DPD Update: Updates to Device Based Activation based on vendor feedback- we’re listening!

  • Jason@DPD
  • January 17, 2018

In our previous update we introduced Device Based Activation as an upgrade to our old attempt based system, which created customer service issues for some vendors having to reactivate download links for customers.

We’ve had varying feedback from the thousands of vendors using our platform- everything from “thank you I’m so tired of reactivating customers” to “ugh this won’t work because I relied on the old system’s behavior in my sales strategy.” There was even some “this is new and I don’t like anything new I hate you now!” sprinkled in, much like we get with most updates.

First I want to explain our reasoning for the change, and what we’re doing to accommodate those vendors who do special things with delivery.

Why Device Based Activation anyway?

The #1 complaint we get in support and on twitter is that vendors are tired of reactivating old download links. We get it- it is annoying. So we worked from this basic premise:

The vast majority of vendors want to sell people things and want the person who bought the thing (and only that person) to have access to it forever because they bought it and they own it. Vendors don’t want to have to deal with customers from 2 years ago who bought their icons/PDF/video/software/theme trying to download- they just want it to work for everyone who bought it, every time.

The Device Based Activation addresses this most common sales scenario:

  1. Customer buys the thing
  2. The device they bought it on, plus a couple others if you want (their phone, tablet, home PC, whatever) can download it.
  3. If the customer ever needs to download it again on a new computer, they can validate through their purchase email and download it again, years in the future without having to interact with the vendor and wait.

This is pretty much the holy grail scenario for most vendors- it just works, you’ll rarely have to interact with customers who have bought your products about download issues, and the customer will always have access to the products they own.

In addition, Device Based Activation is the activation framework for future advanced features– things like hosted content, streaming content or video, and other things that have to check that someone is authorized are now possible with this system.

Of course, there were some long time vendors who had some special cases. We’ve listened and addressed those:

The Special Cases

Need a Time Limit on product access:

We had vendors who constantly update their existing product with new versions and each revision takes special configuration on new computers. They didn’t want customers to be able to constantly download new versions on new computers without their interaction.

For this scenario, we’ve added a session lifetime parameter that says “Authorized devices time out after x days / weeks / months”.

That way, vendors can say “You can download to your hearts content for the first 2 weeks on authorized computers, then you’ll have to contact the vendor to reactivate.”


Multi User License sales:

A few other vendors sold a single product as a multi-seat license (say, a 50 pack) and needed the product to be downloaded by 50 different devices without having to activate each device.

For this scenario, we’ve added auto-activation of devices up to the concurrent device limit. If you set the concurrent device limit on that store to 50, the first 50 computers who download from that specific link can do so without the email activation. After the concurrent device limit is reached, new devices will have to use the email activation procedure up to the total device limit. If the total device limit is 50, then after 50 devices download the vendor will have to add more devices.

That way, vendors can sell 50 seat licenses and 50 different people can download from the same delivery link without issue.

The Email Authorization System is Annoying / This feels like DRM / Etc.:

This is a pretty industry standard system of authorizing identity- you have to have access to the purchase email account to download a product. The Steam game platform and others do this, so its not a crazy foreign concept. It prevents people from posting your link on a forum or website and everyone on earth getting your product.

To address the extra annoyance of email authorization, as stated above we’ve removed the requirement for email authorization of new devices up to the concurrent device limit. Any new devices over the concurrent device limit will have to authorize through email up to the maximum device limit. This prevents wholesale link sharing.

This will also address concerns of appearing to have annoying “DRM” or other features preventing you from getting your products. The download authorization system is not DRM and doesn’t affect your products content or usability- we’re just verifying you bought the product.

In Summary:

Device Based Activation is not about creating more headaches for vendors– its about freeing you from having to reactivate downloads if configured correctly.

We understand that several vendors have special circumstances and selling scenarios, and we’re confident we can address them using our new system while improving delivery for every vendor and customer.

