Wednesday, July 23, 2008

GoDaddy [Bad Daddy!] is Charging for Spam Complaints - Ouch!

Logo_hdr3 Seems like the folks over at GoDaddy are charging their email marketing customers if they get spam complaints. broke the news when they got an email with this information sent to them from a GoDaddy customer. GoDaddy will now charge customers $200 to "manage" their complaints. Even worse is that if the customer wants to then leave them and transfer their domains to another registrar they can't do it until they pay GoDaddy $75!

To cover all of their bases, it appears that if one of their customers uses an Email Service Provider outside of GoDaddy to advertise their GoDaddy-hosted site and they get complaints from one of their customer's recipients, they could be hit with a fine or other action.

Wow. Serious Email Service Providers (ESPs) like VerticalResponse usually do this as a service to customers and won't allow spammers to use their services. But let's face it, everyone gets a complaint now and then, even customers with best intentions. The difference is that serious ESPs want to help their customers learn best practices about email marketing and not turn complaints into a new revenue stream.

If you use GoDaddy to host your website be careful. And any time you're looking for a serious ESP, make sure you ask if they have a deliverability and abuse department - most serious ESPs do, looks like GoDaddy might not.

IMO, GoDaddy should stick to what they're good at, being a registrar. Leave the email marketing heavy-lifting to those who "want" to do it and help businesses grow.

Here is our recommendation of a hosting partner you can leverage:

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Friday, July 18, 2008

Google Checkout - Charge Back Policy - Stinks

Why am I ticked off with Google Checkout -- Merchant Services? Before I go down this path I need to mention that I really like the value Google Checkout has provided us and that the minds at work at Google totally are exceptional. They have in the past 12 months saved us over 3% in operating costs and further more using Google Adwords we have earned more income via the web than with any other partner.

So why am I ticked? Our parent company and divisions we sell a lot of software over the web. Most of it is try - before you - buy. This method is widely used in the software industry to allow consumers to try out the entire product and make sure it meets the specifications and functionality before the consumer decides to buy the product. Thus, when the consumer decides to purchase any of our products they are making a conscience decision that this product meets their needs. There is no mistake about this.

When we get Google Merchant services notify us that a customer 4 months ago decided to ask for money back and reverse the charges. We clearly get ticked off with such a request, since we have a policy that all sales are final.

To make things worse we decide to sign-up for Google Payment Guarantee Policy -- which means that we will abide by all policy rules setup by Google. Guess what merchant services tell us...wait better yet -- let me post the exact e-mail:

-----Original Message-----
From: Google Checkout Chargebacks []
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 11:29 AM
To: 'Anowar
Cc: 'LicenseDNA Project Manager'
Subject: Re: [#260793832] Chargeback Resolution for Order #139104110024676


Thank you for the feedback. There are several requirements that must be fulfilled for an order to be covered by the Payment Guarantee Policy.

However, orders involving intangible goods and services cannot be eligible for the Payment Guarantee Policy.

For more information regarding the policy, please visit

The Google Checkout Team


Did you read that intangible goods and services cannot be eligible -- did i miss something? I do believe Google Adwords is intangible goods and services -- maybe after 4 months of using Google Adwords - I should report to my credit card company that I need a refund. Wait better yet, maybe we need to make a statement - get a million publishers to join us and report that Google's provides intangible services thus we should all ask for a refund - just for 1 day of service. That will work real great.

In any case, I am ticked off at Google because of them being in the Software Services Space and provides Credit Card Processing Services --- and they have a policy that software and digital products are intangible.....I guess Google's intellectual capital has no value -- because our products apparently have less value since we are virtually delivering our products.

Ok, I will rest my case. In all fairness we have less than 1% of sales that fall within this charge back and to make things even worse these guys -- Google charges us $10 for each charge back event.

I read this statement somewhere today: "You need to act in your life, not react to the actions of others!" -- So I will move forward and let this blog hang out in cyberspace for others to read and maybe some Sr. EVP from Google Merchant Services will read this and examine the policy and include intangible goods and services into the policy -- I won't hold my breath for this to happen!

Any idea what we will do next to ensure that this does not happen?

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where ever you go that's where you are!

No matter what you do or where you go, the last step, the last decision is exactly where you are. You are not ahead or back or forward or side ways --- you are right in the "precious present".

What does this mean? Well as the leader of the pack, we are trained to look ahead in the future, focus on where we want to go and how to get there but it always seems to take a bit more time and a more money.

