As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Acquiring USB Flash Drives in Bulk

brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So a friend of mine and I have a business idea of putting open source antivirus/spyware/etc on a flash drive and selling it. We have gotten most of the grunt work done. We have designed a menu, selected programs, ran through tests and tested them with people who know nothing about computers or how to protect themselves from malicious software. So far so good.

Now we need to able to move these things while generating profit. We need to acquire I'd say about 50 flash drives at a reasonable price. I really have no idea about how to go about doing that. I've looked online at some companies, but they seem pretty fishy. So has anyone here acquired or know how I can acquire these drives at a reasonable price? I'm looking for something around 1gig and maybe (would really like but not essential) something that uses U3 technology or equivalent so that our customer can just plug these things in and everything would run on it's own. I think San-Disk are the only ones that do the U-3, but you never know. Thanks in advance PA!

brandotheninjamaster on

Posts

  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The one speedbump I immediately see is that you're buying flash drives from said company, basically altering them from a retail point of view (before it was "Flashdrive X", but when you sell it becomes "Flashdrive X With Z!"), and if you were to make a profit off of this, the company might want you to halt it altogether, or demand a portion of profits, etc. Patents would be something else ... but is it even feasable to patent this kind of thing? You're basically taking two people's / entities separate products, combining them, and selling them as your own (even if you don't claim to have manufactured the drive or the software, it's still being sold under your packaging, or business name, or whathaveyou). And then there's responsibility: somewhere, sometime down the line, someone's gonna have an issue. It may be the software's fault, it may be entirely theirs. But they're gonna want responsibility to settle somewhere and likely be compensated for it. How do you plan on defending yourself against that? But overall, I do like the idea, and think it'd be great to see you succeed, but this sounds like it requires more of a partnership with a respectable / reliable Flash Drive company, and would probably be more successful if the software, open-source as it is, was created or at the very least modified by you.

    MetroidZoid on
    9UsHUfk.jpgSteam
    3DS FC: 4699-5714-8940 Playing Pokemon, add me! Ho, SATAN!
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    technically we are just selling flashdrives that already have software on them. If it really came down to it and we received a cease and desist letter or a company wanted a share of profits then I wouldn't have a problem complying with them. Also if it did take off I could probably contract my own people to make a security suite and use that. Thats a big if though.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Just FYI, this is probably illegal depending on what software you want to put on it - even if it's open-source stuff or freely available (like AVG or Avast).

    tsmvengy on
    steam_sig.png
  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, this has "GPL Violation Lawsuit" written all over it.

    If you want to do this you'll either have to write your own AV software or ... well, that's about it, really.

    PeregrineFalcon on
    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Not to mention paying licensing fees for reselling whatever hardware you put it on.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Eh. Promotional flash drives have been around for years, I don't think there would be any problem with that. A Google search for "promotional flash drives" turns up companies that specialize in preloaded drives. But I've never done this before, and I've never heard of any of the companies that turn up. So I'm not much help there, sorry. I do have a couple promotional flash drives that were loaded with a company's Powerpoint presentation or Flash presentation, but I don't see any manufacturer information on them.

    I was going to pipe up about getting permission to redistribute other people's software, but on further reading it doesn't look like there would be any restriction on it.

    http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php
    The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney
    If I distribute GPL'd software for a fee, am I required to also make it available to the public without a charge?

    No. However, if someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public.

    I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask for permission, though.

    Orogogus on
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I think that just covers if you develop some software under the GPL and then sell it to the public, not taking someone else's software and selling it for profit.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I think that just covers if you develop some software under the GPL and then sell it to the public, not taking someone else's software and selling it for profit.

    I'm pretty sure it's any GPL licensed software, not just something you've developed. There's nothing to restrict you trying to sell it. Of course, if it's freely available online and you're not making any changes to it, there's nothing to stop your potential customers from just going online and downloading the program for themselves, so it doesn't seem like a particularly effective business model.

