Jul 13

Ethical Reminders Have a Positive Impact: Increasing Conversion Rate on Digital Media Sell-Through Via “Morality Messaging”

Some time back, we identified an issue where customers were hitting product pages for our digital media content, but then abandoning the site immediately after. After seeing this, we dug in a bit further and saw that the majority of this was from customers coming directly to the site via Google or other search engines.

The best way to get to the bottom of this behavior, we decided, was to put together a survey and ask customers why they were leaving. After gathering quite a bit of feedback, the reason became abundantly clear: roughly 75% of respondents said they “decided not to purchase” because they “wanted the product for free.” (And that doesn’t include the people who would be too embarrassed to admit such a thing!)

Well, obviously making product free wasn’t an option – at least not if we actually wanted to retain licenses, continue to exist as a company, or follow any sort of ethical standards we have in place. So we struggled a bit – was this group of visitors simply a lost cause? Were they people who just weren’t going to be converted to customers? Continue reading →

Jan 12

Starving the Artist is FREE Forever. Download the Free E-Book.

My book, ‘Starving the Artist: How the Internet Culture of “Free” Threatens to Exterminate the Creative Class and What Can Be Done to Save It’ is, from this point forward, free FOREVER as a PDF download.

Yes, it sounds ironic – but if you read the book you’ll understand the point here. I wrote Starving the Artist. It is mine. I alone have the right to determine how much it should cost. And now, with all the back-and-forth over property rights, I’ve decided it’s more important for people to read my book and gain some perspective than it is to try to convince them to pay for it. After all, the book is not meant to preach to the choir. It is meant to be a thoughtful conversation on the value of intellectual property and how property rights encourage quality creative works to continue to be created.

Anyway, just go download your free copy here.

Just promise you’ll actually read it.

May 11

Apple’s Mid-Stream Policy Changes Kill a Successful Business

So iFlow Reader is being forced to end their app due to Apple’s policies requiring in-App purchases. Two key quotes from them that are definitely worth reading:

All you have to do is put the book in In-App Purchase. Sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it? But do you know how you do that? You go onto iTunes Connect, OK? And then you press some buttons and you get to a page that lets you create a new In-App Purchase item. You sit there and type in all the information, this description of the product and whatnot so Apple can presumably use that description to decide whether to approve it or not. There is no way to bulk load this. You can’t just copy your database in there. You have to do this all manually. We have access to 250,000 titles, not counting public-domain titles. We’re supposed to enter them all in manually?

What people don’t understand is that if you’re selling an app on iOS, Apple hosts that app on their server. You upload it, the customer downloads it, it gets downloaded from their servers. OK. With In-App Purchase it doesn’t work that way. You host everything. You ship it directly to the customer. All Apple does in the process is collect the money and basically give you a token that says it was collected and you do everything else. It’s essentially doing exactly the same thing as a credit-card processing company for this 30 percent. Nothing more.

Mar 11

Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over the Nook’s use of the Android OS

Microsoft Corp. has sued Barnes & Noble Inc., as well as the manufacturers of the bookseller’s Nook electronic book reader, for patent infringement related to the device’s use of Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

via Legal/Regulatory – Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over the Nook’s use of the Android operating system – Internet Retailer.

Jul 10

Quote from David Israelite, President of the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA)

I received a nice e-mail today from David Israelite, the President of the National Music Publisher’s Association, regarding my book, Starving the Artist.

He’d just finished reading it, and had the following to say:

“Starving the Artist makes a compelling case why songwriters deserve to be compensated for their creations.  Aicher exposes the illogical nature of those who try to justify the theft of music.  Everyone who loves music should read this book.”

So there you have it, if you love music, buy my book. :)

Jun 10

J.A. Konrath Is Not “Embracing Piracy” With His Free eBook Experiment

So this past Sunday, independent author, J.A. Konrath decided to run an experiment.  In order to prove his theory that piracy doesn’t hurt sales he’s encouraging people to steal one of his books for the next month.  Yes, that’s right – he wants people to freely trade, post, share, and distribute his eBook, Jack Daniels Stories for the next thirty days.  The way the experiment is set to work (note this is my simplified explanation) is that he will keep track of the current sales and ranking of the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. and see how free trading of his books affects their sales.

To help spur this trading/sharing, he’s offering a zip file containing multiple formats of the e-book on his site. He’s also encouraging those who download the file to upload it to all the file sharing sites they use and distribute it in any way possible (or, if they prefer, not distribute it at all).  Basically he’s giving permission for people to steal his book so he can see if it really hurts sales.

The problem with this experiment however, is that it’s really nothing more than a marketing tactic. By giving permission for people to share this book he’s not, in any way. embracing piracy, but rather he’s embracing alternative distribution channels.  Copyright law grants the copyright holder or administrator the right to determine the price and distribution allowed for any work owned/administered, so obviously if he’s telling people to trade the file and download it without payment, that’s his right to do as the copyright holder. All he’s done is lowered the price of this book to zero for the duration of his experiment.  (If this non-price will continue to be enforced once the thirty days are up, and if so, whether he decides to do anything about it are unknown.) Continue reading →

May 10

My New Book: “Starving the Artist” Is Now Available

If you’ve been following my updates here or on Twitter, you are likely aware that over the last nine months or so I’ve been working on a new, nonfiction book, discussing the value of creative works.  The book, Starving the Artist, focuses on how in today’s Internet age where information can be transferred for a negligible amount of money (basically for free), the underlying creation that makes up the music, movies, books, art and other types of media that we enjoy, is being viewed as something that should be free as well.  A lot of this comes from the thought process that the actual cost of a product should be determined in great part to the physical cost of the packaged good, as well as the general philosophy of those that argue “Information should be free.”

The full title of the book is Starving the Artist: How the Internet Culture of “Free” Threatens to Exterminate the Creative Class and What Can Be Done to Save It.  It’s not a book about copyright law or an argument that “free is evil” – instead it’s a discussion of our current state of how we value other people’s work and creations, and how it should not be up to us as consumers to decide whether or not we want to pay what the creator is asking (if they are asking for anything at all). In some ways it’s a response to Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of a Radical Price and tangential to Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur.

Continue reading →