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From Graham Lauder <>
Subject Re: OO Sold on eBay
Date Tue, 14 Aug 2012 04:19:42 GMT
> On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 8:19 AM, Graham Lauder <> wrote:
> >> On 13 August 2012 01:29, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> >> > On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 5:50 PM, Kay Schenk <>

> >> >> On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 10:49 AM, Rob Weir <>
> >> >>> On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM, Max Merbald <>

> >> > Our options:
> >> > 
> >> > 1) Do nothing.  Bandwidth and access is increasing and this problem
> >> > will solve itself...sometime.
> > 
> > This would the best course, although I don't that there is a problem. 
> > Quite the opposite, it is in fact a good thing.  People are thinking
> > like proprietary software vendors, please get out of this trap.
> > 
> > Ebay sellers are cheap promotion, they get the brand out there.
> Maybe the auction listing are different in your country, but here they
> are not promoting the Apache OpenOffice brand. We're seeing listings
> selling things like:
> "Open Office Suite 2010"
> "Open Office Home and Student 2010"
> "Open Office Professional' 2010"
> "Open Office Business and Professional"
> This seems to be taking Microsoft Office brand elements and putting
> "Open" in front of them.  I don't see this as promoting our brand.

Apologies I didn't make myself clear enough.  
As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, it doesn't matter what bits we 
stick around the name (dot org in the old one, Apache on this one) the market 
will still refer to it as Open Office.  Therefore what you have quoted above 
is 4 instances of the brand being put out there.  Whatever is tagged on the 
back it doesn't matter.

In any case that was not what I was referring too, the brand is in the 
software, by selling it the EBay sellers put our brand on the best billboard 
going: The Users Desktop.  That is critical.  The User who buys from the EBay 
Sellers isn't specifically after OOo or MSO, they are after a package that 
performs the tasks of an Office suite for a reasonable cost.  Once the User 
installs the software, it will make them aware of any updates which then 
brings them to us.  It is not the act of Advertising that raises the brand 
awareness it is the installation and the brand on the splash screen.

> > The vast majority of the EBay sellers do the brand a service.  Getting
> > someone to do it on behalf of the project is just a waste of energy that
> > could be put to better use.  We would be better to promote the EBay
> > sellers, treat them as partners rather than competitors.    EBay tends
> > to be self policing, the unscrupulous ones get bad feedback and
> > disappear fairly quickly.
> If it is worth someone else's time and effort to do this, why wouldn't
> it be worth my time and effort?

In the Bazaar model, we spread the load.  We can look at the EBay sellers as 
people who embrace the Apache ideal.  They saw a need and applied JFDI.  My 
concern is that we are thin on resources.  Your time and effort on the 
administration is a better value proposition to the project than your selling 
CDs on ebay.  Of course it is an OSS project and you are free to do whatever 
rocks your boat.  Personally I would see more value in a gentle policing just 
by using the question & answer feature.   

> > If they are selling older versions, my answer to that is "So what?"  My
> > wife still uses 3.0 and it suits her needs perfectly.  When the user
> > decides that perhaps downloading is the better way to go then they will
> > automatically get the latest version.  Having the latest and greatest is
> > not the be all and end all.
> The issue is when they say it is the latest version but they are
> really selling OOo 3.2.  Maybe you are not aware of the security
> flaws, now publicly disclosed, in older versions of OpenOffice?

Heh, You are obviously not aware that I follow such assiduously but perhaps 
you may be more aware of instances of exploits in the real world that I am 
not.  For the average consumer the sort of security issues we deal with are a 
non-event and besides which, the first update the End User does, will solve 
that issue in any case.  Many of the sellers that I've seen don't even specify 
a version at all.  OOo has never had a "Use By" date.  For corporate clients I 
agree the security stuff would be an issue but they are very unlikely to 
obtain their OOo from Ebay.

> I think the feedback we have received from users suggests otherwise.
> They are looking for a trusted source of CDs.

There is one seller who sells them for $US40, he has a good selling set up and 
sells it alongside MS office and other software.  Going by his feedback he has 
a lot of satisfied customers, certainly a lot more than we have complaints.  
IMHO $40 is probably the minimum one should charge if they were honest about 
their costs of operation and the need to at least turn a small profit and I've 
always felt that selling it for $5 or $2.99 devalues the product more than 
giving it away.  Value is a tricky beast, I have stated in the past that we 
would probably be better to encourage our community distributors to sell for a 
price that better reflects the cost of their input including an allowance for 
support post purchase. 

> >> > 3) One or more community members, acting outside of Apache, could
> >> > organize to sell CD's on eBay at cost, and have eBay auction listings
> >> > that are upfront and honest, explaining that the software is open
> >> > source and can be downloaded for free.  We can give the URL right in
> >> > the listing.  We would make it clear that the charge is only for
> >> > convenience of having a CD delivered.
> > 
> > Putting a URL in the body of the listing that allows people to circumvent
> > the auction process is against EBay TOU.
> Not at all.  The listing would make it quite clear that the sale was
> for the CD media and packing and shipping only.  Nothing wrong with
> that if the listing is up front about this.

EBay's terms say: 
"While using eBay sites, services and tools, you will not:

circumvent or manipulate our fee structure, the billing process, or fees owed 
to eBay."

Inserting a URL to a free download of software you are selling is considered 
circumventing the process, the point that they will make is that noone is 
going to buy a CD off you unless it has the software on it.

I know this having gone into bat with Auction sites for Sellers in my old 
MarCon role.


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