eBook Security...A Solution That Finally Works

53 replies
I realize that is sort of a spammy headline, but there is no affiliate links or connections here. This is an honest review of a product I recently found. I'm not making any money from this post. I'm posting because of the numerous forum posts I've been reading on this forum for years on this issue. I've been trying to solve this problem for a while and (I hope) I found a solution.

With all due respect to a number of posters on this board regarding this subject, most are you are missing the point.

The argument that eBook theft should be regarded as "slippage" and there is "nothing we can do about it" is misguided at best and extremely poor business at worst. Can you think of ANY business in the offline world that allows theft to unchecked? If they do, then they are a magnet for thieves and they aren't in business very long. Every single successful offline business has procedures in place to deal with "slippage." We should too.

The argument that it is the "cost of doing business online" is a first cousin to the one above. I disagree. PROTECTING YOUR PRODUCT is the cost of doing business online, not letting people rip you off.

The argument that to load up eBook with affiliate links has merit...if you're an affiliate. If you're a product publisher, sending your customers off to another business, unless necessary to complete your product, doesn't have that much appeal. I do leave my free downloads and product samples in an unprotected folder and open .pdf's to promote them "stealing" those...and they do :+)

The argument that "if music and movies companies with their millions can't solve this problem, how can we hope to" is defeatist. Yep, boys and girls, let's just pack up our tents and go home. The music and movie industries ARE doing something about it. They realize the stakes. They've lobbied the political action groups to force the FBI to investigate claims of copyright abuse/violations. The FBI is currently going after torrent networks, etc. They've led online and offline awareness campaigns to stop digital theft. They've created a system where it is easier to buy the product than to steal it.

The plan to keep producing and publishing better versions of your product is a good one, it promotes professionalism, that's something you should do anyway, but if you're not tackling the REAL problem, (i.e. theft of your product) then you're on a constant merry-go-round with thieves. That's a waste of time. That's like saying the way to cure drunk driving is to raise the blood/alcohol level.

In short, these "solutions" are part of the problem. If a thief knows you aren't going to do anything about it, then they are just going to steal more. You think they don't read the Warriorforum? Digital publishing is under attack, people, and unless we can get grip on it, it won't around much longer. I have personally gone to Asia and seen my product produced and on sale for a dollar in Bangkok.

Here's a reality. Thieves are lazy. The harder you make it for them to steal your product, the more they are going to leave your product alone, and go after the lower hanging fruit.

Anyhoo...enough politics and opinion.

Here are the (biggest) problems:

1. Adobe .pdf security is a joke. Why they haven't introduced professional grade protection into their product is beyond me.
2. A lot of anti-theft software isn't much better. Most can be easily broken or hacked.
3. Most don't work on MAC computers.
4. The ones that DO work on MAC's are so expensive as to be out of the realm of small publishers.
5. A lot of these companies (not all) are difficult to work with, i.e. don't reply to emails, or take days to get an answer, in other words, unprofessional.
6. If you discontinue the monthly service fee, all your products sold to date are left out in the wind and free for the taking. Can you say "Forced continuity" at its worst?

Here is a (possible) solution: Electronic DeadBolt - ebook security | software security | piracy protection software | online product security

Advantages:

• This is a java based file format so it gets around the .exe/anti-virus issue.
• Extremely difficult to hack. They assured me even THEY have a problem getting around their own security. Of course that could be sales spin, but I have no reason to disbelieve them at this point.
• Works on MAC computers.
• Multiple features can be turned on an off.
• EXTREMELY GOOD customer service. Emails answered within minutes. These guys stayed up with me past midnight two different nights getting things correct. (I'm picky!) In short, everything a good online company SHOULD BE.

Disadvantages:

• Software appears to be first generation, so some functionality is sacrificed.
• I couldn't get a "bookmarks" feature added on. My eBook is 830 pages...so there NEEDS TO BE some sort of navigation feature built in. They told me they would have it by Sept. 2011
• More expensive than some anti-theft options, but still 10 times less than locklizard, or hyperlock.

So will this product solve all the world's problems, ease world hunger and bring goodwill to all men? I doubt it. But at the very least you'll no longer have a target painted on the middle of your forehead.

Anyway, rant over. I hope it helps you.
#ebook #finally #security…a #security…a #solution #works
  • Profile picture of the author GMD
    Banned
    This is a great post in regards to the quality of the information that you've provided and the effort itself for posting it!

    However, while eBook publishers should never give up trying to secure their protects from theft, let's be honest about one thing that can never be stopped:

    A determined thief -- regardless of any "security" measures put into place -- WILL open up a supposedly secure eBook copy and type it out word for word. Once that happens, he/she can rebrand it and sell it. Or, more likely, just upload it for free somewhere for everybody to get.

    One thing I do to avoid this is I actually change the name of my eBooks that I offer every two months. That way, if somebody wants to purchase one of my products and they think they're clever by doing a Google search for it hoping to find it free for download somewhere, doesn't find anything because I've already changed the name of the product. Now, mind you, my eBook MAY BE available for free somewhere for download, but unless they know the name, they won't find it. It's a little more work to do it this way, but for me it's worth it.
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    • Profile picture of the author edbsupport
      Originally Posted by usuallyclueless View Post

      This is a great post in regards to the quality of the information that you've provided and the effort itself for posting it!

      However, while eBook publishers should never give up trying to secure their protects from theft, let's be honest about one thing that can never be stopped:

      A determined thief -- regardless of any "security" measures put into place -- WILL open up a supposedly secure eBook copy and type it out word for word. Once that happens, he/she can rebrand it and sell it. Or, more likely, just upload it for free somewhere for everybody to get.

