Poll: Product activation in the garden of good and evil

What do you think of Scrivener's new product activation requirement?

I think it's a good thing - why should others less honest than myself use for free something I have paid for?
9
8%
I don't really mind. I understand that software developers need to prevent pirates from using their software for free so that they are able to afford to continue developing the software I like and rely on.
21
19%
I don't mind, but only if the activation process never prevents me from using the software I've paid for (for instance because I don't have an internet connection) and doesn't treat me like a pirate.
62
56%
I don't mind, although it irks me that software has to take these steps and that the actions of pirates end up causing inconveniences - however minor - for us legitimate users.
4
4%
I wouldn't mind, but Scrivener's activation process wasn't smooth and caused too many problems for me. OR: I wouldn’t mind, but only if… (Please post your suggestions for improvements to the activation process as a reply to this thread.)
1
1%
I don't care either way.
0
No votes
I don't really like it - it makes me feel as though the developers assume me to be dishonest, which I find a little insulting.
2
2%
I don't like it - it's one extra step that can go wrong and it gives the impression that the developers are more interested in making money than in treating me like a decent human being.
6
5%
I hate it! For all I know you are sending all of my personal information over the internet and want to steal my identity! Stop it now!
0
No votes
I don't like it for other reasons which I will explain below. (Please don't tick this unless you will write your reasons for disliking activation in a reply to this thread.)
5
5%
 
Total votes: 110
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KB
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Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:33 pm Post

Great! Glad you got it sorted.
All the best,
Keith

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Wreybies
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Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:41 pm Post

I don't see an issue with product activation. I'm American, a capitalist. I understand the need for a provider of goods or service to be recompensed for goods or services provided. I expect to pay for quality and I cannot imagine that a provider of goods or services will have his/her mind on quality when they have to be overly concerned with the tedium of actually receiving the payment for what they have provided.

In other words, I, the consumer, have a vested interest in allowing my provider of goods to be focused on the goods in question.

My mother is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). It rubbed off. :wink:

Wrey

fl
flow
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:04 am Post

I wouldn't mind, except that I have to launch Scrivener twice for it to actually launch. That gets really tiring. Nice product, but I'd love to be able to launch and write, not launch, click the 'eSellerate failed...' button and then launch again.

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KB
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:54 am Post

Is there any good reason you haven't contacted us to fix this rather than putting up with it as though it is normal? This is just a permissions issue on your machine and is really easy to fix. First try the following:

In the Finder, browse to the /Library/Application Support folder (note that this is the Library folder in the root Macintosh HD, not the one in your home directory). Look for a folder entitled "MindVision". If it exists, move it to the Trash, then try launching Scrivener again.

If you still see the error, please try going through the steps on this page of our support wiki:

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/wiki/ ... all_Failed

Let me know if you still have problems after trying the above.

Best,
Keith

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popcornflix
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:26 am Post

KB, I dislike activation. It doesn't add any value for the customer, but does add the potential for new errors, and other time-wasters. It also does not prevent piracy.

A cursory Google search reveals that the pirate twerps have already defeated your activation scheme. They are already distributing activation-free Scrivener 1.53 on the Net.

So what purpose is activation serving?
.:popcornFlix:.

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KB
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:42 pm Post

What's the point of locking your door when someone can break your window? Would you be happy for film makers to take your scripts and turn them into films without paying you a penny, or would you do your best to stop them?

And I disagree that it doesn't add value to the customer. If fewer pirated and more people bought Scrivener, who knows, we might be able to afford an iPad programmer. :) It's true that many pirates will never buy anyway, but I did some IP and sales tracking after we released the version with activation, and we got a shocking number of sales from ex-pirates. Some pirates just hate buying software; others just hate trials and crack to try, then forget they are using a crack.

I'm going to unsticky this topic now. Thanks for all the opinions. The sad truth is that sales went up after cracking down on piracy, but we're also going to need activation for 2.0 in order to provide a boxed version anyway. The activation is more than fair - it will never prevent you from using Scrivener if you're a registered user, internet connection or not, so although at first I was against it myself, I'm afraid that it is going to be staying for the foreseeable future.

Thanks and all the best,
Keith

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popcornflix
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:02 pm Post

KB wrote:I did some IP and sales tracking after we released the version with activation, and we got a shocking number of sales from ex-pirates.


You can't argue with financial success.

KB wrote:The activation is more than fair - it will never prevent you from using Scrivener if you're a registered user, internet connection or not


It feels better with your guarantee. I hope it brings you many more pirate conversions, and continued success.
.:popcornFlix:.

