Charging for re-request of download link?

34 replies
Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!

Should I start charging a small fee for this?

Do YOU charge a fee for this? How do you go about doing it?

I know this is one of the reasons Matt Furey doesn't like selling digital products.
#charging #download #link #rerequest
  • Profile picture of the author Imfactsandsecrets
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Snow_Predator View Post

    Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!

    Should I start charging a small fee for this?

    Do YOU charge a fee for this? How do you go about doing it?

    I know this is one of the reasons Matt Furey doesn't like selling digital products.
    Sending out download links to thousands isn't feasible. I think you should charge for this. The safekeeping of bought products lies with the customer - not the vendor. Resending stuff for free is unthinkable for tangible goods - why should it be any different for digital goods?
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    • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
      Originally Posted by Imfactsandsecrets View Post

      Sending out download links to thousands isn't feasible. I think you should charge for this. The safekeeping of bought products lies with the customer - not the vendor. Resending stuff for free is unthinkable for tangible goods - why should it be any different for digital goods?
      Because a digital product doesn't have the manufacturing and shipping costs that a physical product has and customers know that.

      I think that if someone started charging to resend a download link they would lose every customer they charge.

      Treat it as goodwill. The people you help by resending a link after they have encountered a problem will have an impression of a helpful business with great customer service. Isn't that better than being thought of as a skinflint who can't be bothered to send out a download link?
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  • Profile picture of the author stevenjacobs
    Banned
    Hello

    I would not charge any. Dont upset your customers, there the fuel of your biznes. I would love to get them the download link, maybe offer them a different product at the same time
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  • Profile picture of the author Tom B
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Snow_Predator View Post

    Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!

    Should I start charging a small fee for this?

    Do YOU charge a fee for this? How do you go about doing it?

    I know this is one of the reasons Matt Furey doesn't like selling digital products.
    haha Terrible idea. You would be better to automate the reactivation of the download link or set up a members area that they can log into.
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    • Profile picture of the author stevenjacobs
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

      haha Terrible idea. You would be better to automate the reactivation of the download link or set up a members area that they can log into.
      yeah I agree
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

      haha Terrible idea. You would be better to automate the reactivation of the download link or set up a members area that they can log into.
      I agree, set up a members area.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anne Laidlaw
    You need to do it as a courtesy to customers. If you are getting lots then you need to setup an automated system for your clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery Moss
    Take this opportunity to advertise yet another one of your information products to that customer when you resend the download link via email. This person has purchased from you before, so they are likely to do so again.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Hess
    All part of the game, this comes with the territory...

    I know what you're going through, when I was selling a ton of stuff through Digital Product Delivery (getdpd.com) I was getting a ton of requests months or even years down the road.

    The good news is, at least your selling stuff or you wouldn't be getting any requests

    To reduce these, it's much easier to deliver digital products through a membership style site. Anything that requires their name and password since users can request a new password if they lost it automatically and the members are URL is always on their receipt.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      How many are you getting? Are you getting so many that it is upsetting you enough to run over to the Warrior Forum and talk about it?

      al
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  • Originally Posted by Snow_Predator View Post

    Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!
    If you have never been in a situation where you lost access to your files, then it's understandable that you may not know what the experience is like, and may feel that it's more of a burden, than a part of your commitment to your customers.

    If you have however have lost access to files, (and everyone else reading this who has), knows how great it feels when a company steps up and treats you like they appreciate the fact that you opened up your wallet and gave them money. Even if it was a long time ago.

    Should I start charging a small fee for this?
    That's up to you. After all it is your business. Some companies give an option for customers to pay an "extended download fee". We however don't, for reasons below.

    Do YOU charge a fee for this?
    No! I like to call this act, "providing excellent (and almost unexpected awesome) customer service"!

    Apparently our customers do too! Because they then end up coming back to buy more products, knowing that we are there for them after the sale as well, and guess what, they tell their friends and associates. What a concept!

    How do you go about doing it?
    We just give them access! No questions asked! Done!

    My personal reason: When a client spends money that allows me to live the life I do, I then appreciate it, and remain forever thankful to that client.

    Re-releasing access to a product (that they paid for) because they lost it, especially if this happens many YEARS later, is something I believe to be a great "Opportunity" to return my appreciation, and to say thank you.