    Daenris on
  • DragonPupDragonPup Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Even if the software is open source, selling it is still a violation of the creator's copyright.

    DragonPup on
    "I was there, I was there, the day Horus slew the Emperor." -Cpt Garviel Loken

    Currently painting: Slowly [flickr]
  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Open source is a form of copyright license, one that apparently says that recipients can in fact redistribute it, with or without a fee. The OP can check to make sure that the software he is interested in is actually open source.

    Orogogus on
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Just FYI, this is probably illegal depending on what software you want to put on it - even if it's open-source stuff or freely available (like AVG or Avast).
    DragonPup wrote: »
    Even if the software is open source, selling it is still a violation of the creator's copyright.

    Assuming he's looking at using GPL'ed software for this, it's not only legal (and not a copyright violation), it's encouraged, so long as the source code is included with the software. As long as he's paying close attention to the licenses, he's not doing anything illegal, immoral, or unethical. So let's talk about cheap flash drives instead of making unfounded assumptions based on corporatist propaganda about how IP "should" work, eh? :P

    I've used iPromo for bulk USB purchases in the past, and I've been fairly satisfied with both quality and pricing. $3.25 a pop for custom-branded 256MB drives is pretty hard to argue with.

    wasted pixels on
    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    People, stop spouting off legal opinions without having the slightest clue, nevermind a law diploma.

    Charging money to redistribute open sourced software is most likely fine, so long as he abides by the fine print of whichever open source license covers the product. He would have to look up the licensing agreement for whichever programs he wanted to sell copies of and abide by their requirements. Usually this just means making a copy of the source code available.

    As for the flash drive distributor, they can't say anything about what you do after you've bought their product. It's yours to sell at that point. And guess what? If they wanted to be in the business of selling their product with software included, they'd be doing just that.

    The trick will be finding a wholesaler or distributor with a low enough price point to make the profit margin on this worth the time it will take to pursue. Do yourself a favour and work out all of your costs, and estimate how much time this is going to involve, and figure out the profit per hour. If it's less than you can make at a real job, just get a real job and avoid the risk of not being able to sell these things at all. You'll probably also need a business number, and don't forget: You'll need to report this as income.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    You may also want to look into flash cards + USB readers. That might be cheaper. Maybe.

    Sir Carcass on
  • tardcoretardcore Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tardcore on
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I think that just covers if you develop some software under the GPL and then sell it to the public, not taking someone else's software and selling it for profit.

    The FSF (Free Software Foundation) disagrees:
    Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

    http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney

    While I do not have a law degree, many of the people at the FSF do. And given that the FSF was founded to fight for the open source movement and has helped draft the current verisons of the GPL, I think we can safety say they know what they are talking about.

    Complying with the GPL with a finished product is fairly easy. If customer requests source code, provide it in a useful format. If he uses a BSD licensed product, it's even easier. Many companies make a living repackaging and selling open source products.

    Thomamelas on
  • flatlinegraphicsflatlinegraphics Registered User
    edited April 2009
    so you've reinvented portableapps?
    http://portableapps.com/
    or are you making boot drives?
    http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm

    flatlinegraphics on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2009
    This isn't necessarily a novel idea, but it still has the potential for some financial success.

    I mean, shoes aren't exactly a novel idea but that doesn't mean several companies can't make good money from making and selling shoes.

    Definitely source your USB drives from a promo merchandise company. That way you can get them branded with your own company graphics. Find a merchandise company that will not only do on-stick branding (stick a logo on the USB drive) but can also print graphics for the packaging and you basically have a commercial product. Call it The Saveastick or The E-noculation Drive and pay me loyalties.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • Funguy McAidsFunguy McAids Registered User
    edited April 2009
    I live in China where all USB sticks are made. I semi-wonder if I can send you a bulk order straight from a manufacturer. I think a friend of mine did exactly that. Can't get any cheaper.

    If you're a bit interested send me a private.

    Funguy McAids on
Sign In or Register to comment.