Piracy is a problem, but can it be used to help? Why fight them when you can use them to your advantage?
iCombat (a take on Combat for Atari) have shown that piracy can be used to help promote and drive sales of a product.
After finding out that he had a 5 pirates copies : 1 actual sale ratio, he decided to act by implementing a version for pirates that displays a page after level five (the actual game has a total of 20 levels) that reads:
Hi if you have been directed to this page it’s because we see that you have a pirated copy. While we are glad you are interested please understand that we want to continue making it better, but to do that we need people to each pay for their copy. If you want to continue using please purchase today.
The reason behind this is that pirates would not want to buy the product in the first place, therefore he is not actually losing any money.
The idea is that pirates are basically a community that can be used to spread the app. If they feel that the app is good, before discovering it is a ‘trick’, then they will spread the word and it could generate a small amount of sales. It would run like a viral marketing campaign.
I will hopefully follow up this blog post tomorrow looking at how piracy can help promote a product.