Today I received an email that there's a cracked version of PG Commander on the web. The email came from a company offering to remove cracked apps from the web in “a fast, effective and affordable fashion”. Intrigued, I checked the search terms they told me about. Indeed, I quickly found a link to a a cracked version of PG Commander. After clicking through half a dozen popups I managed to download the file. It was a RAR, which expanded to a ZIP, which expanded to a RAR, which finally expanded to a cracked version of my app.
I felt flattered. Someone cracked my app. It was probably not very difficult. Nevertheless, someone sat down, looked for a way to remove the trial restrictions in PG Commander, and then released the crack on a shady website. Someone put effort into making my app available to a wider audience.
I don't expect the cracked version to affect sales. The kind of people who download cracked software don't buy software anyway. My target audience are IT professionals; I doubt many of them would risk opening something labelled ‘crack’. There is no way to tell the difference between a harmless pirate copy and trojan-infested malware.
I replied to the piracy-tracking company that I had no interest in their service. Playing catch-up with anonymous crackers on the internet is a futile endeavor. I'd rather spend my time and money on improving PG Commander.
But I feel like a real software developer now. When I was a kid, I looked for cracked software on IRC. Now, 15 years later, people are cracking my software.