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  1. #1
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    Script Protection - Need Advice

    I am almost building a skinnable, flatfile Adsense Page Generator script (with an edit area and template modification functionality) which I intend on selling for a modest price, probably on eBay -- as well as from a site store.

    It's no biggy, but I want to take any measures I can to prevent it from being sold on eBay for 99 cents. I do realise that at the end of the day, there's no real way I can stop it -- but just as car yards put a lock on the gates (which is useless if someone really wants to steal one of the cars).. it keeps the honest people out.

    I have never released a script before. So, I'd like advice from people who have. What are some simple steps I can take to prevent the script from becoming a rampant 99 cent eBay download?

    Here's what I intend to do at this point:

    - Copyright information at the top of all PHP files
    - Downloadable only from a download area (after payment)
    - Agreement to terms on the site before download
    - Various copyright notices within the script, such as readme.txt
    - Simple licensing functionality

    I really don't want to spend hundred of dollars on encryption software. Nor to I really want to encrypt the code, as I wont mind if those who do purchse the script want to modify it for their own use (and almost everyone wants to modify scripts).

    Also, in the terms I intend for people to be allowed to use the script on as many sites as they own. The nature fo the script is to be able to build lots of either domain or subdomain adsense websites - quickly. So if I sell the script for use on one domain, it's kind of beside the point. I do realise that offering these terms will open pandoras box. People might offer the script as a service and say: "well, they're all my websites!". But I doubt that will happen too often, so I wont lose any sleep.

    Can anyone recommend a "simple" licencing system? I don't necessarily want to spend 3 weeks coding licencing functionality into the script, but if there's somkething "TOKEN" that I can set up, that would be a good idea I think.

    Basically, at the end of the day, I just want the script to scream "what you are doing is illegal" at every step of the way, should someone decide to try and pass the script off as their own.

    One idea I have for a license key is to simply include a file (or set of files in various locations).. which are required for the script to operate. I could encript that part so that no one will be able to know (at a glance) what those files are for. I'll disguise is as a function or something. However, should the script be uploaded without the appropriate license number, it will just not work. I will create a message in beg re dwriting: "You are using an illegal copy of this script, your IP has been sent to...". Something like that wouldn't be hard to set up, I think. I'll just create a form which sends the IP (and domain) to my email address so I can investigate.

    Basically, as stated above, I just want to implement some token measured to keep the honest people honest. That's about as far as I am willing to go -- and that's about as much effort as I think is actually worth putting in, because if people really want to rip the script, what can you do? Not much. But like I said, I've never released a script before, so any advice will be useful.

  2. #2
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    I just thought of an idea.

    How about if I make the license key the persons name, email address and phone number?

    I can call anywhere in the world with Skype for .02 cents a minute to verify the phone number.

    That way, I am pretty sure people will be reluctant to hand out copies of the script with their "license key"

    So when someone installs the software, it will say:

    Please enter your License information:

    Name: [ ]
    Email: [ ]
    Phone: [ ]

    I would of course encrypt the files that contain that information.

    I think that's a pretty cool idea.

    That would reduce people's willingness to post the software and license key on websites by about 99.9% I think.

    And if anyone wants to go to the trouble of hacking that out -- well they'd likely have the skills to write their own application and there's a good 90% chance they wont bother.

    ..but there's a lot of smart kids around that could hack it and would do so just because they can -- for no real good reason other than to be a smart a$$ (there seems to be more and more such people (smart A$$ses I mean) bread into society lately, imho).

    ..but then again, they'd have to get a hold of a copy "first", which would be hard -- because they'd probably have a hard time getting a copy off someone because the the licensing key thing

    Yeah, I think I'll go with that..

    ..but I am still waiting for suggestions from people who have experience with this sort of thing. I'm all ears.

  3. #3
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    It is difficult to protect scripts.

    Maybe what you need is to host a site where the subscriber has to go to do his work after signing in. Or, publish via an api where the other site has to invoke the api to get the work done.

    After all, if someone cares so little as to see generating random pages for adsense as a useful contribution to the internet, well they might be somewhat lax about paying for software too.