    This also makes a good impression as a company, as we can then back up all the sweet stuff that many vendors only promise their customers on sales pages in order to get the sale, but once the money is in the bank, the customer does not feel so special anymore when there is an issue.

    So my only suggestion to you would be to take this:

    Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!
    And turn it into this:

    "Yippy! I cant get enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because I now have a great opportunity to build deeper relationships with those customers, and gain their trust and loyalty, resulting in them posting positive testimonials online, as opposed to them going out spreading news about how my company sucks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Hess
    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

    Are you getting so many that it is upsetting you enough to run over to the Warrior Forum and talk about it?

    al
    Is this thread upsetting you enough to run to the reply form and post nonsense?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    The idea of allowing only one download of a digital product you purchased seems so 1999.
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    • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

      The idea of allowing only one download of a digital product you purchased seems so 1999.
      When you are delivering several GB or more in a package and selling a bunch of downloads you can rack up quite a fee rather quickly. Not to mention the fact that if you are self-hosting and allow max ISP download speeds for the convenience of your customers you can rack up some serious bandwidth in a heartbeat using 95th percentile billing.

      I have found that some of my customers re-download because they have misplaced some files on their computer and it's easier to re-download them than it is to find them on their own systems. Other people are using devices that have limited storage so sometimes they try to use the original download link as file storage.

      I limit my downloads to 3 attempts per file and a period of 1 week from the date of purchase and that way I can control the bandwidth to some extent, the timing of most download support requests, and it also helps to control the download links and content getting shared down the road.

      Sure I get a few support requests for download links after the links have expired, and I don't charge for sending a link, but I have seen legit software companies charge for downloads that need to be reissued long after purchase. In those cases the policy was made clear on the original download page with a statement of how much you would be charged if you needed your download links at a much later date.

      Cheers

      -don
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      • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
        Originally Posted by ForumGuru View Post

        When you are delivering 5GB or more in a package and selling a bunch of downloads you can rack up quite a fee rather quickly. Not to mention the fact that if you are self-hosting and allow max ISP download speeds for the convenience of your customers you can rack up the bandwidth in a heartbeat using 95 percentile billing.

        ...
        Why would you self host if you're delivering that much data per customer?
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        • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

          Why would you self host if you're delivering that much data per customer?
          Because if you know what you are doing, and you get a good rate on a decent server and bandwidth, it can be less costly for the seller and more advantageous for the customer. This especially holds true if you are already paying for decent dedicated boxes to host your sites on. If your box can handle the download traffic, and your bandwidth is relatively inexpensive then the numbers can make a lot of sense depending on how much data you ultimately transfer.

          Cheers

          -don
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          • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
            Originally Posted by ForumGuru View Post

            Because if you know what you are doing, and you get a good rate on a decent server and bandwidth, it can be less costly for the seller and more advantageous for the customer. This especially holds true if you are already paying for decent dedicated boxes to host your sites on. If your box can handle the download traffic, and your bandwidth is relatively inexpensive then the numbers can make a lot of sense depending on how much data you ultimately transfer.

            Cheers

            -don
            Ok, so you're not self hosting, you're renting or leasing server space and hosting on that.

            I guess you'll need to get bigger for the cost associated with doing business (hosting costs) starts to not be the determining factor whether you should make a commitment to the paying customer or not.
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            • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

              Ok, so you're not self hosting, you're renting or leasing server space and hosting on that.

              I guess you'll need to get bigger for the cost associated with doing business (hosting costs) starts to not be the determining factor whether you should make a commitment to the paying customer or not.
              What? I am not hosting the files in the cloud I am hosting them on own my leased dedicated boxes. Generally speaking, that is considered self-hosted. Not shared boxes, not VPNs, my dedicated boxes that are located in a high quality NOC that has a ton of PREMIUM bandwidth.

              I can deliver files from my own servers at speeds comparable to S3. Make a commitment to the paying customer? I have been delivering professional images to my customers for the past 13 years and my customer service is TOP NOTCH. I have been delivering large files from my dedicated boxes since 2005 so I know a bit about file delivery.

              I don't want my customers to wait on slow cloud deliveries (some services are still a bit slow) so they are allowed to grab the files at blazing speeds from my own servers.

              Good grief man, I think you may not know what you are talking about. The fact is I deliver files speeds faster than many/most large companies allow you to consume files at.

