85% of Today Calendar Pro’s users are pirates, and the dev has a very interesting plan to change that


pirate logo

Piracy — the illegal downloading or sharing of digital goods — is an issue that has plagued developers, artists and other types of professionals for years. The biggest companies can usually sweep the negative effects of it under the rug as their bottom line is big enough to take a hit, but what is a smaller developer to do when the app they poured their heart and soul into isn’t being paid for by a majority of people who download it?

For the developer of Today Calendar Pro, the solution is about as cool as they come. Jack Underwood revealed that of all of Today Calendar Pro’s installations, only 15% of them are legit. A whopping 85% of the people who use Today Calendar Pro have downloaded it and sideloaded it onto their Android device. That’s not chump change at $6 per user and an install count between 10,000 and 50,000.

Underwood surprisingly responded to the statistics with a very level-headed approach. He’s one of the few developers who believe the app’s high rate of illegal installations isn’t actually hurting his pockets.

“Fighting piracy in a traditional way is a waste of time in my eyes, it’ll get cracked anyway,” said Underwood speaking to Phandroid. “The majority of people who pirate it wouldn’t have bought it anyway, so it’s not as if I’m losing 85% of my revenue.”

Instead, Underwood says he prefers to use his time to make his app even better. It’s this viewpoint that allows him to step back and think about the issue of privacy in an entirely different manner by asking himself several questions:

  • Why don’t people want to buy the app?
  • Is it too easy to pirate?
  • Is it too pricy?
  • If it’s not worth $6, how can I make it worth $6?

It’s his hope that improving the app with new killer features is the key to converting those pirates to paying customers. But despite being unwilling to go on a crusade against piracy and resort to tactics such as pursuing legal action (which is very expensive and probably not worth a small developer’s time), he does want to do something about the current situation.

today calendar pro pirate

“The key to bringing the percentage down is to make the $6 worth the convenience, that means annoying the users who pirate. Pirate themed events, random pirate popups, that sort of thing – and that doesn’t take long to implement,” said Underwood about a possible course of action. The ideas originated from Reddit and Underwood decided to run wild with it.

It didn’t take long at all — users with cracked versions of the app will soon find that things aren’t as they should be. From wacky pirate-themed calendar events popping up (like Tharrrsday pirate parties) out of nowhere to images depicting an unstable plank situated above a pack of sharks’ feeding grounds suggesting you “walk the plank,” the app will one day shove the fact that you’re a pirate back into your face, and it will do so relentlessly.

It’s at that moment a pirate will have to decide why they really downloaded the app without paying for it. If the app was valuable to them then they might feel compelled to pay up the $6 for a pirate-free experience.

If not, well, they’re free to either put up with the barrage of pirate-themed antics, pay the $6 to legally obtain rights to use the app, or find someone else’s app to steal. Or, you know, just download this handy ad-supported version that will help compensate the developer for his hard work.

Only time will tell if this tactic will end up working out, but we certainly have no problems applauding Underwood for coming up with a unique and funny way to help stop the bleeding.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Don’t forget the joking about death threats and developer-shaming that’s occurred against him in some places, including his Reddit thread. “How dare you ask money for an app?!”

  2. I like the skull and cross bones… But the application I do not care for… would rather use Google Calendar LOL

    1. I have been using both personally and everytime I use Google’s… the UI just seems confusing. I would get use to it obviously but after using Today… well Today is just setup much more logical in how it shows your events in multiple ways. …but this is all personal opinion of course :)

      1. I just don’t see where it is $3.00 better than the Free Google Calendar. I guess that I have just gotten use to the UI and like to hold onto my cash. And at $6 it’s crazy

        1. Most of the money I spend on the Play Store comes from Google’s Rewards app. If you don’t use it you should check it out.

          1. I LOVE the Rewards app and it has paid for many of my Play Store purchases.

  3. Didn’t the developer already state that where there’s a will to crack there will be a way to crack? Does he not think that somebody won’t find a way to get rid of the pirate themed events without paying for the app?

    1. not when its embedded in the code. good luck

    2. Yes, but the implication is that extra security is hard to implement and easy to break. Annoyances are easy to implement, at the very least.

    3. I assume he means they’re easy to implement, so they can be implemented in random places of the code, at different times.

      For example, he might implement one “glitch” each version release.

      Most cracks involve decompiling the app (smali) modifying the security check, and recompiling it. Nowdays it’s essentially automated, particularly if the security check is the same or similar in every release. And re-engineering the security check takes a lot of time.

      Having to manually go through decompiled code to find random “pirate easter eggs” shifts a lot more work from him to the pirates.

  4. By all means, ignore the obvious that a calendar app isn’t worth $6

    1. IMO it is. It’s better than the stock Calendar app, I like supporting other Developers, I spend more money on one meal at McDonalds, Jack is constantly improving the app and the time and efforts he put into this app is well worth over $6 dollars!