      One thing I do to avoid this is I actually change the name of my eBooks that I offer every two months. That way, if somebody wants to purchase one of my products and they think they're clever by doing a Google search for it hoping to find it free for download somewhere, doesn't find anything because I've already changed the name of the product. Now, mind you, my eBook MAY BE available for free somewhere for download, but unless they know the name, they won't find it. It's a little more work to do it this way, but for me it's worth it.
      Part of what you stated is absolutely true and that is, given enough time and other resources, any security protocol can be compromised. The objective for online product distribution to a global, non-technical user base is to implement basic security measures which thwart unauthorized access to the product. These basic security measures must not encumber the average users ability to access the product which in most cases, they've paid for. In other words, whatever security system is used, it is mission critical that it be "user-friendly" and have firewall transparency. Otherwise, the product owner is burdened with support inquiries from frustrated clients, and ultimately, refund requests and charge backs.
      Tom Eagar
      Product Development Specialist
      Electronic DeadBolt - ebook security | software security | piracy protection software | online product security
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  • Profile picture of the author Christophe Young
    Thanks for the information. I agree with you on some points about Ebook Security.

    So this software is $150.00 plus $50 a year? A little too much for me when considering ebook security. If it does protect PDF ebooks by requiring some sort of registration, that would be new to me. I'll have to take a closer look at it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marketing Merit
      Originally Posted by Christophe Young View Post

      So this software is $150.00 plus $50 a year? A little too much for me when considering ebook security.
      It's $150 per product set up fee plus $50 annually.

      I would only consider it if I was selling a high ticket item of circa $1k+.

      I'm pretty sure that I've seen scripts out there that purport to protect your products for considerably less investment than this.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Marketing Merit View Post

        It's $150 per product set up fee plus $50 annually.

        I would only consider it if I was selling a high ticket item of circa $1k+.
        You look at it in terms of the item-cost rather than the net income, then? :confused:

        I was thinking that if you can sell a few thousand copies of something like a $47 e-book, that $150 would be absolutely insignificant, myself.

        Originally Posted by Marketing Merit View Post

        I'm pretty sure that I've seen scripts out there that purport to protect your products for considerably less investment than this.
        Well, please share them, if you can ever find a non-.exe-file one, because many of us here have been searching for them very hard (as you can see from long discussions here, in many threads), and hadn't found anything yet.

        There are plenty of products that protect download-pages, but that's obviously totally different from (and far less valuable than) protecting the product. Protecting the product is really hugely significant security, even if it isn't absolute and 100% guaranteed.
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        • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          You look at it in terms of the item-cost rather than the net income, then? :confused:

          I was thinking that if you can sell a few thousand copies of something like a $47 e-book, that $150 would be absolutely insignificant, myself.



          Well, please share them, if you can ever find a non-.exe-file one, because many of us here have been searching for them very hard (as you can see from long discussions here, in many threads), and hadn't found anything yet.

          There are plenty of products that protect download-pages, but that's obviously totally different from (and far less valuable than) protecting the product. Protecting the product is really hugely significant security, even if it isn't absolute and 100% guaranteed.
          I agree. $150/per product that has a feature set like the one I outlined in the original post that is workable for small digital publishers isn't ANYWHERE NEAR out of line in terms of cost. Like I said...the closest competitor is $2500 per year.

          I'd also like to see a script that can do it. I haven't been able to find one.

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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            I was so interested in this that I read their website in great detail.

            Having done that, I decided to try it out for myself, so I downloaded the "specimen" .jar-file e-book from their site (I think it's a version of their flyer, or something?).

            I downloaded and installed it with no problem, using the registration code they sent me by email, and opened it up, to see what it looked like.

            It looks pretty good. And I've read the first page.

            The problem is that at the end of the first page, you get to the "controls" (you know the sort of thing? "Go to next page", "Go to last page", "Go to previous page", "Go to first page", "Zoom in", "Zoom out" and all this kind of thing ... and they appear at the top of the page as well as at the end), and the button to take me to the next page doesn't work.

            And in fact none of the buttons to take me to other pages works at all.

            I've tried left-clicking, right-clicking, double-clicking.

            I can't read their own promotional e-book which they've encouraged me to download as part of the way they promote their service!


            What kind of marketing is that?

            I've fiddled about with this thing for 10 minutes, after spending a lot longer than that on their website, and it just seems not to work. How would I feel, as someone's customer, if I'd just bought and paid for an e-book and couldn't read it?!

            It's like the autoresponder service whose sales support team sends you a personal email, replying to your pre-sales inquiry, and they can't get it into your own in-box. And it serves exactly the same purpose as that, too: leaves you thinking "Er ... thanks but that'll be a 'no thanks' from me"!!
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            • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              I was so interested in this that I read their website in great detail.

              Having done that, I decided to try it out for myself, so I downloaded the "specimen" .jar-file e-book from their site (I think it's a version of their flyer, or something?).

              I downloaded and installed it with no problem, using the registration code they sent me by email, and opened it up, to see what it looked like.

              It looks pretty good. And I've read the first page.

              The problem is that at the end of the first page, you get to the "controls" (you know the sort of thing? "Go to next page", "Go to last page", "Go to previous page", "Go to first page", "Zoom in", "Zoom out" and all this kind of thing ... and they appear at the top of the page as well as at the end), and the button to take me to the next page doesn't work.

              And in fact none of the buttons to take me to other pages works at all.

              I've tried left-clicking, right-clicking, double-clicking.

              I can't read their own promotional e-book which they've encouraged me to download as part of the way they promote their service!


