This week’s Ecommerce Eye Candy comes to us from V.i. Labs, who helps companies generate new revenue from users of unlicensed software.
A 2013 report from IDC estimates that at least a third of PC software is counterfeit. When a piece of clothing is stolen from a store, you know it has gone missing but it is not as traceable as a software product. If you are responsible for generating revenue for a software product sold globally, you may just chalk up the lost license revenue to the cost of doing business. You try to prevent it as much as possible without interfering too much with the customer experience.
Technological advances have improved the way digital goods manufacturers handle piracy. Instead of writing off your best guess of the cost and loss of sale, piracy can be a guerrilla marketing tactic and ultimately lead to revenue that a few years ago would have been considered lost.
But as Michael Goff explained in his guest post, “Making Money From Software Piracy” infringing users are an untapped channel for revenue – which is good news. The fact that people use pirated copies of your software means they value your product. The fact that they haven’t paid for its use means you have an opportunity to convert them into a paying customer.
Keep in mind that there are many different types of infringing users. Some are students, some are office employees and some simply cannot afford your solution at it’s present price point. The main thing is not treating infringing users like they are criminals. Why not instead frame the conversation around how you can help one another, “You obviously value the product; let me tell you what the benefits of paying for it are.” Instead of punishing users, you are educating them.