How to protect info product from thieves?

by sam770
47 replies
Hi everyone,
Just wondering: I am about to lunch a unique info product that took me a lot of time to create.
I would like to sell it for $19.
But how can I protect it from thieves?
How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?

I am looking for technical advice, not a legal one...

Thanks
Sam
#info #product #protect #thieves
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

    How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?
    You can't really make "sure", but you can very significantly reduce the chances of it happening by stamping the purchasers' transaction details on the PDF before they download it, in an attempt to inhibit them from illicit "sharing" of the product. This is available if you use e-Junkie for product distribution (or if you buy an equivalent for use elsewhere - a few products offer this facility).

    (You can also use things like .exe files instead of a PDF, but that's perhaps also going to lose you a lot of potential customers).

    A search for threads in the Main Marketing Forum with the word "security" in their titles will bring up quite a few threads, I think.

    It's one of those subjects on which people have very widely varying ideas. I never cease to be surprised by some of the comments I see people making about it. Some people seem to believe that it entails "negativity" even to discuss this hugely important issue (which makes me wonder if they also think that about locking their front doors when they go out).

    Some people apparently believe that if you can't have 100% security (which you can't) you shouldn't even bother trying to have the 95%/99% security you can quite easily achieve.

    And others seem to imagine that protecting just the download page without also protecting the product itself is going to have great value in preventing file-sharing, illegal uploads to torrent sites, and so on (hard to understand that perspective?).

    There are even apparently people who unaccountably believe that "pirates" aren't costing vendors anything much, because "people who steal illicit downloads were never going to be paying customers anyway" (this one is nonsense, of course - sadly, the world is full of people who, when they want to read an internet marketing e-book, in particular, will search high and low online for a free copy and then buy it only if they can't find one!).

    I have no products to protect, myself, but I very much like the look of e-Junkie's PDF-stamping device, which I think must surely inhibit/prevent/deter the great majority of problems?
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    • Profile picture of the author enterprisemind
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      You can't really make "sure", but you can very significantly reduce the chances of it happening by stamping the purchasers' transaction details on the PDF before they download it, in an attempt to inhibit them from illicit "sharing" of the product. This is available if you use e-Junkie for product distribution (or if you buy an equivalent for use elsewhere - a few products offer this facility).

      (You can also use things like .exe files instead of a PDF, but that's perhaps also going to lose you a lot of potential customers).

      A search for threads in the Main Marketing Forum with the word "security" in their titles will bring up quite a few threads, I think.

      It's one of those subjects on which people have very widely varying ideas. I never cease to be surprised by some of the comments I see people making about it. Some people seem to believe that it entails "negativity" even to discuss this hugely important issue (which makes me wonder if they also think that about locking their front doors when they go out).

      Some people apparently believe that if you can't have 100% security (which you can't) you shouldn't even bother trying to have the 95%/99% security you can quite easily achieve.

      And others seem to imagine that protecting just the download page without also protecting the product itself is going to have great value in preventing file-sharing, illegal uploads to torrent sites, and so on (hard to understand that perspective?).

      There are even apparently people who unaccountably believe that "pirates" aren't costing vendors anything much, because "people who steal illicit downloads were never going to be paying customers anyway" (this one is nonsense, of course - sadly, the world is full of people who, when they want to read an internet marketing e-book, in particular, will search high and low online for a free copy and then buy it only if they can't find one!).

      I have no products to protect, myself, but I very much like the look of e-Junkie's PDF-stamping device, which I think must surely inhibit/prevent/deter the great majority of problems?
      Thanks Alexa.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Hugall
    Funny that used to bother me. Now I have so many links in there that I don't care. People will steal. It happens. Not cool, but it happens so why not profit from it.

    I gave someone a review copy they shared it illegally and I made a couple affiliate sales before launch. I mark them now, but if you have a solid JV in place it won't affect your profits that dramatically.
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  • Profile picture of the author Malcolm Thomas
    One word. E- Junkie. It's what I use to successfully prevent my eBooks from getting pirated all over the net.
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  • Profile picture of the author mike gregory
    Hey Sam,

    You have a few of options I myself deliver all my products via a membership area. I also use a plugin called S3 Flowshield.

    It's impossible to be 100% secure if anyone wants to really get your stuff and share they will thats just the way it is.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by TeKn1qu3z View Post

      You can make the file so that viewers cannot save or copy it.
      "Cannot save it"? How many customers are going to be happy with that?

      People buying products online typically aren't going to be very happy about not having and being able to use it on their own computers, without needing to be connected to the internet.

      One has to balance one's desire for as much security as is reasonably possible with not irritating one's customers!
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  • Profile picture of the author tamalanwar
    I saw a clever way on the IM. While ago I purchased an info product. What was so clever was that this gentleman made a full site and not a downloadable product. I was given a username and password to access the content.