      1. It does not have custom and indefinite snooze buttons and I can’t imagine how an independent calendar app developer can’t figure this out.

        1. I’m not even sure how you would use or what this feature is exactly you are after. Maybe I am not understanding what you mean? Does the stock calendar app do this? If not which app does?

          1. You have probably never used Outlook calendar snooze function or < WinMo 6 calendar app.

            This is what Outlook reminder snooze dialog box is able to do: (it can do T- delay and can also delay beyond event).

            Because of this there are other apps ( and that are needed to give this function, making it a disjointed experience.

            I just which a replacement app that costs $6 had a better than stock snooze capability for its reminder.

          2. I passed the idea along to Jack as I feel it’s actually a decent feature.

            …sort of goes in line with my idea that Liam Spradlin created a sweet mockup of:

          3. Thanks bro. I am on the other side of the spectrum. I bought his app a long time ago to support a great developer who pushes the boundary of design in general even though I found the app’s functionality itself too basic for my needs and never used it.

    2. Nor are 2 coffees, but people will buy them anyway and one of these things will give you longer return on your investment.

    3. So? Piracy is still piracy. If the app cost $600 and people were STILL pirating it, we’d STILL report that it was being pirated. Cost is irrelevant in this argument.

      1. Cost isn’t irrelevant. If it is, why is it an explicit part of two of the ‘questions he asked himself’? The story seemed to be more about his antics in response to piracy. Maybe it should have been about the fact that he didn’t bother to actually answer the questions he asked himself nor pay attention to the established economies of smartphone app marketplaces.

        I’m not justifying the piracy. But let’s not fall prey to OMG Think Of The Childrens!

        1. That’s a pretty horrible way to think. A crime is still a crime no matter what you think is right or wrong. Would you rob a store and steal a TV because you thought the TV was priced too high? Just to teach the store owner or TV manufacturer a lesson in sales? No, you wouldn’t. You would just not buy that TV and move on to the next product.

          1. Hey! Look at you intentionally twisting and reframing what I said into something entirely different. Way to encourage constructive discussion on a topic.

            I do not think that way, and I did not say that or anything like that. But I will not discuss this with someone like you in the thread. Who knows what you’re going to claim I said next.

    4. I don’t use this calendar app, but to me, the calendar app is the most important after email. So I would gladly spend $6 for a calendar app. Heck, if it’s better than any other calendar app and it’s exactly what I want/need, I’d probably spend $20+ for it. It’s all relative to one’s needs.

  5. I think the price is too high. But that’s just my opinion. ( I did not download/pirate this app. )

    1. That’s your opinion, you don’t have to buy it if you don’t want it. The whole point here is you shouldn’t pirate an app. You’re taking money away from indie developers, people who built this platform that you’re using.

      1. I don’t think that you should pirate an app that’s too expensive but I do think it is quite a bit higher than most calendar apps and wonder if perhaps, given that many people have the perception of it being expensive, he might actually make more money at a lower price with fewer pirated copies and more sales. Sometimes selling more at a lower price makes more than a few at a higher one.

        That said, either way, I like his idea of improving the app to help justify the price and also the pirate themed events.

      2. Never said I agree with not paying. (I also pirated apps – to try them for a longer period of time. I did this with LectureNotes, saw that it really worth the money, and then I bought it.)

    2. Exactly! It’s all relative. Price shouldn’t be a discussion, because we are all willing to pay different prices for everything. I won’t buy milk for $10, but someone else probably would.

      1. But that’s my opinion about why the app does not sell that well. If it would be only 1-2$, it would have 60-80% legit users. Of course this is all just theory, since we don’t have any hard data on cheaper apps.

        Ps.: Since apps, even games are usually cheap (around 1-2$), I really think for a long time before buying anything above that limit. For example I used AquaMail for free, for months, maybe years before I bought it. Why? Because it’s got a high price, compared to other apps.

        1. The app I developed used to be 99 pennies. It was still pirated. Even after I made it a free app, it still gets pirated. I don’t think the price is the only reason it gets pirated.

          1. I never said low price will kill piracy. Many android users have no idea how to buy an app. Credit card with “international support”? Hah, you wish.

            Ps.: I am not saying that every pirate is a person who just could not pay for an app… but Android have much more poor users. As I mentioned above, paying in a developing country is outright impossible.

  6. I’m glad the developer is stepping out to flush out the pirates.

    It drives me crazy when people complain about a $6 dollar app, used for months->years, being too expensive yet they spend $3-4 on coffee daily.

    1. You assume that most people who complain about expensive apps are throwing their money away on coffee (or cigarettes, or alcohol). $6 is a lot when you consider that many calendar apps are free or $0.99.

