Revulytics Blog

Trackerbird launches License key usage tracking and Piracy monitoring Service

October 29, 2014

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We are pleased to announce the launch of Trackerbird's License Key Usage Tracking and Piracy Monitoring Service. This new service allows software companies or developers to securely track which license keys are in use and which are being abused. By counting license key usage across your install base, Trackerbird offers an easy way to detect, report and monetize abused or pirated keys. This new functionality has been integrated as part of the existing Software Analytics framework so existing customers who want to try out this new feature can do so without the need for any SDK updates.

Main Features

  1. Sync license keys with your internal CRM or licensing service (via API or CSV file upload).
  2. Query the status and install count of a particular license key (manual search or web API).
  3. Report how many times each key has been activated on different machines.
  4. Detect abused license keys that are activated/used on more machines than their allowed threshold.
  5. Detect pirate license keys that have not been generated by your CRM or licensing service.
  6. Send automated Reachout™ messages to users running a pirate/abused/blacklisted key.

How it works

From the SDK side (i.e. your application) there are just two simple API calls you need to use:

  • The KeyCheck API allows your software to validate a license key in real-time with the Trackerbird License Key Registry (synced with your CRM).
  • The KeyChanged API enables your software to inform the Trackerbird server that the end user has started using a new license key.

Whenever your application (on the client side) calls the Trackerbird KeyChanged API, the Trackerbird server takes note of the license key in use by that client. If the key already exists in the Key Registry its usage counter is updated to include this new client. If the key does not yet exist, it is inserted and marked as "Auto-Collected" (see screenshot below) so that when you query the Key Registry you will know that this key was collected automatically from a Client but has not yet been synced with your CRM.

Security Note: Trackerbird transmits all license keys in encrypted format and all server replies are signed using a private key to prevent users from replaying any server responses or faking a license check response from the server.

Reporting on key usage

When you are logged into the Trackerbird Portal you will get access to the License Key Registry which gives you the ability to filter, search and sort license keys by any of their properties or usage counts. The screenshots below highlight some of the main functionality.

Trackerbird Licence Key Usage List View
Trackerbird Licence Key Usage Detailed View

Syncing with your custom CRM using the API

If your account has access to the web API, you can query the Trackerbird License Key Server to retrieve the status or install counts for a single license key or group of license keys matching specific criteria. You can also use the API to update/sync license keys directly from your CRM as soon as a new license key is issued. Please contact support to enable the API on your account.

Monetizing the lost revenue from abused or pirate keys

Fighting piracy in order to stop people using your software illegally is an expensive and ineffective battle. Instead, you should focus your efforts on monetizing part of that lost revenue from pirated or abused keys.

By using Trackerbird's ReachOut™ functionality you can setup automated ReachOut™ messages to be sent to users using a blacklisted key, pushing them to upgrade their license or remedy the situation.  In addition to this, your application can also use the KeyCheck API to check license key validity and activation status with the Trackerbird server in real-time so that you may implement the appropriate logic in case the installation is using a blacklisted, expired or abused key.

More info?

If you would like more info please contact sales or call Trackerbird on: +1-914-228-3014.

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Keith Fenech

Post written by Keith Fenech

Keith is Revulytics’ VP, Software Analytics and was the co-founder and CEO of Trackerbird Software Analytics before the company was acquired by Revulytics in 2016. Following the acquisition, Keith joined the Revulytics team and is now responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the Usage Analytics business within the company. Prior to founding Trackerbird, Keith held senior product roles at GFI Software where he was responsible for the product roadmap and revenue growth for various security products in the company's portfolio. Keith also brings with him 10 years of IT consultancy experience in the SMB space. Keith has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Malta, specializing in high performance computing.