However, there is no mistaking where you are today! You can will it to be somewhere else but you are still stuck in the mud and not moving fast enough. Its a bit crazy, its like flying in a plane. You are moving at the speed of sound but because you are inside the plane its feels like we are standing still.

Everything in life is relative but unfortunately we need to find a way to accelerate and get to the places we need to get today not tomorrow. It reminds me of a bar I visited at the top of a mountain (OK big hill) over looking the Caribbean ocean of the island of Cozumel -- big sign "Free Drinks Tomorrow". I wish I could catch tomorrow because everything seems to be when you get to tomorrow!!

So we need to do what Einstein discussed about quantum physics, we need to bend time and space so that we can shorten our journey and get to where we want to go tomorrow but today!

The miracle for is to figure out how we can do this with the budget and team we have management and true leadership will drive this forward.

Are you anxious to see what our next move will be? Can you predict what we will do?

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Software Channel Marketing (What are they?)

The entire software marketing business is fragmented with millions of products built by all sizes companies and people. Long gone are the days when there is a monopoly on any one software product or group. The common issue with all of the software publishers and the entire Internet market place is sales and distribution. Should is say LACK of sales and distribution. Why?

The Internet is massive and continues to grow at a rapid rate. Therefore, it gets increasingly complex and costly to market to the target groups so publishers need to leverage many channels.

Lets discuss the most common channels of marketing:
  1. Media: TV, Radio, Print: these are great mediums to mass market - but can be very expensive with limited results. Measuring ROI is complex and often returns are limited.
  2. Direct Marketing: Google / Yahoo /MSN keywords & content search marketing. This bag has decent results -- often just enough revenues to support ongoing expenditures and get a return on investments. However, there as the competition grows in any market segment the costs continue to go up and many products are left without an option to bring them to the market.
  3. Direct Marketing 2: E-mail Marketing, Snail Mail Direct Marketing - sure this types of marketing also works but often this requires investments and app. 1% will generate sales. Additionally, there is a constant need to conduct these activities, which requires additional resource to be assigned to such activities.
  4. Word of Mouth Marketing - Blogger World: This area is uncharted territory. Leveraging blogger in your space to write and comment on your products and services. How do you measure the cost vs. returns?
  5. Social Network Marketing: This is an evolving new medium for sharing information and marketing.
  6. RSS Feeds & Press Release Communications: This is a combination of formats and writing information which the readers will want to read.
  7. Retail & e-tailer, VAR: Existing channel retailers where customer flock and publishers would have to find a way to get into this channel and the retailer would need to configure the site and agree to see such products.
  8. Direct Sales Force: Hiring a sales team for internal and external sales activities works better for enterprise class products but also costs a lot to get this rolling.
These are the main marketing channels which come to mind immediately and each have challenges and rewards. The key here is what is the right mix of marketing for the publishers currently selling products online. This publisher group makes up 80% of the software retail/direct marketing group and is also growing at an astounding rate. Further more, they are all trying to find a way to get in front of more customers and trying everything possible.

LicenseDNA management team is debating which of these channels would bring in the fastest ROI for our publishers if we worked out the details to automate this process for them? Do, you have an insight or recommendation?

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Decision Points Expensive or Affordable Website Re-design

How do you make decisions? You need a car to get from A to B, so you have an option - you can drive in a fancy car and look real hip or something which just gets you to your destination. Here is the catch along the way you need to attract a bunch of customer to hope into your car with you to help pay for the gas and there are other cars on the road looking to do the same.

The truth factor here is I have found a website designers with significant talent to help us but we can't really afford her right now. However, I have a gut feeling that I know if she built my car, the ride will be hip, but in life you might have a great looking site but still no takers.

Here is the catch, there is over 10+ designers and site builders just like her but none of them engaged me -- probing and fighting for the opportunity. So, we could do a little work with her but you know its like a drug, once you start, you get billed for anything extra. Reminds me of the black widow (movie or spider) not sure. Next thing you know you have no money to keep the company afloat.

Sure we could work out a deal, we could ask for a payment plan. But DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO DO THIS RIGHT NOW? OK so you want to know the cost difference....10x more expensive than the average Joe.

Let talk about affordable solution. During the hay days of DOT COM the business plans were: BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME. Who cares about the numbers, as long as you have subscribers and there is a WOW factor, that's all you need. Unfortunately, I missed that boat and really never subscribed to that plan of thought. I am some what old fashioned in my thinking that customer should drive value and pay your for the value and the model needs to be profitable for all involved. Our software publishers would see increased profits and we would see increased profits from their success and its always about the customer.

