Let me ask you a question. When you leave your house to run out and do errands, do you leave the doors and windows unlocked, unprotected, or even open?
I’m guessing, “of course not!”.
So why leave your website unlocked, unprotected, or even open?
If you create and sell product, or have opt-in offer products, then you naturally enough want to control who receives those products.
Either people buy them, or they trade their email for them. People who did neither do not have the right to those products. If they come to posess them, they were pirated or stolen.
What do you do if you find your stuff being shared freely?
There’s a world of difference between finding out someone has gained unauthorised access to your home and stolen something because you left an open invitation, and, chasing the culprits down the street or hunting them down and reporting them to the authorities.
In the web world, the latter means spending hours (or money paying someone else) finding where your pirated copies are being offered and shared – blackhat sites, torrent sites, mirror sites etc.
Then serving a DMCA notice to remove your illegally referenced product. Meanwhile gaining the ire of some dedicated blackhatters who maliciously continue to propagate new places to post your pirated work, just to spite you.
To do this effectively, and many do, you either expend a lot of energy or outsource the work and pay someone to monitor and serve DMCA’s.
Some marketers take the view that chasing down the thieves is time and energy better spent on creating and marketing ie money-generating activities.
The way these marketers deal with theft is to say, “it’s going to happen so put up with it but liberally sprinkle monetisation trails throughout your products in case the thieves decide to buy something from you later.”
Now that is not a bad approach. A number of blackhatters avail themselves of pirated products either because they cannot afford it at the time or they want to review before buying. Of course there is a core of blackhatters who simply believe in never paying for anything they can get for free.
Two lessons here:
1. When you create product, make sure you brand every page, put in links to your sales pages, and maybe include a special offer. (I’ve even known a marketer who offers a ‘blackhat special’! Personally I wouldn’t want to be alerting people to blackhatdom!)
2. Go to the websites of the marketers who promote “don’t worry, monetise” and see if you can find an open window to easily access their product, or, run their product through a search engine and see how many pirated copies are out there. You won’t. They lock things down.
What you will find on (2) is that they do not leave their house open to enable thieves easy access. They lock down supply of their product as much as possible.
Of course, like a house, no matter how much you lock and protect, if someone wants what you’ve got, they will find a way.
You can’t easily stop a genuine purchaser from sharing your product link with friends or posting their copy on a site for others to download.
What you CAN do is make sure you lock up the house to remove unnecessary risk.
6 TIPS FOR REDUCING PIRATING OF YOUR PRODUCT
1. Implement security on your website. Look up plugins like Wordfence
2. Make sure your site is not visibly open – see my previous post
3. Avoid using “Download” or “Thank you” in your download page titles – these are searchable to locate products
4. Investigate using more secure storage eg a secure CDN or a dummy inaccessible website for hosting downloads ie other than where your sales page resides
5. Use a secure download manager (check available plugins)
6. DO NOT save your products as PDF or DOC or XLS – save as ZIP – it’s not as easily searchable
Let me know if you have any other tips!
These measures set up upfront only need to be done once. (Unless your site becomes compromised).
A little prevention early on may save some pain later.
It’s not foolproof. But think about it next time you leave your house – want to close and lock or leave the house open and unprotected?