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Why dongles hurt developers and buyers
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#31
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samicide View Post
that's incorrect, I currently have Komplete 7 installed on 2 machines....
Indeed. I think Popular's point was that it still is a very intrusive form of copy protection.
#32
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
And, for the umpteenth time, let's do some simple numbers... You start an audio software company. You have ten employees. Say 6 are developers, and the rest cover sales, marketing, management, testing, etc... Let's say the average salary between them is something like $75K a year, and by the time you add in the cost of equipment and space for them, maybe $100K per year. And we are still talking about a quite small company.

So just your personnel costs per year is a $1M, leaving aside all the other costs of running a business, which maybe gets you to $1.25M or some such a year. If you sell a single plugin for $50 each, just to break even you would have to sell 25,000 units per year. And that's just not going to happen for probably 99% of plugins, even in the first year or so when you'll have the most sales. Then the market will saturate and the sales will go down even further.

So that business is already dead and gone because it couldn't make the revenues required. And of course if piracy dropped by that number by 10% or 20%, then you'd be even worse off.

At $250, you only have to sell 5000 of them per year to break even. That's something that vastly more reasonable. And even then, you are just breaking even. When the sales of that product fall off, you have to create more and hope that they also do well, and of course you can't afford to hire more people to help create these new products, so the same folks have to create the new ones and support the old ones, and move them forward every time there's a new OS version or platform they have to support. And of course now piracy is even more of an issue for you as well.


So if you guys would just stop complaining long enough to think through the realities of this business, you'd understand that it's not a big money making market, and that the companies involved, even the larger ones in this market, as small companies by overall business standards, then maybe you'd understand why things are the way they are. Even a company like Waves, which has lots of products, also has a lot more employees than 10, so they still are not going to be some massively profitable company. There are likely thousands of companies out there whose profits per year are almost as high or higher than Waves' gross revenues per year.

If you can't afford it, then that's just tough. There are lots of things that we cannot afford in life and you aren't guaranteed any right to afford all the things you want to have. I'd love a Ferrari but it's not going to happen, and I don't expect them to drop the price for me. There's lots of low cost and/or free software out there to use if you can't afford the good stuff or have a problem with those company's protection policies.
I agree with everything you've said, and am proud to be %100 legit in the box.

That said, there is one shred of truth in the OP, and that is that dongles (and intrusive copy protection) do hurt the legitimate consumer. It should be the responsibility of all software companies to find the least intrusive and most effective way to combat piracy, with minimal effect on legitimate consumers. As someone else mentioned here, the least offensive thing you can do for your consumers is to offer a choice between something like a dongle and some form of online authorization.

That said, I'd much rather have my ilok 2 than have to deal with the stupid NI Service center.
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#33
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
the least offensive thing you can do for your consumers is to offer a choice
There is a choice. "We sell our product w dongle activation..buy it or not"

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
I'd much rather have my ilok 2 than have to deal with the stupid NI Service center.
#34
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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maybe I'm missing something but I don't know why some people hate the NI service center, to me it actually seemed like the best system ever other than simple serial number protection, but that's not likely with the big plugs.. the NI way doesn't require me to do anything and I only had one problem with it in all the years i've been using NI stuff, and that was when I tried to install something from an older komplete, but other than that I haven't had a single problem with it ever. I used to not mind the dongle or the ilok but now I that I don't have to reformat anymore (because of the built in image software in windows 7) I think we should have a choice, just like izotope and celemony gave me a choice. there's nothing cool about having to use a dongle or an ilok with a laptop. One day I hope to be dongle and ilok free.
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#35
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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i like the NI service center. works great for me. manages my serial numbers and updates. it's a snap.

i have an iLok on my desktop. i don't think about it unless i have to install something or update something. then i have to go to the website get the license.. download the license to the ilok and blah blah blah. it's more annoying to me than dealin gwith a serial number or something like NI's service center.

plus, i can only use those plugs on my desktop computer since i refuse to stick and stupid ilok on my laptop and travel with it. i'll lose it, it'll get broken or stolen and that 24/7 ilok support replacement thing is nonsense. so, better safe than sorry. i leave the ilok plugged into the desktop. which is a drag because i use my laptop a lot for gigs etc and that means i use replacements for the plugs that require iloks.

i'd be more than content to pay a little extra.. like say another $30 for a "laptop authorization" so that way i could use those tools that i've PAID for when i play live or when i'm working away from the studio.

also, PACE software is a bit notorious. many people just refuse to put that on their computers. google will lead to many PACE nightmares.

