It’s important you all realize the ‘reasonable expectations’ that were set at time of purchase (nowhere is there for-pay support nor for-pay upgrades here), which is WHY many of us buyers have bought so much. We expect to get what we paid for at time of purchase, which is ongoing support/updates. You can’t take our money then change the rules or tack on new charges for what had been included, After we bought.
Your argument has a critical flaw:
We expect to get what we paid for at time of purchase, which is ongoing support/updates.
You didn’t pay for this. Many authors provide that for free (to date) as a courtesy and at their discretion. The Envato terms for authors clearly state that support is optional and authors have no obligation to provide updates or even respond to buyers. If the item is found to be non-functional due to lack of updates it may be disabled, but the author owes buyers nothing. The product is sold “as-is”. The fact that you have received support and updates, in no way makes you entitled to it in the future.
You’re arguing for a paradox. On the one hand, you seem to support future purchases charging for updates and recognizing this is what’s required for the market to be sustainable. On the other hand, you want prior purchases to be grandfathered into “lifetime updates” (which never existed) directly negating an author’s ability to sustain that product.
Also, there’s almost certainly a condition in Envato’s TOS (like all TOS) which states that you agree Envato can modify the terms at any time, and by using the website you agree to the terms implicitly.
This change is not going to bankrupt any buyer. If anything you should be thankful it took so long for this to gain enough momentum for Envato to stop sweeping it under the rug. I like free updates, but I would absolutely pay for them if asked for a product I depended on. Undoubtedly hundreds of years of free labor has been born on the author’s backs because Envato sold code products like stock photos.
I don’t support grandfathering because it doesn’t improve sustainability. It keeps all that burden on authors while Envato has no responsibility and buyers get free labor. That policy will lose authors (like me).
Envato provides big traffic, but everything else is falling into the negative column. As many have said, there are plenty of other marketplaces with non-exclusive terms and many elites could sell independently with their existing customer base and come out better. Slippery slippery slope.
Nope. Too complicated to approve what constitutes major/minor updates. This will only lead to gaming the system and reduced trust.
Keep it simple. Renewing a license should give buyers access to all item updates for 12 months. There’s no reason to make it more complicated than a yes/no decision to renew.
The system should be designed so authors focus on producing quality updates frequently, which encourages buyers to renew their license. Scraping buyers for individual updates doesn’t encourage good behavior from authors.
@ digitalscience — Two small points on paid updates (which I’m so glad people are finally pressuring Envato for).
1. I think update access should only be sold in 12 month increments. Nobody can predict where they’ll be a year from today, so let’s not commit as authors (or buyers) to something 1-5 years from now. That’s just as unfeasible as “lifetime updates”. Keep it simple with just two options: purchase license and renew license.
2. The question of when exactly a license renewal begins from needs to be addressed. It could start from the date of renewal for 12 months (I think that’s fair). Or it could stem from the last license’s expiration, in which you may need to purchase multiple renewals to catch up after several years. I think that’s overly complicated with minimal gain. I’d want customers to stay updated yearly as long as I’m providing updates worth paying for.
Simply bumping font-size up to 16px would make a big difference for reading on phones (and everywhere else). It’s not 2007 anymore.
+1 for the paid updates that contains new features, and actually -1 for the new proposal. Updates with security changes should be free, but the discussion about the paid updates should be on another thread. Personally I wouldn’t charge for each and every update as I do have a couple of items which I kinda update regularly, however at X updates a fee would be nice.
That’s just overcomplicating things. There is no way something like that would work on a market as big as Envato.It should be simple – you get access to updates and support for one year after the initial purchase, and then you have to buy an extension to continue having access to those. It’s a model that just works, plain and simple.
Agree. Charging per update would be ridiculously annoying for all involved. Paid updates should simply be for access to all updates in X timeframe.
Let me recap this thread:
Envato thinks: paid support matters more than paid updates.
Authors think: paid updates matter more than paid support.
Buyers will (rightfully) flip out if you do both. Whichever comes first will stay. This debate really matters long-term. Envato is on a very slippery slope.
Q: Why aren’t you trying to monetize updates instead?
A: We are not ruling this out at some point in the future. As I mentioned earlier, our current thoughts on updates are:
- Authors update items in many different ways…some only do basic updates and security patches. Others try to continuously add value through new features. Some do both and everything in between.
- Buyers are fearful of having to pay for a basic updates/security patches in the future and some have said they would not buy that item if they had to meaning the author may not get the sale in the first place.
- To get around this, we’d need a major/minor versioning system – major for value-add updates (possibly paid) and minor for basic/security patch updates (possibly unpaid) – this would add a lot of complexity and considering that authors update in very different ways would be hard to manage.
It seems like Envato is thinking we want to charge per update. That would be excessively complicated for buyers. Selling updates as a service should equate to “X months of access to updates”. I’d favor 12 months because that gives the author enough time to decide if they’ll continue support before buyers need to think about renewing access.
It shouldn’t matter if I release five small fixes, then a major feature rewrite. As long as the buyer has a valid license for access to updates, they should get them for X price (I think renewals should cost the same as the purchase price — it’s that valuable and dirt cheap compared to hiring a freelancer to maintain it). When your access ends, you can purchase an extension to the license, or support the product on your own.
It’s true there are differences between authors in how frequently/passionate updates are released. This shouldn’t dissuade buyers though. It would be obvious if any author is providing worthwhile updates or not from anyone using the software and paying attention. The buyer always has a choice to update or not.
Lastly, of course there will be buyers who claim they wouldn’t pay for updates or buy products with paid updates. Nobody wants to pay more. I truly believe if this were implemented the revolt would be small and shortlived. Customers will stick around because the products are good, and the new revenue will surpass the loss of some buyers. This is exactly what happened when WooThemes made the switch from lifetime updates to paid updates.
GravityDept saidGood point actually. Not sure buyers will be thrilled with it though.
[...] Updates are much more valuable than support a year after purchase. If I’m going to charge customers beyond the initial purchase, I want to charge for what provides the most value to them and me.
As a buyer, would you rather pay for updates/improvements or pay to ask a question? Because Envato thinks the latter is how to solve the sustainability problem. I think that’s dead wrong.
There are buyers who will kick/scream if updates were paid. I simply don’t want those customers. I think they’re the minority and they’re definitely low value. Most buyers would love never writing another “theme I bought 3 months ago is abandoned, now I’m screwed” thread. Here’s one from today: http://themeforest.net/forums/thread/there-is-only-1-reason-why-envato-sucks/146222
Recurring income for updates is the only incentive that can fix the problem for both sides (plus Envato).
UBLThemes saidI’m just wondering why would you want to opt out from this if you can get extra income through support? I mean, you are still providing support anyway, indefinitely but free of charge.
What happens if we opt out of this, but still support on our sites, legally you can not stop us from doing this, so our question is how can you stop this from happening?
I don’t want to charge for support. Support should be free. The limits need definition.
I do charge for customizations. I think authors/buyers have little to no issues with this.
I want to charge for updates. Paid updates scale as a service because they’re don’t restrict my time.
Updates are much more valuable than support a year after purchase. If I’m going to charge customers beyond the initial purchase, I want to charge for what provides the most value to them and me.