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latch

Offer to buy source code.

20 posts in this topic

Here is an email I got about one of my android games today:

 

Hi, 
 
I want to make a deal with you. I'm ready to pay $500-$1000 for the source code of this application (named in email subject). Note that I'm planning to publish it as is after adding Arabic labels. 
 
You still have the right to keep your copy published if you like, after you sell the game code and resources.
 
Regards,

 

I don't know what to think about this.

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Excellent answer and well thought out- thank you.

 

The game took 3 weeks to write(something like 70-120 hours), because I already had modeled the graphic assets last year so that adds another 20 hours. I don't know what what the going rate for coding android apps is but I did a commissioned app for a client for $500 and I think that took ~10 hours.

 

This game is my favorite of all the games I've written for android and I don't want to make a monstrous mistake.

 

I wasn't sure if this was some sort of scam with the inclusion of the canned phrase:

 

this application (named in email subject)

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I thought you removed it for keeping your title off the thread lol

 

In my humble opinion, I wouldn't touch it with a 10m pole.

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I wasn't sure if this was some sort of scam with the inclusion of the canned phrase:
Quote
this application (named in email subject)

 

Good point. If you are intrigued by the offer, you can have the conversation. You can always back out anytime you think he's acting suspiciously. 

I once was negotiating with a European party about a design consultation and ended it when she insisted that I not only provide the means to wire money to me but also to make withdrawals. If you think someone's a scammer they probably are.  If you don't think someone's a scammer, he still might be.

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I thought you removed it for keeping your title off the thread lol

 

In my humble opinion, I wouldn't touch it with a 10m pole.

No the quote is copy pasta(minus only the dude's name and the end) and the game in question is the second link in my sig.

 

I wasn't sure if this was some sort of scam with the inclusion of the canned phrase:
Quote
this application (named in email subject)

 

Good point. If you are intrigued by the offer, you can have the conversation. You can always back out anytime you think he's acting suspiciously. 

I once was negotiating with a European party about a design consultation and ended it when she insisted that I not only provide the means to wire money to me but also to make withdrawals. If you think someone's a scammer they probably are.  If you don't think someone's a scammer, he still might be.

 

Right. This is exactly why I posted it here and forwarded the email to my wife also: So I can enter the conversation with more than just my own intuition and I was hoping someone on gamedev may have run across this before. Naturally I googled the text(whole and in part) in the email with no results before I mentioned it here. I can't be the first person this has happened to.

Edited by latch
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Right. This is exactly why I posted it here

 

Watch how he reacts when you ask for a full name, business name, and mailing address.  If he doesn't quickly offer up a URL that clearly does check out with his name and/or business name, he could well be a scammer.

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Here's how I answered:

Hi there,

 
That game took 140 hours to produce and my discounted rate for android programming is $60 per hour(regular rate is $150). So to me, the game is worth $8400(discounted) $21000(regular price). Is this your website? http://*********.blogspot.com/ (his empty blog I found)
 
latch
I also found his google play account and here is the performance of one of his two apps:
graph.png
30 days, over 100000 installs? Doesn't look like organic growth in popularity to me. It's got 532 reviews and 776 google +1s already.
I'd like to get his marketing strategy if its not shady, but I bet it is. His google plus account has only 6 in his circles and his youtube only has 2 videos about different games neither of which are published under his name on Google Play but another website lists his name with one of them. Too much weirdness for me.
 
Pass.
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Very weirdly worded offer IMHO.

 

If I thought a localized version of any app I made had a market, I would pay someone to translate the few strings I have and publish it myself, and retain all rights.

 

Depending on the game, paying someone to translate the strings could cost just a couple of $100, and they won't need to see a line of your source code.

 

If he has a proven track record in also marketing the app, then it might be a bit more interesting, but I would be more interested in having some kind of marketing deal in that case, pay him for the services, and again retain all rights to my game and not share any source.

 

If he feels weird or shady, ignore him. Anyone with any success will get lots of shady offers.