    There was a plugin that disabled me from copying the text. This was when someone gets a refund they will lose access and never be able to steal that content.

    This can be achieved by a membership plugin.
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    • Profile picture of the author mike gregory
      Originally Posted by tamalanwar View Post

      I saw a clever way on the IM. While ago I purchased an info product. What was so clever was that this gentleman made a full site and not a downloadable product. I was given a username and password to access the content.

      There was a plugin that disabled me from copying the text. This was when someone gets a refund they will lose access and never be able to steal that content.

      This can be achieved by a membership plugin.
      That's what I did and still do with some of my products, however it was not long until I started getting requests to offer the PDF so they could download it for easier reference and reading.

      I without question obliged and made it available to whoever requested it.

      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      People buying products online typically aren't going to be very happy about not having and being able to use it on their own computers, without needing to be connected to the internet.
      Exactly what I experienced, how can you say no to what's really a basic right of purchase. Unless of course you state from the very beginning that the product is delivered via a secure online website and at no point can it be downloaded or copied.
      How this would then effect conversions and whether or not it's really worth it is another question.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christophe Young
    I used to be so concerned about my ebooks being stolen when I first started. I initially used software that distributed EXE files, then I later switched to PDF's which were stamped with the customer's information automatically at purchase.

    I eventually ditched all of it because there's no real way to totally stop sharing and it wasn't eating enough into my profits to make it worth putting much effort into it.

    Using a membership site seems to be a good option now, but still you'll have customers who still want good ole handy PDF copies.
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  • I have this in my disclaimer:

    "All trademarks, logos, and service marks (collectively “Trademarks”) displayed are registered and/or unregistered Trademarks of their respective owners. Any attempt to copy, distribute, or use ANY content — not limited to videos, eBooks, posts and pages – outside of this domain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of all laws applicable and significant monetary compensation will be sought."


    Needless to say, if I do see anyone distribute my content - I just cite this paragraph in my disclaimer - and issue a cease and desist.

    It usually gets taken down pretty quickly. You can't prevent it, but you can police it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sam770
    Thanks for the replies,
    To make things more clear, my info product is a HUGE excel file with some real PURE GOLD info in it...
    It can be used by internet marketers, seo firms and site owners.
    It took me MONTHS to create it and there is no way that I will let people spread it without my permission...
    I am thinking of using the following tool to protect the file so that it can be used on single computer only... LockXLS - Workbook Copy Protection.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

      I am thinking of using the following tool to protect the file so that it can be used on single computer only... LockXLS - Workbook Copy Protection.
      "Rather you than I", I must say.

      You're presumably going to explain that clearly to people before they pay? Don't you think it may put many off?

      SUMMARY: Fake. This product is not for a workbook protection
      Source: https://sites.google.com/site/whitehatxl/

      I confess reviews like that would probably dissuade me ...
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      • Profile picture of the author sam770
        Thanks a lot for this link, Alexa!

        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        "Rather you than I", I must say.

        You're presumably going to explain that clearly to people before they pay? Don't you think it may put many off?

        Source: https://sites.google.com/site/whitehatxl/

        I confess reviews like that would probably dissuade me ...
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  • Profile picture of the author Christophe Young
    Don't worry about it. Get it out there to those who want it, make money, then worry about protecting it if you have time.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewRiseDigital
    Having spent a long time in the music industry (and especially during the period 1999 to 2006 when the whole internet music and MP3 scene was starting to shed it's proverbial nappies) the whole Digital Rights Management / fear of piracy topic actually killed the music industry stone dead. Only apple really knew what to do in this space and they weren't even a record company, and that was deliver quality products that people actually wanted to purchase and make it super easy to do so. iTunes Match is a piece of genius in music marketing, since they actually sell you the value of a high definition copy of your pirated or ripped music (complete with artwork) that you might already have on your PC. That's the only way I've ever seen a company turn pirates into payers...

    Don't wrap your product up into packages that the end user can't use, simply make it easy to use & buy, relevant and of enough value that people will purchase it. Then forget about people stealing your stuff and use that time wisely to market better to your real target audience. As Seth Godin puts it so eloquently 'Talk about things that matter to people who care".
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    You can't protect anything. The best thing you can do is stamp the buyer's name and email on it to prevent sharing but even that method is circumventable (and presents privacy issues).

    PDF HoneyPot
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    If you're concerned about your download page security, consider a product called DLGuard.

    If you're concerned that someone will download your ebook and distribute it on forums or their friends on the internet... you can't stop this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    In general, the people who steal your product would never buy it anyway. So you haven't "lost" the sale.

    Most people are honest.

