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Piracy, Ad Blockers and paid vs free

11-10-2014, 12:26 AM
#1
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 248
Piracy, Ad Blockers and paid vs free

So I haven't found too much info on this and thought I'd post. I'm curious if others with paid apps have had some bad experience with piracy? For my paid games I tend to deal with a lot of piracy and it's almost not worth releasing as paid simply due to the amount of people pirating the game. More likely than not I'll be going free from here on out. But then comes another issue: Ad Blockers. Now airplane mode is not something we can control. If the user turns it on then bye bye ads and so much for trying to make any cash. But ad blockers I feel you can have a little more control over : any tips from any fellow devs to work around these?

I'm curious to see if anyone else is experiencing a high rate of piracy? I've found app download sites that list paid app .IPA files that you can download. I haven't looked into it much but I probably should. Every app you can think of is on these sites. Any receipt verification post install that people do to limit playability if the user did not actually purchase the app? I'm thinking of looking into something like this.
11-10-2014, 03:42 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
I think you could detect if the device is broken, then go from there. Perhaps even demanding a confirmation button is pressed which sends you an email. Just some deterrent really, though I would imagine it might be better to focus on the real fans.

11-10-2014, 02:02 PM
#3
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 102
IMO, it's a waste of time trying to block piracy in any way. Just concentrate on the millions of users who don't pirate.

The only useful thing you might want to do is detect if a device is jailbroken and disable analytics for jailbroken devices, as the chances are they'll be skewing some of your statistics.
11-20-2014, 11:59 PM
#4
I wouldn't worry too much about ad blockers. I suspect the vast majority of people can't be bothered blocking ads, and those who do block ads were highly unlikely to click on any ad in the first place.

So instead of dwelling on ad blockers, I'd suggest you put that time/effort/worry into polishing your game.
11-21-2014, 12:16 AM
#5
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,065
if your game is being pirated in some ways it is a good problem, but wait until you have it!

I generally think whatever efforts you make will hurt legit users in some unintended way and get you no more sales.

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
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12-03-2014, 02:27 AM
#6
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 12
A while ago I used a free 3rd party library / website that was supposed to do the online receipt validation for IAPs. Unfortunately most jailbroken devices with tools for faking the IAP would also block this particular website so there was no way for my app to know if the website was down or if it was being blocked. I sent result codes to my server and found quite often attempts to circumvent the IAP. At its peak maybe a few hundred per day, mostly duplicate receipts which were being fed to the app by jailbroken device tools.

Unfortunately the 3rd party library wasn't very good, I think because it was free and I think they just gave up supporting and developing it. Often their server wouldn't be reachable or would return a failure on legitimate purchases. So while I was trialing this code live in my app I was also giving customers the benefit of the doubt and not denying any transactions but I was logging the results with my own server.

After being frustrated with this 3rd party library I decided to implement my own receipt validation using PHP on my own servers. I had it 99% working but then Apple changed the way receipts were handled in iOS 7 and deprecated much of the receipt data structures that I was using so I chose not to upgrade the code to support the new API due to the amount of work involved.

The most important thing you need to remember is that your app should never accidentally penalize or inconvenience legitimate customers. They are your bread and butter. Also not all pirated sales are lost sales as most would not have bought anyway.
12-03-2014, 04:28 AM
#7
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 10,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by megaderek View Post
Also not all pirated sales are lost sales as most would not have bought anyway.
Very true, i mean if someones going to be cheap and not even buy a 99c game and pirate that wouldnt be a lost sale as they wouldnt buy it in the first place.

I'm stunned people even pirate 99c games, i mean 99c ! How bad are things !? (puts on old mans hat) - Back in the 80's games were $12-$15 each and kids didnt have a lot of pocket money so would tape lots of game, i was one of them, do i feel guilty now ? Course i do, but back then i bought as many games as i could (not justifying it) but games were dear back then.

Years later games are one or two dollars ! I think its embarassing when people have to pirate those cheap games !
12-03-2014, 06:56 AM
#8
Joined: Nov 2014
Location: China / Canadian
Posts: 605
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psj3809 View Post
Very true, i mean if someones going to be cheap and not even buy a 99c game and pirate that wouldnt be a lost sale as they wouldnt buy it in the first place.

I'm stunned people even pirate 99c games, i mean 99c ! How bad are things !? (puts on old mans hat) - Back in the 80's games were $12-$15 each and kids didnt have a lot of pocket money so would tape lots of game, i was one of them, do i feel guilty now ? Course i do, but back then i bought as many games as i could (not justifying it) but games were dear back then.

Years later games are one or two dollars ! I think its embarassing when people have to pirate those cheap games !
Unfortunately its a fact you have to deal with.
12-03-2014, 09:43 AM
#9
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
well they do not pirate a 99 cent game with the perception of being just shy of a dollar.

If you install some "third party" shops you do not ever get a $$$ sign anywhere, so its not like the "pirates" make a price check before downloading from source x. They just do, everything is free and cosy.

In the end fighting piracy is a pointless effort. Instead if fighting thoose who would never pay anyway focus on your actual customers. Monetize them better, offer them better services and possibilities to help you out by spending money in your app.