Using RLM Activation Pro to Support Subscription Licensing

Subscription Licensing

Software publishers are adopting subscription licensing models at an increasing rate. Subscriptions help to smooth license revenue from recurring fees while attracting customers with lower entry costs.

Using RLM Activation Pro, an ISV can sell subscription licenses that have expiration dates years into the future. When users are connected to the Internet, applications can periodically request the status of the subscription from the Activation Pro service.  If the subscription is valid, the application runs as normal. But, if the user cancels his subscription or fails to renew, the ISV marks the activation key as “disabled” so that the application can know to shutdown.  The activation record can be re-enabled if the customer reinstates his subscription later.

This method minimizes the ISV workload because action only needs to be taken when the user cancels the subscription, or fails to renew.

RLM licenses that support a subscription model should include the activation key in the license itself.  This way the application checks out the license at runtime to determine if it is valid, retrieves the activation key and the hostid from the license, then checks the status of the subscription. The application will find out whether the license is still valid, or whether the activation key is disabled.

Implementation details of the method described here can be found in the RLM and Activation Pro Reference Manual.


  1. Ted H says:

    This is a real pain because RLM doesn’t keep track of the subscription. It requires that we set up a completely separate system to track subscriptions; remind people to renew; and then mark the key disabled if they don’t renew. Rather than minimize ISV workload, it maximizes it.
    RLM needs to set up a real subscription system that knows the subscription expiration date; reminds the customer multiple times; automatically disables the key unless told otherwise; and lets the ISV mark the key as renewed. Even better, the renewal reminder could include a Paypal button for immediate payment and when payment is done automatically mark the subscription key as renewed.
    Now THAT would actually minimize ISV workload.

  2. admin says:

    Ted – these are all good points. We will look at automating these processes in (hopefully) the next release of RLM after 11.2. Your comments are on the development list.

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