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If I thought a localized version of any app I made had a market

In my experience translating iOS apps usually seas a 4 * increase in revenue over what the english app used to make.  Some languages such as chinese, Hebrew and Arabic which get very few localized apps it can be even more.

 

Depending on the game, paying someone to translate the strings could cost just a couple of $100, and they won't need to see a line of your source code.

 

This is the way I go about it.

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In my opinion:

  1. $1000 to buy the source code copyright? Wow, no. That's way too little. Not like I'd ever give away my copyright like that (if I want to I'd do it from the beginning).
  2. Localization doesn't work like that. Even if we assume the worst case that the game is hardcoded, it's still the original developer who usually ends up with the reprogramming burden, the localizator only bothers with the data.

So yeah, I'd say this is a scam, either somebody looking to commit fraud or somebody looking for a developer naive enough to let go of their games and avoid having to develop anything.

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You should try to sell him a non-exclusive licence which does not stop you from reusing the code in derived works later. If necessary, you can sign a time-limited non-compete agreement, if it's not too stupid. If he wants an exclusive licence which revokes your own use of your own code in perpetuity, you need to walk away.

 

I had this problem with a customer, where they seemed to want an in-perpetuity exclusively licence for the code and all derived works, which effectively screws up the developer as it means if they ever create a derivative work, the customer can sue the shit out of you. No developer in the world is going to NOT reuse some code for a future project, even if it's completely different.

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Hi, 
 
We are a marketing team specialized in marketing at Middle-East region. We are interested in partnership (distribution, publishing) deal. You make localized version of your app (named in subject) for Arabic and our suggestion and publish it, We'll provide local distribution and we will split the revenue 50-50. Also, If you have more games, we can deal with them.
 
 
We expect to make 500,000 - 1,000,000 downloads in the first month.
 
Hoping to hear from You soon!
 
Best Regards,

 

The saga continues.

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^Yeah, I'm not taking it seriously as there are too many things in the way. ie cultural differences, no physical contact, and other things. I have his name but it means nothing to me as I don't even know what country he's from. So I said this:
 

 

Excellent! What is your website? What other games have you marketed?

 

 

I'm merely keeping y'all abreast of current events. I'd post his name but I don't want it to turn up should he do a google vanity search and find out I'm talking about him.

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At least that offer sounds a bit more conventional smile.png

 

I would be weary of someone who started the communication with such a bad initial offer though. (looked very much like he tried to find someone to rip off)

 

Also his download claims sound a bit optimistic... 

Edited by Olof Hedman
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I'm merely keeping y'all abreast of current events. I'd post his name but I don't want it to turn up

 

Your instinct [b]not[/b] to post his name is good.

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That would be like posting something from pm in a forum. A no-no.

 

Here's the next answer:
 

Hi,

 
Firstly, I don't have a website, because I'm just starting and I'm working on my own like most Android developers. 
Secondly, here you are sample apps that I have marketed: 
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=<dude>
 
Please share with me your opinion in the following procedure (add or modify if you advise):
1- You will add Arabic labels.
2- You will change the game name: Name it for example <current name> + Pro for paid and <current name> + Lite for free version.
3- Publish it in new android developer account, and create secondary user for me to let me monitor our downloads. 
4- After publishing, my turn will start to promote the game in my ways and make it top ranked in middle east. 
 
My question by the way: Can you tell me how I can guarantee my revenue share from paid and free versions?
 
Thanks a lot

<dude>

 

 

After this one, it looks like he's earnestly trying to work a deal.

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After this one, it looks like he's earnestly trying to work a deal.

 

Agreed. Approach it in a businesslike manner. Don't shut off your scam radar all the way, but turn it down a little.

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And how would you answer the question?

Can you tell me how I can guarantee my revenue share from paid and free versions?

 

If it was him that put my game in his account, I would put a remote kill in the game for the paid version if he didn't pay, and the ad supported version, I can make the game toggle between his admob account and mine when serving ads.

 

But if control is solely mine as he suggests, what assurance would I give? To be honest, I hate the marketing part and I just want to code so if this was real, it would be excellent.

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