              What kind of marketing is that?

              I've fiddled about with this thing for 10 minutes, after spending a lot longer than that on their website, and it just seems not to work. How would I feel, as someone's customer, if I'd just bought and paid for an e-book and couldn't read it?!

              It's like the autoresponder service whose sales support team sends you a personal email, replying to your pre-sales inquiry, and they can't get it into your own in-box. And it serves exactly the same purpose as that, too: leaves you thinking "Er ... thanks but that'll be a 'no thanks' from me"!!
              I think it is a one page brochure, Alexa. I can tell you multiple pages worked on my eBook. And I can tell you the brochure I downloaded was one page.
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              • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
                Banned
                Originally Posted by David Sieg View Post

                I think it is a one page brochure, Alexa.
                A one-page brochure that takes up 8.8 Megabytes as a download, and has a button to take you to the next page?! And why on Earth would they send out a one-page brochure to people whom they're trying to persuade (among other things) that they have a great pagination-management system? :confused:

                You know more about it than I do, David, and of course you may be right ... but I think you can see where I'm coming from if I comment that that's perhaps not altogether the easiest thing in the world to believe?

                Please don't imagine that I'm "having a go at you", here! On the contrary, I think this is a huge and important issue, altogether. As you can see, I've started off threads about it here, myself. The more it's discussed, and the more seriously it's taken, the better. And I'm grateful to you for starting the thread.
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                • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
                  I'd ask them, Alexa. Like I said, I got an answer in minutes. Time them and post their reply. I don't own the website or the software. I can't really tell you, honestly. I'm sharing my experiences...that's all.

                  As far as the size of the file goes...I don't know why it is 8.8 mg. My eBook is loaded with photos and is 830 pages. The .pdf is 32mg. The .jar is 35mg.
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    • Profile picture of the author edbsupport
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      • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
        For me personally, I think the "industry average" is off by my experience. What usually happens, especially overseas, is if someone gets a high quality eBook, it is immediately put into email and goes out to all their friends. How do I know this? I tracked it. (This is when the "stamping" doesn't work in the slightest.) The software I'm using now allows me to do that. I could tell by their ISP addresses, when I had a sale from say, Ukraine, (just an example) I'd get swamped with unauthorized users with Ukraine ISP addresses. When I did the math, I was losing $1000's of dollars a day from 25% of my sales. Maybe it wouldn't hold up in a court of law, but the repeating coincidence was good enough for me.

        Having said that, if your customer base is mostly US or Western, you won't have the same results.

        This is what I meant in an earlier post when I said if people would TRACK THEIR PRODUCTS, the same way they track headlines or sales copy, (track, analysis, tweak) you would be absolutely blown away by the amount of money that is going to thieves. But almost no one does. I'm not saying these people are "Criminals" most of them were just thrilled with their purchase and wanted to share it with their friends the same way we all do when we find a good deal. They don't/didn't even see it as theft.

        Serial refunders are a whole other story though. They know perfectly well what they are doing and they are gaming the system.

        For me it was the difference between just limping along in IM and making a decent living from my website.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Banned
    Thanks for posting this David. I agree with you on a lot of points, but at the moment, I think it's just going to be a headache most people don't have time to deal with.

    For example, how is this going to integrate (seamlessly) into an existing funnel?

    What if the company goes down in a few years and the security messes up your entire online business?

    (I think this is a legitimate concern because as you said, they are "first generation".)

    And what if you have problems with people who copy things to separate computers (for their own use)?

    It is a good solution, but I think there are some tech issues that need working around before it becomes a "standard".

    Ansar
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by Ansar Pasha View Post

      Thanks for posting this David. I agree with you on a lot of points, but at the moment, I think it's just going to be a headache most people don't have time to deal with.

      For example, how is this going to integrate (seamlessly) into an existing funnel?

      What if the company goes down in a few years and the security messes up your entire online business?

      (I think this is a legitimate concern because as you said, they are "first generation".)

      And what if you have problems with people who copy things to separate computers (for their own use)?

      It is a good solution, but I think there are some tech issues that need working around before it becomes a "standard".

      Ansar
      Ansar,

      These are all excellent questions/concerns. Unfortunately, I can't answer most of them. Direct the questions to the site, you'll get an answer back in minutes. As far as I know the products are "locked' to one computer. (unless you change the settings) As far as integrating them into a sales funnel, I don't think it would be a problem. I'm going to be switching 5 products over to them and mixing/matching products together in various combinations. I don't see it as being a problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author zuko
    I am going to take a punt and say you own that site....
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by zuko View Post

      I am going to take a punt and say you own that site....
      Then your punt went out of bounds. I don't, and have nothing to do with them, except being a customer. believe it or don't...your choice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruka
    Thank you for the review David, good reading.

    I hope you tell us how you get on with it.

    I've looked at this site before, looks potentially good.

    I have to say I am a bit put off by the fact that of their 2 main testimonials on the home page, one of them is "website disabled" when you click on it, and the other one now appears to be selling their products as physical DVDs.

    Also, do you realise that there is no limit on registrations? So if a non-customer gets hold of the unregistered product, there is no check that stops them from registering and using it.

    I'm not criticising, just voicing some of the concerns I had!

    So what does your ebook look like now, and how readable is it - did you submit it to Electronic Deadbeadic as a pdf, and did they convert it for you?

    And exactly what kind of format is the ebook that the customers download .. you said java, but exactly what is the file? Compatible with Macs sounds good.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by chickenlittle View Post

      Thank you for the review David, good reading.

      I hope you tell us how you get on with it.

