iphone apps cracked

Discussion in 'iPhone/iPad Programming' started by coolman, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    La Coruna, Spain
    #1
    There is news in various sites that apps from the app store are being cracked. :(

    Me, as an iphone developer am very concerned in this issue and want to know how Apple will tackle this down. Perhaps the FOTA feature will help.

    How do you feel? Me, not quite happy

    What we can do?
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #2
    Nothing. If it's digital it will be pirated. Make your application useful and people will pay for it.
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #3
    I'd be more concerned if no one wanted to pirate my software!

    Seriously though I'm not worried at all. Think about how many people pirate music, and how many songs iTunes still sells anyway.
     
  4. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #4
    The only thing you can do is account for piracy in the pricing of your product. So if you were going to sell it at $5 then you charge $7 or so.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #5
    That's an excellent way not to sell your software to legit users. :rolleyes: It actually works the other way, price your product correctly(read, what it's worth) and more people will be opt to actually pay for it instead of stealing it. 99% of iPhone users A.)Don't have any idea how to copy stuff or B.) Don't care enough to try and figure it out.
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
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    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #6
    I would argue that is proper pricing. Piracy is just a cost that needs to be taken into account in the same way as electricity is. If factoring in piracy adds so much to the cost of the software that it becomes unsellable at that price then you are a) spending too much money developing the software and b) not producing software of sufficient quality to meet the expectations of your users.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #7
    I would argue that increasing the price of your product to account for losses to piracy is a vicious cycle that eventually leads to a product that is so exorbitantly overpriced that few customers are purchasing it and most others are pirating it.
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    #8
    ^What he said. Just on a personal note, there has been software that I have almost bought, but felt it was about $10 too much.

    I know this analogy does not work in the real world though
     
  9. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #9
    Hardly. Lots of products are priced to take into account things like theft. Why should it be any different for software?

    No one is going to be aware of what sets the price of your software, I'm not advocation a $10 increase in price but one which is relatively small yet helps to offset some lost revenue. Intelligent pricing is something which takes everything into account.

    Plus don't forget that more expensive items have a marketable quality of their own, something that as Apple users I am sure we are all aware of. There is something to be said for being in the premium business (as long as your product is of sufficient quality).
     
  10. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #10
    Pricing should have nothing to do with your costs. Take a business course.

    You should pick the price point that maximizes your revenue, whether that's 10x or 1/10th the marginal cost. After you find the optimal price, the costs only tells you whether to keep selling the product or not.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #11
    Well as a consumer that does the right thing and pays for his iphone apps, let me give my gut reaction.

    Umm.. ok, so your gonna punish the people that are doing the right thing by charging me MORE for the app to make up for the bad that people are doing? Guess what, im not buying your app. If its improperly priced im not gonna get it, but if its increased for the reason mentioned, im not only gonna not buy it, im gonna recommend to my friends to not buy it and purchase any competitor that can suit my needs. Or im gonna go pirate it. Its not right that i have to suffer for the actions of others. Period.

    Bottom line is this. If someone is gonna pirate your software, more then likely they were never gonna buy it to begin with, not most people anyway. So your just screwing with your consumer base and just being greedy.



    Thats my reaction anyway.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    #12
    I also agree with the people saying if you raise your app, you make it more likely that it will be pirated.

    Besides, how do you even know its being pirated? How do you know how many times? How do you adjust your price for numbers you don't even know?
     
  13. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #13
    The greedy people are the ones violating copyright law by pirating instead of sticking to only apps they think are worth at least the asking price to them.

    Here's a suitable penalty for pirates who think an app they pirated is worth only $0.99. Throw them in a jail cell and don't let them out until they develop an equivalent working app (including documentation and artwork, etc.). Then let them out and pay them $1.01 for their time and effort. That should be a more than fair exchange since they get an additional 2 cents profit.

    .
     
  14. Guest

    caveman_uk

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    #14
    I guess you haven't figured out that this happens all the time have you? All the stuff in the stores. They assume some people are going to steal from the shop so charge everyone else more to cover it. Ever bought insurance? The amount charged depends on other people's actions that are deemed to be like you. Do they on average have more accidents, get their houses broken into etc.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #15
    Bingo- all stores build "shrinkage" into their prices (whether it is potential customers or employees that rip them off). Your insurance premiums have to cover that guy that got in a car wreck (or else assume that YOU will be that guy). Adobe and Microsoft price their products at a level that helps cover the rampant piracy of their software. If they charged less for their software people would still pirate- but then they would not make enough money, and they'd eventually go out of business. If the insurance company charged less, they would go out of business. If that corner store charged less, they would go out of business.

