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  1. #1
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    Apr 2001
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    Discussion thread for Sell Software on a Shoestring

    This is a dedicated thread for discussing the SitePoint article 'Sell Software on a Shoestring'

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member chintuu's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
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    The author writes:
    "I made the mistake of fully automating a site when I initially launched my

    own script, and as a result, I received a few fraudulent orders. Because it

    was fully automated, these people managed to download my script without

    paying for it! "

    At the expense of sounding harsh, I have to say that obviously he doesn't

    know what he's talking about.

    If your visitor can download your digital product - be it a ebook or a

    script or a zip file - it means your e-Commerce system sucks - or it most

    probably means you have NO system in place.

    Ask any newbie and they will tell you that receiving an autoresponder after

    you've purchased a product online, saying that the site owner will "get

    back to you" is a BIG NO-NO!

    That is a sure-fire way to make your "eager" and "excited" buyer ask for an

    instant refund.

    Online purchases - especially of digital products - are made with the

    expectation that your buyer can use the product right away - within minutes

    after purchase.

    Take their money and respond to them with "yeah, you'll get your product

    when I wake up, come back from work, or when I'm get back from vacation"

    and you've just shot yourself in your foot.

    Actually, the way the web works, it is the equivalent of shooting yourself

    in your mouth! Your product will be dead and buried when negative word gets

    out about your "system" - or the non-existence of one.

    Here's the simple deal if you want to be even 1% successful online, selling

    digital products:

    1. Your digital product should be instantly downloadable

    2. Yes, there will be fraudulent orders, but deal with it. It's only a

    digital product - you didn't really lose any money fulfilling it. That's a

    chance you have to take if you want to be in business. In my business ( ), chargebacks make up less than 5% of my

    overall business. And I only lose a few dollars a year because of fraud and

    refunds, compared to the thousands of dollars I earn - that too when I'm


    Be glad that yours is not a real shipped product, because if orders on

    shipped products are returned, or if your credit card processor cancels the

    order and charges you for a charge-back because of credit-card fraud, then

    you've not only lost time, money (shipping it to the buyer), but also your

    tangible product itself (like a book or toy).

    3. Have a good system in place to COMPLETELY automate the purchase - while making sure YOU are not ripped off in the first place. Using Paypal's IPN technology, you can make sure your products don't get stolen by customers downloading them without paying for it. Use products like the IPN Download Protector at to secure your downloads, while at the same time making sure your buyer gets his instant gratification.

    Selling online successfully is not an easy thing.

    I've mastered it, but I couldn't possibly list all the ingredients here without using up about a 1000+ pages on SitePoint ;-)

    And certainly can't give away everything for free.

    But I welcome you to study my web site for ideas and inspiration. Here's where I make my living - or at least most of it :-)


    Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

    Good luck, and use your common sense. Don't just blindly follow "potentially wrong" advise that people can give you - that includes the author of the previous article - and me :-)

    Ravi Jayagopal
    Founder & Software Architect


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