Computer Security - 3DThis post is a little controversial and some people may disagree with me but I feel this needs to be said.

OK, so you’ve just spent 3 months working on a product and you’re about to release it but one thing is bothering you.

How will I protect my thank you page/product?

This is actually something I get asked quite a lot, and let me tell you far too many people are hung up on protecting their products and download pages. Yes, protect your product with a members area or hard to guess thank you page, but please don’t get hung up on this, the reason is that no matter how hard you try to protect your product, if someone wants it they will get it.

I’m going to share something with you that I’ve never revealed before, here’s the thank you page to one of my best selling eBooks.

That link has not changed since 2006, not very hard to guess, is it?

So why would I do that? Well for starters, most people are genuine and will pay for your product, never forget that. It’s a very small minority that will try to get your product for free.

Secondly, if someone were to ‘steal’ my eBook there are enough links inside the eBook containing my affiliate links that I will make more money if it gets passed around. In fact, I wish that page was getting an extra 10,000 views per day from people who haven’t paid because if it were how much more money would I be making?

Do you know when I first started on eBay I used to go mad if I saw someone copying my work, I would spend hour after hour trawling eBay for listings that were using my templates, sales copy, eBooks etc. It got to the stage where I used to spend more time trying to stop people copying my work than getting any real work done. In the end, I gave up and decided to stay one step ahead of the copycats by producing new material faster than they could copy it. Since then I’ve never looked back and it’s now something that doesn’t worry me.

This post is not about not protecting your work, by all means, put things in place, but remember that if you set things up correctly and have enough backlinks in place having people ‘steal’ your work can actually work in your favour.

I am going to leave you with a thought, someone who I was consulting with was going to pay over $5000 for some software to protect his PDF files and asked me if it was something he should do. My reply was “if companies like Microsoft, Adobe and many many more can’t protect their products from theft what chance do we have?”

Remember, you’ll never 100% protect your work, so put things in place to make you money if it is stolen, and the best way to stay ahead of the copycats is to produce new work on a regular basis so they can’t keep up.

There’s a chance this blog post could be copied, but I’ll never know as I’ve got better things to do than look for duplicates on the net. BTW, if you are a copycat and are about to copy this post at least leave the link to my eBook Auction Profit Streams in the post.

As always your comments are welcome, I think I may get some interesting ones 🙂

    44 replies to "Don’t Get Hung Up On Protecting Your Work"

    • catherine ford

      Could not agree with you more John. I have not got a product but I write web content and it is always getting stolen and never with a link, but to waste my time finding it and doing something which would result in no action anyway, in other words the content would still be there – well there are not enough times in the day.

    • Ron Barrett


      I 100% agree with you on this.

      Yes, it’s important to protect your download/thank you pages but in the grand scheme of things, as you point out, if someone didn’t pay for it and wants to get it, they’re going to.

      So what if they do? Again, as you point out, that just means there’s another copy floating around the cloud with YOUR links in it.

      Why would someone disagree with this?


    • Jim Cockrum

      I’ve been teaching that exact concept for nearly a decade. If you can’t stop the thieves put them to work for you!

    • Nikki

      Hi John,

      A thought-provoking post, thank you. Our first instinct is to protect what we create, but as you’ve rightly pointed out, this is virtually impossible when dealing with digital products. One only has to look at the amount of software, films, music etc out there that can be acquired without going through the official channels to realise what an impossible task this would be.

      I like the idea of ensuring that you have various links inside your own products that would then mean that wherever they end up & whoever is distributing them, the royalties still come back to you. Talk about turning a situation around!

      You’re also right that it’s just a fruitless waste of time & energy trying to keep up with these people and seeing whether your prodcuts have been copied. Much better to spend your time creating new products or in fact spending time with loved ones than worrying about the inevitable.

      Isn’t the saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”?


      Nikki / PMW

    • Randy Smith

      Crikey John,
      I’m a Yorkshireman! …. If I waited til I had $5k to spend to protect my work… I’d still be waiting at my funeral!! …lol

      As you said – it’s worth adding a strange page name… or using a membership script (but even those can be cracked as I found out recently!)

      I also ALWAYS add an index.html page to my download folders – so even if someone gets to my download folder – they just see a page that has a “whoops – nothing here, but here are some useful links”
      Then I list a few site urls etc. to some of my sites 🙂

      (Example – )
      Quite handy for those who try it on…hehe

      All that done – I’ve still seen google alerts to sites that have my pdf’s on them – writing to them never gets a reply!!! – So your advice to make sure there are plenty of affiliate links in each pdf is well worth taking on board 🙂


    • Philippe Moisan

      Hi John,

      I love your post. I started blogging 2 weeks ago, I created several blogs for different subjects where I need to express opnions or share information.
      I am preoccupied by content theft. Afraid I might lose money because of that. But in the end, I keep telling myself that people enjoy my posts and information and keep coming back for more will talk about it to their friends and, if there are a few copy cats among them, from a long term point of view, it doesn’t matter. My online presence and reputation is my primary objective. As Brian Tracy says, “do what you love and the money will follow”. And I realize I love blogging. When I don’t have a day job, I will have even more time to get more deeply in the topics deep to my heart.

