We were excited to learn that one of our customers, Noel Carboni, who runs ProDigital Software, wanted to share his story about initially implementing Protection PLUS 4 SDK and later upgrading to Protection PLUS 5 SDK. He talked about the process to find and implement his licensing solution, and the following excerpts of Noel's comments are from that conversation. We found Noel to be detailed in his work, gregarious in manner, willing to help others, and a great long term customer of SoftwareKey.com.
ProDigital Software, based in Boca Raton, Florida is well into it’s second decade of operation. Noel Carboni is the founder and lead business developer who has worked with a small staff perfecting a niche group of photography enhancement products. Artists, graphic designers, photographers, astronomy professionals and enthusiasts make up the user base of the digital imaging software, Photoshop plug-ins and instructional books offered by Noel’s company.
In 2008 we started looking for a solution to the disjointed face we were presenting online. We had been rolling our own software licensing solution that was functional, if a bit basic, using a Buy Now button and sending our customers to PayPal. It wasn’t really as professional or integrated as we would have liked. We were expanding into developing software that was more complex, higher priced and executable. We wanted to present one face throughout our website, integrating the cart and checkout process. We wanted to make our licensing solution unobtrusive to the customers who actually pay us, while simultaneously making it difficult for those who would seek to steal the software.
The SoftwareKey System was one of four different packages that they found online that seemed close to what they were looking for. They went so far as to integrate three different ones into their software under development, as Noel puts it, ‘to see how it would hang together.’
Documentation Makes All The Difference
The documentation that was available with Protection PLUS 4 SDK was the best of all the packages that we tested. It has very good samples with it that show how to integrate with it. So, we were able to completely implement a test solution without making any phone calls, maybe just one or two simple support emails and we used the online support as well.
When you’re looking for a specific format of a function call at 3 o’clock in the morning and wondering what’s the process for email activation, great samples and good and solid documentation make it easier to follow. So, it’s imperative that your documentation be complete, thorough and well-organized, and we found that to be the case.
So often, reference manuals focus on the minutia leaving you to wonder, what’s the big picture? I might not know how to get there from here. I know how to code each individual function call, but how do I arrange them? We were able to get as much of that as we needed from the SoftwareKey manuals.
When the rubber met the road, your APIs worked, the sub-systems worked; when we did our online queries, they functioned, so, it was really a no brainer once we had done the implementation. We had found what we needed. We liked the try before you buy feature of Protection PLUS 4 SDK and not having to re-install after the license purchase. We had about 2 weeks left on the 30 day free trial when we decided to buy the license for the product.
Turnkey Makes All The Difference
The Instant SOLO Server service was an added attraction for us. SoftwareKey runs the server and the e-commerce links to PayPal while we concentrate on engineering the software and bringing in the revenue. That turnkey solution is very attractive. When a customer presses our Add To Cart or Buy Now buttons, their cart gets loaded with whatever products they choose and they check out through the Instant SOLO Server process.
Our volume wasn’t high enough to justify buying our own server and staffing it and worrying about security and everything else that comes with that arrangement. Even today, we’d have to significantly multiply our volume to justify running a server ourselves, so Instant SOLO Server is a very high value service to us. I wear enough hats, I don’t need to be a server manager too.
Anecdotally, we just had a local Internet outage this morning and if we had our own servers that would have meant lost sales if we didn’t rely on SoftwareKey to have machines up and running and online 24/7 with a bunch of back-up capabilities.
Lemons to Lemonade
With our products, we not only created the web-integrated activation but also built in a manual activation process as a backup that has turned out to be handy and paid dividends. The small number of customers who did have a problem with an online activation due to security software blocking it on their end or some other obscure issue, I could send them a key code to activate. It’s turning lemons into lemonade when that happens because they are grateful for the great, fast customer support that solves their problem. All I have to do is run the Protection PLUS 4 SDK software or use the Instant SOLO Server web interface to generate those keys and send them to them. Easy, one minute customer support.
Software Maintenance Is Best For The Long Term
We're keen to keep up with technology and we value keeping current. I have 39 years professional experience in software engineering, and my chief engineer almost as many. We both feel that keeping current has significant, if somewhat intangible value. We chose to partner with SoftwareKey when we first bought Protection PLUS 4 SDK because we know that we don't/can't understand security as well as SoftwareKey does without significant additional expense, and we see no reason to stop advancing with you as we make our new releases and grow our product line.
