The one thing you need to know about software licensing as a MicroISV or small software company
Don’t waste your time with copy protection!
Don’t waste your time trying to stop users from copying your software. There is no simple way to prevent unwanted distribtion of software. The simple fact is that you can’t prevent a dedicated hacker from breaking your copy protection. Not even mega corporations like Microsoft and Apple manage to completely protect their software! If you are not running a multi million dollar/euro company you can’t even begin to effectively fight serious hackers. There are licensing solutions which require users to activate software online and make sure that they cannot run multiple copies of your application. But you need the infrastructure to be in place and work flawlessly, and it’s another moving part that needs to be maintained, inevitably they get in the way of the user. In addition to the practicalities of setting it up, more often than not they require the kind of money for their services that most small software companies just don’t want to part with – I know thats how it was for me a couple of years ago when I needed a software licensing solution.
What should you do?
The truth is that as a micro isv or small softwarehouse you may dream about your application being pirated but the reality is that only mainstream software gets any attention from dedicated pirates. When you get to that stage then you can start worrying about hacker proofing your app! Until then you need to think about how to help your users make the decision to purchase your program. Trial versions and freeware are well and good but it doesn’t put food on the table… As a developer you need a way to programatically determine which version of your software the user has paid for or if they are running a free/trial version of it and use that information to change the behavior of the software without requiring a binary update of the installed software. You also need to be able to tie the user to that version of the software, and prominently display that information putting social pressure on the user to not spread their license keys. Focus on finding a solution that will stop 70% of software piracy, don’t even try for 75% in the beginning. Remember that a little bit of piracy is probably a good thing when your starting out, as long as you can convert enough user into paying customers.
Really simple licensing
My licensing solution provides a simple way to include user specific data within your applications serial number or license file. By displaying this prominently within your software, legitimate users of your software will avoid sharing their license information. The licensing software can also easily be integrated with paypal, kagi, mailchimp and amazon payments. It is designed for use with .net 2, 3.5 & 4 but the underlying technology is supported in php, java and objective-c so there is no reason why the licensing solution provided by me couldn’t be used on other platforms too. Over the coming weeks I will be putting together a solution using php and java to prove this, but for the moment this is .Net only.
Make more money
The bottom line is that you as a micro isv or small software studio can put a small amount of licensing control on you product and reap great benefits. Use my simple software licensing solution to put gentle pressure on your users to purchase your software. Integrate your license generation with payment providers and dont forget to offer a free license in exchange for the users email adress. Do these things right and you will make more money.
And by the way not only can you try out all the features of this licensing solution for free, if you do make a purchase and you are not 100% satisfied within 45 days, for whatever reason, email me and you will get a full refund. Each license is setup as a recurring subscription so you are always guaranteed to have access to the latest version of the licensing solution.
The Habanero Simple Software Licensing Solution is distributed for free with a 45 day license which may be renewed free of charge as many times as you require. All I require is that you sign up for my sporadic newsletter and answer a couple of questions when it’s time to renew. This free license does not allow you to easily use the more advanced features of the product but even the free version has 100% of the enterprise functionality in place.
If you are just starting up and you’re investing your own money in the project (like I did) you just don’t know what will happen. The last thing you want to do is make a big commitment in time and money on any one part of your endeavor. The Bootstrapping license is based on a 6 month subscription, which will automatically renew, but you are free to cancel at any time. Any end user licenses that you have already issued will be valid for whatever period you have specified regardless of wether you have an active subscription or not.
This is the license I am most excited about and the one I really wish would have been around when I was just starting out! You are licensed for 5 users to manage your licenses, so if you want to outsource support via ODesk or Elance this is the license you want. You can also fully automate license generation with Paypal and others meaning your customers will get much faster service from you because you don’t actually have to do anything! When their purchase is completed they will immediately get their license via email. The only restriction here is that you cannot use the military grade, high bit, encryption keys.
If you represent a mega Enterprise corporation you should probably stop reading here, this not the license for you… It is a license for small ISVs that have made it and just need that little bit extra that the other licenses don’t have. Mind you I don’t count on selling many of these since the MicroISV license is so great but I’m putting it up just in case you require even more! This license adds military grade encryption and allows up to 10 users to manage your licenses. You also get priority support from me via phone/skype (at additional charges per incident) so if you need any kind of custom development done for the licensing of your particular software or have urgent questions you have a direct line to me!
Get the enterprise license dirt cheap, for nothing actually!
If you have 5 or more users who will be using this software and you want to get your hands on the Enterprise license I have a great proposition for you! If you agree to provide a client statement to Microsoft confirming your use of my licensing solution I will provide you with the enterprise license for free (thats € 0) for your initial 24 month period! Why would I do this? I need three client testimonials to keep my Microsoft partner status, so you will really be helping me out! That also means that this offer is only available to the first three clients with 5 or more users so if you want to take advantage of this unique offer let me know right now!
My aim is to provide a simple software licensing solution which is affordable and functional. But if you want to be guaranteed these low prices then you had better Act now!
/Joshua Anthony 🙂
Creator of the Habanero Simple Software Licensing Solution