Extremely low prices for software: how is it possible !?

Published on 22 november 2019

Thousands of (second-hand) software licenses are unlawfully distributed

Can you just buy software for a third of the usual price? Or is there a catch? I notice that we increasingly have to defend our prices against the extremely low prices of others in the market. Extremely low prices of probably second-hand software, which is also misused with a bit of bad luck, because one license is sold several times. We too were seduced in our early years and made one wrong purchase. Years later, we know exactly how big this problem has become.

How to offer a third of the usual price?

The supply of used software has increased enormously in recent years or should I say: came back again. Used software has always been sold, but then by specialized resellers who indicate that it is second-hand software. The digitization of the software market has increased the second-hand offer extremely. So much so that webshops have started to focus on the sale of second-hand software. The problem is that those webshops do not always mention with the product that it is second-hand software.

Misuse by digitial software

The end user who previously only agreed to physical packaging and CD, now agrees to a license key and download, sent by email. Where you can still see with a software box whether it has already been used, this is impossible to trace with a digital license key.

Scammers saw the acceptance of the digital software buying process as an opportunity for abuse. For example, they started selling one software license several times at an extremely low price. They eventually get the margin out of it…

Software webshops: The lowest price wins!

Software web shops are booming and are immediately successful in sales due to their extremely low prices. But how can they offer these prices? I come to three possible scenarios:The webshop sells used software: the webshop consciously buys used software and does not state this with the product in the webshop.
  • The webshop is defrauded itself: the webshop does not know that it buys used or abused software and therefore does not mention this with the product in the webshop.
  • The webshop misuses software: the webshop buys one (second-hand) software license and sells it several times to different end users or misuses the licensing model by, for example, selling enterprise or education software licenses to a consumer.

Can't anyone control it?

Unconscious or conscious abuse of (second-hand) software: no one can control it! At least, not as long as software suppliers do not share their information with their customers. After all, suppliers can see if a license key is already in use, but most don't share this information. As a result, no one in the market can check license keys and the misuse of software persists.

"What if the software is blocked? Then I just buy a new license."

Until a software supplier blocks a key because it has been activated too many times and the abuse protocol is initiated. Who is the victim then? All innocent end users who have paid for the software license. But also the resellers where the end users knock on the door with a blocked license.

Consumers and resellers are at the same closed door

I recently spoke to a reseller who buys software from a web shop with extremely low prices and asked him, "What if the software is blocked?" To which he replied: "Then I just buy a new license." It just so happened that the one webshop went bankrupt, with the result that this reseller, like its colleagues, cannot buy cheap licenses there again. Thousands of consumers will be affected in the near future when their licenses are blocked.

What can you do?

As a buyer you can not see from a license key whether it is used or unused, but the price often reveals itself. Do not participate in this trade. Buy your official software licenses from a reliable supplier and use my 3 scenarios to explain to your customers and colleagues how other suppliers can achieve a low price.

When software is offered for a third of the price, chances are that it is used software. Do you take the gamble?


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