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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    How to sell web apps

    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, i'd put it in the market thing but i assumed it'd be full of people wanting to buy/ sell.

    I want to sell one of my scripts and was wondering about how to stop people from buying a copy and then giving it away.

    I think i heard somewhere that commercial forums are encrypted, is this what everyone does? If i did encrypt it, it could just as easy be copied, so should i add a piece of code to stop usage of the same script on different domains?

    Just want to know what everyone else does.

    Thanks, Peter

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru MikeBigg's Avatar
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    Peter it is common to encrypt commercial scripts (at least some part of them) and to lock them for use to a particular domain.

    There are a few companies out there that do encrypting systems including Zend, but most of them aren't cheap and usually the server where your customer installs the software will need to have some extra software installed / compiled into Apache.

    I stumbled across one company that did an online encryption service for a reasonably low price. I don't remember the website, though.

    Mike

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    Maybe i won't encrypt then. I did some research and it's not that common - seems complete trust is put into the customer. The way some people void my current license i don't think i could.

  4. #4
    <?php while(!sleep()){code();} G.Schuster's Avatar
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    Zend Optimizer and IonCube Loader are widely used.
    Both are free (only the loaders that need to be installed on the server!) and are easy to install.
    If the host supports dynamic loading (dl() function from PHP) there's no need to install it system wide - it is loaded when your script is executed.

    So to keep the bad ones out - encode it!
    I'm doing it with myscripts, too, and got no really negativ response from customers.
    OK, maybe you sell the one or the other license less - but those that buy can't share your script in most cases. (except hackers that are able to crack it)

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    Have you found some customers don't have dynamic loading? I don't want to restrict people from using it.

    Nice leo by the way.

  6. #6
    <?php while(!sleep()){code();} G.Schuster's Avatar
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    Don't know, haven't had the problem.
    But many german providers (those that know what security means) disable dl().
    I wouldn't mind the ones that can't use it - if they _really_ want it they are able to change their provider.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast fLUx1337's Avatar
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    Well if you are SELLING your app, as in YOU have no right to use it anymore, then the user can do what they want - they could sell it to millions of people if they wanted too!

    Where as if you are selling licences, I think the best way is to just use a simple check, spread over different files, and make the app useless if its not valid, and make it hard for a non experienced php coder to fix.....

    But even vBulletin has been nulled/cracked every single release, so I doubt its possible, if someone wants it cracked, they can crack it...

    fLUx

    P.s. it may be a good idea to install a few secret functions where you can check its valid, even on somebody elses server, so if by chance you find your software, you can make sure its valid, and contact the owner!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    Well if you are SELLING your app, as in YOU have no right to use it anymore, then the user can do what they want - they could sell it to millions of people if they wanted too!
    Not unless i say they can't.

    I think that's a good idea, i've played around with making the code seem complicated before - echoing parts of a powered by notice here and there; having the script automatically email me the domain and then delete all traces that it has.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast fLUx1337's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pea View Post
    Not unless i say they can't.

    I think that's a good idea, i've played around with making the code seem complicated before - echoing parts of a powered by notice here and there; having the script automatically email me the domain and then delete all traces that it has.
    Well as soon as you sell it to them it becomes their property, and they can do what they want with it, no?

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    It all depends on the licence. They might have the right to use it but i'd still hold the copyright and they'd have to follow whatever my permissinos were.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast fLUx1337's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pea View Post
    It all depends on the licence. They might have the right to use it but i'd still hold the copyright and they'd have to follow whatever my permissinos were.
    Ah no I meant when you sell the rights to the website....

    Like when YouTube was sold to Google - google OWNS YouTube now, just like if they had made it themselfs....they can sell it, give it away, etc...

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    I don't want to sell the copyright, just the licence to use it.

  13. #13
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    Option one is to licence it as software, thus you retain your intellectual rights but you otherwise lose total control of the software in some regards once you hand it over. If you choose this route, make sure you encrypt it.

    This is your lively hood, so of course you want to protect your revenue source. Second option is to offer your software as a hosted service, but this has other drawbacks, such as you need to offer support for example.

    If you don't have the time (and/or inclination) to maintain the support yourself personally, then you need to hire staff. There are other issues of course but the benefit of this option, is that you have control.

    Personally, my favourite is the second option.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast pea's Avatar
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    I tried POBS but all it did was encrypt variables, function names etc. I don't see the point - you can still edit the code.


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