[ALERT] Are Your Products Are Being Stolen? Can You Profit From This?

by Sean Donahoe 7 replies
Earlier today someone made a post about their product being shared on torrent sites and asked what they could do with it. I was actually posting a detailed response when the post was deleted. However, I wanted to share a little insight I use to my advantage and I have a few of my students doing the same thing. I could have made a small WSO on this but I wanted to share a little technique to use these services to your advantage and fight the thieves at the same time.

Going after the file sharing website or service

If the site sharing your product has a webhost within the US you can issue a DMCA (Digital Copyright Millenium Act) violation with the host. By law they are supposed to take a website offline while the breach of copyright is investigated. If it is outside the US you would have to investigate their local equivalent of a DMCA.

Most of the time however, they sites are hosted n countries that do not care about what is hosted such as China, Thailand, Romania, Russia, Etc and you have not got a prayer of working with them, even with a lawyer. If you have the budget to get a lawyer or solicitor and you feel you are losing a lot of money, it may be worth pursuing. However, in my experience with sites outside of the US it is more hassle than its worth so I developed some other techniques to turn these sites into a marketing resource and got them to work for me.

For file sharing services (Gnutella, Limewire, eDonkey, Etc) it is too distributed to nail any one source, once it hits these networks you are screwed. However, I will explain a simple technique I use to make these work for me.

How to Fight the Thieves

Call them what you like, if one of your customers is sharing your product over torrents, file sharing sites or warez sites, they are thieves. If people download your products from these sites, they are thieves.
Now people like to get something for nothing, and there is always going to be someone who buys your stuff with the intent to share it, they may be even using fraudulent cards to buy it. That is an unfortunate fact of ecommerce, especially with info products.

However you can deter these thieves with a couple of simple techniques:

1. On the first page of your e-book, or appropriate prominent location on your product, place a highlighted statement such as "Each copy sold is invisibly watermarked to prevent piracy and we will actively pursue and prosecute anyone who violates our copyright". There are many ways to actually watermark your products using scripts and PDF manipulation programs. However, even that wording can deter potential thieves.

2. Offer PLR or MRR on your product and provide full marketing materials. Again, this is not a fullproof method but you may be able to convince these thieves to make money with your product instead of sharing it. Not that I would want to put a penny in these buggers pockets, but I would rather that than see my products shared for free.

How to Use File Sharing for Marketing

No matter what, you are eventually going to find your products are shared. It is infuriating, annoying and it makes you want to reach through their screen and strangle the buggers. However, you can turn these file sharing sources to your advantage if you do it right.

First of all, you have to understand, every time you launch a product, some people fire up their file sharing client to see if they can find it for free. People like something for nothing and while that is human nature, its damned annoying when you are trying to make money from your hard work. These people are harder to sell to than your average potential customer, they want it for free and probably resent paying for it.

So here is what I do:

1. I create a special report which is a summarization of my sales page and bestow the advantages of the product again aimed at these ffreebie hunters. I also offer a discount coupon, extra bonus, or some other enticing incentive to convert these potential thieves into customers.

2. A few days before I launch when I am starting the pre-launch cycle of my produt, I also upload my special report to torrent sites, file sharing sites, the most popular DDL and warez sites all with the same exact title of the launched product and with my name (or pen name) attached.

This has several nice little benefits:

1. If people look on the file sharing sites and networks to find my product they see my posted version and download it. I get first crack at reselling to them.

2. As mine is the first version on these sites it is the most downloaded and usually is placed at the very top of search results, resulting in more and more downloads and more traction with these places.

3. I squeeze out the real thieves who were going to share my work.

4. I make more sales from the incentivized “Special Report” offer.

This has worked for me on many occasions and I have really seen a huge difference in the thievery of my products from my deterrents (I actually do watermark my products and can track down any buyer who does pirate my stuff) and my cleverly disguised special reports do convert pretty well and push the real thieves down the page.

If you do get a few other people sharing your products regardless of posting your “Special Report” then you can upload it multiple times with various names such as “ABC Guide COMPLETE”, “ABC Guide FULL”, “ABC Guide CRACKED”, “ABC Guide W/ SERIAL”. You get the idea, the more copies on there that are yours, the better.

The bottom line, there is no real 100% way to prevent thieves but as we used to say to my old squad in the Royal Marines “Better to control the target that be controlled by the target.”

