioning it explicitly is nice to do, but at this point it feels like it should be taken for granted that a registration key will be checked against an auth server. There's not really anything that you can categorize in good faith as "surreptitious" about it. It reads more like you just want to harsh on the guy.

2. There is no reason to keep logs such as the OP currently has -- the kind that enables him to segregate people into buckets like "honest", "pirate", "converted" and then crow about it online.

Why not? Should a developer not keep track of the number of times a key (valid or not) is active? Why? It's his software. It's his business. I can't think of an argument why it wouldn't be his job to keep that data.


I don't know what you're talking about: Registration is telling a company you have their product.

Registration of a toaster is sending in a card. Registration of a phone is sometimes done by clicking the eula, sometimes by sending a post card.

Registration of software downloaded over the internet is almost always done by...telling the company you have their product over the internet. Windows still lets you print out something I believe.

I think you missed the definition of registration if you're surprised by the fact information is sent when you register.

That's like being surprised information is sent when you email something.


I guessing he probably tried googling for the IP address of the wannabe pirates in question, or their email addresses. Collecting email is normal for software sales, particularly when delivered over the internet and your IP address is logged pretty much anywhere you go online. If you aren't actively hiding yourself behind a proxy or using fake email accounts etc... it shouldn't be to hard to get some idea of who or what company or at least their ISP that you're dealing with.


The software sends registration codes to the server for verification. Same as many other software packages, including every modern Microsoft product. As far as I know (I don't work on Blurity, but know the author well) there is no personally identifiable information sent to the server.


Isn't this incentivising people to pirate before buying a legitimate license?


It only comes up if they've already tried to pirate it. It's acting on the idea of price discrimination; the person trying to pirate the software has shown a decreased willingness to pay for the product, so econ theory says to lower the price for just that person in order to maximize revenue.


Yeah, I had the same thought. But what if you turn it into a game? Imagine this...

1. User tries to enter a bad SN or whatever; 2. You challenge him to let's say file X valid bug reports; 3. User gets 50% off or something like that.

It could work!


The world isn't so simple that we can slap 'good' and 'bad' labels on everything and expect things to be perfect. It's also not so trivial to condition people that we can simply create a punishment/reward system and expect it to fulfill it's role accurately.

Look at the failure that is the legal system and how badly it addresses the problem of crime. Even under the threat of the harshest penalties, crime still happens. Even after locking someone up in a cage, they are still likely to re-offend.

Think about it - people cooperate with people they like. Trying to take someone's money, physical freedom or whatever else makes you their enemy. People are very unlikely to cooperate with their enemies. The trick is to not trigger that "you're an enemy" response. The result is an open line of communication and a real chance that the behavior will change.

In other words, we're not Pavlov's Dogs and a little common sense goes a long way.

Given how many people are enamored by computing devices which only have one button, it's clear that the vast majority will pay full price instead of going to the trouble of downloading the pirated software, installing it, doing whatever needs to be done for the coupon code to come up and then paying. It's much simpler to buy the damn thing and be done with it. If someone is going through all that trouble, they probably can't afford the retail price.


Honestly? That's the only way to get a representative demo nowadays. I'm not at all ashamed to say I pirate the shit out of anything that costs more than about $20 to see if they'll fit my needs and run on my system before giving anyone a cent.


Let say that 5 out of 10 000 users triggered this. Then say that 2 out of those 5 would have bought a full copy but read/heard/noticed this method of getting a cheaper copy. Is that then a problem?

My guess is that the time this guy spent on this info box and coupon code far exceed the money from one license.


I suspect the page views he got from this story was well worth it.


Can can be tweaked or removed if that becomes popular.


I wonder if the customer will now share the coupon code.


I'd be wary of including a "coupon code" that identifies myself as a potential "software pirate" when purchasing something using my name and visa card online, even if the seller has the best intentions.


Use Paypal


Coupon codes get shared anyway and that should be taken into account when sharing them out and pricing them. I always check retailmenot.com before making purchases at web stores with a coupon code field visible in their order form.


You could always generate it server side and lock it to the ip that the original request came from.


Just hope the user's IP does not change from purchase to activation?


Regardless of the comments about how negative this is I commend your transparency and creativity.




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