              It's all about bandwidth rates and download speeds and I offer great speeds and I get a excellent rate on premium bandwidth. If you have been spending several thousand dollars a year with your hosting company for the past decade then you might have an idea what I am talking about.

              Cheers

              -don
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              • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
                Originally Posted by ForumGuru View Post

                What? I am not hosting the files in the cloud I am hosting them on own my leased dedicated boxes. Generally speaking in this forum, that is considered self-hosted. Not shared boxes, not VPNs, my dedicated boxes that are located in a high quality NOC that has a ton of PREMIUM bandwidth.

                I can deliver files MUCH FASTER to my customers via my own servers compared to services like S3. Make a commitment to the paying customer? I have been delivering professional images to my customers for the past 13 years and my customer service is TOP NOTCH. I have been paying for and delivering files from dedicated boxes since 2005 so I think I know a bit about file delivery.

                I don't want my customers to wait on slow cloud deliveries so they are allowed to grab the files at blazing speeds from my own servers.

                Good grief man, I think you may not know what you are talking about. Take a look at S3 and other common cloud download speeds and you will see the are not fast at all. In-fact I deliver files much at much faster speeds than most anybody else out there.

                Cheers

                -don

                as a customer I don't really care about the 10 min difference in speed for a 5gb file. I'd rather have it free because most likely I'll click download and go afk. But it would be nice knowing that when I log into my account there isnt some kind of upsell or flaming hoop I need to jump through to get the stuff I paid for and lost because of a hard drive crash, or whatever reason.

                How much does it cost you to duplicate that digital information? ... why not give that same consideration to your customer
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                • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
                  Banned
                  Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

                  as a customer I don't really care about the 20 min difference in speed for a 5gb file. I'd rather have it free because most likely I'll click download and go afk. But it would be nice knowing that when I log into my account there isnt some kind of upsell or flaming hoops i need to jump through to get my stuff I paid for.

                  How much does it cost you to duplicate that digital information? one click and you can go afk its free to duplicate... why not give that same consideration to the customer?
                  What are you talking about now?

                  #1 I don't charge for downloads! Not only that I give a price on the files that is so low it's probably the best in the industry!

                  #2 Upsells and flaming hoops? I don't have any upsells or flaming hoops on my current offer.

                  #3 Digital information costs money to transfer, money to store and it also costs CPU cycles and memory when you are transferring/copying. Just in-case you are wondering I have roughly 10 external drives full of images, four internal drives full of images, two dedicated servers that serve images, two shared servers that serve images, 5 Box accounts that store images, and over 1000 DVDs and CDs full of images.

                  Again, I DON"T charge for my downloads and on the WSO I have going now I deliver 5000 stock images (over 22,0000 images counting all the different sizes) for just $17 bucks. How much more do you want for $17 bucks? Holy cow man...I have been getting $25 an image for the past 13 years and still do to this day on some of my sites.

                  Do you see any hoops and upsells on this download page? I didn't think so...



                  In-fact on this WSO offer you don't even need to login as you are automatically redirected to the download page once your payment is made. Once you get to the page you can download the files at speeds that are greater than most users purchase from their ISP. Yeah, that's called blazing fast downloads with no hoops at no extra charge from a self-hosted server.

                  Cheers

                  -don
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Snow_Predator View Post

    Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!

    Should I start charging a small fee for this?
    I must admit I wouldn't.

    I've been a customer, myself, of a place that allows one re-download free (to cover for computer accidents, lost emails, and so on) and charges (quite a lot!) after that, but they stated it pretty clearly in their original TOS.

    I think you probably lose more than you gain, from this? I see that it's a pain in the neck, but it's probably part and parcel of "being a vendor"?
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  • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
    Banned
    Speed update. I had not tested S3 for a while so I just tested a 1GB file on an S3 bucket and the file actually came down a few seconds faster than the same file from my dedicated box. FWIW my ISPs connection here is testing at 94.89 Mbps today. At the end of the day the average US download speed in 2014 is only 25.9Mbps so basically the speed difference is a push for most users. Amazon appears to have upped their speed game but I know of other services that are still quite slow.

    That's where we get back to price vs performance and convenience as I get 10TB of free delivery each month and and I pay as little as $3.75 for each TB beyond that. If I want to go unmetered for the month that costs me $150.

