The true effects of piracy


A few months back, Wincent Colaiuta from wincent.org posted an article telling how the registration algorithm for his Synergy software had been hacked and his sales immediately dropped 20%-30%. The article outlines the effects the hack had on him and the potential effect on his customers. At the time he also thought that the decreased sales may also bring about the demise of his company.

I got in touch with Wincent to see what, if anything, has changed in the months that have passed. His response was very succint, “the sales haven’t recovered but are still limping along. I am trying to finish a couple of new products which use a new protection system, and in the meantime hoping that my funds don’t run out. “

2 Responses to “The true effects of piracy”

  1. Nick Brawn Says:

    Has there been any reviews of keygen/registration products that a shareware developer can plug into their application? From time to time I spot them advertised in the back of magazines like “Software Development”, but I’d be keen to know if there’s any decent multiplatform, multi-language tools I can use with programs I’m working on.

    The reason I ask, is that it seems like whenever a shareware author puts in some sort of serial-based registration, they write it themselves (reinventing the wheel), and get cracked easily.

    If you are intent on writing your own registration software, you should read Secure Programming Cookbook , which not only discusses approaches to hardening your application from crackers, but gives usable code to get you started as well.

    I’d also suggest reading up on the techniques that crackers use for breaking serial-based registration techniques (Google: cracking vb tutorial softice) should get you started there. Much like in network security (which is my background), you can best improve your overall security only after learning how hackers break in, and implementing defenses at each of those points.

    PS, Sorry if this is a little long winded.

  2. mslyh Says:

    I think that the original author should have taken serial number hacking into account before he started his business. It sounds like a failed business plan to me.

    Part of his problem is also related to the nature of the application he is trying to sell. People who are into music related software are probably much more likely to try and steal a $5 add-on than a corporate user of some other type of tool. I realize that this doesn’t excuse what hackers do. But I have a hard time feeling sorry for yet another shareware developer trying to etch out a living selling iTunes add-ons to the general public. What did he expect would happen?

    The fact that a 30% drop in revenue could doom his business is also probably an indication of a business that isn’t that strong to begin with. You have to take the bad with the good and have a contingency plan in place to make sure that these little roller coaster rides don’t put you out of business.

The true effects of piracy


A few months back, Wincent Colaiuta from wincent.org posted an article telling how the registration algorithm for his Synergy software had been hacked and his sales immediately dropped 20%-30%. The article outlines the effects the hack had on him and the potential effect on his customers. At the time he also thought that the decreased sales may also bring about the demise of his company.

I got in touch with Wincent to see what, if anything, has changed in the months that have passed. His response was very succint, “the sales haven’t recovered but are still limping along. I am trying to finish a couple of new products which use a new protection system, and in the meantime hoping that my funds don’t run out. “

2 Responses to “The true effects of piracy”

  1. Nick Brawn Says:

    Has there been any reviews of keygen/registration products that a shareware developer can plug into their application? From time to time I spot them advertised in the back of magazines like “Software Development”, but I’d be keen to know if there’s any decent multiplatform, multi-language tools I can use with programs I’m working on.

    The reason I ask, is that it seems like whenever a shareware author puts in some sort of serial-based registration, they write it themselves (reinventing the wheel), and get cracked easily.

    If you are intent on writing your own registration software, you should read Secure Programming Cookbook , which not only discusses approaches to hardening your application from crackers, but gives usable code to get you started as well.

    I’d also suggest reading up on the techniques that crackers use for breaking serial-based registration techniques (Google: cracking vb tutorial softice) should get you started there. Much like in network security (which is my background), you can best improve your overall security only after learning how hackers break in, and implementing defenses at each of those points.

    PS, Sorry if this is a little long winded.

  2. mslyh Says:

    I think that the original author should have taken serial number hacking into account before he started his business. It sounds like a failed business plan to me.

    Part of his problem is also related to the nature of the application he is trying to sell. People who are into music related software are probably much more likely to try and steal a $5 add-on than a corporate user of some other type of tool. I realize that this doesn’t excuse what hackers do. But I have a hard time feeling sorry for yet another shareware developer trying to etch out a living selling iTunes add-ons to the general public. What did he expect would happen?

    The fact that a 30% drop in revenue could doom his business is also probably an indication of a business that isn’t that strong to begin with. You have to take the bad with the good and have a contingency plan in place to make sure that these little roller coaster rides don’t put you out of business.

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