More on Activation
May 13, 2006
Last night I remembered something about why I decided to try product activation after KIT got cracked (far too easily) and that was this article by Ambrosia Software in 2002. Reading it again, it isn’t quite the same as I remembered. Basically they said a few things that I seemed to join together.
One point was that crippling shareware before purchase (note: crippling, not the trial expiration I use) produces increased sales. The next point was that they devised expiring license codes that need to be renewed on the server after 30 days, which is basically deferred activation, and finally that renewal process showed them that piracy for Snapz Pro was rife.
After my own brush with software crackers, I was edgy enough to try and implement something that showed me whether this was really an issue. Also the likes of eSellerate and even Panic used some form of activation at the time (not sure if Panic still do), so it seemed worth a try.
Maybe it’s because I’m not in the utility and games market but my experience is that in the last 21 months only 71 (around 2%) of activation requests have failed validation (although there is also validation in the app itself that would prevent a number of requests getting through) and that of those 71, only 10 were totally bogus. The rest were user errors, usually repeated, such as typos, etc. It could be down to volumes too, of course.
So is it worth doing product activation? In my case, I don’t think so, apart from freeing me from the FUD created by the Ambrosia article, but it probably all depends on what kind of apps you sell and to whom.