      Thanks for your post, it helps remind me not to be afraid of content theft in the long run.

      Have a wonderful day !

      Philippe Moisan

    • Nikki


      You said:

      “I also ALWAYS add an index.html page to my download folders – so even if someone gets to my download folder – they just see a page that has a “whoops – nothing here, but here are some useful links”
      Then I list a few site urls etc. to some of my sites

      (Example – )
      Quite handy for those who try it on…hehe”

      That’s an excellent idea – I may have to use that one in the future!



    • Avril Harper

      That is such a good article John and it has answered many of my own concerns. I am – maybe I should say ‘was’ after reading your article – paranoid about people accessing my download pages and it was on the tip of my tongue to seek advice from you personally as to how you protect your own work.

      Now I get the advice I need without asking and you have saved me a long job of moving books around and changing passwords and such.

      And you are right about most people being honest and genuinely preferring to pay for products than access them free of charge. Only today I had someone say he had managed to find one of my download pages and now he wants to pay for the product.

      So thanks for that John, I personally think that’s one of the most important tips you’ve ever given and like all your readers I love you for it!!

      Best wishes


    • Sue Schlaiffer

      Hi John,
      That was a very interesting read, and I had never thought that people stealing work could actually work for you. I will take it as a compliment if someone likes my products enough to figure out how to steal them, and I’ll make sure there are plenty of links in there too. What a great idea from Randy about putting a dummy index page in there for any less talented thieves to land on! That idea gave me a giggle!

    • Susan Owen-Thursfield

      Thanks for posting this John.

      This is something that bothered me a LOT but then I realised that if you put your product on Clickbank, all anyone needs to do is request a refund. Clickbank makes it and bingo, they’ve still got your product – and no need to muck about cracking your security. Love the idea of adding affiliate links –

      and @Randy

      I have a refresh to the main URL index page in my download folder – but I think your idea is MUCH better! Thanks for that!



    • seo manchester

      Hi John,
      Actually I learnt this from you during the coaching program
      almost couple of years ago. Since then I do not worry about the material I put out. Most of my stuff is free with lots of affiliate links in it. Paid stuff as well so I dont mind if somebody steals it…Regards, Gordan

    • Anthony Sunseri

      Hi John:

      As internet marketers we should only be focused on that which is most important, the creating new products. Creating new products will generate more business leading to more profit, while tracking down people who copy our work just costs us time and money.

      Thanks for all you do.


    • Daniel Sumner

      Hey John,

      Good words mate. I as agree with Randy as well by using a members area and index.html in the folder.

      You could spend your life trying to protect everything from the thieves and the black hat forum downloads, but hey I have better things to do.

      It’s like Jim says, If you can’t beat them put them to work for you. I wish I could get a million guys to steal my stuff and give it away!! My list would be huge 🙂


    • Terry Conti

      Hi John, makes a whole lot of sense to me. If you are going to take my work, the links within can truly earn me money.

      In fact if you steal my work pass it around to everyone you know and let them pass it around as well and so on and so on.

      Terry Conti

    • Eruwan Gerry

      Hi John,

      You’re absolutely right on this one.

      I did the same thing a few years back – chasing around people who copied my stuff. At the end, I ended losing even more productive time than what I should have.

      Thanks for this reminder. We sometimes concentrate on the small stuff too much that we forget about the big picture.

    • Paul

      Great post John.
      I totally agree.

      Like others here I use an index page in the download folders.
      I have also recently started using no follow code

      just above the title in the index page. Hopefully at least then my download pages don’t get shown in the search engine results.

    • Dave Lovelace Marketing

      Hey John

      I totally agree with you. Don’t get “hung up” on it. This sentence really sums up the post, “no matter how hard you try to protect your product if someone wants it they will get it.”

      I use to worry about theft when I was just starting out, but (as you said), there are better things to do to make better use of your time than worrying about the few dishonest people in the world.

      Frankly, it never crosses my mind anymore.

      I name my web pages with a unique name and never put common “download page/thank you page” phrases in the title of my download page and sometimes I put a “no robot” line of code on my download page to prevent search engine robots from indexing, if I think about it. Otherwise, that’s it.

      Here’s the “no index/no follow” code:

      For those who feel strongly about putting some sort of protection in place, there are inexpensive applications available to protect download pages that either provide temporary and/or encrypted download URL’s or time-limited download links. is one of them with expiring download links and limited download attempts. The new has included something similar. Adrian Ling’s creates a member account for downloads and is IP tracked. If someone tries to share with someone else with another IP address, the download will be blocked. And if someone refunds, the account is automatically de-activated.

