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Thread: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

  1. #1
    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
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    Question How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Hey all,

    As some of you might know, I have a small but growing collection of programs and games I've written (this isn't a self-promoting post, but for the curious, it's at code.KevinWorkman.com). I don't make any money off of it or expect tons of visitors, and it's mostly for my own personal use- exploring the realm of indie development, trying different deployment strategies out, helping improve my non-Java (web) skills, etc.

    Anyway, recently an ad-driven download site (softpedia.com) took a few of my games and offered them for download from their site. I'm not sure that I can be mad because all my stuff is free and open source, and they emailed me telling me about it, and they do link to my site (although the link is not exactly easy to find, and it's not the one I'd give out to the public). However, it is weird to think that other people are making money off my free programs (not a fortune, but something like 75 people have downloaded my stuff from there).

    But maybe most importantly, I never really intended for any of those games to be "releasable". They were mostly experiments, so they contain some pretty obvious problems. I think I'd be completely fine if they carried the same kind of disclaimer on their site that mine contains (mostly just a description of known problems, or the fact that one was a Ludum Dare entry developed in 12 hours). I emailed them, but they did not respond.

    So, my question is, does anybody have any experience with the Softpedia website? I had never heard of them before receiving the notification that they were using my programs, but my googling tells me they're pretty popular. Are they a legitimate download site, or are they just ad-riddled search engine bait? Am I being too sensitive? Not sensitive enough?

    Here's the link to a list of the programs I wrote that they are using: More programs by Kevin Workman - Softpedia Disclaimer: none of the ads seem NSFW, and the site doesn't appear to have a reputation for malware, but approach at your own discretion.

    Any opinions are appreciated, as I have no experience in this category!
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Sean4u's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    That's life in a cottage industry. Someone in a suit from the city is always going to take your stuff for peanuts and make a huge profit selling the product of your labour to others. A more restrictive licence won't help you unless you're prepared to (hire lawyers to) enforce it. That is one route.

    The other route - if I've understood you correctly and this is a reputation / eyeballs-on-my-web / communicate-with-my-users issue - would be to include plenty of your own 'placements' in the portable content. Maybe you could make "Escape from Monster City" mutliplayer and host the 'official Monster City forum', or the player / server registration site? How about hosting the help / grafitti walls on your domain? In-game upgrade pages on your domain? I guess the trick is to get the balance right between I-own-this-and-can-play-it-use-it-even-when-I'm-not-online and the need to stop the user and direct them back to your own home at some point.

    I'm biased against the defending ownership of digital product method. That will always require law to make it work, and the law is always going to be most accessible to the wealthiest litigants. I think the future lies with cottage industry raising its game and giving its 'customers' better reasons to come back to them than go to hypermarkets.

    I'm interested in the proposition of a difference between 'legitimate download site' and 'ad-riddled search engine bait' - I had no idea the two could be separate things!
    Last edited by Sean4u; September 6th, 2011 at 11:19 AM. Reason: weird unfinished sentence

  3. #3
    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean4u View Post
    That's life in a cottage industry. Someone in a suit from the city is always going to take your stuff for peanuts and make a huge profit selling the product of your labour to others. A more restrictive licence won't help you unless you're prepared to (hire lawyers to) enforce it. That is one route.
    I'm not at the point where I want to even think about lawyers- especially because a big part of my motivation is to create sample code that novice programmers can use to play with to learn the cool, fun parts about programming. It's a little annoying that softpedia is divorcing my programs from the entire point of them, but adding licenses and getting worked up over it would seem to also defeat the goal of having people freely take my code and work with it. It's a bit of a damned if I do, damned if I don't situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean4u View Post
    The other route - if I've understood you correctly and this is a reputation / eyeballs-on-my-web / communicate-with-my-users issue - would be to include plenty of your own 'placements' in the portable content. Maybe you could make "Escape from Monster City" mutliplayer and host the 'official Monster City forum', or the player / server registration site? How about hosting the help / grafitti walls on your domain? In-game upgrade pages on your domain? I guess the trick is to get the balance right between I-own-this-and-can-play-it-use-it-even-when-I'm-not-online and the need to stop the user and direct them back to your own home at some point.
    Yeah, many of my qualms might be solved by something as simple as a splash screen that takes the user to my site when clicked. I've been slowly building up to bigger and more functional programs, and I think they're almost to the point where they might be usable. I've been hesitant because my web skills are pretty lacking, but I think it might be time to get more serious about "branding" my stuff.