    Vicious cycles at work here :)

    Of course developers only have themselves to blame if they end up poor, every one of them has been falling all over each other in a race to go bankrupt... undercutting each other's prices in order to increase visibility with the hopes of making it up in volume. Even at these ridiculously cheap prices you still get scum that pirate it rather than paying you $0.99...
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #16
    But the digital distribution of software is quite different than that of physical goods, and certainly different than the economics of an insurance company.

    Physical stores need to account for shrinkage in their prices because they are actually losing physical goods. If someone steals a pair of sneakers from Walmart, that is one less pair of sneakers they can make money on.
    I don't lose the ability to offer one more download of my app every time someone pirates it, and in many (most?) cases, the person who pirated it would not have bought it at any price. So what have I really lost by that person pirating it?
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #17
    Follow the sites where people are posting pirated apps, then contact the sites that are hosting them (megaupload, rapidshare, etc) and inform them of the illegal content. They will take it down.

    Repeat.
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #18
    And they will just repost it again with a different link. Your time is almost certainly better spent improving your app so that more honest customers will be inclined to buy it and/or recommend it to their honest friends.

    Here is a good blog post about piracy from Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster:
    http://wilshipley.com/blog/2005/06/piracy.html
     
  19. macrumors regular

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    Lanka Ravi Shanka
    #19
    I agree with admanimal. Although the piracy may not have cost you anything if they weren't going to buy your product anyway, spending time chasing pirating sites certainly will cost you.
     
  20. Guest

    caveman_uk

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    #20
    To an extent true, it depends on how hard you made it to pirate. All you really have to do is make the barrier sufficiently hard that it keeps the honest honest. I'm pretty certain many people that use pirate software or download pirated music don't actually consider it's legality - it appears victimless. I'm certain almost none of them would go into a shop and steal something whereas they'd do it online. For the vast majority of users the need to Jailbreak their phones is enough to stop them using pirated iPhone apps.

    In the end, pricing for me comes down to if I think the app I'm selling is worth the amount I'd like to charge. Others can then make their own decision if it is worth it to them. I for one would rather sell 100 copies at $10 a piece than 1000 at 1$. It's less support for a start.
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    #21
    why not doin a fair price 200 copies at 5$ instead of 100 at 10$
    and apple should let us use itune cards to buy apps on app store
     
  22. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #22
  23. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #23
    They do...
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge
    #24
  25. Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #25
    To an extent I'm sure we all realize piracy is going to happen. You can put as many locks on your software and either the pirate is going to break the lock or you are going to suffer a performance/usability hit most likely.

    So what realistic options do we have to minimize piracy? Excluding Apple coming up with a super awesome method to prevent it forever of course since that probably won't happen.

    Lite version - You can of course make a free limited feature set version of your app. I have used them to evaluate an app before and it seems to be a decent method. Issues with this are the possibility of extra effort on the developers part and the pirate will say, "I pirated the full version to test out everything!".

    Ad supported - If your app has ads on it in the free version that can help in that you'll get revenue just from your ad running but the pirate will prefer the cracked version to not have the ads. Not a good solution in my opinion.

    Detect it via the info.plist - I read a post on http://thwart-ipa-cracks.blogspot.com/ regarding ways to log who is stealing your App. While it works (I assume) I'd hate for something to trigger on a legitimate user to cause their program to malfunction. Plus if/once enough apps adopt this my guess is the pirates will work around it. Depending on the maliciousness of your code Apple might theoretically reject your app also I suppose.

    Don't worry about it - This is of course the easiest way. Most of the people will probably play with your pirated version of your app for a few hours then move on to another. With so many apps at their disposal it's impossible for them to use any but the best few they enjoy. And who knows... maybe them showed the cracked version to a friend who doesn't crack their phone will inspire the friend to buy the real version because they like the app.

    Petition Apple to allow trial periods - What if Apple allowed developers to set full usage rights to an app for a given time period? When putting your app on the store you could set 10 hours of use or something for an app? Then any app marked with this would have a trial and paid version where a user could download the app and use it for 10 hours of actual time before it would no longer launch without a purchase. The time would span across any upgrades of your app. The timer would be bound to the iTunes account somehow on Apple's servers. Of course you could adjust the free play time depending on the nature of your app. Then pirates may find it easier to just play the trial version, most would get bored by the end of the time frame. All it would really do is reduce your piracy numbers. You'd still have the app collectors that pirated to pirate but those outliers you're not going to fix.

    Any other ideas?
     

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