Over the last two years we seen some clever schemes to convert piracy activity into dollars. As we have mentioned many times, the piracy groups and crackers themselves are rarely out to make money. They enjoy being part of the scene and receiving attribution for cracking the latest release of Vendor XYZ’s product.
It’s actually the individuals and affiliate sites between the piracy groups and users of pirated software that take advantage of this activity and re-purpose all the released pirated software and other media to make money. Think about Kim Dotcom and the $42M in assets generated from his cyber locker site Megaupload. In the wake of the FBI’s takedown of Megaupload and the focus on Cyberlockers from a DMCA perspective, there have been more clever schemes coming out to make money from pirated software.
For example, sites like ShareCash.org, CrazyUpload.com and others have set up a model to pay end users and affiliate sites for software downloads (for example: 1 point per download, at 5,000 points they pay $10 USD). As you might imagine, because of this ratio in this model users will seek the popular pirated releases to generate a high volume of downloads. So how do services like Sharecash make money? Selling advertising intelligence and survey results.
This is yet another reason to stay away from anti-piracy tactics focusing solely on limiting availability through DMCA notification. Invest your time and resources into gathering intelligence on who is adopting this software (not just downloading it) and leverage that intelligence for programs to convert these users into legal customers.