Mon 28 Apr 2008
MailServe Pro, ready for business
Category : Commentary/MailServeProReadyForBusiness.txt
So, we are selling MailServe Pro now. We're asking people to pay first and use their serial number/email address combination to download the zipped application. It's a new workflow - you can't directly download the application.
I now know for sure that the workflow works and can concentrate on improving the documentation and working on further enhancements.
I think this will go some way to towards limiting piracy. I didn't want to build in "shrinkage" through piracy to the selling price, thereby making legitimate customers pay for the sins of non-paying users.
And I didn't want to make the code overly complex just to do serial number checking - the scheme we use is not too difficult to break, but more elaborate schemes can have un-intended side-effects that derail users during the running of the program.
So we thought about this for quite a while and decided to try this out. Pay-then-download may not be hard too hard for people who're using MailServe for Leopard now, and who've dealt with me personally before, to accept. I don't mind if this limits the number of potential users but that subset is the one I build these enhancements for.
As for those who subscribe to the theory that it's better to have pirates than not to have them because they spread the news about the application far and wide, there's still MailServe for Leopard, and all the rest of the stuff that still works the old way, that they can pirate.
So, it's good thing to have this balance, to see which way is better. The next thing to do is to figure out how to sign the application, so the pirates can't just break it once and distribute that broken copy. And anyway, the things I do are quite low-level stuff that I take responsibility for. Do people really want to use something that's been patched and broken into and take a chance with whatever else was changed on that copy of MailServe? I don't really think so. It's better to be sure and pull down the application from my site.
MailServe Pro for Leopard with Dovecot
Category : Commentary/MailServePro4Release.txt
I've released my version of MailServe for Leopard with support for Dovecot (it's the version 4.0 release of MailServe).
Also, I'm interested in seeing how information diffuses through the web. How does news spread and how long does it take? For example, I'm now tracking the downloads of LDAP Enabler, to see which sites pick it up and make referrals and why. Over the course of a year or two or three, if it does succeeed in picking up users without any [overt] advertisement on my part, then the reasons why it succeeds would become very instructive. What are the improvements I have to make, and the features I have to add (and the manuals I have to make), to make a piece of software popular?
I'm interested in seeing if I can introduce and make popular a range of software without having to advertise them in places like Version Tracker or MacUpdate.
My idea is that, if I can have a core group of software that people come on over to pick up, then can I use that traffic to make them interested in picking up other new pieces of software that I also then make available at the site?
The idea is simple, but if it works, then it becomes self-generating and self-reinforcing, because if those additional software are any good, then it drives further traffic on its own and may even introduce new people to the original goods.
Then when we have sufficient pieces of good software, we can do things like promotional bundles.
This is why doing these things is fun. It's like a microcosm - a corporation in miniature. I'm affected by things like exchange rates. I do promotional materials. And I, of course, also build the damned stuff (with the help of Hai Hwee) and do all the artwork. So it's art and science and business, united. One will, one resolve, one cause :-)
I'm now working on a revamp of the MailServe documentation. If I can find a better and more workable format, I'll revamp the documentaion for all the other software.