I have a small issue, and I'm curious for your opinion. In short, I know people are sharing their Tekpub accounts (I'll tell you how I know in just a minute**) and that's no shocker (honestly). There are people who simply can't afford it and I figure if I can help them out now - they'll do something nice in the future for someone else.
Seriously - I get asked every day for free subs and, if the person needs it, I give it to them.
I also know that "pirates gonna pirate" - and it's not them I'm worried about. I'm not interested in chasing/policing so they can live with who they are.
The problem I'm facing are the casual corporate "we have no choice" devs. When I go through the logs I can see a number of IP addresses that "go off" whenever a new video is released. A single account, 30 downloads commencing when a new episode is released (triggered by the RSS feed).
Curious, I just do an IP lookup and that's how I find out. Big Company, and a quite a few smaller shops. One shop had 75 downloads go off at once... for a single account.
I know this because we track every download. Every RSS feed has a token associated with it, and that token is your unique user account. The download request comes in, we identify who you are, your IP address, the date, etc.
If the IP address differs (which happens very often) you can chalk it up to home computer, iPad, iPhone, redownload... so 5-7 times is not abnormal.
It's the > 20 downloads/account that get me. Sometimes all to the same IP address (which is usually the major tell).
There are probably many reasons for this - corporate purchasing is too strenuous, boss says "no!", people hating their job and spreading the hate as wide as they can... who knows.
I don't want to embarrass or shame anyone. I don't want to report them, make them feel lame, or get them fired.
What I want to do is ask them to pass what they've learned on to others. I'm sure some of you reading this know exactly the situation I'm talking about and it's likely that you haven't much thought about what this means to Tekpub as a small business. And I'm sure you don't much care.
The only thing I would ask of The Sharers out there: if you've learned something from us, or if we've made your career any better: please pass it on. Buy someone else a sub (Tekpub, PeepCode, Pluralsight, Treehouse... take your pick).
I feel like I can safely speak for the other companies out there that we're in this to make your careers a happier, more informed and exciting place to work. Pulling money out of you won't serve anyone! And I have no interest is "settling up" with you if your a Casual Sharer.
Just push it forward. That's all I ask. Turn this weird situation into something good for all.
** We keep pretty extensive activity logs on the site, as you can probably tell. In addition to our logs, Vimeo keeps an amazing package of statistics for each video download, including reverse DNS and IP lookups so we can see geographic region information and so on. The patterns that come up smack you pretty hard in the face :).
When we push a video, the RSS subscribers get notified immediately and many of these clients default to download right away (iTunes does this). This is how we can tell who's sharing: a single account with a single IP initiates a crazy number of downloads.