SitePoint: Rather Than Freaking Out Over Piracy, We Decided To Adapt

from the good-for-them dept

AnonJr alerts us to the news that publisher/media firm SitePoint, has decided to do away with the passwords on the PDF versions of its books, noting that it seemed to only serve to piss off customers:
In the 18 months I have worked at SitePoint, barely a week has gone by where I have not received at least a couple of emails from customers questioning the logic behind our password protection policy. My response, based on the SitePoint philosophy, was always that we were taking an ethical (if largely symbolic) stance on the piracy issue. But how long could we maintain that line while simultaneously placing primacy on the customer experience, as all the while more and more requests to remove password protection poured in.

As a web development resource and learning centre, we know that we must embrace the state of flux -- not as a lofty ideal, but as a normative imperative. You can't claim to be all about the cutting edge when you're stubbornly clinging to old, outmoded processes -- especially when your own beloved customers are urging you to move on. And if we're not keeping pace with the constantly evolving face of web design and development, then we're neither a resource nor a learning centre -- we're a museum.
Kudos to another company recognizing that pissing off your best customers is hardly a way to run a business.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Free Xbox Live, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 7:46pm

    Finally they do away with the passwords!

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 8:05pm

    2 requests a week is "pouring in"?

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

  3. identicon
    lance_, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 8:12pm

    I sent them a quick thank you note. The password initially prevented me from sticking my SitePoint books onto my eSlick. I eventually worked out how to decrypt them so it wasn't a /huge/ deal, but it's great to see them improving their user experience. I'm more likely to buy more of their ebooks now.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    Surely Mike, pointing out business that are adapting is a really poor way that businesses are adapting. FAIL! Agenda! Lots of t-shirts!


    Preemptive FAIL!

    Sorry about that, hopefully I've helped fill the quota of commenters saying retarded stuff and then saying the word "fail".

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

  5. icon
    lens42 (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 12:27am

    Re: requests "pouring in"

    The mistake many businesses make, that Sitepoint apparently has not, is that you don't need *that* many complaints in your inbox to warrant action. The complaints are from the people who give a sh1t. Most people don't bother to complain, they just walk away. You may only get one complaint, but if it makes sense, you should act on it.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 5:16am

    PDF passwords are worthless anyway, especially if they've allowed printing.

    How worthless?

    It can be defeated with /Notepad/ of all things. Just turn the PDF into a PostScript (.ps) file, open in Notepad, and search for the word "eleven".

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

  7. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 5:53am


    Lol, that does seem to be about their generic response to. Completely skip half of the points and then say fail.

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

  8. icon
    BobinBaltimore (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: requests "pouring in"

    Definitely agree. A small number of complaints (or, say, dissenting voices in a forum) is generally representative of a much larger dissatisfied (or dissenting) population. Gosh, I hope Mike is reading this! ;-)

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

  9. icon
    jezsik (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    A good start

    Now why even bother with PDF files when HTML is far more versatile(notwithstanding any images they may use). As I move further and further from paper, I want a format that works on any size screen.

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

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