      Regardless, if someone is starting out and they’re not moving forward because they’re “stuck” trying to figure out a way to protect downloads, don’t stress it. Just get it going for now. You can always come back to that step later (if it’s that important to you).


    • Martyn Boaden

      I’ve found some of my stuff on other sites. The sites are always poor quality and I doubt they are getting any traffic so they are hardly “competition”. Like you say, John, its not worth wasting your time trying to stop them.

    • alex

      Greetings John!
      Good post, vital topic. You, have correctly noticed how many do not beat the thief on hands, will steal all the same. It is human nature. But to steal guilty……….

    • Sally Neill

      Hi John,

      Loved this post, I used to be so terrified of people stealing my work, but now I don’t care.

      Like you said, have enough in place so that if they steal it, it simply doesn’t matter.

      You will never rid the world of these types of people, just play them at their own game, they think they are getting the better of you, but really the joke is on them.

      Sally 🙂

    • Andy Nock


      Yep people will find your product if they really want it, but for those who want to protect your downloads, take a look at my Paypal digital download script:

      I’ll give you a 50% discount if you say you saw it on John’s blog.

      All the best


    • Lee Mckenna

      Very true John,

      Who cares if someone downloads your product for free?

      As long as 98% of the people that come to your sales page
      acctualy buys then your quids in.

      I don’t agree with being ok with people stealing your full
      eBook. If at the end of the day how the hell are you going
      to stop it from happening?

      So the wise thing to do is to fill it with your affilaite links
      like you said.

      Very good blog post.

      Kind Regards

      Lee Mckenna

    • Eamon

      Hi John,

      Great point of view John, have to agree with you, there’s no point trying to keep up with these kind of people, it just takes to much time.


    • Chris Shaw

      Makes a lot of sense that John.

      I’ve bought a few download protection scripts in the past, MyDD, EW Portal and SmartDD and they’re all pretty similar in the way they work. However after trying them for a while, to me they are all clunky and cumbersone to use and all they do is add a whole new layer of work to be done before you launch your product.

      And as someone has already pointed out…yes, you might protect your download page with a script but as soon as someone has downloaded your product or even your entire membership site and its contents legitimately, there is absolutely nothing to stop them uploading the same to any of the numerous file sharing sites and believe me, it happens all the time…even to newly launched products so it’s not just old stuff.

      You wouldn’t leave your new flat screen TV or PS3 out in the street to be stolen easily so for what it’s worth, I adopt the following strategy to give your products at lease some degree of protection:

      1. As long as there are no internal links from any page on your site to the download page you should be fine but to be doubly sure, you could include a noindex,nofollow on the download page so it shouldn’t show up in the search engines. Put the following two lines of code into the section of your page:

      2. As well as in the download directory, You could also put an index.html page in every other directory in the site that doesn’t have one like the ‘images’ directory and so forth as well. Leave as few back doors open to hackers as possible. You can use a blank page, include a sarcastic comment like “Nice try sunshine!!” or populate it with some of your own links.

      3. Most people have RoboForm for form-filling web pages so I just use the ‘Generate’ button to produce a completely random directory name for the download page. No-one is ever going to guess it if it looks like ‘BBApmUm7R9’ or whatever.

      Chris Shaw

    • Chris Shaw

      Those lines of code didn’t come out in the post. Lets. try again…

      &ltmeta name=”GOOGLEBOT” content=”noindex,nofollow,noarchive,nosnippet,noodp”/&gt

      &ltmeta name=”ROBOTS” content=”noindex,nofollow,noarchive”/&gt

    • Dave Nicholson

      Hey John,

      Another excellent post there mate, I agree that ‘honest’ people will appreciate the work you have spent on the product, and pay for it. However, there are the few who will try anything to save a few bucks!
      As you said mate, ‘protection’ is not always the cure, but built-in back links will always protect your investment 🙂



    • Graham Farmer

      A very useful and wise post John!

      It’s about putting your efforts where they get the most reward, linked with Jim Cockrum’s comment about getting the thieves to work for you.

      I also like Randy Smith’s idea of in index page in your your ‘download’ folder, a simple one-off step to mislead some of the would-be thieves.

      Useful advice, useful tip!

      Thank you

    • Edson

      Hey John,

      I was one of those people years ago that asked the same thing, I was so worried that people where going to steal my work, I spent hours per week trying to find out how to stop them.

      These days I spent all my time building up my business and if someone gets it for free..oh well, hopefully they will like it and subscribe to one of my lists. 🙂

      Great post and really this should clear it up for the newbies out there…



    • Pierre Trudel

      Thank you John for all this great information.
      You are so right.We are more afraid of being afraid then moving on.
      I guess we all sense a need to protect our work but with the millions of viewers their are enough for all of us.
      The only problem I have is to really know if my affiliate links really work.
      What do you do when you get loads of clicks but no sales?
      Thanks again John
      Pierre Trudel
      Thee Quest For Perfect Health

    • Barry Wells

      Hi John, another great post.

