Software products have been one of the greatest sources of revenue in my internet business career. Everyone knows about the two basic ways to promote software...
- Create it (hire a developer or code it yourself).
- Promote someone else's as an affiliate.
There is a 3rd option though that is overlooked. That option is purchasing the rights to a 3rd party software. There are different degrees of this and limitations of course, but in this article, I'm going to explain all that and more.
Here is what you need to know about leveraging the software products of other people in your own business (legally and ethically of course).
Let's get into it.
The Types of Software Rights We Can Purchase
First, let's cover the 3 types of software rights we can purchase.
Type #1 White Label or "Agency" Software Rights - This is my favorite agreement type. It allows you to purchase someone else's software and rebrand it as your own. They may or may not provide support to your customers (they typically do) and you should get all future product updates as well.
For example, a software I use called "Geru" offers agency plans to their users at a premium price.
Successful agencies understand the power of this sort of offer and don't blink twice at paying big prices to have access for their clients.
These sorts of programs provide tremendous value to their offerings. If you've ever hired an agency online, it's very likely they've leveraged this approach.
"Full Service Funnel Building - Includes GERU Access ($59/Month Value)"
Sounds pretty sexy, doesn't it?
Scale this across unlimited clients, and the investment can be tremendous.
These often come with other marketing assets as well, such as sales pages, swipe copy, and more.
These can be a bit tricky, since there is a 3rd party between you and your customers. If you have a software bug that needs fixed, you usually need to be the intermediary between the original developer and your new user.
Type #2 Reseller Software Rights - This is a blend between white label rights and affiliate marketing. The difference is that you sell the product as it stands (no name changes, site changes, etc), but you retain all profits. You pay a large upfront fee for these rights, of course, but it is a much more "hands off" approach than the other methods.
Type #3 Total Ownership - This is the most traditional and straightforward approach; you essentially purchase the entire company and are the only person who sells the product. You will be responsible for all updates, customer support, and anything else involved with the business. This is by far the most expensive and labor intensive approach, but it can also be the most lucrative.
Why Do Software Creators Do This?
It seems odd that software owners would give away their hard work for what can add up to pennies on the dollar, but there is good logic behind it.
First, there is no connection between marketing and sales skills and software development skills. In fact, I believe they're almost polar opposite brain types.
For example, I can't code at all, but I know what sorts of products will sell, and I understand how to find someone to build it for me.
A developer may know how to quickly make a great software product but is terrible at marketing and sales (or just totally disinterested in doing that part of it).
Giving away various levels of rights for large up front payments is often a big win for developers. Yes, even if they sell rights to a software for $1,000, and the creator drives $1,000,000 to the product. If they weren't going to do it anyway, why does it matter?
Also, it's not like every person who purchases the rights to a software is going to succeed with it. There is typically no limit to how many times a developer can sell various levels of site access to resellers. It can add up, AND they can still promote it themselves, if they want to (unless they sell that right as well).
Ways to Find White Label or Prime Reseller Software
Here are the ways I've found software opportunities in the past. I'm sorry that the first two are pretty straightforward, but they have actually been the most effective ways I've used.
Method #1: Just Scroll Down and Look
Anytime I see a software that I would like to possibly white label, I start by navigating to the bottom of the program's homepage and looking for links to anything that would suggest they offer a white label or reseller option.
- "Affiliate" <--Surprisingly, the reseller area is often sandwiched into the affiliate page.
- "Partners" - Although this is often just an area that shows the big names that use their software, sometimes it includes ways to partner by reselling, white labeling, or using their API in another way.
- "Resell(er)" - More common on pages for physical products but not unheard of for software pages.
If they have these areas, I follow their instructions for next steps. Typically this involves emailing them to explain how I plan to use the software and a little bit more about myself.
Most programs don't offer pricing information upfront, and these contact areas can be an opportunity for them to get a feel for how much they can charge you.
So, keep a low profile when contacting them. Don't wax on about how big your audience is or give away too much information that would lead them to think you will pay whatever they ask.
Method #2: Just Ask
Like I said, I'm sorry that this is so straightforward, but it works.
What's even better about this method is that you will likely be the only person doing it vs. a company that has their own reseller or white label program and advertises it.
Many software creators are simply much better at the tech side than the business side. They're often more than happy to arrange a deal if you get the ball moving and explain what it would look like.
Here are some signs that a software product is more likely to offer special deals to agencies or resellers...
