The Adobe Air version of Ambiance Desktop has been around for a few years now and has been quite popular as a try-then-buy app. When we first launched in February 2011, Adobe was really promoting Air as the best way for smaller software businesses to spread their products across multiple platforms. For us, that meant we could offer Ambiance on Macs, Windows, and Linux computers, all for the cost of developing for one of them.
To help promote Air apps, Adobe launched a service called Shibuya that allowed companies to easily hookup a try-then-buy licensing model in their Air products. We added it to Ambiance Desktop and we very pleased with the service.
A few months after we had released Ambiance Desktop, Adobe announced that they were shutting down the Shibuya program and the corresponding Adobe InMarket. Ok, we thought that really sucked, but it happens. There was a big problem though…
Adobe handled the transition horribly. They refused to provide companies with any customer information at all. The provided an unreasonably short cutoff time of a few weeks, and provided no transition strategy. What this meant for Urban Apps was that we had no way of sending new product keys to existing Ambiance customers.
We started looking for a new licensing provider and found one in Sharify. Sharify made it really easy to integrate into the Air app and was excellent for new customers of Ambiance Desktop, but we still had a big problem with how to get licenses into the hands of existing customers. In the end, we had to flash a notice inside the app that begged paid customers to contact us with their info and transaction id (found in an old email receipt) so we could generate new license for them using Sharify. It was a nightmare. We spent a ton of time manually converting licenses over the next few months. Eventually, everything was sorted out and we were rolling smoothly with Sharify.
So, when Sharify announced a few weeks ago that they were shutting down at the end of March, we started to panic. Would we be able to get customer records from them? Luckily for us, Sharify promised to release the customer records as a CSV later on in that email. This answered the first big question, but would we be able to find a new licensing service? Would it be better to roll our own?
We started searching for alternative licensing providers but there are not too many services out there for try-then-buy software licensing. Comparing a handful of options, Urban Apps decided LimeLM was the way to go for the future of Ambiance Desktop. We knew about LimeLM when we made the switch to Sharify in the past, but at the time, it was a little expensive for our taste and we really didn’t like the ugly website (that part hasn’t changed). Black shadow on black text, a million tiny icons splashed all over the page, shadow images overlapping text, poor use of whitespace…
We thought that a company that didn’t know how to represent itself properly was an indication of the quality of their product. Boy were we wrong. Way wrong.
When we started to investigate and integrate LimeLM and TurboActivate into Ambiance Desktop, we found that there was working sample code written, integration scripts for payment processors provided, a well-documented API, a fast responsive website (albeit ugly). Anybody who has used the Sharify site knows how painfully slow it was, so this was a welcomed change.
Best of all was how responsive Wyatt and the other maintainers were on the Developer forums. I had a ton of integration questions before, during and after switching and each was answered fully in a few hours. These guys really get how to run a great service.
At the time I was looking, LimeLM didn’t have any tools to import licenses from any type of datasheet or CSV. When I contacted them and discussed Sharify shutting down and the problems I faced importing licenses, they built the “Import from CSV” feature into the site in under a week to solve this problem.
I am very impressed with LimeLM and am regretting not choosing them a few years back when I had the chance. Wyatt from LimeLM has written up a blog post describing in detail how to migrate your licenses from Sharify to LimeLM in only a few easy steps, and he is even offering a very generous (and substantial) discount to ex-Sharify customers.
Read more about how to migrate from Sharify to LimeLM on ”Licensing refugees: welcome to LimeLM”.
Lastly, I run a small software company called Urban Apps. It pays the bills so I can take the time to write helpful posts like this one. If you found this posting helpful at all, I would really appreciate it if you would check out my Apps on the iTunes App Store.