many copy protection schemes are just not user friendly. i like serial numbers, keyfiles and things like that. so simple and transparent. no nonsense.. and i reward those companies by going there first when looking for new plug ins. i won't buy any more plug ins that require iLok as authorization
#36
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
There is a choice. "We sell our product w dongle activation..buy it or not"
That attitude is almost as stupid as some of the piracy logic. Complete disrespect for paying customers.
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#37
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PopularDemand View Post
Dude, none of those were on your list of the top 10 companies you posted as evidence.
Dude, it was demanded that only audio developers should be compared (although I am not sure if I agree) so I mentioned 2 audio companies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PopularDemand View Post
I think it's safe to say Ableton cannot hold up sales numbers in the same area code as Steinberg.
I don`t have the numbers that you apparently do have.
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#38
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
it's not a big money making market, and that the companies involved, even the larger ones in this market, as small companies by overall business standards
I totally agree with that. It is a small niche market. The "big players" here are big fish in a small pond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
If you can't afford it, then that's just tough. There are lots of things that we cannot afford in life and you aren't guaranteed any right to afford all the things you want to have. I'd love a Ferrari but it's not going to happen...
So far nobody has complained about the sales prices of the plug-ins in this thread, or has anyone? I didn`t.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
There's lots of low cost and/or free software out there to use if you ... have a problem with those company's protection policies.
Yes, indeed. It`s legitimate however for anyone to express their thoughts on that topic.
#39
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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In all the music software threads around Gearslutz I keep seeing people claiming music software is over priced, or unfairly priced. And yet not a single poster is in the business of making music software. How would you know how much it costs to bring music software to market, or how much damage illegal downloading is doing?
You really don't. That's the simple of fact.
I agree that dongles and complicated security measures hurt the customer. But that's the story all across society. The few selfish individuals spoil things for the responsible, honest people.
I object to having my bag searched when I leave a store. In many high end clothing stores I have an assistant following me from floor to floor, watching me.
It's a real pain, but blame the dishonest.
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#40
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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I'll take a dongle over what NI uses any day. Never had any problem with dongles, and I do have a lot of keys. I can move dongled software from one computer to another very easily: just move the dongle. NI only allows me to use their software on two computers. What if one crashes or becomes inoperable? Endless pain and begging for another authorization (and, of course, they will patronize you, assume that you're lying and you have some nefarious agenda and treat you like you're doing something illegal...) They're not exactly known for their stellar customer service, you know.
#41
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue monk View Post
So far nobody has complained about the sales prices of the plug-ins in this thread, or has anyone? I didn`t.
Without reading every post for the second time in 5 minutes......
Post #2 and post #6.
#42
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boon View Post
also, PACE software is a bit notorious. many people just refuse to put that on their computers. google will lead to many PACE nightmares.
Never had an issue w iLok/Pace on any of our systems. Can't say the same for NI control center. Major studios in music and post run 16-20hr days w/ iLoks attached without issue. We use Google chrome. We cannot access ilok.com with it but who cares. Use safari/IE for a that minute you need to download/transfer licenses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaPi61 View Post
I'll take a dongle over what NI uses any day. Never had any problem with dongles, and I do have a lot of keys. I can move dongled software from one computer to another very easily: just move the dongle. NI only allows me to use their software on two computers. What if one crashes or becomes inoperable? Endless pain and begging for another authorization (and, of course, they will patronize you, assume that you're lying and you have some nefarious agenda and treat you like you're doing something illegal...) They're not exactly known for their stellar customer service, you know.
Yep!
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#43
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaMix View Post
As "spiderman" said, the biggest and most successful audio software companies use dongles. My opinion would be shaped by the amount of marketing, years in business, and general use of those big audio software companies' products I have seen in facilities around the country in my 23+ years in the industry.
Spiderman listed Avid, Universal Audio and Steinberg which now belongs to Yamaha. All are therefore also hardware companies. UAD`s DSP is not really a dongle. Steinberg maybe to the smallest extend of these 3.
It was mentioned that Izotope also offers licensing without dongles.
Flux a big company? I am not sure.
That as far as I am concerned leaves only Waves and EastWest from Spiderman`s list.
#44
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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so far I prefer s/n or cloud based registration.
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#45
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
...we have to cut your paychecks in half in order to try to make our product more competitive with the pirated versions
Pricing is not the discussion in this thread.
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#46
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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By the way: I am announcing that I`ll get the Mix bundle from Softube. 132€ for FET compressor, passive-active EQ pack plus reverb is a good deal.
I hope iLok2 (which I have here) works with the elicenser already installed.
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#47
13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
In all the music software threads around Gearslutz I keep seeing people claiming music software is over priced
This discussion is not about the sales prices.
#48
13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue monk View Post
Spiderman listed Avid, Universal Audio and Steinberg which now belongs to Yamaha. All are therefore also hardware companies. UAD`s DSP is not really a dongle. Steinberg maybe to the smallest extend of these 3.
It was mentioned that Izotope also offers licensing without dongles.
Flux a big company? I am not sure.
That as far as I am concerned leaves only Waves and EastWest from Spiderman`s list.
You can't put up HP, IBM, consulting companies, google et al that sell NO consumer software, then cherry pick to make a point. None of us have the numbers but it's not too difficult to just look at the Steinberg Division of Yamaha. Or the Pro Tools software and plug-ins division of Avid. And UAD is not a dongle? I had UAD plugins on Pro Tools back in the day and they worked without the UAD card. It is a dongle. Great plugins but a dongle.