Our maintenance renewal coincided with our readiness to upgrade to Protection PLUS 5 SDK. We wanted to implement it into our new products in beta. The maintenance contract is a very fine deal and gives us exactly what we want. It took some effort to upgrade the source code, but we are progressive enough to know that long term benefits outweigh short term pain.
Your folks are very responsive. It’s another reason why we decided to stick with SoftwareKey and continue moving up with new versions. When we do need support, it’s always there. I’ve had really great responses from your technical folks, where they know what’s going on. They’re willing to take the time to simulate your customer’s problems. In seven years, I’ve contacted them maybe ten times total for minor things, never a failure or a crash.
A story for you: A potential customer said something seemed amiss with our product. Turned out he had unknowingly downloaded a cracked and malfunctioning copy from an unauthorized site, as someone had just given him the link and said go get it there. That led to us having internal discussions about how in the security realm, you can’t stagnate, and sealed our decision to move up to version 5. We liked that the encryption process is better in Protection PLUS 5 SDK.
We feel that allowing our users to visit the licensing portal with an encrypted request and download an encrypted license file themselves should help reduce further the (already small) number of support requests. As a nice bonus, after doing the implementation we found version 5 quite a bit faster than version 4 to complete online activities.
Noel is on the tail end of redesigning a new company website. When you upgrade in one area of your business, it inspires upgrades across the board.
Upgrades Empower Everyone
We grew through several versions of our software. Protection PLUS 5 SDK fit with our needs to make things more current and professional. We have a very nice Protection PLUS 5 SDK implementation now providing customers convenient online activation, and backup processes to solve any problems they may encounter. People like solving their own problems.
An example: An astronomer, after having worked for hours taking photos in the observatory into the wee hours, may be excited to get his astro images processed – if he buys new software he’s going to want to be able to get it working himself. He’s not going to be expecting to get customer support instantly at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. What we don’t want to happen is this: You try to buy something and something doesn’t go right. I hate that feeling. Oh, did my credit card get charged? Now, I’m not going to get anything for it. I just bought software, I pressed a button and it said error. Now I don’t know what to do. I’m worried that I lost my money. Now, with all the options we built into Protection PLUS 5 SDK it’s worry-free, we put methods 1, 2, & 3 in front of them: online automatic activation, online activation through a web browser, and offline activation via an eMail request. Our astronomer customers especially are high level thinkers and quite self-sufficient. They like having options.
Protection PLUS 5 SDK works perfectly with Windows 10 and the samples are great. A lot of the concept is the same as Protection PLUS 4 SDK. It’s straightforward and well documented to implement the code. It didn’t take us long to get through all the code changes. It is also enticing that when we make the move to offer our software to Mac users, Protection PLUS 5 SDK will support it.
And, when there is a patch released as seen recently, it took us literally 3 minutes to see what to change in our code. Not hours, but, minutes to update. Nice.
Awesome share Noel! We have great customers and love it when they share our philosophy of helping one another in any way we can, including empowering themselves. It makes work more fun and creates long and fruitful business relationships.
Ultimately, using the SoftwareKey system doesn’t take a lot of brain power. When working near one’s limits on complex things, something you don’t have to think about too much is always welcome. Between the usability of the management system and the implementability of the activation system in the software, it’s been a real pleasure.
We’d certainly love it if you’d be as successful as we’d like to be, and we can keep this relationship going.
Right there with you Noel!
What can I say, it’s hard to want more when something works as advertised and actually pleasantly surprises you when you use it.
This success story was derived from an interview and was edited for the benefit of the reader. All quotes have been carefully transcribed and reviewed by the speaker.
If you are contemplating the SoftwareKey System and would like further information from Noel Carboni, he has graciously offered to make himself available for serious inquiries. You can contact him online at NCarboni@ProDigitalSoftware.com.
As always, you can contact the SoftwareKey Support Team.
Success story at-a-glance
- Long-term customer, Noel Carboni of ProDigital Software shares his process of upgrading his own software and his licensing processes.
- The SoftwareKey System proves to be a solid solution for presenting a professional face while improving efficiencies.
- A veteran developer, Noel emphasizes that the thorough documentation available with the SoftwareKey System matters a lot.
- The unique benefits of the SoftwareKey turnkey licensing solution is very attractive.
- A move from Protection PLUS 4 SDK to Protection PLUS 5 SDK brings greater efficiencies, performance, and security.
- Great technical support makes sticking with SoftwareKey a "no brainer."
- Keeping current with Software Maintenance makes sense financially and functionally.