Let me know your thoughts…..
#main internet marketing discussion forum #advantage #bittorrent #file sharing #info #marketing #marketing advice #products #protection #shared #turn
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
    I actually just got a PM from soneone asking how to watermark a PDF and what tools to use.

    There are 2 approaches, manual and automatic.

    Manual Approach:
    You can download a tool such as PDF Watermark Creator and manually place the customers name on the PDF or some other identifier. This is difficult to remove and a good deterrent. The disadvantage is that you have to manually edit the PDF for each order.

    PDF Watermark Creator (PDF Stamp Generator)

    The Automatic Approach (preferred)
    :

    This is a bit more tricky and required a little bit of programming (you could outsource this) but it is the best solution. Depending on your shopping cart / delivery system you can server up a custom created "Watermaked" PDF based on the customers details. To do this really does depend on the shopping system you use but the basic process is as follows:

    1. Receive order
    2. Take your base un-watermarked PDF
    3. Run through a watermarking script
    4. Deliver customized PDF to customer

    I use the PDFTK (PDF Tool Kit) which modifies PDF's on the fly and works on Linux and Windows webservers. However, you may have to ask your host to install it for you if you are on a shared environment.

    PDFTK is basically a command line utility and very easy to script with. It is a pretty simple task to place visible and invisible watermark on all your ebooks or guides.

    AccessPDF - Program Downloads and Packages

    Hope that helps...
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  • Profile picture of the author davezan
    Originally Posted by Sean Donahoe View Post

    By law they are supposed to take a website offline while the breach of copyright is investigated.
    Not really. What they're supposed to do is notify the one operating the site of
    the DMCA complaint.

    If the site owner sent a DMCA counter-notification, then the webhost is to do
    zip. But if the site owner doesn't reply at all, then the host may disable access
    to the copyrighted material, and not necessarily the entire site. (though some
    do, anyway...)

    IANAL, though I know some who do these things for a living. But thanks for all
    those tips you shared since I learned something new today.
    Signature

    David

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    • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
      Great idea...exactly how does one do this without detonating their bandwidth?
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      • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
        With file sharing networks it does not take much once it is in the wild. Once it is on other peoples machines and you have a few other "Seeds" you can stop your sharing on your own system. To ensure it goes wild I sometimes ask some of my network to go download it from various filesharing sites to force the numbers up and make it go viral that way.

        This can be a really powerful technique if the product is popular and you have a lot of potential "leechers".
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    • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
      Originally Posted by davezan View Post

      Not really. What they're supposed to do is notify the one operating the site of
      the DMCA complaint.

      If the site owner sent a DMCA counter-notification, then the webhost is to do
      zip. But if the site owner doesn't reply at all, then the host may disable access
      to the copyrighted material, and not necessarily the entire site. (though some
      do, anyway...)

      IANAL, though I know some who do these things for a living. But thanks for all
      those tips you shared since I learned something new today.
      I did abbreviate the process some there indeed. The owner of the site is usually offered a chance to remove the content first and yes, if they do not respond (and they can block access to an item) then they will disable that but in most cses with database driven sites, they will suspend public access to the site.

      I have dealt with som sites that are very proactive and do disable the account until the matter is addressed. They do this to reduce possible liabilities and lawsuits when major brands are involved (You don't want Coca Colas Lawyers all over you!)

      Thanks for the clarification
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      • Profile picture of the author davemiz
        you cant win with the torrent sites.

        what you can do that works is DETER possible thiefs from stealing your stuff.

        here's how.

        in the music business, some big groups will pump a bunch of their new songs to torrent sites but the songs are just phony's. so you download what you THINK is the song you want only to find its a 20 second recording. or an interview about the album.
        Signature

        “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”
        ― Dalai Lama XIV

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        • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
          Originally Posted by davemiz View Post

          you cant win with the torrent sites.

          what you can do that works is DETER possible thiefs from stealing your stuff.

          here's how.

          in the music business, some big groups will pump a bunch of their new songs to torrent sites but the songs are just phony's. so you download what you THINK is the song you want only to find its a 20 second recording. or an interview about the album.
          That's pretty much what I am suggesting applied to our industry, you fake them out and get the exposure for your sales materials and push the real thieves down the list. Nothing is full proof but you end up with more control that you would by ignoring this potential problem.
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