      I've looked at this site before, looks potentially good.

      I have to say I am a bit put off by the fact that of their 2 main testimonials on the home page, one of them is "website disabled" when you click on it, and the other one now appears to be selling their products as physical DVDs.

      Also, do you realise that there is no limit on registrations? So if a non-customer gets hold of the unregistered product, there is no check that stops them from registering and using it.

      I'm not criticising, just voicing some of the concerns I had!

      So what does your ebook look like now, and how readable is it - did you submit it to Electronic Deadbeadic as a pdf, and did they convert it for you?

      And exactly what kind of format is the ebook that the customers download .. you said java, but exactly what is the file? Compatible with Macs sounds good.
      By no limit on registration, I took that mean no limit to the number of registrations YOU HAVE. Some companies charge extra after say 1000 eBooks have been registered. I could be wrong, but that is how I understood it. Good question.

      It looks "sort of" like a .pdf. Not as feature rich as a .pdf and truthfully, I like the style of .pdf's...it is a very well thought out design. Too bad the security sucks on them.

      The format is a .jar format. I see no reason it wouldn't be compatible with MAC's. I don't use MAC so I haven't tested it on one.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by chickenlittle View Post

      Thank you for the review David, good reading.

      I hope you tell us how you get on with it.

      I've looked at this site before, looks potentially good.

      I have to say I am a bit put off by the fact that of their 2 main testimonials on the home page, one of them is "website disabled" when you click on it, and the other one now appears to be selling their products as physical DVDs.

      Also, do you realise that there is no limit on registrations? So if a non-customer gets hold of the unregistered product, there is no check that stops them from registering and using it.

      I'm not criticising, just voicing some of the concerns I had!

      So what does your ebook look like now, and how readable is it - did you submit it to Electronic Deadbeadic as a pdf, and did they convert it for you?

      And exactly what kind of format is the ebook that the customers download .. you said java, but exactly what is the file? Compatible with Macs sounds good.
      yes, I submitted a .pdf and they converted it. Customers download a .jar file. The format is simple, i would say. I personally would like to see more functionality, but I also realize Rome wasn't built in a day and it takes time to build a quality product. So I'm willing to wait.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by chickenlittle View Post

      Thank you for the review David, good reading.

      I hope you tell us how you get on with it.

      I've looked at this site before, looks potentially good.

      I have to say I am a bit put off by the fact that of their 2 main testimonials on the home page, one of them is "website disabled" when you click on it, and the other one now appears to be selling their products as physical DVDs.

      Also, do you realise that there is no limit on registrations? So if a non-customer gets hold of the unregistered product, there is no check that stops them from registering and using it.

      I'm not criticising, just voicing some of the concerns I had!

      So what does your ebook look like now, and how readable is it - did you submit it to Electronic Deadbeadic as a pdf, and did they convert it for you?

      And exactly what kind of format is the ebook that the customers download .. you said java, but exactly what is the file? Compatible with Macs sounds good.
      yes, I submitted a .pdf and they converted it. Customers download a .jar file. The format is simple, i would say. I personally would like to see more functionality, but I also realize Rome wasn't built in a day and it takes time to build a quality product. So I'm willing to wait.

      I have mine so that I can always turn/revoke the license. (but there are also other options as well) So if I see by my orders, someone didn't pay for one, then they get a polite email that the ebook isn't registered to them and they have a choice of buying it, or I shut it down. I also watch my orders and registrations, so I know what is going on in my business.
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  • So...how do I read this "jar" file on my Kindle? Or my IPad?

    Does the computer I am reading your ebook on have to be connected to the internet every time I want to open your ebook? Or is it a one-time authentication? Because being connected all the time is a pain for many people and generally relies on some server somewhere that may or may not be up and running, and one-time authentication can be externally hacked (at least some of the time).

    If my computer crashes, or I get a new one, do I have to buy the ebook again?

    Just a few end-user thoughts I had as soon as I saw this. I have some ebooks that I paid a great deal for that I cannot read because of their stupid "anti-piracy" software (exe based, locked to my computer, requires authentication from a server that the useless vendor no longer runs...).

    Best Regards, Georgetta
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by GeorgettaSterling View Post

      So...how do I read this "jar" file on my Kindle? Or my IPad?

      Does the computer I am reading your ebook on have to be connected to the internet every time I want to open your ebook? Or is it a one-time authentication? Because being connected all the time is a pain for many people and generally relies on some server somewhere that may or may not be up and running, and one-time authentication can be externally hacked (at least some of the time).

      If my computer crashes, or I get a new one, do I have to buy the ebook again?

      Just a few end-user thoughts I had as soon as I saw this. I have some ebooks that I paid a great deal for that I cannot read because of their stupid "anti-piracy" software (exe based, locked to my computer, requires authentication from a server that the useless vendor no longer runs...).

      Best Regards, Georgetta
      These are excellent questions, but once again, it is better directed to the website owners, than me. You're getting it your answers for a second-hand (non-professional) source. I am by no means an expert on their system. But here is what I understand. I had many of the same concerns. I don't know about the kindle/Ipad issue. If they can read .jar files then one assumes they can. Good question.

      They have different setting that can be configured. You can set it one-time authorization, or 15 days, 30 days, etc. Or an "always on" connection. if the computer crashes you would contact the owner of the eBooks to get another download, but you would have to do this anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    Great review - something I'll keep in mind as I start to develop some of my own products in the future.