The point is your hypothesis in the first post has holes which is fine for discussions of opinion.
#49
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
That attitude is almost as stupid as some of the piracy logic. Complete disrespect for paying customers.
As long as they don't misrepresent their product and the copy protection it entails, there's no disrespect involved. They are doing what they feel they need to, as every company does. Try going to the store and dickering with someone to have the company that made something you want to buy change some fundamental policy they have before you'll buy it. It won't happen. Your choice is buy it or not. That's always the case, and it's not disrespect. It's presenting you with a set of possibilities and a price for them, and you get to choose.
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#50
13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Without reading every post for the second time in 5 minutes......
Post #2 and post #6.
OK, I disagree with GearNerd. I don`t think that all prices for audio software are too high and I certainly don`t have the idea that the developers are swimming in cash.

However, when I buy a plug-in and a dongle I wish that money for the dongle would go to the developer`s pocket instead. I have very small funds and so when I`d like to use something I buy it - out of respect. Many companies are 1-2 person comanies and it sure is not easy for them to make it.
They could spend their knowledge on developing games or software for business processes, maybe banks or brokers...
I am grateful for the tools on offer because I am sure they all work in this area out of idealism.
...I still don`t like dongles and I don`t think the developer profits from them.
#51
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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I imagine the developers wish that as well, but it's not the reality unfortunately. They would probably lose more in the end than they would gain, particularly over time.
#52
13th November 2011
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I have no issue with the most stringent kind of copy protection employed by music/audio software companies. I see waaay too many pirated copies when I go to project studios. However now that it's 2011 we have enough software to choose from who use enough different kinds of CP, both not too obtrusive and completely offensive. Dongles? If they work, fine. If I use the laptop I need the hub anyway even without the dongle, so no big deal. But the companies should pay for them and shoulder their entire life cost. if they break they should replace them and be reimbursed by the dongle company. I refuse to pay for systems that require me to shell out when they break.

I will never, ever purchase another software that requires Pace iLoks, because the user ends up putting continuous cash in Pace's pocket when their dongle breaks or malfunctions, or when they need to do any of a number of things that should not incur further cost than the software purchase. According to Pace, the customer is always wrong. Purchase dongle insurance or buy new dongles. Sorry, no.

I am very happy to be able to do so much registering and authorizing in the cloud. Dongles are fine. Pace is horrendous. I happily haven't dealt with them in years but my numerous customer service issues with them always ended with me wanting to strangle them.
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#53
13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
You can't put up HP, IBM, consulting companies, google et al that sell NO consumer software, then cherry pick to make a point.
I didn`t. "most successful software companies" was mentioned. So I googled that. I didn`t compile that list at wikipedia.

It was demanded to only look at audio companies so I brought 2 examples. Nothing wrong with that.

You could also look at Adobe. Their software is used in another creative field. No dongles. Surely a lot of pirated Photoshop copies out there.
Graphics and web design however are a far bigger market than music production, so again it`s apples and oranges.
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#54
13th November 2011
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Interesting points of view. Thanks everybody sharing their opinions. Of course, the thread is not closed, I`m simply going now*

*I didn`t find a way yet to shut down the internet, when I got to bed.
#55
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
As long as they don't misrepresent their product and the copy protection it entails, there's no disrespect involved. They are doing what they feel they need to, as every company does. Try going to the store and dickering with someone to have the company that made something you want to buy change some fundamental policy they have before you'll buy it. It won't happen. Your choice is buy it or not. That's always the case, and it's not disrespect. It's presenting you with a set of possibilities and a price for them, and you get to choose.
I agree with being up front about it, all business' should be.

Forcing a customer to not only use but also pay for your dongle or copy protection is disrespect.

So is not recognizing that not everyone has the same working conditions (laptops, lack of usb ports, lack of internet on some studio computers to authorize.)

