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Author Topic: moral behaviour in the shareware industry  (Read 4085 times)
urlwolf
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« on: December 18, 2006, 11:38:01 AM »

Hi,

Since we all know how wrong it is to pirate soft,  and the media keep reminding us of the poor little software companies that get harmed when each human being fires a P2P program... let me try to put the argument upside down.

I don't want to badmouth any company publicly right now... But here are a few examples of bad behavior from a company towards a user (me).

(1) company X sells a product that requires server interaction. After selling the software and supporting it properly for a year or so, the server doesn't respond, rendering the software useless.

(2) Company Y sells a product. You can get a much better one in all aspects for free, but of course it's too late for a refund.

(3) Company Z has a webpage that looks like not being updated much. User tries the app, and it's good. It smells like deadware, but there are no alternatives. He buys the product... or at least pays for it. The code to unlock the app (license) never gets delivered. The company that deals with CC transactions is contacted, but doesn't respond either.

Of course, sending mails to support was tried and got no answer.

One funny advantage of ecommerce is that you can set up shop, then die, and the merchandise may still be selling for a while smiley

What do you think?
What is the correct action in each of these cases?

Since DC proudly helps users make good software decisions, I may think about disclosing company X, Y, and Z's names. But I want to know what your feeling about it is first.
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mrainey
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2006, 11:55:18 AM »

Need more details about scenario #2 before I can evaluate it.
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Software For Metalworking
http://closetolerancesoftware.com
urlwolf
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2006, 12:36:28 PM »

Well, since "better" is subjective, let's say that the free product cover the same needs. This is a tough one to ellaborate without talking about an specific example.
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mrainey
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2006, 01:01:54 PM »

You paid for program A, then discovered freeware program B that worked better for you and tried to get a refund for program A?
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http://closetolerancesoftware.com
Josh
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2006, 01:12:57 PM »

Thats just it, with software there is no real way to "return it". Yes, you can return a physical medium, however, you could still have a copy of the program along with the serial number. The serial number will still work (unless server validation is required, which isnt totally mainstream yet) and you can continue using it for as long as the current serial hashing algorithm works.

This is why most software companies wont offer a refund and offer you a 30 day trial of their software. Users should check out the program, its support options, and whether the program is in active development still. I am all for the "If it works dont fix it" policy, however, a company should still exist and its developers show an interest in improving it if a way is found to improve it, however, some communities would have you believe a program that still works that was made in 02 is just as good as one that does what the 02 product does and is under more active development.
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Strength in Knowledge
urlwolf
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2006, 01:32:08 PM »

well, case 2 is pretty much closed. No problem. Normally, if the freeware version is really that good and the shareware one doesn't offer any advantage, the market should take care of it. But this is normally not the case.

Anyway, I'm more interested in the other two cases.
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 05:11:39 PM »

just my 2 cents:
if you pay for a program and the comany dies and makes no provisions for you to be able to activate the software or if you pay for it and they go out of business and dont deliver it, etc., then i dont see anything immoral about bypassing the activation of the program using whatever means you have available.
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app103
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 06:24:50 PM »

As far as something you may have bought that requires online activation (is that what you mean in #1?)

You paid for it, you have the serial, you are legally entitled to use the software...

Do whatever you have to do to enforce your rights to use that software.

-----

As far as #2 goes...I don't see any way you could get your money back legally/illegally, morally/immorally. Maybe I just don't understand the question fully, or I am still a bit naive about some things.

-----

I think the best way to handle #3 is to contact your credit card company and file a complaint. They will most likely refund you the price paid and go after the company that handles the transactions themselves, to get their money back. They are more effective at getting their own way than you, since they can just take what they refunded you off the that company's totals next month and the company really doesn't have much room to argue about it.

I wouldn't try to bypass anything unless the credit card company denied you a refund, and they usually won't in a case like this.

-----

And last of all...

Disclosing the name of company X might not be a good idea. Could cause trouble.
Disclosing Y serves no purpose at all.
Disclosing Z could serve to the public good by alerting others before they make the same mistake you did.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2006, 06:27:54 PM »

good points by april.
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 06:44:58 PM »

#1 - sucks. I wouldn't find it immoral to use a w4r3z copy in this case, considering you paid for the software.

#2 - tough luck, have to agree with Josh on this one.

#3 - pretty bad. Find w4r3z copy, or ask your CC company for refund. (Slightly off on a tangent: when my VISA card was stolen and abused, I got 100% refund even though it took 12 hours before I realized the theft and blocked the card. The refund did involve filing theft with the police, and giving a copy of the statement to my bank...)

Can't see why disclosing names of any companies/products would be a bad thing - software authors have to take consequences of their actions, just like everybody else.
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- carpe noctem
urlwolf
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2006, 07:26:04 AM »

News: it seems that a refund is on the way for #3.

However, I'd prefer to be able to use the app! I couldn't find anything similar. And it is pretty obscure, so now I don't think there'd be w4r3z copy. Well, back to searching for the perfect app... or maybe time to do a similar ahk hack would be faster ?
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2006, 07:56:09 AM »

Well, mention the app and perhaps somebody can find a replacement for it, as well as warning others to not purchase it?
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- carpe noctem
urlwolf
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2006, 11:16:09 AM »

Ok, but be warned:
(1) the site really looks dangerously like "deadware inside". I should have not bought it by the looks of the site, but the app is really neat.
(2) The author may come back from the dead anytime and send me the license (so don't flame her/him just yet):

http://www.crypto-central.com/html/timekeeper.html
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Darwin
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2006, 01:25:24 PM »

Don't beat yourself up, urlwolf. This is prominent at the bottom of the page:

Quote
Page version 2.20c - Updated 28 June 2006

Of course, this is at the bottom of the version history page:

Quote
Page version 2.10 - 8 May 2002

Still, I've got my fingers crossed for you!
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 01:28:21 PM by Darwin » Logged

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
Darwin
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2006, 01:37:29 PM »

Even though you've indicated that it's a dead/non issue, I'm really curious about what led to your posing scenario two? I've been hasty in buying shareware in the past only to find that there are free alternatives available. While annoying, it's never occurred to me to blame the developer. Rather, I (try to) put it down to experience and hope to learn from it. So, again, what's the "history" behind number two?
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"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
urlwolf
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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2006, 05:52:39 AM »

Ok more news.

The #3 developer was ill.
He sent an email and couldn't get to the office in a while.
This is why I didn't want to blame anyone (or badmouth) any product.

So people, (mostly people doing the Getting Organized experiment) give timeKeeper a try, it works and it's just what I needed... to have a log of the task I do. I'll even help loggin how much you spend sleeping, eating, walking the dog smiley
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