    Just so you know - the Warrior Forum has an entire section dedicated to product reviews. You can find it here:
    Internet Marketing Product Reviews & Ratings
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Gordon
    Thanks for the post! It's quite expensive for the average person to purchase that service. Of course if you have a large product that you are selling and a big launch then yes, it will be worth it. But for many, they won't get beyond the $500 point, therefore it would be a waste of money in my opinion. Now, I personally try to develop software (PHP software) instead of eBooks and already have great security on it.

    Anyways, this might be useful in the future if I'm releasing a course or eBook.

    Thanks,
    Ben
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by Ben Gordon View Post

      Thanks for the post! It's quite expensive for the average person to purchase that service. Of course if you have a large product that you are selling and a big launch then yes, it will be worth it. But for many, they won't get beyond the $500 point, therefore it would be a waste of money in my opinion. Now, I personally try to develop software (PHP software) instead of eBooks and already have great security on it.

      Anyways, this might be useful in the future if I'm releasing a course or eBook.

      Thanks,
      Ben
      Hi Ben,

      You know how it is...you get what you pay for. They think they have a superior product, so they charge for that solution. Personally, I would rather pay for quality, than cheap half-assed solutions, but that's me. (I'm not trying to say your solution is "cheap half-assed" just other products I've seen.) But if you think they are are expensive, look at their competitors charging $2500 PER YEAR for the same functionality.

      There are no magic bullets or complete sweeping answers here for every person and every product, everywhere. I spent a month researching it, and it was the best answer I could find, striking a balance between, price, functionality and features. So I posted it.

      But the main problem is most use .exe file formats, and they don't work with MAC computers. The secondary problem is anti-virus software automatically deletes many .exe files. It sends alarm bells off in your customers mind.

      But if someone can find (or build) a better solution, or knows of a better solution, I'm all ears, and I'm willing to try it. Bring it on. There is a REAL market niche that needs to be filled if someone had the ability.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by David Sieg View Post

    • This is a java based file format so it gets around the .exe/anti-virus issue.
    Java can be a security risk. I keep it disabled on my computers.

    • Works on MAC computers.
    MAC stands for Media Access Control, which is a type of identifying address and not a type of computer. I think you meant that it works on Macintosh (or Mac) computers.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
    I used it for years, and it is a fine program. I'm still using it. The problem is ...

    1. Won't accept MAC downloads without an open source windows simulator download. This causes MAC users extra pain and grief, and 2-steps the entire download sequence for them. my customers are about 25% Mac users = lots of download hassles.
    2. Exe. file so many anti-virus programs delete it on contact. This means, the customer downloads your products and immediately gets a red banner saying "Possible virus." Now, I've got a high end product...this isn't the first impression you want to send to your happy, excited customer who just shelled out a lot of money for your product.
    3. Related to the above. Anti-virus programs will quarantine your file...now customer can't find the file they just download. Added to the above, they think you're scamming them. = refund.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
    Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

    What kind of testing have you done with existing ebook sellers?

    If it saves money, it's a no-brainer. If it ends up costing more in support costs and refunds, forget about it.
    I don't understand the question. Why would I test it with existing eBook sellers?
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

      Because I'm not willing to be your guinea pig.
      Great...then don't. No one was asking you to.
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  • Profile picture of the author ZachWaldman
    How do you feel this compares to ebook gold? I used to use it but stopped because of the MAC issue. Here's what their sites says:

    Is there a way to run eBookGold on a Mac system running OSX?
    At this time, eBookGold only supports Windows 98/ME/NT/2K and XP systems. HOWEVER, you can still run it on a Mac IF you have 3rd party software installed that can emulate the Windows environment.
    GuestPC is an inexpensive emulator which can be purchased online and downloaded. Microsoft also has a product called VirtualPC . Either will allow you to install almost any version of Windows you can get your hands on, and as long as it's Windows 98 or above, you'll be able to benefit from all of eBookGold's features.

    I'm not a MAC guy. Is the above requirement a big deal or do most MAC users use some kind of Windows emulation software?
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by ZachWaldman View Post

      How do you feel this compares to ebook gold? I used to use it but stopped because of the MAC issue. Here's what their sites says:

      Is there a way to run eBookGold on a Mac system running OSX?
      At this time, eBookGold only supports Windows 98/ME/NT/2K and XP systems. HOWEVER, you can still run it on a Mac IF you have 3rd party software installed that can emulate the Windows environment.
      GuestPC is an inexpensive emulator which can be purchased online and downloaded. Microsoft also has a product called VirtualPC . Either will allow you to install almost any version of Windows you can get your hands on, and as long as it's Windows 98 or above, you'll be able to benefit from all of eBookGold's features.

      I'm not a MAC guy. Is the above requirement a big deal or do most MAC users use some kind of Windows emulation software?
      Good Question, Zac! Now, I can't ask someone to purchase my product then tell them, "oh yeah, Mac users you have to purchase ANOTHER product before you can use my product. " (Can you say massive refunds from Mac users?)

      There are free open source, as well as Mac window simulators from Macintosh. I tried the Mac simulator on my website but no one wanted to use it because you had to register with Mac to get the download and no one wanted to. Could this be because they were overseas and using bootleg Mac OS's? I thought so at the time, but maybe I was wrong. Since then I'm now using a free open source Windows simulator and no one has questioned it. As far as what most Mac users do or don't do, I have no idea.

      I tried eBook Gold. Downloaded the software and immediately had a question. This was a Monday morning. I emailed the question, and didn't get a reply until Tuesday morning. 24 hour turnaround time on a question isn't bad, I agree. I emailed electronicdeadbolt a question and I had an answer in MINUTES. I also try to answer my customers question in no later than an hour. A good company lives and breathes on customer service. And truthfully, for an online company, 24 hours IS THE ABSOLUTE MAX. I went to their competitor. Also, it doesn't work with Mac computers. So why go back to the same ol, same ol? But it was the customer service that was the deciding factor, truthfully.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    Almost sounded great. Here are the problems with this in the real world.