So, how do I tell my software publishing peers to try our services -- when the car may not look too hip, but it sure works and boy does it work well. Heck we have used this car for over a year and you can be sure the kinks are worked out. License management platform works and does exactly what we are promising.

Now we have to battle the internal personalities -- make due with what we have and stick with character or pl urge and make a splash and see what happens.

Can you guess my next move? Will you be able to tell which option we decided to go with?

Stay tuned....same bat channel, same time, same place...

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

TO BE or NOT TO BE - That is the question?

Shakespear famous line => "to be or not to be that is the question?" Well today has been an eventful day. Just when the website 2.0 release is taking shape we are now starting to work on website 3.0 using a professional designers and staff. So, where do you begin to get the right tallent for something so simple as a website when everyone who knows a little bit of site building is an expert.

I went to the usual resources, which are,,, and a host of other sites. There is every type of person, skills, price, talent and so much more. All of them have one thing in common...they all want money for service. I wish there was a way to measure service for money. You provide the service and then some kind of 3 party system figures out how you did on a market scale and you get paid accordingly...this would totally improve the quality of service.

In any case, I have accounts on eLance and oDesk, and likely 20 others sites, which I don't recall at this time. One out of 20+ candidates actually had decided to engage me on IM. That is a positive sign - the bad news is she is expensive at least sounds like she is expensive....but the good ones are typically expensive. I asked Heidi (website designer) to come up with a proposal and lets see what happens on this front.

We started micro-marketing the site using Google Adwords - and out of 75 key words, I find that app. 55 of them are currently not active. Why? This is what happens when you get into a monopoly --- which is exactly where Google is headed unless Microsoft can find a way to keep them in check. See most of the key words have very few competitors, like "license key" or "install software". How many people on the web is actually looking for this in any one day? 10 maybe 50 and whats funny is there is less than 4 to 10 advertisers for these key words. However, Google things we should spend as much as $0.55 to $1.00 for clicks. Come Google what are you doing? The small players help build your business now you want to over charge us? That was what Yahoo tried to do and most marketeer moved over to Google. Damn!!

We have to spend the money on marketing -- so we have to get the SEO we hired on staff to work on the site full-time and get us rolling.

Touch base anytime...more fun coming soon to a blog near you!

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Strategies for Successful Service Launch

Those of you following our launch, you know that as of July 4, 2008 -- we launched as a service for publishers. With over 1000+ customers to date, one would think that all is well.

That is true, but that depends on your definition of well. Over the past 3 weeks or so, there has been many changes, mostly behind the screens. We have upgraded the platform to .net 2.0, latest SQL server, new hosting company, and still updating all the DLLs and components for securing software applications for publishers.

Whats frustrating is we need to get over this hurdle and before we can go forward. So, how do we do this? All hands on deck and we fight to stay focused on the details....details and more details until we get the process clean, working smoothly for both online and off-line consumer activation of license keys.

How does this impact our marketing? We started marketing our services using Google Adwords, with a micro-budget - we want to see targeted traffic coming to the site but not enough to have to have to many publishers engaging us. Additionally, search engine robots are indexing our site and all of the information out in web. Soon, PR will begin and so will a full-time SEO person. All of these activities will take time -- valuable time required to ensure our solutions are also ready for prime time.

Additionally, we are experimenting with other aspects of our services which will become more clear in time....not ready to tell you all of my thoughts just yet. We are also getting ready to invite publishers using our competitors to take a look at our service as an alternative - why? We believe we are cheaper and better value -- more agile than the bigger players. Frankly speaking the older companies (our competitors) have no clue how to navigate the Internet today to help publishers sell more products.

I can't wait until we get our distribution channel setup because it will help our publisher push more products faster to a wider group of customers. The traditional channels currently in place like -- has less than 1% of the search traffic -- do you really think your products will sell with such low traffic and you can be sure you are surrounded by 20+ other publishers pushing similar products.

Any case, I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but our strategies require smart people, smart publishers and smart money from investors interested in our market segment. So, I guess we need to find out where these so called smart people hang?

Stay tuned because we have just started the service and it will take several months to get where we want to be today!!

Touch base anytime!

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Monday, July 7, 2008

Writting does not mean Communicating!!

So here we are less than 1 week since version 2.0 of the website and I am discussing some information with our SEO team leader - who is just starting to get into and what we want him to do. So, he reads the website and asks me a very simple question: "what exactly does the service do?"

