Linked by henderson101 on Tue 24th Jul 2012 23:42 UTC
Google "I read earlier this week about a developer who made their Android version free after the $1 game was extensively pirated. Stories like this come as no surprise, but the industry press rarely deals with the core problem - and nor does Google. [...] Whilst the aforementioned story about the Android game didn't surprise me, it did horrify me. Android is designed to be difficult to make money from, and the core issue is that it's open - with the corrosive mentality that surrounds such openness."
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No lost sales
by pucko on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:17 UTC
pucko
Member since:
2006-07-17

The matter of piracy is simple but yet (primarily) publishers are not understanding it.

I dare to say that a pirated copy is not a "lost sale", because it was not a sale from the beginning. The person would not have bought it anyway if it was impossible to duplicate it.


Now, there is a small group of people which are the exception. They would most likely buy the product if they could, but do unfortunately not have access to a credit card.
And as far as I know, there is no gift card or other means of payment for Google Play besides credit cards. And if Paid Apps is even available in that country.

This last group is where your lost sales are.
And in this case, it is up to the publisher, or even the developer to find solutions where the buyers can pay for the copy.


Speaking for myself I do not pirate any applications because: 1) I have a credit card, 2) I have access to Paid Apps on Google Play.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No lost sales
by Declination5 on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:25 in reply to "No lost sales"
Declination5 Member since:
2012-06-08

While the matter of a pirated copy not equating to a lost sale it is not exclusive either. When there is a culture of piracy surrounding a product people that would otherwise pay for apps see easy piracy and think to themselves a number of thoughts. They think things like, "Why should I pay when no-one else does?" So while initially piracy doesn't equate to lost sales once a mainstream culture of piracy is built around an ecosystem it most definitely does start hurting sales numbers.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: No lost sales
by _txf_ on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:35 in reply to "RE: No lost sales"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

While the matter of a pirated copy not equating to a lost sale it is not exclusive either. When there is a culture of piracy surrounding a product people that would otherwise pay for apps see easy piracy and think to themselves a number of thoughts. They think things like, "Why should I pay when no-one else does?" So while initially piracy doesn't equate to lost sales once a mainstream culture of piracy is built around an ecosystem it most definitely does start hurting sales numbers.


But oddly enough I have a strange anecdote:

I know plenty of people that have android phones, and they buy stuff from Google play, yet at the same time they do pirate other software etc.

And oddly enough the people that I know that have Iphones, are the ones engaging in the most mobile app piracy.

The point I guess I'm trying to ask is, where is the massive Android piracy culture? I'm just not seeing it.

Has anybody tried to quantify it?

Edited 2012-07-25 00:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: No lost sales
by dsmogor on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:23 in reply to "RE: No lost sales"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

I agree and think Google seriously dropped the ball here by making Play credit card only.* This opened the flood gates for making installing pirated apps a habit that will be really hard to change. Generally such (potential) customers are lost for good, one can only hope for acquiring new ones. They should also start building partnership network (e.g. integrating carrier payment, mPesa in Africa, offering their own prepaid accounts, etc).
Apple can put up with such restrictions bc Apple simply doesn't care about markets where its impractical. Google on the other hand are in for world domination from the start.

Making sideloading a little bit harder wouldn't harm as well. If only signed apps could be loaded, (given free service to obtain signatures), google could at least regain some control on illegal software. (Pirated versions could be shut down with simple key revocation).

Besides, I don't agree there's much to Open source nature here. Exploiting it to make piracy easier requires rom flashing, a thing that's far from trivial on most embedded devices (harder and more risky that e.g. jailbreaking). I don't believe it could be a major contributor to piracy.

* Well, they are not alone being clueless in world wide distribution (pretty much most non deeply international companies are unless they develop local resellers network). Esp. that Android rapid uptake worldwide must have taken them aback.

Edited 2012-07-25 07:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: No lost sales
by sukru on Wed 25th Jul 2012 01:00 in reply to "No lost sales"
sukru Member since:
2006-11-19

The lost sales due to piracy issue is neither black, nor white, but actually a gray tone in between.

There were actually some experiments with the ratios. For example, stardock realized there were 10 times more people on their servers than actual sales for an online game of theirs. There was also a shareware/donationware study, where people were much less likely to pay, unless pressured to.

Anyways, it is pretty much settled for the music industry with 0.99c tracks (or less). I hope it also gets resolved for the game and movie industries.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: No lost sales
by PlunderBunny on Wed 25th Jul 2012 01:23 in reply to "No lost sales"
PlunderBunny Member since:
2009-02-19

I've always thought that the no-lost-sales-to-piracy argument was pretty weak. If people have a limited amount of spare time, and they fill that time by playing a pirated copy of Unhappy Avians, they might still be able to argue that they wouldn't have bought Unhappy Avians, but what would they have done with that time if they didn't? Would they not have played games at all? Perhaps they might have played only free-to-play games, but the fact is, they didn't!
"I wouldn't have paid for it anyway" is really just a way of saying:
1. I didn't pay for it because I could get away with not paying for it.
2. I'd like to push the moral implications of my decision into a fantasy land that doesn't exist.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: No lost sales
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:13 in reply to "RE: No lost sales"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I've always thought that the no-lost-sales-to-piracy argument was pretty weak.


As an excuse you could argue that it is weak, that is true.
Where this does come into play though is when you try to estimate how many sales are actually lost to piracy and how much money piracy is costing. By counting every pirated application as a lost sale you are in fact inflating the numbers. It can make it look like you lost a load of money while in fact you might only had seen a modest increase in sales if there was no piracy.
It is of course rather tricky to know exactly how many of the pirate apps that would have been a sale but the fact that it's tricky is no excuse for inflating the numbers.

Reply Parent Score: 5