What do you get when you buy a product? You get the product yes, but what else do you get? Customer service, probably. What about information on how to make the product? Can you resell it? Can you repackage it as your own and resell it (for example instead of Microsoft Windows can you resell it as Steph’s Windows)? Do you get the schematics on how to make it yourself? Not likely, but not everyone thinks so!
I’ve never commented on any customer requests we’ve ever gotten over the past three years since LandlordMax has been around, but this week we received such an audacious request that I’m going to make a rule to the exception. I will however leave out the person and company’s name, as well I will paraphrase the emails going back and forth. I will acknowledge that this isn’t the first time we’ve received a unreasonable requests, however what’s interesting about this one is that it is the most audacious request we’ve ever received and it also had follow-up emails.
Without further ado the first email we received contained two questions. The first was a general pre-sales question such as will the software do this or that for a special situation. The second question is the big one. It went along the lines of:
I want to repackage LandlordMax so that I can put my company logo on it and remove your company’s logo. Is this possible? Also, can I have access to your complete source code?
Wow! We’ve received some requests in the past of people trying to resell it on their own, which by the way does require permission from whichever company makes the product (often this is done with distributors or directly with the company through some sort of arrangement). But not with this request, they wanted to brand the product as their own and have full access to the source code, the full schematics of LandlordMax! This is basically like asking Microsoft for the source code of Windows and repacking it as say Steph’s Windows. Microsoft would never do that in a million years. This is the same as Dan Brown selling a copy of his book The Da Vinci Code and with that you have his permission to repackage it under a different title by another author (for example “Steph’s Da Vinci Code” written by Stephane Grenier). I don’t think so! When you buy a can of Coca-Cola, do you get access to the Coca-Cola formula to make your own and repackage it as Steph’s Coca-cola? I don’t think so! So why are they asking? Maybe they just don’t know any better, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt as we normally do (honestly many people don’t realize it until you explain it).
So I personally proceeded to respond to this request, more out of curiousity than anything else, mentionning that no they aren’t allowed, as well doing so without special permission is actually illegal (copyright). Surpringly they responded to this expressing pushing their request further. Here’s the paraphrase of what I received:
I’m also thinking about reselling LandlordMax as I have found the trial version to be very good. However, I would only feel comfortable selling it if I had anonymity where clients would think that this product has been developed by my own company. I am happy to pay a fee for this or work on some commission/affiliate scheme with you.
Wow! So what they’re basically saying is that if you buy a can of Coca-Cola, you only feel right reselling it if you have complete control over the product, access to it’s full research and development that took years to build, it’s secret formula, and that you can repackage it as your own Steph’s Coca-Cola. Not only that, you want completely anonymity selling it however you want, at any price you want, etc. Complete and full control? Would any company oblige to this? I highly doubt it. If you don’t believe, make this request to Coca-Cola.
Luckily for the extra sentence at the end, where they mention they were happy to pay a fee for this. What kind of fee? So I decided to push it for my own interest to see what their expections were for the fee, because at this point I knew this wasn’t going any further. To go back a second, my initial intention in my first reply was to try to steer them away from their repackaging concept and have them become an affiliate through our LandlordMax Affiliate Program. This is a great little program that benefits everyone, they get a commission from any direct sales from them and it’s automated by a third party service called ShareASale.com. It’s worked great for us and we have many affiliates this way.
However I could tell by their last email (remember I’m just paraphrasing above, and I did omit some of the content) that they weren’t interested in the affiliate program. So I did hinted that they could get full access to the source, etc., but that it would be virtually the same as buying the company and it would cost them a substantial amount. Needless to say this is the last I heard from them.
At the end of the day, I don’t mind that they didn’t become a LandlordMax customer. I suspect that the cost of dealing with them would have far outweighed the revenue they would have generated. I’m just amazed at the audacity that they had, what they expected to get when purchasing LandlordMax. This is the biggest most unreasonable request we’ve ever had which is why I thought it would be an interesting read.
And please don’t think that I don’t believe in partnerships, I do. As an example, we’re actually in the process of establish a strong partnership with a company in the UK that will sell LandlordMax along with their services and offer support above and beyond what we can offer above our own. This company was very reasonable, they understood business, and came to us with an opportunity that made sense for both of us, it was a win-win situation. If a company approaches us with an opportunity that makes sense, we have open ears.
Anyways, I didn’t want to go on such a rant (my first on FollowSteph.com because I don’t really believe in them) but I thought it would make for an interesting read!