This post from Ed Foster explains why I've always opposed schemes for product activation - they make an assumption that the end user is a thief, and force him to prove otherwise. That's not a good way to start a relationship with a customer:
"I purchased Adobe Acrobat Pro 7 last month," a reader recently wrote. "Several times since installing the software I am prompted to reactivate the product. After three successful Internet activations, I was directed to call Adobe. The person who answered the call accused me of installing the product on several PCs. I assured him that I had not done so. After reviewing my PC configuration he told me that activation does not work on RAID disk arrays. I had to install a non-RAID drive to allow Acrobat to activate properly."
Try as he might, the reader couldn't find anyone at Adobe who would offer a better solution. "I was forwarded to tech support who determined there was no workaround for this problem," the reader wrote. "Tech support's only suggestion was to purchase a volume license disk, since it does not have the activation 'feature.' They forwarded me to sales. The sales department would sell me a volume license CD, but I would have to pay a full volume license fee even though I only want one working copy. I asked for a supervisor and, after discussing the problem, he stated that I was not the first person to have this issue. He escalated the issue to 'upper management.' Two days later I was informed there was no solution for this issue. How frustrating."
That's a lost customer. The assumption made here is that activation prevents fraudulent use, thereby bringing in money. But does it? The customer in question had a normal setup (RAID is only going to get more common), and was given stupid responses (just pay us more money to make the problem go away). Look at what the end result of this is for Adobe:
- This customer was lost (read the whole article)
- They got bad publicity - Ed Foster, this post, additional word of mouth on it
- What did they gain?
When someone from management approaches you and asks for product activation, or cripples, or timebombs, ask yourself just how much negativity that will bring back - then try to argue against the scheme. It's not worth it.