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A yummy bowlful of dongles

Sometimes, competitors hand you a gift.

Years ago, one of our competitors in the photo software business used an antiquated hardware ‘dongle’ to prove to the software that you had the right to use it.

We knew their users *hated* the dongle. It plugged into the printer port, which caused printer problems. It kept the business owner from using the software from home, or it required a return trip to the office to get the dongle if you went home without it. Worse, you had to return home to get it if you forgot to take it to the office in the morning after doing a little work at home. In some way, it was a subtle reminder that they didn’t trust their paying customers and/or weren’t willing or able to find a better way to manage licenses.

We decided it was time to make an issue of it at the next trade show, so we came up with an irresistible, advance notice competitive upgrade offer to users of the dongle-controlled software who would be attending that show.

There was only one catch: You had to give us the dongle.

We wanted the dongle for several reasons:

  • We didn’t want them using both programs.
  • We didn’t want them giving the dongle away. We wanted it off the market. Forever.
  • We wanted to get people talking (we did something almost every year to stir the pot).

We decided to use the dongles in our booth, but not to run their software.

Sitting on top of an eye-level pedestal at the front of our booth…was a fishbowl half-full of dongles.

6 replies on “A yummy bowlful of dongles”

There was an architectural type program that used the dongle I remember years back. Contractors and architects hated it with a passion because of the compatibility problems. Last I heard the company had gone out of business likely from having to support all the problems and the ill will. Brilliant idea to turn it around into increased sales on your end.
.-= Kendra´s last blog ..An Alternative Approach To Buying Green =-.

Thanks for sharing your dongle story, Kendra. Those things were (are) such a pain. Better now that they work via USB, but still a hassle vs not using one.

Ha – great idea with the dongle bowl! Dongles are the absolute worst when it comes to software.. terrible.. but often found in music software
.-= Massy´s last blog ..Top Secret Tyrone Shum Email Finally Revealed =-.

I actually have know idea what a dongle is, but from the way it sounds, it sounds simply horrible. I’m glad I live in this time now then.
.-= Tini | Inzone Internet´s last blog ..Google Cancels Out Reciprocal Links =-.

A dongle is a device that (formerly) plugged into parallel printer ports between the computer and the printer (if you had one). Nowadays they still exist but are USB-based and thus far less disruptive. Thanks for commenting:)

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