  4. #4
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    What I am making is not a random Adsense generator -- it's a full blow, flat file CMS with Adsense functionality. I will market it as an Adsense system.

    Basically, there are toggles inside the administration area which allow the user to toggle on or off Adsense ads on different parts of the website, or they can toggle that off and display ads of another type, or just use the areas for content.

    The site doesn't randomly generate anything. It has page creation, page deletion, title, description and meta tag features -- it generates a physical sitemap, a sitemap.txt and an xml sitemap.

    It also allows the possibility of displaying SMF forum posts on each page as they are created (by supplying the desired forum ID), as well as RSS functionality.

    The whole point of me building this CMS is for people who have NO idea how to make websites, and I am trying to combat all the cookie cutter Adsense websites online -- and the whole system is designed and ceorsive towards the user adding UNIQUE CONTENT.

    The CMS is also skinnable, wraps to any screen resolution with one click, contains a backup feature where all the files are packed into a zip with one button click, and reinstallation is as easy as uploading the files somwhere else. No messy databases required.

    Once I release the script, I am also going to add functionality where it generates symlinks and oppen_basedir includes across the server, so that the same console can handle as many other websites as the user has domains for.

    The whole purpose is to allow anyone, with any level of expertise (including none), to build a fully functional, highly SEO'd website in minutes.

    So, don't jump to conclusions and try to be smart, just because I mentioned CMS and Adsense in the same post. I find it offensive, and I am sick of people online being smart a$$ses to other people for no good reason. What is with people these days?

    Regarding your advice.. I have considered that (hosting the script).. but I'd rather not have the responsibility fo hosting the sites. It is too much of a commitment. Plus, I am an SEO "first" and programmer "second"... This script is basically a coded version of my SEO knowledge.. and hosting thousands of sites on the same server isn't going to do much for SEO.

  5. #5
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    Actually, you got me thinking..

    I was thinking about selling the script for $29.95, as I believe that the script is worth that much money. It's basically a dynamic version of the way I hand build websites for SEO purposes and I have a heap of PR6 domains with plenty of traffic. This script is basically a digital version of me building a site for someone.

    Remotely hosting the script has some negatives. For example, it's not quite as search engine friendly, but I think people would be willing to pay $4.95 per month for it. They can even use their own domains too. That's not hard to sort out. Plus, if people stick around for 12 months (which they will, because the site will actually make them money).. that's actually a profit of $59.40 instead of $29.95

    PLUS, I wont have do deal with keep notes on old versions or creating upgrade patches or anything like that. I can simply have all the sites running off one set of files and when I update one, they all get updated.

    Plus, if I remotely host the script, I could give people free three month trials and I wont be sweating about it much, because I wont be in a hurry to make a profit before someone has uploaded the script all over the Internet for free.

    I think I might consider very seriously about remotely hosting the script.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member vizine's Avatar
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    Did you manage to get your website creator/script project off the ground? It sounded interesting...!
    ...for the mobility impaired; assorted handicap lift aids

  7. #7
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    Hmmm...I know the thread is a bit old, but then too I shall post my advice.

    Instead of having the end-users to edit the core files, why don't you create plugin ability? Simply create enough no. of hooking points and then you are free to encrypt your source code.

    Also, instead of just selling the script, why don't you sell them managed solutions? Something like you host the scripts on your own server and they pay a very small fee for the managed CMS.

    I follow the second way, because it gives me complete control over technical aspects, source code security, etc.
    Web developer: PHP-MySQL, JavaScript? http://www.w3hobbyist.com

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    The makers of WHM, CPanel, etc, have a great SAAS tool for billing called WHMCS (WHM Complete Solution). Sorry can't post a link due to profile limitations, but overall it's a customer care, support ticket, billing and client management service (think $15 a month subscription or an annual license). It has an addon that handles licensing for scripts. It allows you to generate and manage licenses for your installations. Think it's like a $100 one time fee addon. Check it out. The software itself may be useful to you since you'll most likely be marketing the service, even though it's originally designed for hosting companies.

    Take care,

    Mooze


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