Pirates are everywhere MATEEEEE ARGH!

In today’s world of trying to make money online you HAVE to plan for piracy. If you ever do anything that smells a LITTLE bit like success people will steal and run with it. Whether its the idea or the concept it is your responsibility to plan for this. I have had (what I considered) GOOD friends totally steal my content… register a 10 year old domain and point 50k of coop weight… scrap some overture terms and totally rock my world in Google in serps. This sucks yes but all is fair in love, war, and serps.

I have also had my software pirated on eBay and other places around the net I have found it free for download. Are these people scumbags? Who am I to judge. I just keep doing what I am doing. I DO NOT GIVE THEM ANOTHER THOUGHT. You just can’t I used to let it bother me but really we are all trying to make money online right? I have skimed a little content here and there who am I to judge?

OK so the main point of this was how to plan for piracy before I went off on a A.D.D. moment:

How to prevent scraping of web pages? Well this is pretty much impossible. Its the double edged sword to SEO. You want to make your site nice and index able by search engines yet you don’t want to make it easy to be read by scrapers.

This may come as a shock but I do not even try to prevent scraping and pirating. Every document taken from my server has a randomly generatedfilename.zip and included in the archive is a README.html file which contains information about my originating site and also contains a 10$ paypal donation button. I started doing this about 3 years ago and in 2005 I averaged about 80$ a day in paypal donations alone. (that is about 30k/yr for those of you in Rio Linda). Considering theses are only spread through my archived files I think this is a nice ADDON bonus income.

What about software piracy ? I have strategically planned for that also. ANY piece of software that I have designed in the last 5 years always interacts with a website. Also it always on install will ask to put shortcut icons on the desktop and ask to set your homepage to the page the software interacts with. I see SOOOO many new visitors to my sites from people who pirated my software then they end up paying for it because of the integration with the website.

Also believe it or not these pirates just get off on stealing and releasing pirated software. I never can get over how many back links I have from these pirates and even from ebay auctions.

Am I happy about it? Well…. yes …. these people have done all the grunt work for me. How can I not be happy.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

25 thoughts on “Plan for piracy, how I do it”
  1. Great advice here. I only code web applications but having it make calls to a website is pretty easy.

    I’d like to see an example of how you embed a readme.html file in your live website content without making it look like keyword stuffing and placing your donation button in there.

  2. GeorgeB-

    The readme.html is downloaded with every file and ziped on the fly. It renders on the clients machine.

  3. For content producers who aren’t making programs one of the simplest things to do is register your copyright for $30 – http://www.copyright.gov/

    While all work is automatically copyright upon creation, if it is registered you get dramatically greater financial legal advantages. I’m aware of one guy who has taken over numerous website’s of his competition who reproduced his copyrighted work.

  4. I can’t imagine pirating from one’s own peers. I’ve seen how word spreads quickly throughout the SEO community and the consequences.

  5. I couldn’t understand how paypal link in readme.html is working because those who are taking files from your server will not put readme.html online 🙄
    And software advice is great (y).

  6. right… as I stated above the readme in INCLUDED in the archive and renders on the persons computer locally…..

  7. Ha, this is funny.. Just yesterday–literally–I got an e-mail from my hosting provider saying I was approaching my bandwidth limit for one of my sites. Then about 2 hrs later I got another e-mail from them that my bandwidth was exceeded! It just so happens that I released a software product on this domain about a week or so ago, and when I saw those e-mails from my webhost I was actually psyched! (Thinking “wow, I must have a LOT of people downloadint this!”).

    So I popped on over to my webhost and looked at my AWStats log… and I definitely had a whole bunch of people download my software…only problem is they were all referred from a cracking/warez site that also happened to post a keygen (key generator) to my software this weekend. :/

    So now I have a ton of people who downloaded my software but I’m losing money because:

    a) I’ll never see a dime from these folks because of the keygen
    b) They cost me unexpected web host overage charges
    c) They cost me downtime for my site and potentially the loss of other legitimate customers wishing to download the software

    Anyway, sorry to rant but this topic is near and dear to my heart this week. 🙂 BTW, Shoemoney…excellent anti-piracy ideas you’ve thought of and built into your software.


  8. Yes yes and yes and also images, and other content… anything that is downloadable I scramble the filename, include a readme, and spit out a zip

  9. Another great tip!

    Shoe, after reading one of your posts ages ago (5 ways to make money off your site) I put a subscription feature on to my main site. I never would have guessed that visitors would go for it – but I get 1-2 subscribers per day. Listen to this man!

  10. This is a really good article, and I mean it, you know I wouldn’t say that without a reason 😉

    btw, can i see this readme file? Just out of curiousity..?

    Also, on this point.. if everything gets pirated, every idea is copied etc.. what’s the point of doing something original? You plan some original software and then someone steals it, then why not just steal it too..? What I mean is it’s not that bad at all. Don’t tell people your keywords and sites and they won’t find you..

    good luck man!

  11. Its funny you say you need to do something original then you ask to see my exact readme file after I have already explained how it works =P

    I really dont know what else to explain… its a html file with a paypal button at the bottom.

  12. Hmmm I think you didn’t understand me right, I said something slightly different.. just curious to see to see what else is there in the file. Is it like: “you dirty spammer, pay for using my content!” or something like: “you have just scraped my site, nothing bad in that, I do it too sometimes, but if you feel it was useful, pay me here”


  13. A little late in making a comment here, but in regards to smax’s situation (warez guys linking to his download page with the keygen) gotta give you my condolences…

    As Shoemoney indicates here, every potentially pirated item you have should, whenever possible, feature some way to make money for you even if it’s pirated.

    Links in an ebook to affiliate programs (routed thru your own website though, so you can change where those links go if need be – i.e. if a better similar affiliate program comes along or the original one goes outta business, etc) and/or provide a link directed to where they can join your ‘membership site’ – stuff that can also be added to software you create.

    If 10,000 people pirate your ebook or software, then having embeded affiliate product links and/or direct links to your own websites (with a tantalizing offer to lure them in) can certainly turn that lemon into lemonade. 🙂

    My 2 cents and best of luck!

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  15. That’s gotta be frustrating, but seems like you’d never be able to stomp out those problems. If only the RIAA had such a Zen attitude.

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