How to Turn Piracy Into a Sales Machine

Software piracy is a hot topic: use it for your marketing
Cliff Harris has made an excellent marketing campaign for his game: he opens a can of worms and then uses it to generate publicity for his game. Here’s how he did it.

You cannot change anybody else, you can only change your own behavior
This is pretty simple principle in life that has worked to me. Whether it’s friends, relations, teamwork, bosses or piracy. It’s pretty much wasted effort to try to change others. Sure, you can try come up with motivational bonuses for your team members. You can try to threat them to work harder, but in the end it’s up to them to decide.

You cannot stop piracy, but you can use it to generate interest and promote your games.

So, how does piracy can bring more sales?
Cliff Harris is has developed Kudos 2 game – a sequel to his popular Kudos game (Kudos Rock Legend sales statistics here).

He crafted a nice marketing plan to get publicity for the game: (not actually sure if he knew what would happen, but I have a feeling that he did)

#1 – First he made a post about “I wanna hear from the pirates”
He wrote a post asking reasons why people pirate his games. He posted the article to various other places such as slashdot, penny arcade forums, digg , arstechnica and bnet.

#2 – That topic took fire
Talking about piracy is a hot topic. It’s something that generates interest. No matter what you say, there’s always somebody against it when it comes to piracy.

Cliff’s blog was flooded with traffic (at the time of writing, I think his blog got too much traffic and could not be reached).

#3 – Then the next step: answers and the game sales page
After the topic caught fire, the natural next step was to reveal the answers. Cliff posted a lengthy post with answers, and provided some links to Kudos 2. He was answering to the questions and saying that he will do some changes to Kudos 2, so that players would be more inclined to buy the game.

We’ll wait and see if that helped
His site got flooded with traffic, and I really hope they convert to sales.

I know that Cliff is really wanting to negotiate with the terrorists pirates, but I’m pretty sure he is also doing this to drive traffic to his site and get more sales.

I think the campaign concept is brilliant.

To help out Cliff, please digg his article.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. My favorite response thus far: (technically a portion thereof)

    “The problem isn’t really that games now days are too expensive; it’s that they are too expensive to buy without testing.
    Imagine going to a car dealer and asking to buy a car, you walk around at the lot and you find a car you think that you could really enjoy driving, so you start talking to the car salesman and he tells you that you’re welcome to buy the car but you can’t test-drive it first and if you buy it he’ll have to weld the hood shut before you go.”

  2. “Another way to get around piracy. Make your game free!”

    But you’ll have to stop making games when you start starving.

  3. Another way to get around piracy. Make your game free!

  4. it is really a good idea.

    Thanks for your contribution

  5. Thanks Juuso.
    This is a good example of Aikido technique in marketing. Not to fight with evil but to reuse its power for your own success.

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