    • Java based. Although this is great for Macs and PC's, you're leaving iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Nooks, English Muffins and other mobile readers out in the cold. I read all my ebooks on one of these devices (normally the English Muffin). So this isn't really "cross-platform". It's "dual-platform". Expect more and more customer inquiries about these readers as their proliferation in the marketplace grows (and grows and grows and...you get it). If you can keep a secret, I heard Apple is coming out with an iPad accessory that attaches to a baseball cap so you can read and walk at the same time.
    • Still hackable. The only way this can work successfully is if you prevent printing to paper and preventing copy/pasting text. By preventing this option, I suspect you will meet resistance from your customer base. Even I print some ebooks once in a while (or I print crucial chapters). If you give in to your customer's complaints and allow printing, I can easily print to PDF (PrimoPDF). If that doesn't work, I can print to paper and then scan the ebook back in with one of these monsters. Once a single thief does this, you're up the creek without a paddle. Oh...I just thought of another way. Someone can take screenshots of the unprintable pages and send them to Evernote. Evernote will run it's (awesome) OCR engine on the pages and let you copy/paste the text.
    The people that steal and reverse engineer do it very, very well. I've learned this the hard way. You'll never beat them. All you'll do is waste precious time and resources that could have been spent on a sweet media buy on https://www.buyads.com. Oops...did I drop an awesome advertising link by mistake?

    Don't get me wrong here. We must use some sort of protection. But crippling the ability to read on multiple devices during this amazing mobile/ereader/smartphone age is, well, silly.

    There is only one way to secure an ebook. Place a single, hand-written copy in Washington, D.C. within a glass enclosure inside a huge hall with 15 security guards around it. Then, allow one person at a time into the hall to read it without any cameras, smartphones or videos. If the person looks suspicious, use this to wipe their memory. If they don't, they can safely leave the building. Oh, wait, they'll just go back to their car, paraphrase everything they read and create a new book that's 80% cheaper.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by Jesus Perez View Post

      Almost sounded great. Here are the problems with this in the real world.

      • Java based. Although this is great for Macs and PC's, you're leaving iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Nooks, English Muffins and other mobile readers out in the cold. I read all my ebooks on one of these devices (normally the English Muffin). So this isn't really "cross-platform". It's "dual-platform". Expect more and more customer inquiries about these readers as their proliferation in the marketplace grows (and grows and grows and...you get it). If you can keep a secret, I heard Apple is coming out with an iPad accessory that attaches to a baseball cap so you can read and walk at the same time.
      • Still hackable. The only way this can work successfully is if you prevent printing to paper and preventing copy/pasting text. By preventing this option, I suspect you will meet resistance from your customer base. Even I print some ebooks once in a while (or I print crucial chapters). If you give in to your customer's complaints and allow printing, I can easily print to PDF (PrimoPDF). If that doesn't work, I can print to paper and then scan the ebook back in with one of these monsters. Once a single thief does this, you're up the creek without a paddle. Oh...I just thought of another way. Someone can take screenshots of the unprintable pages and send them to Evernote. Evernote will run it's (awesome) OCR engine on the pages and let you copy/paste the text.
      The people that steal and reverse engineer do it very, very well. I've learned this the hard way. You'll never beat them. All you'll do is waste precious time and resources that could have been spent on a sweet media buy on https://www.buyads.com. Oops...did I drop an awesome advertising link by mistake?

      Don't get me wrong here. We must use some sort of protection. But crippling the ability to read on multiple devices during this amazing mobile/ereader/smartphone age is, well, silly.

      There is only one way to secure an ebook. Place a single, hand-written copy in Washington, D.C. within a glass enclosure inside a huge hall with 15 security guards around it. Then, allow one person at a time into the hall to read it without any cameras, smartphones or videos. If the person looks suspicious, use this to wipe their memory. If they don't, they can safely leave the building. Oh, wait, they'll just go back to their car, paraphrase everything they read and create a new book that's 80% cheaper.
      Everything is hackable. Nothing is 100% secure. The world isn't perfect. Water is wet, grass is green. (except my lawn, it's yellow :+)

      From what I read, lots of people have trouble with .exe files on mobile devices as well. Because it isn't a "windows" platform. (I could be wrong) As far as I know, there isn't a "universal" platform for ANYTHING. .pdf is about as close as you can get. Which gets back to the same problem. But if you know of one, send the link on.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve_Dougherty
        I agree that protecting your hard work from would-be thieves is important but at what cost?

        This is my opinion but if someone wants your stuff bad enough they are likely to get it.

        I would rather spend the few seconds it takes to secure the pdf using the built-ins of OpenOffice Writer or Word and get the product on the market for the majority of good, non-thieving Customers to acquire.

        Then move onto the next product creation.

        It would not surprise me in the least to learn that everyone of my products can be found on black-hat sites or file sharing slime-pits, but the people that go there are people that more than likely would not purchase my products anyway, unless it was one of their 'pool buys'.

        I do not worry about them any more and who knows how many of them have ended up on my site later on to purchase legitimate licensed products from me.

        Security is important but don't let it suck the life out of you.

        just my 2 cents...

        - Steve Dougherty
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
    Hi Steve,

    I try not to reply to opinion simply because everyone is entitled to their own so I respect theirs, as I hope they respect mine. While I can certainly understand the sentiment, and I agree with it to a certain extent, I also believe that unless more digital publishers get on the ball with this issue, and take action, it is going to eventually drive us all out of business.

