Name One Reason Why Product Activation Is Good For The Consumer

from the not-so-easy dept

A general rule of thumb if you're selling something: you don't want to add any "features" that aren't of any value to those who are buying the product. I'm sure we can all think of examples where this happens - and it always backfires. The latest example: software product activation. As the article says, this is basically "forced registration". You can't use the software unless you've got it registered. Software companies love it, because they think it means less piracy. They're wrong. Cracked versions of the software show up usually before the software is even released. All product activation really does is aggravate the customer. They make it more difficult for the end-user to install the product - and often necessitate (costly) phone calls to tech support. Worse, in the event that the computer dies (which happens way too often), you often are left in a bind until you can prove that it's really the same computer. This is a "feature" which makes the buyer's life worse while doing nothing to help the seller. Yet, short-sighted software companies keep looking to add this "feature". The latest (and, perhaps most bizarre) example is Norton's anti-virus program. This makes no sense whatsoever - since for the anti-virus program to actually work you need to pay money and have a subscription. That alone should be all the "activation" needed. Already (and I know this from personal experience) if your computer dies and you have to reinstall Norton, you need to go through a lengthly process to prove to them that you really did pay and that the new version of the software you installed should work through the life of your subscription. Now they want to add on top of that annoying "product activation"? They're actively driving their customers to look into other options. I know I am.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    alternatives, 10 Sep 2003 @ 5:01am

    But the consumer gets valuable marketing informati

    See! There's the value to you, the customer.

    Your registration info will be used to market to you. You benefit from marketing info. And if I tell you over and over how much you benefit, you will find out how right I am.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed Halley, 10 Sep 2003 @ 5:41am

    No Subject Given

    Isn't iTunes a "product activation" feature? It's offering a song for a buck. Since it's so cheap and duplicatable, the buck pays for the key and the pki which enables it. Sure, customers would RATHER have a song-a-buck without the key, but without physical media or pki, the product wouldn't be on the market at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2003 @ 7:16am

    Norton

    Norton moving to this scheme is exactly why I've removed it from all the PCs in my house (subscriptions almost up anyway) and put the FREE version of AVG on in its place.

    Thanks, Norton! If it weren't for you, I'd never have found a FREE antivirus program that works just as good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Joe Schmoe, 10 Sep 2003 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Norton

      "Norton moving to this scheme is exactly why I've removed it from all the PCs in my house (subscriptions almost up anyway) and put the FREE version of AVG on in its place..."

      Don't forget BitDefender too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2003 @ 7:19am

    No Subject Given

    Ok, one good reason. It marks you as the Legal Owner of Said product. Given the RIAA's recent lawsuit binge, I wouldn't mind Adobe, Intuit, etc knowing that I bought their product and am 'legal'.

    That's the only good reason. Otherwise it's pretty much all to the providers benefit. Please note however, that companies who are employing this are typically market leaders with little or no competition; ergo you have little choice.

    And I sympathisize with them. I've seen way to many 'borrowed' copies of software wind up on users machines.

    Beats the doogles that some of the higher end products employ.

    --RJD--

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2003 @ 9:27am

      Re: No Subject Given

      How can you be the legal owner ? Most EULA's state you only have the right to use the software, products, etc and do not own it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Schmoe, 10 Sep 2003 @ 1:49pm

    Myself...

    Myself, the bloated, slow, overly pretty interface of Norton was enough to cure me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ConcepytJunkie, 10 Sep 2003 @ 6:00pm

      Re: Myself...

      If by "overly pretty" you mean a confused disorganized mess made by people so deluded they think a Web page is an ideal UI for an application.

      Norton's recent software is some of the worst UI I've seen this side of that spawn of the Dark One himself, Lotus Notes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Habari maalum media, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:06am

    ativation of reason

    I look for the serial number of reason adapted to protools

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.