      I place links within every product i create, so as to bring them back to my sites and affiliated products. I also give my download pages a strange link, rather than Thank-you.html. I don’t get to hung up on it though, as you say if they want it they’ll get it. Many of them will make a purchase and ask for a refund anyway, so it’s not worth losing time or getting stressed about it.

      For the folders that contain my Resale Rights items i’ve put a clickbank globe page as an index in them all, every little helps ha ha.

      Great advice yet again John,
      Respect and Regards, Barry

    • Wise Owl

      When you’re first starting out it’s not such a bad thing if your work is shared. I agree with John, it’s counter productive to get too stressed out about it and you simply need to stay one step ahead of the game by ensuring that there are links in the reports which will generate income further down the line.

      I use MyDD but ultimately there’s nothing to stop someone purchasing, asking for a refund and/or sharing on a vast array of forums/ warez type sites. You can only take reasonable precautions and then have to forget about it.

      Be careful with the robots.txt file though as this is frequently searched for and can be viewed. Sometimes, the robots file can actually lead directly to the download as, instead of disallowing a folder, some sellers enter the specific url. If you host your download on the same site then personally I would disallow several “made up” folders and have an index.php in each of them.

      Oh, and I actually bought Auction Profit Streams, several years back, and never even noticed the url…couldn’t you have shared something else with us John?!!! lol

    • Paul Power

      Hi John,

      I do feel that when you are just starting out, that being hung up about protecting your work can be more of hindrance rather than a help.

      How do you feel about protecting your work as you have more experience? Are you keen on protecting your own work more now, or not?

      I would be interested in hearing your feelings about that.

      Take Care,

      Paul Power.

    • Ed

      Hey John,

      I don`t care if people do as you say steal my products, because at the end of the day someone with the mindset of stealing informatioin holds no value on it whatsoever and will therefore simply not put it in to use!

      Therefore its no good to them and they haven`t benefited from it!

      As Ron and Jim touched on the links within the report can be clicked on creating a sale after all maybe to a degree ‘virally’!

      Great post John….Ed.

    • Eamon Diamond

      That was a very interesting read, and I had never thought that people stealing work could actually work for you. I will take it as a compliment if someone likes my products enough to figure out how to steal them, and I’ll make sure there are plenty of links in there too. What a great idea from Randy about putting a dummy index page in there for any less talented thieves to land on! That idea gave me a giggle!

    • Steve Deerfield

      Hi John, excellent post! You just saved all of your students and readers loads of time and unnecessary worries. Your solution is right on target. I spent quite a bit of time doing cpanel ‘change permissions’ on my thankyou pages from 755 to 751 but it just complicates everything a bit too much. I’d rather keep busy doing things that matter to. Thanks for the insights John. Steve D.

    • Dj Barnes

      Hi John,

      Thank you for this post!
      I never thought about someone stealing my work.
      Maybe someday, if that happens, I will be ready
      and have more of those links built in!
      Thanks for the information – valuable as always!!

      Enjoy every day, it only comes once in a lifetime!

    • John Reed

      Thanks for the friendly insight John, your tips are always worth following up. I’m naturally very protective but I’m certainly going to work to your maxim – “stuff with links, and STUFF any B*****ds that steal them”…. I believe I’ve got the gist of that right!!
      Thanks for the tip Randy – so good to see you up and around again!!!!
      John O’York

    • Jim Nariel

      Hey John

      Yes great post and I total agree to protecting your business like this – thanks

    • seo company

      Great post John! I guess if others download our product for free it only creates more awareness which helps to boast our business and I don’t think that there is major negative impacts.

    • Pay on Results SEO

      Protecting our businesses like this is crucial. Great post and many thanks

    • SEO Company in Australia

      Thanks John. I agree with your initial words. If someone really wants to steal it then they will. Not much you can do. Have a good one

    • […] Don’t get hung up on copy protection – check out his blog comment […]

    • Bart Nash

      Hey John,

      You have a way of always putting things in perspective. One of the first things you taught me was to not wory about making money. I guess this just follows that strategy. As long as you put out great products and content people will always be there to buy it. And I agree that most people are honest and will pay for your products instead of trying to steel it.

      Another great post.

      Bart Nash

    • Paul Teague

      I agree with you John.

      I usually go for a weird page title that can’t be guessed, a ‘no index,no follow’ in the HTML and make sure that it’s in a folder protected with a top level index.html file.

      I have had a few examples of Black Hat sites publishing links but after a ‘polite’ request they’ve always removed the links at my request.

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