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Re: Registering and License Keys

by cecil36 (Monk)
on Feb 12, 2003 at 15:07 UTC ( #234693=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Registering and License Keys

Being in technical support for a software company, I can offer you the following advice. If you want to make money off of your work, I would offer the license for purchase with technical support. If someone contacts you, they will need to provide you with some type of data indicating that they are a registered user and are elgible for support. One suggestion on registering users is to have a process embed a serial number into your code, then in your records, have that particular serial number linked to an end user. It will allow you to see who is registered, and also see who is pirating your code by running it on more computers than were actually licensed for use. This way, if someone calls or writes in with unregistered product and needs help setting it up to run on their server, you can flat out tell them that unless they register their product, they will not receive support.

This is how I would recommend setting up your tech support system:

  • Have a user visit your product's webpage, and link them to a form that they can fill out with support questions, or have a number where they can call you to recieve live support.
  • Put a field in there for the serial number for their licensed product and make it required that the field have a value for submission.
  • Have the form be processed as an e-mail on the server side and sent to a special e-mail account. Have a script parse out the serial number and look it up in a database of all registered users. If there's a match, forward to your inbox for follow-up, else reply back to the user indicating that unless they register, they have no support.
  • If you are providing live support over the phone, prior to answering questions, ask them for their registration info. If they provide it, look it up to verify it, otherwise *click*.


Comment on Re: Registering and License Keys
Re^2: Registering and License Keys
by diotalevi (Canon) on Feb 12, 2003 at 15:24 UTC

    This is actually a very good idea. You probably shouldn't install a serial number into the program - just put that on the contract document you signed with your customer. You can approach non-contract bound users as potential customers. If you do all the usual dance with trademarks and copyright and appropriate legal backing you should be alright.


    Seeking Green geeks in Minnesota

      cheers for the help guys, much appreciated. I tried buffy'ing it but i've been having a few problems.

      I can get this code to buffy and still work:

      #!c:\perl\bin\perl
      use Acme::Buffy;
      print "This is a test\n";

      but when I change it and try to view through a browser with code like this:

      #!c:\perl\bin\perl
      use Acme::Buffy;
      print "Content-type:text/html\n\n";
      print "This is a test";

      it doesn't work anymore and I just get Internal Error. What am I doing wrong? Doesn't Buffy work for web scripts???

      Thanks,
      Tom

        The user your web server runs on may not have the right privileges to modify the script. Acme::Buffy works by encoding the script and then saving the new version over the top of the old one. Check your error logs and do all the usual web-server debug dance steps.


        Seeking Green geeks in Minnesota

      Good idea. However, if the means of distribution is over the Internet, our fellow AM (anonymous monk) can work with a company such as http://www.digitalriver.com to handle the purchasing and electronic distribution. In exchange for a portion of the sale as a commission, Digital River will set up your online ordering and notify you of sales. With my employer, they can provide our software product for download and automatically assign a serial number and provide it upon confirmation of the purchase. At the end of each day, Digital River provides us with the info on what was purchased, and we input that into our database manually. I would recommend a setup similar to this.

      For a demo user, I would make a separate build of your script, and license it "FOR EVALUATION ONLY". Water down the evaluation version if you so desire so the customer has an incentive to purchase the full version (a la "lite" version). Keep a separate log of these downloads, and support these people for only a short period of time, then if they call or write back after the evaluation period has expired, then either refuse them support, or offer them the full version.

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