Friday, March 30, 2007

Xslimmer 1.2.2 crack released! So what?

I've just found out that Xslimmer 1.2.2 has been cracked. It's not too bad, this release has been out for a few weeks already, while previous versions had the dubious honor of having been pirated in only a couple of days. Is this because we have strengthened our protection system? No, it is not. We haven't changed a bit (or a comma) of our code in that respect. Are we planning to do so? No, we are not. We have too little time and too many things to do. We prefer to spend our precious sleepless hours working on new features and customer support rather than fighting some infantile dumbheads.

The situation is very simple. We have made a lot of effort, and people seem to like our software. If they keep buying copies, we can continue improving Xslimmer and working on the other ideas we have. Otherwise, we won't. Each individual sale is worth much more than the 12 bucks we charge for a license. Each sale is a recognition that we have made something useful and valuable, a boost of morale, a reason to keep on working to the expense of our free time and our families. We strive to provide our customers the best service we possibly can. You see, it's not only the money, it's not even the prospect to become full-time indie developers one day: it's our pride and reputation that are at stake.

I believe that this is clear not only for ourselves, but for the vast majority of the "Mac community". As you may know, being recent switchers we are relatively new to the Mac family. One of the most notorious aspects of owning a Mac involves the feeling that you are part of a group of nice, discerning people. You don't buy a Mac for nothing: you buy it because you are looking for something special. Mac owners are warm to newcomers, passionate about quality and highly discerning about the difference between a carefully crafted application and a quick, careless hack. The first Xslimmer crack came out in less than 24 hours after release of version 1.0. And some of our well-known competitors are freeware applications. And still, some people buy copies of Xslimmer. It doesn't mean that our competitors are crap, it means that people will recognize the different approach in each application, and will buy Xslimmer if they believe it suits their needs best. And, of course, most don't consider downloading a crack, because they recognize the work that has to be done to put an application together. I had not seen this passion in the Windows or the Linux worlds, and I am proud to have become a member of this community.

Other authors
have previously explained that most people that use pirated versions of your software will probably never buy it, even if the crack did not exist. Having lived among Mac users for a while, I'm a convert to this theory now. I'm even inclined to measure it. This post is, in fact, a little experiment to test to what extent piracy affects sales. If you are proud to be a Mac owner, feel free to spread the word: there is a cracked version of Xslimmer going around, but also a legitimate one whose purchase is the way to show your support for its development. Do you think our sales will decrease significantly? I'm willing to bet that they won't. But I'll measure the conversion ratio (sales to downloads) during the following days, and will post any meaningful results here, so we'll see.

A final reason not to use pirated copies of Xslimmer, if you need any, is that we are planning to release version 1.2.3 next week. Version 1.2.4 will come a couple of weeks after that. And so on, until we run out of ideas. Do you want to depend on some random drone to enjoy the upgrades? We'll see in a few days what the results of our little experiment are, but I doubt you will.

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