I do vote with my wallet accordingly often, and am happy to continue to do so while still voicing my complaints about the disrespect that some software companies show to loyal customers.

People get angry because the tools they pay for as customers are being (slightly on the best day) hindered by non customers and thieves.

edit - I went to update my ilok for pro tools 10 a week and a half ago and chrome didn't work, mozilla didn't work, 64 bit IE didn't work and FINALLY a 32 bit OLD version of IE with a bunch of settings changed manually managed to interact with the Ilok site. I'm hardly what you would call computer illiterate, I've used them daily for the last 15 years of my life in many professional settings. A lot of people I know don't even keep the internet on their studio computer, imagine trying to authorize on a third party computer while you're trying to get back to work.
#56
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
Never had an issue w iLok/Pace on any of our systems. Can't say the same for NI control center. Major studios in music and post run 16-20hr days w/ iLoks attached without issue. We use Google chrome. We cannot access ilok.com with it but who cares. Use safari/IE for a that minute you need to download/transfer licenses.
i haven't had an issue with either. but neither is infallible. i've spoken to people who have had really bad issues with iLoks and PACE. like corrupted OS etc. that required a complete reinstall of OS and all apps etc. these were all on windows machines... but i have mac friends who had some issues less severe and have sworn off iLoks.

as said, knock wood, i've had no issues with any copy protection schemes. the NI service center works perfectly for me even off line with the activation file scheme.

developers have to do something but some of them are just not very user friendly in my experience. Dongles give me a big pause when buying software and i look for all other solutions before giving in to an app that requires a dongle.

currently i only have a couple of plug in manufacturers that require iLok and there's no way in hell i'd get yet another dongle (synchrosoft etc) to run some other app. one dongle is plenty.
#57
13th November 2011
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Every single time someone has an argument for piracy (which is any variation other than outright ownership) we get these long, mangled threads that are charged with emotion, some wisdom and lots of stupidity, illegalities, economic modelling, sales strategies, tricky arguments, paranoia, conspiracy theories and what everyone out there thinks of the income of a developer.
Piracy is illegal.
It is so because it is wrong.
It is wrong because it is stealing.
It is stealing because the worker is never going to receive all his wages.
And that's how real it is. Someone who worked hard didn't get paid by someone who has privately obtained their product and uses it.
Which of you idealist piracy advocates entered the music game thinking it should be somehow cheap or free?
Music is not free.
Real music making costs money.
Advocacy for piracy is tinseltown anarchy.
#58
13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boon View Post
i haven't had an issue with either. but neither is infallible. i've spoken to people who have had really bad issues with iLoks and PACE. like corrupted OS etc. that required a complete reinstall of OS and all apps etc. these were all on windows machines... but i have mac friends who had some issues less severe and have sworn off iLoks.

as said, knock wood, i've had no issues with any copy protection schemes. the NI service center works perfectly for me even off line with the activation file scheme.

developers have to do something but some of them are just not very user friendly in my experience. Dongles give me a big pause when buying software and i look for all other solutions before giving in to an app that requires a dongle.

currently i only have a couple of plug in manufacturers that require iLok and there's no way in hell i'd get yet another dongle (synchrosoft etc) to run some other app. one dongle is plenty.
Never had an issue with iLoks, Syncrosoft, auth codes, auth files, DVDs, Service Centre... none of them broke my computers, all of them run the software, I hardly ever ever crash.
Maybe some of your friends are running illegally cracked dongle emulations alongside legally obtained dongle based apps. Could their OS be fighting twin environments, clones vs real?
Here's a thought, if pirates better explained their cracking and fake protection procedures in English, your friends might have less OS issues too... ha ha ha.
#59
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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I'm completely legit.
I did have a 10 day problem with NI's Service Center however.
I bought a new product and whenever i tried to authorize it, Service Center would auto update, but get stuck in a cycle of auto updating, never getting beyond that and never allowing me to authorize my product.
If you looked at the NI forum, there were literally dozens of people experiencing the same issue that week.
Contacting NI support I got the same replies about checking this and that. I never made any progress.
Eventually, and after a very long week when I wasn't able to use my product except in limited demo mode, NI updated the Service Center software, fixed the bug, and we all got to finally authorize and use our products.
No apology, no explanation and not much help while the bug was active.
#60
13th November 2011
Old 13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
No apology, no explanation and not much help while the bug was active.
I'd say typical NI. Every time I have an issue, all they do is try to blame me for their problems. And once it's clear it's their fault (in my case EVERY TIME, because I'm not a moron, and if it's something on my end I can fix, I do it before contacting NI), no acknowledgment and no apology.
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