    Cheers

    -don
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      Originally Posted by ForumGuru View Post

      Update, I just tested a 1GB file on S3 bucket I tried actually came down a few seconds faster than the same file from my dedicated box and I my connection is testing at 94.89 MBps today. At the end of the day the average US download speed in 2014 is only 25.9Mbps so basically the speed result is basically a push for most users.

      That's where we get back to price vs performance as I get 10TB of free delivery each month and and I pay as little as $18.75 for each TB beyond that. If I want to go unmetered for the month that costs me $150.

      Cheers

      -don
      Interesting Don. Any idea what the performance would be with a lot of people downloading at the same time?
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      • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

        Interesting Don. Any idea what the performance would be with a lot of people downloading at the same time?
        For the record I corrected a pricing typo that you quoted me on. I pay as as little as $3.75 for each additional TB and that comes in a 5TB block @ $18.75.

        As far as performance goes...

        I had the best and the brightest at my hosting company do some performance calculations before I leased a new dedicated box strictly for the purpose of creating new sites that deliver large files. In-fact we negotiated for a full 2 weeks before I finally pulled the trigger. The guys figured the first bottleneck would be with SSD that I had installed as that drive tested at a 378MB/s large file read speed. Below are a few of the calculations they gave me.

        3Mb/s download * 100 concurrent users = 300Mb/s = 37.5MB/s
        3Mb/s download * 200 concurrent users = 600Mb/s = 75MB/s
        10Mb/s download * 100 concurrent users = 1000Mb/s = 125MB/s
        10Mb/s download * 200 concurrent users = 2000Mb/s = 250MB/s
        30Mb/s download * 100 concurrent users = 3000Mb/s = 375MB/s

        25.9Mb/s is roughly the average US user's ISP download speed in 2014 --> so if needed a 30Mb/s throttle seems to be a fair balance between speed and performance with a lot of concurrent downloaders.

        Download Speed in United States | Net Index from Ookla

        Throttling down to 10MB/s would push that up to 300 concurrent users before hitting the hard drive's read speed threshold.

        Once I max out the SSD drive's large file read speed capabilities I have no idea how exceeding that will affect performance. Once that happens I am told I could replace it with an even faster SSD setup. Maxing it out might drive the server load up or worse, but to be honest the file deliveries so far have not even scratched the surface on a Xeon Quad-Core E3-1230 v2 3.3Ghz w/HT.

        In-fact the loads I have seen so far are somewhere between .01 and .35. I don't know exactly how many concurrent files I have been delivering but I know at times that it's been somewhere in the several dozen range.

        I have not seen any huge ram usage and I have had not one serving warning, hang or crash. So far so good...

        I have a 1000 Megabit (GigE) Uplink installed and a big factor in me choosing this route was that I made a deal with my webhost so they do not charge me the normal (excessive) overage fees if I go over my bandwidth limit. What they do is charge me is roughly half of their normal bandwidth rates and I am allowed to purchase the bandwidth retroactively.

        The thing you must do though is watch your bandwidth graphs because if your host uses 95th percentile billing (or similar) the speed of your customer downloads can have much more to do with what you are charged for then the actually number of GBs transferred does.

        Most 95th percentile billing webhosts say that 325GB ~ 1Mbps --> but I have found if you allow blazing download speeds and have a good number of people downloading large files that figure can be way, way, way off.

        When a host says you get 10TB of free bandwidth with 95th percentile billing what they really mean is you get 30Mbps. This is exactly why I negotiated excellent bandwidth prices that I can add to my account retroactively for short periods of time before I did this deal. If a big launch puts me over my limit then I am not being charged a fortune in bandwidth overage fees.

        If I could find a great host that would sell me the same server at the same price that uses actual real transfer billing (sorta like cloud storage does) then I would be on top of the world! The problem with that is I am not sure that host exists --> but as it is now I have been quite happy with this setup so far even with the 95th percentile billing.

        Cheers

        -don
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Gosse
    I use DLGuard so my links expire after a certain time frame to cut back on sharing. Having said that I never charge customers to re issue the link thats just good customer service.

    I like to kill people with kindness so they remember me.

    I have seen some software companies I purchase from upsell me on the option of keeping the link available indefinitely for a small fee. I never buy this because I have dropbox but I wonder how well it sells. Maybe worth a test for a $5 upsell.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Originally Posted by Brad Gosse View Post

      I like to kill people with kindness so they remember me.

      Exactly.

      Brad has it right. What is best for your valued customer?

