AskPat 664 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody. Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 664 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
We have a great question today from Noreen, but before we get to her question, I do want to thank today's sponsor and tell you about designcrowd.com. Designcrowd.com helps entrepreneurs and small businesses outsource or crowdsource custom graphic, logo, and web design from designers all around the world. DesignCrowd has more than 500,000 designers from over 100 countries ready to help you with any creative and design projects you might have. Check out designcrowd.com—that's designcrowd.com/askpat for a special VIP offer for you, just for you. Designcrowd.com/askpat.
All right, now here's today's question from Noreen.
Noreen: Hi, Pat. My name is Noreen, and my question is regarding the ebook, like the ebook you created for students wanting to pass the LEED exam. Yeah, I think it's a great idea and I'm looking to go down that road, but I have one nagging question, and that is, how can you keep people coming into your site and buying the book when one student can purchase the book and just distribute it among their friends, especially if it's, you know, an ebook in a pdf format? How do you keep students coming in and purchasing the book on their own instead of buying it once and distributing it? Thanks a lot for your help.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Noreen. Thank you so much for the question. You know, this is something that plagued me for months as I was writing my ebook, because I just had no idea how it could be protected. You know what I eventually learned? This was back in 2008 when I launched my book—that if people really wanted my book, and they wanted to distribute it, they could. It's just something that you should not worry about. There are security measures that you can take, and I'll share with you what those are in just a second, but I have learned that the more time that I try, like, I've spent a ton of time trying to figure this out and there are never things you can do. Some of them become just completely absurd to protect it, and it's just kind of unfair to the people who actually purchase it the right way, so there's that issue.
Then also, it's like, well, I guess in your question it's more people might not even know that they're not supposed to do that. Some other things that I've included in that book are, for example, on the first page, just saying, “Thank you, this is what I do for my work, I appreciate it so much, please don't share this. If you do want to share this, you can use this link here and you and your other coworkers can buy this at a discounted price, for example, or you can get a group rate, or here's your coupon code for others. You know, that helps because some people just don't know, right? Then there are people who are going to take it and they're gonna share it anyway and that's just again, not anything you can really do.
Now, I will say that there are instances where you're gonna find your book, you know, kind of illegally on the black market, if that makes sense. My book Will It Fly?, which is for sale on Amazon, I found it on a black hat site that was distributing it free for all their members and they hadn't paid for it. They just took the Kindle version and, you know, did whatever they needed to do to just make it free for everybody.
I had spoken to my attorney about this and we were talking about it and I was really upset of course, because it's like, “Hey, this is my work, I spent all this time on it,” and, yeah, these people, they're just getting stuff for free and, you know, they wouldn't pay for it anyway, right. Maybe they're gonna love my content enough to come back to the site and actually pay for things later, that's one positive spin on it. You know, glass-half-full kinda of thing.
The other part of it is that if I were to try and fight those kinds of sites and take it down, I probably could make it happen, but then, I can only guess what the retaliation could be. I mean those are the kinds of people who would launch a hack storm, you know, as a retaliation and I just that's not even worth it at all. I'm like, “okay, fine, if you're gonna do it that way, then, best of luck to you in your life if you want to take it, great, enjoy the content. At least maybe you'll put it into action and learn how a real business is supposed to be run.”
Anyway, that's my take on that, but, like I said earlier, there's other security measures that can be done. Gumroad.com, which I use to distribute digital goods every once in a while, has a lightweight sort of security measure. You can put a pdf stamp on each of the pdf files that people purchase. Now what is a pdf stamp? It's sort of an electronic stamp that you see on each of the pages of the pdf, typically, that has personal information about the person who has purchased that. It might have their address and phone number and some other information. I believe it's sort of customizable, so you could put other things on there. For example, credit card numbers or partial credit card numbers or whatever, maybe not that, but you can see how that would deter somebody of distributing that book to other people because their own personal information's on it. A lot of times, even if their own name is on it, that stops it because they just don't want their name connected to something that shouldn't be shared anyway so, there's that part of it. You could also password protect it too, which, stops it a little bit but people can obviously just share the password with each other, but. You know, Gumroad, they offer that pdf stamp that you could put on it, which, makes it so that people just don't distribute it because they don't want to distribute their own other information.
There's also some other, I mean, they don't disclose what it is exactly, but they have their own built-in abuse prevention, which I believe is connected to the account on Gumroad that the person signs up for when they make a purchase and you know when you give it to others, it's like, they can't get access to it because they don't have a Gumroad account and, you know, that kind of thing, so … You know, there are solutions out there, and you can also look up other pdf solutions for you if that's something to worry about but, again, like I said, there are a lot of them out there, but some of them just make it really cumbersome for those who have purchased it in the right way. That's just, you know, kind of unfair and, yeah, you might, I feel like a few will slip through. Maybe I missed out on a few sales here and there, but, you know, I need to focus on the sales for the people who are going to buy it in the right way and just not waste time losing my brain on stuff that sometimes you can't even control, so …
That's my take, and Noreen, I hope that makes sense and, anybody else, if you have comments about this or maybe discovered some other type of technology to help with the pdf distribution prevention, please leave a tweet and use the hashtag AskPat664, so #AskPat664 that's how we'll know that it's about this one. Yeah, we look forward to your comments.
Noreen, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it. I'm going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Just look out for an email from my assistant, Jessica, in the next month or so. We'll collect your information and send it over to you, like we do to everybody who has their question featured here on the show. That means we've sent about 663 shirts out. How crazy is that? That's awesome, and there are people wearing the shirts today. Well, at least if you go to askpat.com, and if you pass down the record button where you can record your own question, you'll see pictures of people wearing the shirt and just how awesome it is, so, check it out. Askpat.com, ask your question there.
And finally, as always, I love to end with a quote. Today's quote comes from Mark Cuban. He says, “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.” That's a scary thought, but it's also super motivating, too. Keep working hard, guys, take care, and I'll see you next week in the next episode of AskPat. Bye now.
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