Couldn't people just copy my product+ask for refund?

23 replies
Hey there,

I have a concern regarding digital products such as ebooks, online courses and guides..

Can't people just copy them, save them on their computer and ask for a refund within 30 days or however long the refund period is?

I know it depends on the quality of the product, but it doesn't matter if it's the best thing in the world, won't people still try this out?

Can you prevent it?

Thanks!
#copy #people #people copy and paste #product #refund #refund product #refund rate
  • Profile picture of the author Paul M Smith
    Originally Posted by karlstech View Post

    Hey there,

    I have a concern regarding digital products such as ebooks, online courses and guides..

    Can't people just copy them, save them on their computer and ask for a refund within 30 days or however long the refund period is?

    I know it depends on the quality of the product, but it doesn't matter if it's the best thing in the world, won't people still try this out?

    Can you prevent it?

    Thanks!
    Yes people can do what you ask and do. Like you state in your post if your content is excellent quality you will mitigate most refunds. You could also try a guarantee that states they must prove they've taken action with your product to show it didn't work for them before they get their refund, but this may affect your conversion rates. Most of us just deal with each refund request on a one to one basis and yes there are some who demand a refund regardless. Sometimes it is better just to refund the money, keep track of their information to make sure they aren't a repeat offender at some point in the future and move on. Hope this helps and I'm sure there will be others with some different ideas and answers for you in this forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Can't people just copy them, save them on their computer and ask for a refund within 30 days or however long the refund period is?
    It happens and is worse in some niches and with some products.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Yes, and serial refunders will do this. Worse than serial refunders are those who not only get a refund but then share your digital products on Black Hat forums and file-share sites.

    Some niches (IM) have more scammers than others.

    But it isn't just Internet Marketing products.

    This week the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 were leaked on line ahead of the season premiere.

    You can try and prevent it but really working to lock things up can hurt customers more than thieves.

    If you find your stuff on file share sites you can send a DMCA notice and they will (usually) remove the files.
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    • Profile picture of the author karlstech
      I feared as much. I mean who's to stop them from doing this?

      I guess the only thing you can do build a sort of trust with your target audience and hope that they have the common decency to at least give some decent feedback when asking for a refund.

      Most people would also have the common decency of not copying+sharing but there's always some rotten eggs in the basket, unfortunately.

      I myself never ask for refunds. The only case I do this is when the product is not even remotely true to it's hype on the sales page. Like:

      "Make x amount of money with this technique in 30 days, guaranteed!"

      And then you end up making zero. Know what I mean?
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  • Profile picture of the author rCaliente
    Originally Posted by karlstech View Post

    Hey there,

    I have a concern regarding digital products such as ebooks, online courses and guides..

    Can't people just copy them, save them on their computer and ask for a refund within 30 days or however long the refund period is?

    I know it depends on the quality of the product, but it doesn't matter if it's the best thing in the world, won't people still try this out?

    Can you prevent it?

    Thanks!
    That's been an issue since digital products have been sold. Do some people with no morals buy with the intention of stealing your product and claiming a refund? Yes. Thankfully, that's not the majority. It's considered a cost of doing business. If you come up with a workable solution that ends this problem, you have gold.
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  • Profile picture of the author rCaliente
    Now as far as online courses, you can drip feed by time period with some content extending out beyond the refund. That way they don't get access to the full course.

    You can outright say this is to discourage serial refunders from stealing your valuable training, say it is to help prevent overwhelm by giving necessary time to digest and implement the lessons, or both.
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  • Profile picture of the author trevord92
    Unless your product is complete rubbish, most people won't refund.

    Don't worry about those that do - treat them almost like an online shoplifter.

    The shares on black hat sites are a bit of a pain - I use the .htaccess file on my site to keep some of them away (research but be careful - it's a powerful file) but I know others who don't even go to that level.

    Don't make it a pain for real purchasers to get and use your product. Personally I hate being treated like a criminal after I've bought a product and I'm not alone - a friend was moaning that he had to jump through hoops to use a product he'd bought when anyone using a hacked program bypassed the annoying stuff.

    Treat your customers with respect and most will respect you back.
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    • Profile picture of the author Elvis Michael
      Originally Posted by trevord92 View Post

      Unless your product is complete rubbish, most people won't refund.

      Don't worry about those that do - treat them almost like an online shoplifter.

      The shares on black hat sites are a bit of a pain - I use the .htaccess file on my site to keep some of them away (research but be careful - it's a powerful file) but I know others who don't even go to that level.

      Don't make it a pain for real purchasers to get and use your product. Personally I hate being treated like a criminal after I've bought a product and I'm not alone - a friend was moaning that he had to jump through hoops to use a product he'd bought when anyone using a hacked program bypassed the annoying stuff.

      Treat your customers with respect and most will respect you back.
      Everything he said.
      Offer quality content to minimize the amount of refunds. Some of those who ask for refunds already had their minds made up from the very beginning, anyway. Either they'll get the product from you or eventually find it shared somewhere else.

      Once you provide them with a refund, you're only left with high quality buyers who will likely keep coming back because they loved your product so much. So in the end you're not losing, you're gaining. Just make sure you're building a list in the process, and give them reason to trust you.
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  • Profile picture of the author keblack
    Sure that can happen for freebee seekers. I would not worry about it. The percentage of honest people will always far outweigh dishonest folks. Put affiliate links to related useful products (or links to your products) in your ebook and lock them so people cannot erase them. So, if someone decides to share your book on black hat sites or wherever, you should still make sales of other products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I was surprised while reading a copywriting book about mail order busniess
    from back in the 1930's that they would send the itme in the mail and
    if the prospect did not want it then they sent it back. But of course
    some prospect kept the product and never paid for it. So there was
    a list (forget the name) kept by a credit company with all these
    risky names so other companies would not make the same mistake.

