I'm a big fan of two things: vulgarity and people who treat others well. If you share similar passions, then this story is for you. While it's understandable for content creators to react negatively to those that "pirate" their work, Techdirt has highlighted instance after instance showing those that have chosen to react in a way that is more beneficial to everyone. It's kind of sad that, when people behaving kindly to one another (even after someone has tried to infringe on their copyright), it becomes something we have to point to, but consider the reaction of Chris Baker, creator of the F***ing Word Of The Day iPhone application, as shown on the The Next Web blog.
Basically, the story boils down to this. A person on the Xsellize iPhone app message board put out a thread request for someone to crack Chris' app, without further explanation. Chris showed up immediately and responded to the poster:
Hello! I'm the creator of the ******* Word of the Day website and more particularly the F-ing Word of the Day App. First of all, this is a huge compliment! As a person who pirates content, I've always placed the moment people are pirating MY goods as the exact time of my arrival, as it were. So congratu-*******-lations to me. With that said, I'd like to just offer that while I'm employed with a decent salary in the city of New York, I am by no means rich...I write all the sentences myself and find the words to use myself and I do this in my own personal time and essentially for free. Sure, I learn a few words too, but I was already a pretty well-read guy, and could have done without the site.
What's my point in all this? Go ahead and pirate the app. It cost me 1500 bucks to have programmed. It's not even a month's rent for me. But if you think the site is cool, and you want to pay for one eighth of a Stella Artois for me, hook me up with 99 cents. The rapture will be here soon, I could use the drink.
It's just... perfect. Communicate with the potential customer, let them know you'd appreciate their actual patronage, mention that pirating isn't a big deal but it'd be cool to purchase in an agreeable way, and wrap it up with a joke. About the only thing off here is a willingness to drink Stella Artois, a name which translates to english as "sewer water".
And the reaction from the original poster? He thanked Chris for responding and then clarified why he was looking for a crack. It turns out that he has no credit cards or banking cards with which he could make the purchase from the app store. But he said he was so enamored with Chris' response that he rescinded his request for the crack and promised to figure out how to purchase the app, even if his situation meant it would cost him a few extra bucks to do so. But Chris wasn't done:
Sir, you've warmed the cockles of my heart. I believe Apple allows you to gift apps to people, and I'm feeling charitable so if you want to email me your address or whatever in the hell they require to complete such a transaction, I will buy the app for you. I only ask that you give the ******* thing a good rating. I hope this comment thread goes down as one of the more unexpected things that happens to you online. I like the unexpected. And I like making people happy, even when something stupid like learning vocabulary is involved.
Sigh, bliss! And take a look at some of the reaction further down in the thread. It looks like Chris' acting like a human being has garnered him a few more fans and paying customers:
-This thread makes me want to buy the app just to honor such an awesome attitude. If only more developers would have this positive and constructive humbleness towards the consumer, things would go better.
-Chris, I just bought your app for the support!
-I am not a fan of vulgarity, and I would not normally buy or use your app, clever as it is. But your mission is admirable and your heart is gold and I just bought a copy of your app simply to reward you. I'll now delete it, because my kids use my phone and wow, but you know, you're awesome.
-Chris, as a result of this thread I want to offer my body to you. You make me feel like more of a woman than I have ever felt before. I have toys and dirty videos. Please contact me.
Okay, okay, I made that last one up. But the point is, if you treat people like they're people and not the $.99 they might otherwise represent, you will reap the benefits. Bravo, Chris.