      Developers should be realistic when setting prices. People will pay for apps they love and use, but not everyone will want to pay that much and will settle for a similar (and more affordable) app eventually.

      1. You get what you pay for.

        1. Maybe I need to try it before replying to that claim, but there’s no free version avaliable (perhaps another reason why pirates are using it? ).

          It looks like a gorgeous app, but I don’t see anything new that it offers to justify a $6 price tag.

          1. I totally missed that. I’m going to check it out. Thanks!

      2. $6 is a lot when you consider that many calendar apps are free or $0.99.”

        Then why aren’t they using one of the free or $0.99 ones instead? Presumably because this one is better. If it’s better, then it’s worth more.

        1. I’m not a pirate, but as someone who does spend a lot of money on apps, I go with the least expensive ones that suit my needs (but will be pay for unique apps, at any price).

      3. People pirate $0.99 apps too so, so much for that argument.
        Please don’t rationalize pirating.

        1. People who pirate $0.99 apps really had no intention to buy it, but $6 would certainly cause paying users to hesitate. I very often wait for expensive apps and games to drop to $0.99 before purchasing – why pay $7 for a Gameloft game when you can pay $0.99?

  7. I been using business Callender for years. I think that’s what it’s called but after reading this I want to pirate this app just so I can see this hilarious stuff. That’s awesome. I mean I pay for all my apps but I wanna see this in action!

  8. There’s always Month: Calender Widget which I use. The only thing paid is the themes, but even the free themes look good.

  9. This is why you don’t let your apps access PHONE ID

    1. …so you can pirate apps? -_-

      1. Actually I buy apps on Amazon / Google Play all the time… I just feel like that’s a bit of invasive privacy…

        1. Invasion of privacy, and you use android. lol! Google bans apps that protect privacy, because the real cost of android isn’t $$…

    2. Well if one doesn’t pirate, then this permission wouldn’t matter as badly.

  10. He is right. Piracy doesn’t decrease profit. It increase market that increase profit.

    1. Nonsense.

    2. Even if the percentages were the other way around this statement would still not even come close to being correct.

    3. Just like with HBO regarding Game of Thrones. Do you even realize why they’re okay with pirates downloading the show? It’s because they know that visibility is more important than money.

      The reason GoT is so massively huge today isn’t because the show has an epic movie-type quality to it (although I do love that) or because there’s a big amount of lore behind it… It’s because GoT appears EVERYWHERE. And it’s everywhere, playing on everyone’s screens because the visibility of it keeps growing.

      Inspiring others to love the show was a hell of a lot better than trying to make everybody pay for it.

  11. Does this app have a week view? I don’t see that in the screen shots.

    1. yes, it does

  12. I used to pirate apps back when I got my first Android phone. I was young and had no income. It was cool to get apps for free. As I got older I started purchasing the apps. I had the income to pay for them and it was also a hassle to hunt down the updates. After many years of using android I’m glad to pay for the apps and games that I love. It rewards the Devs for their work and motivates them to make their apps better.

  13. Piracy is mainly a function of mental maturity (most kids pirate, rich and poor) and disposable income. Barring a global totalitarian DRM lockdown, OR, a new future economy of abundance, piracy will always be with us.

    That said… guilt tripping pirates probably won’t work. :)

    1. I applaud the intentions of this developer. I don’t pirate myself, I have back in the beginning of the appstore, but now I understand the reason for charging for an app and will happily pay for it if I feel it is worth it after a legal free trial.

      I agree that the guilt trip won’t stop the madness, as lighthearted as it is. This App is going to be HUGE in size. If I were a user of this app, I would be concerned that the app itself was full of bloat. Clearly all this pirate themed stuff is embedded in the code and will only be ignored with a valid purchase key. Really this paying to LOCK functions as opposed to unlocking them.

  14. The fact that it has an 85% piracy rate is ridiculous. I don’t care what his stance is, the fact that a new and Android exclusive app is pirated like this is disturbing.

    1. This is damning for Android and will force a slow erosion of the platform. The Android users who are left will be left with 2nd hand email/web browsing apps/ and free apps from google while new and exciting productivity apps will be iOS only (with some half attempts at porting to a couple android devices)

  15. I like the app. I paid for it when it 1st came out but I don’t remember it costing 6 bucks.

    1. I think I bought it for cheaper… maybe during a sale?

  16. I bet my bottom dollar that this dev didnt segregate the results by region.

  17. You could also wipe random appointments, or create annoying/embarrasing ones with reminders at 3am

  18. desperately needs a good 4×5 Month View Widget with full text events view like Jorte.

