If you didn’t know already, I’m a huge advocate of the Free Software Foundation and their campaigns, including PlayOgg, Windows 7 Sins, End Software Patents, DefectiveByDesign.org, etc., so, naturally, I dislike DRM in any form, and I use, develop, and promote free and open source software. However, I just received an offer from a South Korean company called “Ubinuri, Inc.”, offering to pay me $300 to “implement ARM (Application Digital Right Management) plugin to your application” and allow them to sell my application, “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO” to the Korean market. In addition to that they say they’ll pay me between 50-70% of the revenue they make from selling my application. Although I don’t like the idea of having DRM in my application, all of my applications in the Android market are still 100% DRM-free, and they will stay that way. I don’t believe in putting crippling software in my applications. I have contacted Ubinuri requesting more information, and I am considering going through with the deal, as $300 is a lot of money, and it’s hard to pass up an offer like this. Here are some of the questions I asked them (ad verbatim):
- How will I receive the payment for implementing the ARM and allowing you to sell it?
- How often will I receive payments for the revenue you earn by selling my application?
- What does implementing ARM involve, and how can I do that?
- Will I still be able to sell my application in the Android marketplace, in addition to your store?
- Will I receive the $300 payment prior to sending you my application, or do I just have to trust you that I will receive my payment?
- Does Ubinuri, Inc. have a United States presence/division?
- I would like a legally binding licensing agreement in order to make sure that I don’t get scammed.
- Can I send you the application as it is, or do you require Korean language translation to be done at my expense?
- Will translations be provided?
- Would you mind providing me the names of some of your app store operators?
I will let you guys know whether or not I decide to go through with the deal, and I will also update this post or make a new one when they reply to my e-mail. I’m somewhat skeptical about their offer, and several people tend to agree with me, but it is a really great offer, and if it is legitimate, I would be glad to take advantage of it. I have heard several other developers saying that they got the letter as well, but I have not been able to find a single developer claiming that they took advantage of the offer, and I have no plans of getting ripped off. Hopefully I will manage to negotiate an acceptable deal and actually receive a payment for my application. After all, I haven’t made very much money from my application, and if I do receive $300, that will fund a large portion of my application development.
UPDATE: Here is a copy of the original e-mail message sent to me (the subject was “Request for “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO“ Distribution in Korea“):
I work at Ubinuri, inc. which distributes android applications through local app stores in Korea.
I would like to propose you to sell “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO” in Korea.
In order to sell your application at the local app stores in Korea, you are requested to implement ARM (Application Digital Right Management) plugin to your application, which would cause you additional efforts. In this regard, Ubinuri is willing to compensate you in advance for your additional efforts to implement the ARM.
I would appreciate it if you could review following proposal and let me know your thought.
1) Implementation of ARM (Application Digital Right Management) – In order to sell apps through Korean app stores, developers are requested to implement ARM, to prevent illegal copy, specified by the operator of each app store.
- You may hesitate to implement ARM as it would take you a couple of hours to implement ARM on your application.
- So, Ubinuri would pay 300 USD per each application for implementing ARM of the biggest local app store in Korea.
- We hope our compensation would encourage you to implement ARM so that Korean users could purchase your applications at Korean App Store.
In addition to the above initial payment, Ubinuri shall pay 50% of the Net revenue for the sales of the above applications at the above Korean app store.
(The operator of the Korean app stores will take 30% of the net revenue on your paid applications. Ubinuri will take 20% of the sales revenue in return for our investment for the above compensation and various activities for localization, marketing, report, customer care, settlement/remittance, and others.
*In case of sales at Ubinuri’s own App Store, which will be launched in early 2011, Ubinuri will send you 70% of the net revenue.
If you are interested in the above proposal, I will send the detailed information on ARM.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Byuksan Digital Valley 3, Suite 1104
212-13, Kuro-Dong, Kuro-Gu, Seoul, Korea
I haven’t been able to find out much information about “Ubinuri, Inc.”, but I did find references to several other messages sent to other application developers, such as this one from “Paul Noh” to Kostya Vasilyev, the developer of “Bluetooth widget“, and this other comment that’s also from “Paul Noh” to Zenyee, the developer of “Zenyee Rotate Screen“.
UPDATE 2: I found a brief blog post by Septillionsoft, that says their application “Fuel” now supports the Korean language, and that the translation was done by “Ubinuri, Inc.”. Although, it’s still incredibly difficult to find any information about Ubinuri. In fact, it’s so bad, that this post is already on the second page of the Google search results for “Ubinuri, Inc.”, within hours of me initially posting this.
UPDATE 3: I managed to locate yet another developer, Tom Keeber, who received a letter from Ubinuri (this letter was also from Scott Jeon, the same person who wrote to me), asking them to allow them to distribute their application “Hydromaster”. Also, on Tom’s blog, a developer who simply goes by “James” in his comment, but has a website called “AISOPS” wrote:
I received the same email. I have had several conversations with Scott via email. I sent him my strings.xml to convert to Korean and received it back. I have implemented the ARM code and am ready to send him the apk but am a bit skeptical as well. I am going to ask for some references before I send the file.
And, as another commenter, “Warren” pointed out:
I’ve also been contacted by Scott about my Android. They offer the $300 provided I install the ARM and agree with their terms.
I’m unclear on whether this is valid or not. But I’m thinking that I could generate a special version of the code just for them. And if I get something out of this, then good.
But, under no circumstances, will I provide bank account information. I feel much more comfortable with the Android marketplace business model.
I will continue to look into Ubinuri, and post my findings here, to make it easier for others who get similar e-mail messages find out more information about “Ubinuri, Inc.”, and determine whether or not the offer is a scam. The fact that other developers have had direct communications with the company is reassuring, but I’m still somewhat uncomfortable about the lack of information about the company.