Ci
Cinder6
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Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:19 am Post

KB wrote:The sad truth is that sales went up after cracking down on piracy, but we're also going to need activation for 2.0 in order to provide a boxed version anyway.

That's actually pretty interesting. I would have assumed that sales would have stayed the same, but that puts a dent in one of the popular piracy arguments ("They wouldn't buy it anyway, so it's not a lost sale.").

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KB
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Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:45 am Post

I was surprised too. I expected it to have no effect whatsoever and thus to end up saying, "Well, we tried it, but it's pointless," and quietly dropping it again. But tracking it was quite interesting. When you activate a copy of Scrivener, it takes no private data, only your serial number, but it also logs the IP (which isn't exactly private as any moderator of any forum you use can get your IP address too, of course). So we end up with a list of IP addresses + serial numbers. That's not much use on its own, but I was aware of two serial numbers that were used on cracking sites - and the number of users who had tried to activate using those serial numbers was... Well, shocking. And they, of course, are just the users who aren't tech-savvy enough to realise that they shouldn't try to go through online activation with pirated software. :) From the data, it turned out that 10% of the users who tried to activate but couldn't because they were using a pirated version immediately bought the app. That's about the same percentage as regular downloads converted to sales, and it's significant for us.

On the other hand, this alone isn't enough to make me want to keep activation. Even after going through these figures, my proposal was to drop the activation scheme because getting sales from 10% of pirates (that's a distorted figure of course) doesn't make up for inconveniencing 20% of users, if that was the case. But after the initial switch to activation and the learning curve involved in getting it set up correctly, support issues pertaining to activation are now minimal - and all of them can be resolved really simply as permission conflicts, which is something that happened with plain serial number validation before we introduced activation anyway.

A more important factor for us, though, is that with Scrivener 2.0 we want to be able to provide a boxed product. Currently the serial number scheme ties your name to your serial number - but that's not really workable with a boxed product. With a boxed product, you need to provide just a serial number on its own. But obviously if we did that without online activation, it would be open season for pirates.

Even then, though, we still have difficulties. We've had a few university sales, but the activation scheme makes it difficult to install on multiple machines - that is, you have to install it on each machine separately, you can't just install it on one machine and have it cloned to others automatically because activation checks the current hardware. So this isn't great for universities installing it on hundreds of computers. I still have to find a workaround for this, and I wonder what other companies do.

Wow, we managed to revive the topic there, huh? I thought I was out, but you've drawn me back in!

All the best,
Keith

Ci
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Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:49 am Post

Wouldn't a simple way to handle the boxed product serial number dilemma be to simply link the SN with a name once the user activates? Of course, there might be something I don't know about how the activation works.

I will say, Scrivener was probably one of the smoothest product activations I've done in a long while (well, maybe the most recent MacHeist was a bit easier, but that's an edge case). I've gone through some pretty terrible product activations, the worst of which was probably Maya 5 (I had to install it on a couple machines at my high school). Then, of course, there's the recent DRM issue with Ubisoft and their servers going down, making it so that nobody but the pirates could play (oh, the irony).

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KB
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Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:19 am Post

Wouldn't a simple way to handle the boxed product serial number dilemma be to simply link the SN with a name once the user activates? Of course, there might be something I don't know about how the activation works.


That's what I mean though - it requires activation. You can't have a serial number on its own without activation, otherwise pirates can just spread a serial number around.

All the best,
Keith

Ci
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Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:43 am Post

Guess I misunderstood. I was thinking of having a "deactivated" serial number that becomes activated when you assign a name to it, but it sounds like the current system doesn't allow for this.

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KB
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Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:27 am Post

But without online activation, it would be impossible for other machines to know the serial number is associated with a different name, so any number of people could use it...

Ci
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Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:44 am Post

Here's what I'm failing to explain. Server generates a serial number with no attached name. Serial number gets printed and put in boxed product. Customer purchases Scrivener. They enter the serial number and their username. Scrivener sends name and serial to the server, which then ties that name to the serial number.

But, like I said, I really don't know how the current activation scheme works, beyond what I did when I purchased. Nor have I studied anything on programming product activation. Could be this is a totally naive flow. :)

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kewms
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Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:57 am Post

Cinder6 wrote:Here's what I'm failing to explain. Server generates a serial number with no attached name. Serial number gets printed and put in boxed product. Customer purchases Scrivener. They enter the serial number and their username. Scrivener sends name and serial to the server, which then ties that name to the serial number.


Right. And at that point, online product activation has occurred.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team