  19. I have the paid app but want to see the pirates too, why am i being punished!?

  20. Jorte blows this $6 POS out of the water. and Jorte is FREE.

    1. Not anymore. They have a premium version now as well.

      1. Does it have a 4×5 Month View Widget with full text events view like Jorte?

    2. Free of any sense of good design… Paid or free, does anyone really find a calendar like this useful?

      It’s almost as bad as what the stock Calendar used to look like:

      $6 is a small price to pay for beauty and function.

      1. come on. you purposely cherry-picked an ugly cluttered CUSTOM calendar image. look at this one and stop being a fraud –

        see the month view with text events? can yours do that? month view widget at a glance with all text events is a critical feature for many.

        1. That’s the own developers image I posted…

          You know, the kind of image that a person would see when coming across the app for the very first time? Clearly they felt it represented their own product.

          How their app looks is not something that appeals to me. Even the 3 images you posted, wouldn’t have caught my eye to even want to know what app that is.

          1. well i guess jaymoon that you don’t need a MONTH VIEW WIDGET WITH FULL TEXT EVENTS. you don’t find something like this useful. you don’t want a widget with your FULL MONTH of TEXT EVENTS all in one view to see at a glance.

        2. LOL! this looks worse than the calender app I had on my Palm Treo.

          1. 10,000,000+ Downloads and 4.3 Rating, Fat Boy! The market disagrees.

  21. I will speak up on the “Why won’t they pay” factor.

    I am a person who makes literally no money. I mean NONE. I mean literally in 2 or 3 years time, I have had no income whatsoever. I survive solely on food stamps and the love of family. Over the years, I have managed to scrape up enough to get an Android phone, and I appreciate the ever living hell out of it. I love Android, it’s my passion. But honestly, that’s NOT where the money’s at.

    If this developer wants money so badly from his users, he will develop for iOS, where the users constantly have money. If I even WANTED this app, I’d definitely not be paying $6 for a calendar. Google Calendar fits my needs perfectly. $6 is what a dev would normally charge for something like a semi-full featured RPG or some graphically rich racing game.

    He decided to develop for people who know their phones better than themselves. He decided to develop for the cheapest smartphone industry out there. If he’s smart, he will move his greedy butt to iOS, so that he can make his ‘hard-earned’ money.

    Oh and personally to the developer of this app: It’s not ‘stealing’. It’s copying and sharing. ‘Stealing’ implies that you don’t have it anymore. And yes, that means that ‘piracy’ isn’t even piracy after all. When I look for an app I want, I look out for THIS EXACT ATTITUDE towards users. Now I know that I will NEVER be touching this app whatsoever. Yes, I wouldn’t even bother downloading it, no matter the source.

    So Phandroid, lol, you probably just screwed this guy over.

    1. Dude, you’re serious.. Um WOW. Hardly screwed ANYONE over. I think his take is GENIUS. At the risk of sounding cliche’ GET A JOB. ANY job. Shoot like even babysit! You have to have SOME cash somewhere.

    2. You have the audacity to call a hard working developer “Greedy”? In the civilized world, you work -> you get compensated. Your comment only comes from the mentality of a truly lazy POS. Stealing is when you take or use something without the predetermined compensation. Gypsies don’t have the word “stealing,” they term it “borrowing.” But when they “borrow” your property, you’re never getting it back.

    3. You can just get the free version of the app with ads. I put the emphasis on the word free.

      The developer made an app where you can still get the fun stuff, but for free. The developer isn’t forcing you to pay.


      It makes sense if the only calendar app costs, meaning you’d be forced to pay while others wouldn’t, but that’s not the case. You pay for luxury. Don’t have any money? Then you get what you can, which is the free stuff. If you can’t afford it, don’t go and steal it. And yes I say steal, because you are stealing revenue.

      Smh… People without money seems to think everything luxurious needs to be free just because they can’t get it.

      Luxury is not a need!! So don’t sweat it.

    4. You seem to be one of those worthless people who are worse than a malignant cancer on society. If you’re an adult who’s healthy enough to get around and use a phone, why on earth are you not working and contributing something. The world won’t miss such parasites like you unless you change. In fact the world will be a much better place without plagues like you unless you see the error of your ways and make a 180 degree change

    5. Winner alert!

  22. Love this guy’s fun approach, and now that I heard of the app will look to buy it.

  23. Finally!! I love this!! I always wondered why I haven’t heard of someone doing something like this. LoL!!

  24. That’s hilarious. Sounds like a good guy; I’d (pay to) download it just to support his approach.

  25. Wow, this is horrible for android. Studies show that when android users move to iOS, they actually spend more and support developers. That’s why android will be a second rate platform for years to come. Developers get paid for their efforts on iOS and make a really polished app and then they hire some Indian programmers to port a half-assed version to android where they know it wont be paid for, but which studies show can increase their revenue on iOS, because people using it on android advertise the use to iOS users who actually will pay the developers.

    Strange world!

  26. What if I want to pay for the app AND have the awesome pirate-themed shenanigans?

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