      You just need to work on your delivery system. There are automated ways to handle repeat customer download requests.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Snow_Predator View Post

    Ughh I've had enough of customers re-requesting their download links, because their computer crashed, they lost their email, or whatever!

    Should I start charging a small fee for this?

    Do YOU charge a fee for this? How do you go about doing it?

    I know this is one of the reasons Matt Furey doesn't like selling digital products.
    Are you crazy? That's a small bit of customer service that is necessary if you sell digital products. Charge a fee for it? Come on.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      I get a fair number of these. One recently was asking for the download links for 7 or 8 products. Took me 3 minutes to get them all sent to him. (I have a file of links for just this purpose.)

      His hard drive had crashed, and I was one of only two people who got back to him with new links. From his response, you'd have thought I'd recreated the products just for him.

      A cheerful note with a few links is often enough to make someone's day when something like that happens. People do not forget it when you treat them with respect.

      If you want to monetize it, get set up as an affiliate for a good online backup service and recommend that to folks when they have this sort of problem. It's something most people should have anyway, and a drive crash makes the validity of the recommendation very real and immediate.


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  • Profile picture of the author NK
    This reminds me of the debate on whether you should keep your products online indefinitely so people can go back and redownload the files years down the road.

    The issue with having a members area is that you will need to maintain both domain and hosting. If your product is fairly new and doesn't take a few gigs of space, that shouldn't be much of a problem. I wouldn't charge any money for this and just send it to them.

    But what if you have an entire 12gb video course? Is it your responsibility to maintain that for the next 5, 10, 20 years? In this case it might be wiser to make sure to give an option of a physical set of DVDs to be delivered and have a statement somewhere saying that the digital versions might not be around forever. But if they somehow lost it, they can always have the DVDs resent to them, at the cost of shipping & handling.
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  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Adams
    Part of the problem here is how most people are spoiled by Amazon and other sites that digitally store a copy of their Kindle purchase online so that it's accessible for download or viewing at any time. And, those people are just assuming you will offer the same. Now as to whether or not you do or should is up to you and how much you can afford.
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  • Profile picture of the author Snow_Predator
    Creating good will. That's the opinion of the majority here, and I agree.

    It does feel good in a way, being able to help my customers with a simple download link, but it's also bloody annoying. But in the end I want repeat custom, and I'd get less of it if I was an ass who charged for a simple download link.

    On their end, it's just a link. On my end, it's a bloody annoying distraction and waste of my time.

    I have actually bought a copy of DAP (membership site software), but I haven't started using it for all of my products. But even with that they're likely to email me and ask, "Oh, I've lost my log-in details".

    Guess one solution is to keep growing the biz until I can justify hiring someone to do all this customer service stuff for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    when you get to where you have several thousand customers, it becomes too time-consuming to re-enable download links. and right re, especially if it's a big multi-gig 2-3 gig+ course, and what it you discontinue it 3 years from now? I've actually had people contact me years later (for both downloads and lost dvds) asking for free replacement content/links which i don't think is reasonable.

    when you go to a stock photo site, you download the photo using the link that's there, and it's your responsibility to back it up; same thing

    what I state in my TOS/terms and download areas, is to remind them to make a BACKUP on an external drive/flash drive/whatever, and that it's their responsibility to take care of backups.

    I use password-sentry.com to guard download areas, highly recommend it, am a longtime near 15-year customer from early days

    i was thinking of offering a $50 per video "re-enabling download link" optional service as a deterrent, but realized that wouldn't be worthwhile (may be good for people to realize yeah he's serious it really Is my responsibility to back up my content like I should).

    I give them 2 weeks to login to their download area, download the video, and make a backup... here's my actual wording:
    "Remember to also make a backup copy on a separate hard drive or other media once you download it, so that you'll have a safe copy in the future; I never re-upload videos later, so keep yours safe."
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author LynnM
        I once asked for a new download link for a very recently purchased product, after my pc went kaput. I didn't get it, and never purchased from that marketer again. Having a page or membership area that can be bookmarked and the files downloaded at a later date if need be is a great option for the buyer, and luckily seems to be the rule rather than the exception nowadays.
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  • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
    No. It's a customer service issue. You don't charge customers for after purchase support queries. If you hate it that much, hire a support person.

    I'm sure we get hundreds of download link requests but I personally don't tend to them. My staff does.
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