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Another 'Lifetime' license bites the dust

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I went nuts when SlySoft AnyDVD came out with AnyDVD HD five days after I had just purchased the license,
-zridling (April 16, 2009, 12:21 PM)
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This is the post I was thinking of. And please notice that I qualified my opinion to state it was only valid if I understood correctly.

In any case, I wasn't "blaming" SlySoft. Although some of the facts weren't clear to me (since, as I was careful to point out, I have never used the product: my information all came from this thread), no matter who you blame, there is still one point I think it is very important for small companies (any company that isn't so big they can afford to get all arrogant and "we're too large to worry about the customer") to understand. No matter what the cause is, no matter what or who you blame, the basic point still remains. Unless you figure out a way to handle things so your customers are convinced you're treating them fairly, any policy you set will end up harming your own business.

This basic point, which is true even if I didn't have all the details, has absolutely nothing to do with blame. Even if we agree to stipulate that many people today feel entitled and expect more than they have a right to - that is still the way they feel, and they will still react on those feelings. And any company that depends on selling to people with those expectations still needs to understand what reactions their actions will have.

(Yes, this next rant is relevant. Stick with me.)
I'm a writer. Editors expect us to understand they can't pay decent rates. (In one recent incident, it slipped out a new magazine, one supposedly focused on stories, was planning to pay $1,000 for cover art - but not more than about $50 for a story.) The public expects they ought to be able to copy our stuff, just because it's easy, without paying us. I know of one writer who's been at it for at least twenty-five years and written dozens of books (I'm not mentioning names because I have no desire to invade this person's privacy) whose income for 2007 was in the high four figures. They are successful, "midlist", a pretty solid if not spectacular position, and established, and their annual income was less than $10,000! (That went up in 2008 - because they developed other sources of income.) Is that fair? I certainly don't think so. They're a good writer, with a decent fan base. In no way are they to blame for any of this - but they still need to understand how that market works in order to deal with it.

No matter what the facts are, you need to understand all of them if you don't want to end up in trouble. There are, pretty clearly, a lot of upset users over this issue. From what I've heard, I don't think that anger is deserved. But the basic fact still remains: they seemingly didn't understand how their customers were going to react, and this has no doubt hurt them. Does anyone really think they'd benefit from anyone encouraging them simply to look at the reasons why it was ethical and fair to do what they did? I know, if I liked a company, no matter how strongly I thought they were right, I'd also encourage them to look at whatever it was which caused so many customers to hate them. Because that result simply is not good for the company. No matter whose fault it is, as long as there is a perception the company is bad, that is a problem they need to solve.


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