Device Based Activation System Rollout

New stores created in DPD from this point forward use device based activation. We’re holding off on updating existing stores until more feedback is gathered and we have accommodated every scenario we can with the new system before moving everyone to the new platform.

Device based activation will be required for future advanced features and future versions of the cart, so please contact us so we can help you get configured for your sales scenario so you can take advantage of new features!

Please Reach Out to Us!

We know change can be scary! We’re here to help you set up your store for your unique selling scenario so please submit a support ticket or catch us on live chat during the day and we’ll help you configure your store to the best setup for you.

DPD Update: New Device Based download authorization… No more Reactivations!

  • Jason@DPD
  • December 7, 2017

Today we’ve started rolling out a change to how DPD authorizes downloads for buyers. It’s a significant change and one that will lead to massive decreases in customer support requests from your customers asking for download reactivation.

That said, new can be scary so here is a breakdown of whats changing:

Old Download System: Attempt Based

Previously, DPD counted download attempts and kept downloads active for a fixed amount of time. This meant that a customer might get 2 attempts to download over 1 week after purchase, and after that their download page was dead.

While this is pretty much the standard way things are done with most systems out there, it’s a pretty awful experience for the customer AND vendor. After a week (or 2 tries) the customer can’t get their product and gets mad. The vendor then has to deal with an angry customer and spend time finding their purchase, verifying their identity, and reactivating their download.

If the tweets and support tickets we get from you guys are any indication, this irritates vendors a lot too. We don’t want irritated vendors- we want happy ones!

Soooo… we’re making this massive change:

New System: Device Based Activation

The new Device Based Activation system prevents unauthorized download of your products by only allowing download from devices that have been registered and authorized to a customer’s profile in DPD.

Buyers can download their products as many times as they need from the registered device, but because it is locked to the device they are unable to share the download link with others.

What is a Device?

DPD uses the word “Device” throughout the admin and knowledge base.  In the context of download controls, a Device is the browser + computer or other gadget that the buyer is using to download products.

Examples of Devices:

  • PC desktop + Firefox Browser
  • iPhone + Safari Browser
  • Android Phone + Android Browser
  • Mac Laptop + Safari Browser

So, when DPD mentions “Device” anywhere, it is short for the unique fingerprint of the computer or mobile gadget used by the buyer, the browser used, and the unique session cookie for that customer.

How does it work?

When a buyer completes a checkout with DPD we set a unique session tracking cookie on their browser.  This cookie only works with that browser + computer (or mobile device combo) that was used to complete the purchase.  This happens seamlessly in the background.

As long as the buyer has this unique session cookie authorizing their browser they can download the products they purchased whenever they like by visiting their download page or following the link in the purchase email they received from your DPD store when completing checkout.

Even better, once a buyer has activated their computer to download their products, its authorized to download ALL the products they’ve purchased from your store automatically, not just the one they activated.

More Information

We know this system is a completely new way of handling downloads and we’ve tried to cover the questions we could think of. If you have one we haven’t thought of please comment or send a support ticket!

What happens if they are on a different device?

It will ask them to enter their email, which is checked against the purchase, to send them an authorization link. Learn more:

How DPD Authorizes Customer Downloads

Do I need to change the device limits?

Usually, no. We’ve set sane defaults that should be good for most vendors, but if you want to here is a KB article on that:

Setting Store Device Limits

What happens when a customer reaches their device limit?

The won’t be able to access their downloads until you authorize another device. Here is how to do that:

Customer Service: When a customer reaches their device limit

This all sounds awesome, how do I get it?!

The rollout is in two phases:

1. (the new few days) From this point all new stores will have Device Based Activation automatically. Its the default for new stores from the time of this blog post.

2. (2 weeks or so) We’re going to migrate every existing DPD store to the new device based activation system once we’ve had it in production for a few weeks and are confident there are no issues.

Want it now?

We know some vendors hate reactivating downloads and have been very vocal about wanting a better system so send us a support ticket! We’ll turn on the new system for you now and you can stop reactivating downloads.

Have any more feedback or questions? Drop us a comment here or send in a support ticket!