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My idea to stop YOUR eBooks from leaking.

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by mmhustler2009, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. mmhustler2009

    mmhustler2009 BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    I can imagine it being a pain in the ass to spend a lot of time and effort creating an ebook, just to have some bastard leak it to bittorrent or wherever a few weeks later. This idea dawned on me a few weeks ago on how to find those people responsible for it.

    Putting an obvious order # or serial number (unique for each customer) on the book has limited use, all that is needed to cloak their identity is to delete those few lines of text in the pdf. In order to successfully plant an identifying mark in the ebook, you must conceal your intentions.....

    What we need to do is hide various numbers or keywords or other markings that identify the customer in plain sight. Let me list a few examples.

    Lets say there is a paragraph saying "It does not matter if you make $4.00, or $4200 every day, I guarantee you will double your profits after reading this book!" That sentence looks harmless enough....right? Now imagine changing that $4200 to $4300, or $4100. By those slight changes in each copy of the ebook you give to people, you can determine who has what copy, which is obviously great if someone leaks your book, then you can easily press charges against them (or blackmail, OR now you know where they live, whatever floats your boat :D). The great thing about this concept is that there are so many small variations you can do to your ebook, there is little people can do to detect what you are doing. Here are a few ideas that come to mind.

    -Lets say you finish a sentence somewhere like this...... Count the number of periods you have.

    -Go get a thesaurus and change a few adjectives. The ridiculous profits are now ludicrous profits, the draconian CPA network is now the strict CPA network. The possibilities for this are endless.

    -In any tables you have, lets say screenshots of payouts, edit the page and change all the dates. Additionally, you can put small variations on your payouts. $458.43 becomes $458.45, and so on and so forth.

    -Have interchangeable words. Instead of working to get that red Ferrari, now it is a red BMW, or a yellow Porsche, or a Black Bentley... :D Your shoe color, what you spent with your money, the kind of computer you use, ANYTHING really.

    -If you ever name any locations (lets say where you grew up, or where used to live) can be changed. Los Angeles, Denver, or Phoenix can all be used to mark the book.

    -Even "typos" can be used. Use at your own risk though, you don't want to have your product looking like shit. :p

    -Any important pictures you have can slight variations on them. What does your mouse look like in the screenshot? What theme are you using on your computer? What is the URL in the browser? What tabs do you have open, and what do they say? WHAT TIME IS IT?

    If people stealing these books begin to realize what people are beginning to do, they may delete the unimportant paragraphs (thinking they have markings in it), so it is important to think one step ahead, and put these markings inside the actual meat of your ebook, the information that is most valuable. So small variations on your profits (or expenses), or changing a few offers you used, or even how many hours you work a day (or used to).

    Any combination of the above methods can be used, either to have your marking information spread somewhere to less suspicious (black Bentley Los Angeles is customer X, red BMW NYC is customer Y), or for redundancy purposes. I am sure it can get way more complex than this, if you are creative you can probably think of much more clever ways to hide things. Seriously, be creative here, the possibilities are endless for protecting your product.

    And speaking of ebooks, no one better turn this idea into one! ;)
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  2. Choronzon

    Choronzon Power Member

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    I wrote a program before to append a number to the machine code of a pdf so that only I knew it was there, I thought that was pretty slick but this idea is brilliant, hiding in plain site. That never even occured to me.

    It would only take one or two changes to make every PDF unique, brilliant.

    BTW, no offence but how come you are Jr VIP with only 13 posts lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
  3. pyronaut

    pyronaut Executive VIP

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    The problem is that if you have a good selling ebook (The ones you dont want stolen), you need essentially instant delivery. You dont have time to change numbers within the the PDF.

    And even if you did, most of the time when your selling on WF say, everyone is buying through paypal links with instant downloads. If you did manage to catch the culprit who bought the book, you still wouldnt know who on the forum it was.
     
  4. Jared255

    Jared255 Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Good idea but like pyronaut said you really need instant download, unless you made a bunch of copies (ebook12, ebook13, etc.) and managed to rotate those download links.
     
  5. godmonkee

    godmonkee Regular Member

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    It depends really I kinda agree with what you are saying, but if the ebook you wrote was a unique method to you and you only wanted to sell it to so many people then this idea would be a brilliant way to try and stop someone else trying to sell your ebook, some people don't like to share their ebooks anymore from fear of the being stolen and sold by people who cannot come up with there own ideas, just my opinion.

