@andrewfreeman, thanks for the update, I’d just like to address some of the points you’ve made:
Why are we pricing based on a percentage of the item price?
Rather than trying to determine the value of an author’s time (because value is relative to individuals, location, etc) the price point itself was chosen based on our understanding of buyer preferences and current expectations of lifetime/unlimited support.
I think that this is exactly the reason so many of us are concerned. Our time will now be sold, but it won’t be valued appropriately. It’s one thing to underprice a good, it’s another to underprice a service. Underpriced services could easily put authors out of business.
I understand that it is nearly impossible to value everyone’s time appropriately, at least in an automated way, and that is an immensely complex problem to solve for a marketplace like this. I don’t expect you to have a simple solution. But if it can’t be done, then I think we’d rather you didn’t do it than to undervalue our time.
I would personally rather scare away customers who undervalue my time, than to encourage them to undervalue it.
I do understand we can opt out, but this is not a realistic solution given the great disadvantage we’d put our products at by being “unsupported”.
Item Support will increase the expectations and demands of buyers.
With the new system, we’ll be clearly defining what is and is not included in support.
I think that’s great, and I’m glad to hear that we’re making strides to better manage buyer expectations. Unfortunately, unless you can guarantee that every buyer reads and understands these, this isn’t going to make much of an impact on the actual questions asked. I speak from experience having had this clearly defined for years, and it being widely ignored. (I mean, many customers don’t even read the various alerts on WHERE to submit support requests, let alone actually spend time reading what is and isn’t included).
And pointing out “I’m sorry, your question isn’t covered under our support terms” just leads to frustrated buyers and low ratings, sadly.
authors will begin receiving income for a service that they are already providing for free and we’ll be capping the period of support.
That sounds great on paper, but I don’t think it is that simple. Right now there’s a relatively small percentage of users overreaching on support (they take up a huge amount of time, but their numbers are relatively few). I believe that charging customers for support is going to make a higher percentage of customers feel entitled to whatever support they request, and will result in a much larger support demand with only a minimal revenue increase. As I mentioned earlier, severely undervaluing our time makes this unsustainable – $6 doesn’t cover 6 months of support.
Moreover, it is still too easy for customers to extort service beyond the support definition from authors via the ratings system.
One of the key goals is to make item support sustainable for authors and we’ll be closely monitoring the impact of this change to ensure we achieve this.
That is great to hear, and I think this is very important. I am concerned that this will actually have the opposite effect for many of us, however.
Why are updates free and not capped as well?
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.
I think that if there is a critical security patch, buyers should get it for free, even outside of the update period. I think that’s a nice extra to provide our customers. But that shouldn’t prevent us from using the standard renewal-for-updates model.
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.
CodeCanyon and ThemeForest should really have versioning systems regardless. But anyway, it’s straightforward enough to just have a checkbox that says “Security Update” when submitting an update. I’m not saying this won’t take extra effort to implement, but I think most of us feel that this is how it should be done for sustainability, so I don’t think the fact that it adds complexity is a good reason not to implement such a feature. Most WordPress shops use this model, and have been doing so successfully. I would also argue that the proposed paid support model with fees based on time since purchase and item cost is much more complex for Customers than a simple “License is good for 1 year, includes support and updates”. Handle the complexities within the system, keep it simple for our customers (and for us).
We consistently hear support is a significant ongoing cost for authors that is mounting with time so we want to address this as a priority but not rule out addressing updates at some point in the future.
That’s great, and it is a priority for most of us as well I think, so it’s fantastic to hear it being addressed. I think that paid support in and of itself isn’t a bad idea, I just think that it is not the optimal solution to this problem. I hope you guys will be considering the 1 year update renewal system in the future. Having given this much thought for the last 4 years, and observing other shops and my own business, I really think it is the best, fairest, and only sustainable model, and it really is a win-win for both authors and customers.
In my opinion, this pricing is far too low, especially for CodeCanyon, where plugins are even more severely underpriced than themes on ThemeForest.
By charging explicitly for support, we create a huge increase in expectations, which I know from experience is not quelled by a clear support definition. $6 on a $20 plugin does not even begin to cover the time spent on support.
In other words, I expect an 80% increase in support expectations, but a 10% increase in revenue, not to mention the loss in business from the fallout from denying support to those who have exceeded the scope of support or their time limitation.
At the very least, we need to institute a minimum. Consider a $10 plugin. You can’t offer 6 months of support for less than $3 – that doesn’t even cover the time for a single “where is this setting” question. There should be a floor of $20 for any support purchase, and even that is pushing it, to be honest.
If we’re charging for support, then we need to price it to demonstrate its value – and then provide awesome support. Not undervalue it and force authors to scramble to provide support that ends up being sub-par because it isn’t supported financially.
The proposed pricing system seems to make the assumption that the amount of support required is commensurate with the item price (percentage pricing). Unfortunately, this is not the case.
I would much rather see a yearly renewal model (renew your license at a discount to continue to receive updates and support, or continue using your current version forever if you choose not to renew), and leave the support expectations the way they are now.
I’m currently seeking two new team members to support my WordPress plugins and themes (primarily UberMenu). This is a part-time contract position.
- Provide 2-3 hours of support daily
- Work from anywhere
- Must be proficient in WordPress, PHP, CSS, HTML, JS
- Fluent in written English
- Skilled troubleshooter & web inspector user (e.g. Chrome Dev Tools)
- Understands WordPress theme & plugin development
- Fast learner
- Excellent customer service attitude and professionalism
Thanks! Looking forward to hearing from you
Chris / SevenSpark