Great!! Talk about getting hit in the head with a shovel --- when working on the details its hard to see the bigger communications picture. I guess that's why we need to hire professional marketing gurus. Don't get me started on that front....professional marketers are for sure out there but the key is to find that unique experience of talent, price and drive --- with a touch of common sense ...which seems to be lacking in many of us.

We always assume that our communications for website content will change and we make the changes in real-time until we start to see results....and then we tend to hire professionals to improve upon what has been done.

This way we know what works and we have effectively cut out some of the cost of getting the content up. So, guess what I have to do on the website content AGAIN!! As soon as I get done working on a few other loose ends....

Hey do you know a software + website marketing + social networking marketing + actual hands on SEO expert who might want to join our team? If you do - send them to us....

Stay in touch.

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Its all about Cash flow -- must stay alive & keep the lights on!!

What a wonderful July 4th, 2008, we released to the publishers and sure enough we get things moving and before we can even start to really market the website, the service, the solution to all the software publishers, web applications publishers, mobile applications publishers and IT Software resellers.....bam!!! what happens?

One of the players ask for extra cash. So, where do I get the money for this? Yes, I had (and I mean HAD) a plan for this cash. It was supposed to go towards a new website design, with SEO optimized site - really jazzed up -- professional version 3.0. Yes, sir, it was (and the key word here is WAS) going towards this.

So, now we have to make due with the current site, which does flow well with Firefox or other browsers. So, do me a favor use Internet Explorer to review the website content. I guess we will have to figure out how to barter with some of the players to get marketing and website and promotions working....maybe I can call Mr. Page (Google founder) to see how he made it work in the early days. I could sure use some suggestions from people in the know.

One thing that really ticks me off is when people around me can't manage their personal cash flow and then it starts to impact the business and others around them. Steven Covey's book - 7 Habits of Highly Effective people states clearly the circle of influence and circle of control --- for sure I do not have the control to kick peoples ass to get them to focus on spending less money and stay in the black not in the red....but boy i can't wait for the day when I can setup policies to help my team members with support services to help themselves become better money managers.

Well enough about my pains with cash flow or should i say lack of cash flow -- don't get me wrong, we are not even close to running out of cash or shutting the lights down, its just impacts the short-term budget. I have to take a little bit of credit -- I kinda had a hunch this was coming and I budgeted for this....but still wish it did not have to be --- why payout this lump of cash when it can be put towards investing for a better future for all involved in LicenseDNA?

So all you folks reading this blog - you know who you are - stop buying that extra cup of coffee, pack a lunch or two, make dinner at home and pay off your credit card bills so you can keep more of your cash and allow your self the opportunity to be part of something amazing when it hits you in the head.

Enough of my commentary...need to get some ZZZzzzz!!

Before, I leave you with my wise thoughts over cash flow -- please tell all your friends, vendors, partners, resellers, anyone who will listen about and if nothing else send me an e-mail - so that at the minimum i know you exist.

All the best!!

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I should have bought Google Stocks!!!

I spent the past 2 hours working on writing a case study to place it on the site how much money the PDF Splitter & Merger ( made over the past 6 months. Sure, as a software publisher we made money but WOW did we spend money on Google Ads. As a publisher / marketeer Jan - Mar 2008 the marketing budget was expanded and the CPC rate increased, along with content search enabled. I can't believe how much money went to Google in the 3 months we experimented with this.

We know how to leverage Google Adwords for marketing needs for our products and services. The key is to make sure not to use all of the tools Google provides -- JUST BECAUSE its available to you. Move from an emotional marketing desire to simply focus on site traffic to more scientific where only pay for targeted traffic increasing your odds of our case download - try - buy our products and services.

We typically like to leverage Google Adwords where for each product we market our marketing costs must stay well below 20% of gross revenues. Therefore, by leveraging Google Checkout for our credit card processing where Google provides an incentive of $10x for every $1 ad we spend. We end up paying nothing -- that is ZERO -- free processing from Google.

Mathematically speaking, this reduces our marketing costs by an additional 2.5% and no other fees. How can you beat that!! We moved away from PayPal and which typically cost us more than 5% +/- per month.

Sure, these small numbers may not be a wow factor to many reading this but add all of the small numbers one might save -- money saved is money earned. is soon going live to help other publishers realize greater profits and reduce overall operating costs.

Checkout the PDF Splitter & Merger Case Study for more information:

We look forward to hearing from you!!

Anowar Shahjahan, CEO