    Anything can be copied--videos can be screen-captured--and redistributed. Who knows, you may issue a WSO and never know that it's being given away as a "bonus" by some thief...best thing to do is embed links back to your sites & content.

    95% security is good enough. When I started out, I simply made the delivery pages password-protected. Then I moved them to funny-named pages. Now I use a membership security plugin. Evolve as you go and can afford. Get content out there--much more important than worrying about protecting it. Remember the old saying, "Any publicity is good publicity"?
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  • Profile picture of the author ayu2013
    so sad, i must tell you the truth, if someone just use a camera or mobile phone to record the screen of your content in the computer moniter, you know what i mean , you cannot protect it!
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  • Profile picture of the author sam770
    Thanks friends, I got some nice tips...
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  • Profile picture of the author Susan A
    Well, I suggest for you to go to : ACTIVEDMCA.COM
    These guys provide an automatic way to protect your product from illegal sharing, etc. My friend had to test it once, and it works. Any keywords related to free download and share is blocked by Google. I don't know about the fee, but I think it is worth it.
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    • Profile picture of the author sam770
      Looks good!
      Originally Posted by Susan A View Post

      Well, I suggest for you to go to : ACTIVEDMCA.COM
      These guys provide an automatic way to protect your product from illegal sharing, etc. My friend had to test it once, and it works. Any keywords related to free download and share is blocked by Google. I don't know about the fee, but I think it is worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author webjedi
    Great thread, thanks ! Checking out PDF HoneyPot, E-Junkie, DL Guard and AciveDMCA.
    This is why I come to this site
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  • Profile picture of the author Michelle Palomo
    You can't really make sure, but you can automatically monitor your content for duplication using tools like www.plagspotter.com. They also can help you to take down the duplicate content on your behalf as far as I know.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

    Hi everyone,
    Just wondering: I am about to lunch a unique info product that took me a lot of time to create.
    I would like to sell it for $19.
    But how can I protect it from thieves?
    How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?

    I am looking for technical advice, not a legal one...

    Thanks
    Sam
    The only way you can fully protect your product is to not release it.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      The only way you can fully protect your product is to not release it.
      Sad but true.

      Regardless of what you do, there's nothing stopping someone buying it legally, then slapping it up on some blackhat site.

      Quit stressing about it.

      Use DLGuard and get on with pumping out more products.
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  • Profile picture of the author isaacsmithjones
    Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

    Hi everyone,
    Just wondering: I am about to lunch a unique info product that took me a lot of time to create.
    I would like to sell it for $19.
    But how can I protect it from thieves?
    How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?

    I am looking for technical advice, not a legal one...

    Thanks
    Sam
    Microsoft and Adobe can't stop their stuff from being stolen...

    But there are certain precautions that you can take:

    1. Add a Password to the PDF itself (although I personally wouldn't)

    2. Make sure you add some good copyright details.

    3. Add your URL to the book, so even if it is stolen, you still get the credit for it, and if you add a link to your squeeze page too, you can even generate traffic from people having stolen your book!

    Hope this helps,
    Isaac
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  • Profile picture of the author ckdaro
    I suggest having some kind of secure members area.

    This can be easily achieved through free software like s2member or amember.

    You can also send it out as a physical product burned on a cd, that way your product has a higher perceived value, and it can prevent thieves.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael08
    I recently did something similar and also had the same concerns. While you cannot ever protect your content 100 percent I did what I believe comes pretty close to it.

    Selling the product as a membership - where the user can only view the content while logged into your site. I used a combination of Wordpress with the S2Member plugin, Paypal
    and Amazon S3/Cloudfront

    It's really not that hard.
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  • Profile picture of the author cratos
    Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

    Hi everyone,
    Just wondering: I am about to lunch a unique info product that took me a lot of time to create.
    I would like to sell it for $19.
    But how can I protect it from thieves?
    How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?

    I am looking for technical advice, not a legal one...

    Thanks
    Sam
    Yeah I wouldn't worry about that if I were you. Not even the best softwares out there on the net are 100% protected. It's going to get distributed by hackers one way or the other. Trust me, these hackers out there know how to get into even the most difficult IM softwares.

    So like I said, I wouldn't worry about it. Just make sure to throw your aff links in there. You will reap the profits. Think of it also as free advertising of your product for free
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  • Profile picture of the author john richards
    Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

    Hi everyone,
    Just wondering: I am about to lunch a unique info product that took me a lot of time to create.
    I would like to sell it for $19.
    But how can I protect it from thieves?
    How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?

    I am looking for technical advice, not a legal one...

    Thanks
    Sam
    Hi

    congratulations on this you can try using a membership script to deliver product people will need a password to access.

    A member wishlist .