    None of my games are anywhere near the point you're talking about, but I could see working on something bigger in the next few months, so I'm thinking about how to act in the future. It was just a bit of a shock, and it makes me wonder what kinds of "problems" I'm going to have down the road. But I don't even know how much I care- part of me is just flattered!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean4u View Post
    I'm biased against the defending ownership of digital product method. That will always require law to make it work, and the law is always going to be most accessible to the wealthiest litigants. I think the future lies with cottage industry raising its game and giving its 'customers' better reasons to come back to them than go to hypermarkets.
    I can absolutely agree with that. I've got a bit of a long-term plan with my stuff, and that's pretty close to how I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean4u View Post
    I'm interested in the proposition of a difference between 'legitimate download site' and 'ad-riddled search engine bait' - I had no idea the two could be separate things!
    Hahaha good point!
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    Administrator copeg's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Someone will always try and get something for free...be it softpedia offering your work and making money off of ads, or users copying (and in some cases stealing) the application. I have a few aps in softpedia and it doesn't bother me much. For some of my aps I require users to register or the software won't work....so if a copy is downloaded and the version isn't registered it will take you to my website to register. Pain in the butt for both the programmer and the user - and it quite possibly stopped a few from using the software - but it adds a bit of piece of mind that all usage gets routed through my website (and allows me to track usage of the software for marketing purposes). If you want more details on how I went about doing this let me know

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    mmm.. coffee JavaPF's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    This is very interesting Kevin.

    I suppose once you upload open source applications into the public domain, people are going to use/distribute them in ways in which you may not necessarily of intended. I think there are quite a few websites like Softpedia. I know they can potentially make money off your work, but on the up side, it is giving your applications exposure.

    I definitely suggest linking new programs into your website. Either providing clickable links or via a registration process. It'll give you a good insight into who is using them. You should also be benefiting from their popularity, it would be nice to be rewarded for your efforts.

    I have enjoyed playing your games so I will be looking forward to your future releases

    I will happily host/promote anything here on the forums.
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  6. #6
    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Quote Originally Posted by copeg View Post
    If you want more details on how I went about doing this let me know
    I don't think my games or I are at a point where registration is or should be required, but I would be interested in checking out your website and/or programs, if you have them available to the public.
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  7. #7
    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaPF View Post
    I suppose once you upload open source applications into the public domain, people are going to use/distribute them in ways in which you may not necessarily of intended. I think there are quite a few websites like Softpedia. I know they can potentially make money off your work, but on the up side, it is giving your applications exposure.
    Yeah, that's true. I suppose the worst case scenario is that a bunch of people download my early games, which isn't really a bad thing at all. Maybe this is just a wake up call that I need to start branding my stuff a little more.

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaPF View Post
    I definitely suggest linking new programs into your website. Either providing clickable links or via a registration process. It'll give you a good insight into who is using them. You should also be benefiting from their popularity, it would be nice to be rewarded for your efforts.
    That's my next step- adding a splash screen or something. I guess I have to figure out a way to make that not ugly!

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaPF View Post
    I have enjoyed playing your games so I will be looking forward to your future releases

    I will happily host/promote anything here on the forums.
    Thank you very much! I'll keep you updated.
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  8. #8
    mmm.. coffee JavaPF's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWorkman
    That's my next step- adding a splash screen or something. I guess I have to figure out a way to make that not ugly!
    I dabble in graphic design. Nothing special but I could possibly come up with something for you.
    Let me know if you have any ideas..
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    Administrator copeg's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWorkman View Post
    I don't think my games or I are at a point where registration is or should be required, but I would be interested in checking out your website and/or programs, if you have them available to the public.
    Algosome Software Design I just looked and yikes, its been a while since I've updated that site - or updated the software (some of which is almost embarrassing), but I've got no time these days.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How Should I React to Softpedia Using My Programs?

    I have some free software (one and another in standby) on their website. I submit my software on their site and I'm really happy of them. Like some people said, it give you the opportunity to show your work on the net and to link to your own website.

    I think they are ok it alwways good to have a reference on your own website as well like for MINE.

    So really, I don't think you must be afraid of that.

    Take it easy...

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