    I don't think the way to thwart thieves is to give in to them, or to pretend like the problem doesn't exist. I used to feel the same way until I actually starting tracking, and analyzing my downloads. The same way as I would do with ANY activity on my website. Then I added up the dollars I was losing, and I was completely blown away by how much money I was losing to thieves. I think if most people just did the same exercise they do with adwords, or any ad expenditure, (Track, analysis, tweak) their outlook would change overnight on the issue. Like you, I don't live and breathe the issue (except since posting this thread :+) I set it in place and forget about it.

    But it just goes against my grain to allow a thief to play me for a sucker.
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  • Profile picture of the author ZachWaldman
    Every once in a while I revisit this issue (like today), and I ultimately end up feeling like Steve.

    Why add stress to your life worrying about the security of your ebook when there are so many other things that can make you much more money?

    By the way, the one thing that can't be pirated is your service. This includes a service business like doing SEO or web design, but it also means your customer service.

    It should be your goal to make the people who purchase from you customers for life. They will be if you over-deliver, care about them, and provide excellent service.

    As long as you keep adding people like this to your funnel and making sales, you'll be fine.
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    • Profile picture of the author zacsmith
      I publish Word and PDF docs for my employee handbook site. I don't password or otherwise protect them as I don't want to penalize my legitimate customers. I don't know if the files are being shared, but they don't show up during my periodic searches for them or any unique phrases contain in them elsewhere on the web.

      The guy who produces the e-store Wordpress plugin I use also produces something called WP PDF Stamper, which stamps the purchasers name on each page of a PDF file. It's here (not a affiliate link) WP PDF Stamper Plugin | Tips and Tricks

      I don't use it right now, but have considered testing it. It might be a solution for some.

      gary
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      • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
        Originally Posted by zacsmith View Post

        I publish Word and PDF docs for my employee handbook site. I don't password or otherwise protect them as I don't want to penalize my legitimate customers. I don't know if the files are being shared, but they don't show up during my periodic searches for them or any unique phrases contain in them elsewhere on the web.

        The guy who produces the e-store Wordpress plugin I use also produces something called WP PDF Stamper, which stamps the purchasers name on each page of a PDF file. It's here (not a affiliate link) WP PDF Stamper Plugin | Tips and Tricks

        I don't use it right now, but have considered testing it. It might be a solution for some.

        gary
        This is kind of interesting...does it still work with Macs?
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by zacsmith View Post

        The guy who produces the e-store Wordpress plugin I use also produces something called WP PDF Stamper, which stamps the purchasers name on each page of a PDF file.
        E-Junkie offers the same thing, for anyone who want to sell PDF e-books there.

        It's not "product protection", of course, but it may inhibit people from uploading your product to torrent and subfusc-headware sites. :confused:
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        • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          E-Junkie offers the same thing, for anyone who want to sell PDF e-books there.

          It's not "product protection", of course, but it may inhibit people from uploading your product to torrent and subfusc-headware sites. :confused:
          No, it's not product protection, but it could have it's uses.

          E-junkie offers it??? I've been with e-junkie for 4 years, and I didn't know that. Learn something new everyday. :+) Thanks!

          Does anyone know why Mac doesn't have any product protection of their own? I mean, with the number of artists that use Mac computers exclusively, why isn't there product protection specifically designed for Macs?
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  • Profile picture of the author HomeBizNizz
    If I can't print a ebook, I don't buy.
    And yes, can you print it's easy to print to PDF with doPDF.
    That's free to use btw.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
    Originally Posted by Gujju Boy View Post

    Here is a cheap solution :

    1) Install WP Estore plugin :


    2) Install WP PDF Stamper plugin.

    (You can buy both of them combined at $69).
    Now Integrate Estore with PDF Stamper. It will allow following features :

    1) Secure and Encrypted download link which is unique to each buyer. You can expire the link after x number of downloads.

    2) There will be footer stamp on each page with buyer's name, address and paypal email id.

    [IMAGE]http://www.tipsandtricks-hq.com/wp-c...view-image.gif[/IMAGE]

    3) Users only get "READ" rights. They cannot edit, modify or print the ebook. They cannot convert it to word file or any other type.

    4) Their paypal email id becomes the password of the ebook. (and ofcourse they can't remove the password)


    Now combine this whole integration with NITROPDF's "PDF Digital Certificate" - It installs a digital certificate in the User's computer and each digital certificate is unique and can be installed in only 1 computer.

    It costs about $100 to buy that for unlimited PDFs.

    Thus, here is the quick recap of the security features :
    1) Unique, encrypted download link with time limit and download limit
    2) Buyer's name, address and paypal email id on each page.
    3) Buyer cannot edit,modify,print or convert the ebook in to any other file type.
    4) Password of the ebook is buyers paypal email id and buyer cannot remove/change the password
    5) Unique Digital certificate to each buyer to ensure that Ebook can be open/read in only 1 computer.

