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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: OO Sold on eBay
Date Mon, 13 Aug 2012 12:33:48 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 <> wrote:
>> >> On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 10:49 AM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
>> >>> On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM, Max Merbald <>
> wrote:
>> >>> > Hi,
>> >>> >
>> >>> > I'd say it's not very fair because probably not everyone knows
OOO is
>> >>> > available for free. It's kind of weird that someone is trying to
>> >>>
>> >>> money
>> >>>
>> >>> > with something which is available for free.
>> >>>
>> >>> I wonder... is there anything that prevents one of us from offering
>> >>> the same thing on eBay, but at a near-zero price?  For example, would
>> >>> it be within eBay policy to have an auction for "instructions for
>> >>> downloading OpenOffice"?  Give all the same marketing plugs for
>> >>> features, etc., but set it as a "Buy Now" price of 1-cent or
>> >>> something.
>> >>>
>> >>> Some users want a CD, because of bandwidth limitations.  But the cost
>> >>> of information, in this case, should be nearly zero.
>> >>>
>> >>> -Rob
>> >>
>> >> You might want to check out seller requirements first...
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> I would think if we're willing to "do" this -- and set this up somehow,
>> >> the answer is "no" unless ASF precludes this, which it might.
>> >
>> > Drew mentioned another eBay policy that said you could not sell access
>> > to downloaded software.  You could only sell the media.
>> >
>> > Looking at the ebay auctions, some of them seem reasonable.  $3 or $5
>> > for a CD and packaging, shipping, etc., is not outrageous.
>> >
>> > But I am concerned that several of the auctions seem to be selling old
>> > versions of OpenOffice including 3.2 and 3.1.  These earlier versions
>> > lack important security fixes and those who distribute old versions,
>> > without a warning, are putting their customers at risk.
>> >
>> > As a project we take great pains to ensure the users who download from
>> > our website get authentic versions of our software, the latest
>> > versions, not tampered with.  We give the downloader ways of verifying
>> > this, with MD5 hashes and PGP signatures.
>> >
>> > But there is no current way that we can offer similar assurances to
>> > users who purchase a CD.  (Anyone who thinks users will verify
>> > checksums or signatures on a CD is deluded.)
>> >
>> > 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.

> People who return to those sellers do it to save bandwidth. The people who buy
> off them the first time but who do have bandwidth, may not do it a second time
> because they figure out pretty quickly that the name is a web address, or at
> least they used to.  Also many people like dealing with a person rather than a
> server.

I have no objections to someone who sells a CD with the latest version of AOO.

> 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?

> 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?

>> >
>> > 2) Define voluntary requirements for distributors of OpenOffice.
>> > Those who agree to these requirements would be allowed use of a
>> > special logo and would be listed on our website.
> More bureaucracy that is unneeded

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

>> >
>> > 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.

>> Is it worth approaching eBay with our concerns?
> No, because there are none

Agreed, unless we can show copyright or trademark issues, eBay doesn't care.

>> - ensuring that sellers credit (and link to) the ASF
> They are selling OOo, that's enough credit, these people are our retailers.
> We, the project, do not supply the software on media, just like Heinz gets
> supermarkets to sell their beans rather than only supply from a Heinz shop.
>> - ensuring that sellers provide clear information on the version supplied
> EBay won't do anything like that, their policing is along strict guidelines.
> Their actions are strictly binary:  Allow or Ban.  The value to EBay of OSS
> software sales is miniscule, it's less headache just to ban the sale full stop
> and we lose a really good cheap marketing tool
>> - ensuring that sellers provide the current version.
>> - etc.
> None of the above is necessary, the status quo works.  It just requires a
> little explanation on occasion.
> Cheers
> GL

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