#1 A software that has many similar alternatives - If a product is in a highly competitive space, there's a good chance the company isn't making a ton of their own sales. This makes them much more likely to attempt to recoup their costs quickly through a big ticket reseller purchase.
#2 Great software, terrible marketing - You definitely don't want to white label crappy software. However, your eyes should light up when you see a software that has a horrendous sales page and terrible marketing. Think of this like a house flipper who sees a new house on the market that has pink paint and a zebra striped orange and black door, BUT it's in an amazing neighborhood and has "good bones" on the inside.
#3 Dramatically underpriced. Pricing is part of marketing. so this could have gone with point #2, but if you see a company that doesn't truly value their software, they'll likely carry that over into their offer to you for reselling.
Method #3: AppSumo
People sell software on Appsumo at prices that are insanely low. They seem pressured to give everything including the kitchen sink. As someone who has sold with them, I know this pressure first hand!
So, many of the software products will offer lifetime access to "unlimited sites."
Often times, this is hidden behind the code stack. For instance, I had to purchase 5 codes of GetTerms.io to see their unlimited plan.
But be careful....
Always double check before purchasing software to white label, resell, or use with clients. You can typically find information about whether or not "unlimited sites" really means the same as "can use however you want." Check in the Questions and Answers area at the bottom of the page. If it's not there, ask yourself.
Method #4: Use Third Party Marketplaces
There are several 3rd party marketplaces that specialize in connecting software sellers with buyers.
Although you might pay a premium vs. negotiating a deal with a software creator yourself, this is a safer approach. The amount you pay in commissions to the marketplaces shouldn't be an issue in the grand scheme of things.
Sites that offer this sort of service include...
- Jvzoo.com (You'll need to dig deep though; most are offered as upsells and not on sales pages)
- Clickbank.com (Same as JVZoo, you need to dig around)
These sites are not all created equal. For example, Empire Flippers is extremely high quality, safe, and reliable but also expensive. JVZoo on the other hand can be quite sketchy. Be careful.
Things to Consider before Investing in A Software Product to Resell
Ok, now you know how to find these software opportunities, but don't go just yet. First, we need to cover what to look for and what to avoid.
#1 Is it actually cheaper and easier to buy from them than to hire your own developer and promote it yourself?
Most software products are not built on proprietary knowledge or secrets. You can ethically make your own versions of many tools, and the cost might surprise you. I've had software made for under $100 before (seriously).
#2 Is the software high quality? Buy it yourself, test it, and make sure it's something you'd recommend.
#3 What will customer support look like? Will the company still provide support? If so, for how long? If not, can you do it? Do they provide information on how to resolve issues? Dig deep here, and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.
#4 What happens if there are glitches in the software? Since you didn't hire the developers, you need to know who their developers are and what happens if you need repairs done. Hiring your own developers to fix issues down the road can be more difficult and expensive than just hiring them to build the software from scratch.
#5 Do they have pricing guidelines, usage restrictions, or competing agreements? There are going to be strings attached in most offers. Look for things like "Software cannot be sold below the price we have on our current website." This can eliminate your ability to give it away for free in bonus offers for example.
You can get your hand in the software game without knowing how to code or hire a developer. Just be safe, perform your due diligence, and be ready to put in the work on the marketing side, and you can find serious success with software reselling, white labeling, or agency deals.
Interesting on the marketing vs developer brain types… I’m a copywriter and studying marketing. However, I recently started learning how to code for fun. I was wondering how those skill sets would play out against each other in the long run. Thanks for the great content as always!
For sure. I’ve dabbled in coding as well but never really have learned enough to actually do much of anything haha.
What are your favorite agency Unlimited Clients plugins? Interested to see what you have found do you have a list by chance?
Hey, you mean in general for any software?
Excellent Guide!But I have a few questions, and I am expecting your answer.You explained everything in great detail, but what is your suggestion?Is it good to create your software rather than working with any other brand?My 2nd question is about 3rd party websites? How are they, and how do their affiliates respond?Can we blindly trust those affiliates, or is there any way to check their profile before working with them?Overall, it is a wonderful guide.
Hey! Both can be great, it depends which opportunities you come to first. The thing is that there are already 3rd party software products out there, I can’t say it’s better to make your own if you don’t have your own idea for one yet. You shouldn’t blindly trust anyone and that is definitely true in the white label software space. Many sketchy characters in the space.