    So it has been happening for decades and digital products only makes
    it easier. But when you consider the success of crowd-funding
    you know there are still a lot of decent people living in this world.

    By far, most people who buy from you are honest and would pay
    for a quality product.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Yes, this can and does happen. Unfortunately this is a cost of business and imo I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Some characters will do this but they are in the minority. Most people won't and that's what you need to 'focus' on instead. Worrying about what other people will do is like planning your future.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Your problem is a legitimate concern. That's why membership sites are growing so fast, you might want to look into that. People buy access to your information via password. If they refund, you nix their access to the information. The old ebook model is slowly fading in populairty for the membership model for that reason.
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      • Profile picture of the author karlstech
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        Your problem is a legitimate concern. That's why membership sites are growing so fast, you might want to look into that. People buy access to your information via password. If they refund, you nix their access to the information. The old ebook model is slowly fading in populairty for the membership model for that reason.
        I have been looking into this for some time now!

        The two main obstacles for not having built a membership site or at least membership section are:

        1. Lack of unique and original idea/content. I want the people who sign up to find it worth their time and money you know.

        2. Lack of knowledge on how to properly run a membership site. I know it's pretty straightforward with the plugins giving you a easy-to-navigate interface and guide you through everything. But I still feel like I'm lacking in the knowledge department of how to actually manage it.

        Other than that, how does one make a legitimate refund for a customer? I'm just trying to get all the information before-hand!
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      • Profile picture of the author heavysm
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        Your problem is a legitimate concern. That's why membership sites are growing so fast, you might want to look into that. People buy access to your information via password. If they refund, you nix their access to the information. The old ebook model is slowly fading in populairty for the membership model for that reason.
        A newer angle that's being developed is to digitally tag the videos, ebooks etc as part of the membership site. So when the stuff is downloaded (even through the cached download) the material has a unique and hidden tag on it.

        Why is this different from anything else? The tag is uniquely generated to that buyer. So when the files show up on blackhat sites the tag can be precisely connected to the pirating buyer. Then the seller can take legal action, remove that users member access etc.

        Serial refunders are a problems all unto themselves, but this is a nifty way to seal the cracks to prevent illegal sharing AND track the shares back to the original offender.

        Originally Posted by selfdisciplineacademy View Post

        Yes, the best way to prevent this is...

        Membership sites. Where people can't actually download to their computer, they have to watch the videos, read the tutorial inside the membership area.

        Hope this helps
        Very easy way around this, sadly. Some buyers won't have the knowledge but the video extraction aspect is dead easy to do. Some are even chrome plugins that pull videos from sites lol (i admit most are intended to be used with youtube, but the same principle applies)
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        • Profile picture of the author discrat
          Yeah, these repeat offenders are what I call Online Sociopaths.

          Really !! They have zero empathy and think that the whole World revolves around them. And only them.

          Consequently, they will walk all over anyone to get what they want



          - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author Slade556
    Yes, it can happen and it probably will happen, but this is just one of those risks you either decide you have to take or you look for another way to make money. It's not ok that people do this, but in the end I don't think you should worry to much about those who ask for refunds, they will be few if your product is good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Willie Crawford
    As has already been pointed out this happens all the time, both online and offline. There are people who order duplicate products (maybe a DVD course) copy the entire thing, and then request a refund.

    They are fortunately not in the majority in most niches, and they are not worth losing sleep over.

    You can of course lock some product... and have a server validate the license (and check for refunds) each time that it is used, but that's a real inconvenience for your customers in many instances... so I choose not to do that.

    You can also build backend offers into your products, so that when they are shared, they are also promoting your other products. Still frustrating, but one of numerous ways to recoup some of your loss.
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  • Profile picture of the author trevord92
    Stop over thinking it!

    Start and get some customers and then adjust.

    Adopt a Ready => Fire => Aim approach - that works well!
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  • Yes, the best way to prevent this is...

    Membership sites. Where people can't actually download to their computer, they have to watch the videos, read the tutorial inside the membership area.

    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author kursat
    Yes they can copy and yes they can get refunds, but that should not stop you from starting to sell your product. The fear of starting is the major reason why many people never succeed online. Even if you had some people try to copy your product, they will be in small numbers. And you can check your rights on refunds or put specific refund policies. I hope you decided to just start marketing your work and see what happens...
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  • Profile picture of the author Shankar Rao
    Remember you are not alone.
    Everyone face it.
    Does this stops any one to sell digital goods . No

    Don't worry about those who refund. Any way they are not good customer. Why you want them.

    Membership sites - If you feel this right for you. Get the domain, buy the plugin and start.

    Learn and do it. Its not as difficult as you think
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  • Profile picture of the author expressg
    Unfortunately this is a problem that you will have to deal with as a product creator. Especially if it's a product in the IM niche as others have pointed out. The membership programs with content that extends on passed the refund date are a good idea. I myself am already working on one. But normal people (not repeat re-funders) usually won't refund if you give them a quality product. A quality product should also be in depth, and take them a bit of time to implement, again lowering the refund rate as the time expires.

    As far as dealing with black hatters posting your products, the best way is to become a member of their forums. Usually a quick message to a mod will get the post removed. "I'm the product owner, could you take post xyz down?" Is all it really takes, and some of the blackhat forums also have "do not share lists". If you talk to the mods you may be able to get your product added to the list, which could result in infractions/bans of people posting your product.

    Regardless of your opinion on blackhat forums, their are some really helpful and skilled affiliates who browse them. Also browsing those types of forums will give you a good idea of who the serial product thieves are. Having a regular (not angry or threatening) conversation with them could protect your stuff in the future. But, as with all things and people, not everyone is friendly and there are immoral folks who just don't care and get a kick out of ripping off people's hard work.
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