    Thanks
    Godmonkee
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  6. mmhustler2009

    mmhustler2009 BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    I am not implying anything here, but I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to make a program that does this, and records who has what variation.... :)

    I understand what you are saying too. This isn't something to rely on, but realize a lot of people use the same email, or have a universal screenname, so the odds are on your side. In the eyes of the law, I still think you would have enough evidence to win the case. Really, what can the defense say? HE bought the books with x identifying mark, and now that copy is all over the internet. How can he prove he didn't do it, when he wasn't at all aware of your hidden markings. Don't get me wrong, I see what you're saying though.

    (this was directed at pyronaut for the record)

    I got VIP from an admin on IRC, by the way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  7. pyronaut

    pyronaut Executive VIP

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    If it was ********* i guess it could work :p. If its one of those $500 ebooks that you are only going to sell 100 copies of then yep should work :). As for developing something to work with it, i would think it is more work then its worth. When you have Paypal buy now buttons and even things like ejunkie which is pretty much free.

    I guess atleast you will know who did leak it, but at the end of the day i dont have time to chase people through the tubes of the interwebs.

    Coming from a software developer, i have thought about doing this numerous times. Hardcoding some sort of identification number into the app hidden in the code. So that when someone does leak i know who. But it was just too much work then its worth.
     
  8. jmm223

    jmm223 Registered Member

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    I have looked into this type of thing in the past as well...but at the end of the day, I decided it was really all for not.
    Even if I am able to tell WHO leaked the book...what am I really going to be able to do about it?
     
  9. womanfcuker

    womanfcuker Regular Member

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    It is not a practical idea in my opinion.
     
  10. mmhustler2009

    mmhustler2009 BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    Can I ask if the problem is the idea itself, or simply implementing it?
     
  11. jmm223

    jmm223 Registered Member

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    I don't think the idea is bad...it is just that there still isn't a good way to enforce it.

    Say you do find someone who has leaked a copy of your ebook, and you know this because of your hidden code scheme. Then what do you do? They can't UN-LEAK it!
    Sure you could send them a nasty letter and threaten legal action...but that still doesn't change the fact that the book is out already.

    To me...the best bet is to try and deter the leak to begin with.
    If you put warnings and place the personas name and info in the book, it will possibly help deter them from trying to distribute it. Sure, some may just delete that part...but at least you have made it a little harder for them.
     
  12. g111k

    g111k Regular Member

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    I really think it makes VERY LITTLE sense to try and prevent people from sharing your ebook... i can see a HUGE problem in people rewriting and using their own links, yes.. that sux, and it would be amazing if it could somehow be prevented.

    But preventing sharing... you're ultimately taking the word of mouth and viral power AWAY from your product, this should be prevented for digital software products yes, but not digital informational products!!! Any good ebook should be written in a way so that you make backend affiliate commissions, or upsell the buyer into a membership site, etc...

    Like really, I know you lose out on $20-40 everytime someone shares, but I really think if your product kicks ass you gain much more in the form of

    - more backend sales
    - more exposure for ur product
    - more exposure for ur site, opt-in list, or whatever the content of ur ebook
    - u can still sell the ebook to about 99% of the market in most cases

    All in all I truly think 1000 people getting your ebook for free n sharing it further will generate a lot more income than just 100 ppl buying it, provided it was designed to make money even after the person purchases it (any decent product should be designed this way)
     
  13. pyronaut

    pyronaut Executive VIP

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    Ha funny you should say that. I sold an ebook on DP over a year ago. It was around the time ************** first started, and yes it was about ************** and TV sites (Before sidereel.com went apeshit).

    Well anyway i made a few hundred from it. Not that much. I had a few aff links in the ebook, but didnt get many signups from it. Then someone shared it on here literally 6+ months after i had sold it. I actually got more referrals from people on here sharing it then i did when i sold it.
     
  14. Robbygoalgoal

    Robbygoalgoal Newbie

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    Well, the secret would be to sell your ebooks and provide instant delivery all the time. Place warnings on your ebooks would also be a good thing to do to avoid this from happening.
     
  15. indexyoursite

    indexyoursite Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Your idea is nice. But for example try to sue or blackmail somebody from Venezuela. I buy things from South Africa or Japan, and I'm 8000 kms away from these countries.