    Hope this helps
    John richards
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    Originally Posted by sam770 View Post

    Hi everyone,
    Just wondering: I am about to lunch a unique info product that took me a lot of time to create.
    I would like to sell it for $19.
    But how can I protect it from thieves?
    How can I make sure that it will not get distributed on the web without my permission?

    I am looking for technical advice, not a legal one...

    Thanks
    Sam
    I think this is a difficult one.

    You takes steps to try to protect the product, you make it more difficult for your customers, or potentially do so.

    The thing is though, if someone wants to rip something off, they will do it, and the harder you try to stop them, the more of a challenge they find it, and so often enjoy this more.

    I come from a software background, so have experienced software piracy,and would think it similar.

    Instead I'd say not to make it too easy to share around a URL to get your information, and other than that, there's little you should do about it.
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    martin-platt.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Farish
    I am going to be very blunt in this.

    There is nothing you can do to protect your product.

    Once again, there is nothing you can do to protect your product.

    The music industry tried with DRM.

    There is no longer any DRM on mp3s. For years CD Rippers figure out how to remove DRM.

    The movie industry is trying with Ultraviolet, Blu Ray and DVD Encryption. Well you can remove those features with software you can buy for about 20-30 dollars online.
    Ultraviolet works so well that they now give you an option to get an iTunes copy of the movie.

    The ebook industry (Amazon namely) from small ebook retailers who basically state that DRM is creating a monopoly where they can not enter. Yet you can find DRM stripped version of Amazon Kindle books all over the internet.

    If a person is determine enough, they will win, even at the cost of buying your product to strip it down for others.

    These companies spent millions upon millions to protect their products and lose every time.

    And this might be to some the oddest statement of all.

    If your product is on torrent sites, does that mean you finally made it and a ground swell about your reputation and products is out there?
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewWoodward
    Hi,

    Ejunkie have a pretty cool watermarking system for PDFs that will automatically watermark the PDF with the buyers details before it sends it to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author sparkah
    Sam,

    There are pros and cons to trying to insulate against copying and competition. This should help you figure out if it's worth it: Advanced Guerrilla Marketing: How To Build A 100,000 Customer Mailing List Before Your Launch

    Personally, I always advise clients to put ZERO energy into defense... and 100% into offense
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Whisonant
    Watermarking PDF's is nothing but a gimmick to sell you a false feeling of my stuff can't be shared. It takes a total of about 6 seconds to remove the data added to a PDF. So don't fall for it.

    Re's
    Rob Whisonant
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  • Profile picture of the author sparkah
    Just make piracy and competition work in your favor. That requires business positioning. The longer you stay in defense mode, the less you innovate or execute.

    Same goes with NDAs. Don't use them unless its with your CPA
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  • Profile picture of the author eQuus
    The best way to reduce piracy is to write and offer valuable and useful info and how-tos. Most of what's thrown out into the trash pile (read blackhat sites) is usually old regurgitated bilge that nobody wants or have any use for. When you offer what OP described as "gold" info, then the majority of those who buy it will want to keep it to themselves. People don't share gold -- not even silver, but they will throw out garbage. Ergo, GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. So, garbage bought, garbage shared!
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  • Profile picture of the author thedanbrown
    Depends what type of product you are delivering (video, mp3, ebook) but the best way to protect your info is to require the buyer to use a code to opt-in to the members area and the only way they get that code is to buy the product which will trigger an email sent to their address with the activation code. I know there's many different software that does this but not sure which one is best suited for u
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  • Profile picture of the author sparkah
    All my mp3s and premium videos end up on Pirate Bay. I sell them for $200 to $800 depending on the license.

    But I use that to my advantage... I put cliff hangers in each one. So even if you steal my content, well, you're going to want the next release.
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  • Profile picture of the author Broyde
    Can the download guards stop people from taking screenshots and making images of their computer screens once the information is being seen by a paying customer?
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob Whisonant
      Originally Posted by Broyde View Post

      Can the download guards stop people from taking screenshots and making images of their computer screens once the information is being seen by a paying customer?
      Absolutely nothing can stop that. If you can see it on the screen you can use a screen capture program, use the print screen key to take a screen snapshot to the clip board or even pull out your cell phone and take a picture of the screen.

      Then you could even run the image through OCR software and convert it to text if you wanted.

      Re's
      Rob Whisonant
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  • Profile picture of the author kamonlojn
    it's hard to protect your idea and you info product but you can do such as a service after sell, update a new version or make your customer sure it's better than a pirate things.

    sorry if it not what you want but I think this is a one of good way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    The idea to sell a product in a specific proprietary file format (Excel) is bordering stupid...

    Are you telling me I will have to buy MS Office to be able to read the product after I paid the price you asked for?

    You didn't really think this whole thing over. I suggest you get back to the drawing table and start working on the process. (e.g. why would you distribute an editable file unless it is a PLR product?)
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