    Thus for $169, you can get complete solution for protecting unlimited Ebooks.
    OK...sounds good. What if the customer requests a refund, can the eBook be disabled? Also, for example, I allow 2 computers for each buyer. Desktop and laptop can it be configured to allow 2 computers? And it can still be read on Macs?
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      I can't find a place to ask a question. About us, contact us, doesn't help unless you want to call during business hours. The Knowledgebase doesn't address the question. This is the first time I've seen an online company you couldn't contact by email.
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      • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
        Originally Posted by Gujju Boy View Post

        They have active facebook and twitter accounts. Also they have 2 weeks free trial so why not try the software and see if it works for you.
        Truthfully? I've been trying different software solutions for over a month. (and returning them) The vast majority are all the same. I'm tired of it and I've noticed certain similarities...If it doesn't come right and say "Works on Mac's" in bold red letters on the sales page, then it usually doesn't. (So far, I've only see 3 that do) Since they probably get the question 100 times a day, if they do, it's posted clearly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruka
    Originally Posted by Gujju Boy View Post

    Here is a cheap solution :

    Now combine this whole integration with NITROPDF's "PDF Digital Certificate" - It installs a digital certificate in the User's computer and each digital certificate is unique and can be installed in only 1 computer.
    Are you sure it's possible to integrate the NitroPDF Digital Certificate so it works automatically?

    On NitroPDF's blog it sounds more like you have to set it up for each customer one by one:

    Signing and certifying PDF documents : Part 2 – Digital Certificates - The PDF Blog

    Gujju Boy are you using the set up you describe?
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  • Profile picture of the author Christophe Young
    E-Junkie offers the same thing, for anyone who want to sell PDF e-books there.

    It's not "product protection", of course, but it may inhibit people from uploading your product to torrent and subfusc-headware sites.
    This is the main point when it comes to protecting ebooks. The idea is just to discourage sharing, and E-junkie's PDF stamping is what I currently use for my ebooks.

    I use to use DRM software which produces an EXE file for customers but I've since moved on from that as I think it's overkill for ebooks.

    I looked into that WP plugin that stamps ebooks, but it's not compatible with affiliate software like Digiresults. I'm trying to get DR to include PDF stamping in their arsenal and they are looking into it. If they do start offering it, I'll finally have my complete ebook delivery system that I've been seeking for so long!
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  • Profile picture of the author Christophe Young
    Truthfully? I've been trying different software solutions for over a month. (and returning them) The vast majority are all the same. I'm tired of it and I've noticed certain similarities...If it doesn't come right and say "Works on Mac's" in bold red letters on the sales page, then it usually doesn't. (So far, I've only see 3 that do) Since they probably get the question 100 times a day, if they do, it's posted clearly.
    I used to use ebook compiler software called Ebook Pro that would produce a ZIP file for Mac users. It worked great and my customers never had any problems. Unfortunately, Ebook Pro isn't available anymore. I'm sure there might be a similar product out there that does the same.

    Still, I would stick with PDF format for ebooks. Especially with the need for compatibility with popular mobile devices these days.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
      Originally Posted by Christophe Young View Post

      I used to use ebook compiler software called Ebook Pro that would produce a ZIP file for Mac users. It worked great and my customers never had any problems. Unfortunately, Ebook Pro isn't available anymore. I'm sure there might be a similar product out there that does the same.

      Still, I would stick with PDF format for ebooks. Especially with the need for compatibility with popular mobile devices these days.
      I think really depends on your product. If you're talking about your $27 eBook..yeah. If you're talking about an expensive one of kind product that took years to write, it's different. Truthfully, I'm at the point where If I can't solve the problem, I'll simply make it into a paperback and charge twice as much. (and I'll get it...I'm getting it now)

      The biggest problem I see with that approach is that it can't be disabled after refunding. I can tell you, right now, all the serial refunders, and thieves once they see you have a protected product is ask for the "Mac version." These guys are EASY to spot. They know perfectly well that most protection can't be disabled via Mac. Once there, it is an easy job for them to "rewrite the eBook" or save to another program. For me, I don't know about anyone else, but it is blatant. They KNOW you have to refund, and they KNOW there is no protection for Macs, and they KNOW they are going to get the product for free.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ruka
        Originally Posted by David Sieg View Post

        Truthfully, I'm at the point where If I can't solve the problem, I'll simply make it into a paperback and charge twice as much.
        David, have you gone off the idea of using Electronic Deadbolt now ... what changed your mind?

        In your first post, it sounded like you'd found the answer to your problems.
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        • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
          Originally Posted by chickenlittle View Post

          David, have you gone off the idea of using Electronic Deadbolt now ... what changed your mind?

          In your first post, it sounded like you'd found the answer to your problems.
          Not at all...I'm talking about the problem of eBook theft.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sieg
    I wanted to do a follow up to this post. Since beginning this thread, I've implemented and deployed the software. There were some bugs that had to be ironed out (Already explained in previous posts) I now have over 4 books with this software attached.

    So far, it's worked OK. There were some glitches. One customer couldn't get the icons to show on their desktops. Another customer had...yada, yada. But whether this was due to the software, or the buyers incompetence is hard to say. (My guess is the latter.)

    This software DOES work on PC's and Mac's. It DOES get around the .exe file/anti-virus issue. You CAN disable products immediately in the event of a refund. The support and customer service are excellent. It IS a one-time purchase as opposed to a monthly payment.

    In short, this product does what it is promises. Highly recommended.
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  • Profile picture of the author jossk
    I understand the logic behind your selling point, I came up with the same idea but for websites and applications. Where you can make any website into a windows desktop application. No matter how hard we try though there will always be a crack to get into a document, computer, application, pdf anything. There are a handfull who do not try to and just buy but there are just as many who download the cracked version, then you have the percentage who find it fun to crack someones product. I favor both sides and agree to disagree with all points. We live in a world where people envy other people ideas and we make money off the idea of protecting our ideas. Its a never ending cycle.
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  • Profile picture of the author Viramara
    $150 a month? I've encountered other product with same feature that offers $69 a month recurring as long as the product is available on market. this is definitely "cheaper" alternative.
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