Jump to content

Should there be some rules for renewal pricing?


jair101
 Share

Recommended Posts

WIth the core IPS software as long as you have active license you have access to the last version of the software. It doesn't matter if you left your license expire for years, you can still renew and get access to the latest coolest stuff. Apparently 3rd party developers do not have to follow the same logic and while some are honoring the IPS approach we have seen many devs asking for customers to buy again when their apps were updated between 3.x and 4.x. Even though they are deviating from the IPS approach it is fair enough, all of the mods required complete rewrite and especially the skins were made from 0. 

OK, fast forward to the update from 4.1 to 4.2. There are devs asking to rebuy the product again, because according to them updating from 4.1 to 4.2 required a lot of work. You can have active license for the same product on 4.1, but you are asked to buy again.

I am generally looking for feedback from you guys if you consider this fair? And if it is fair what will stop another dev tomorrow to claim that update from 4.2.1.18.23 to 4.2.1.18.24 required too much work and again asking to buy his skin/mod/app from scratch. Do you believe that there should be rules saying that if it is a point update people with active licenses should get the update for free, if not, why are we paying renewal costs? Or you believe that the marketplace should be governed by the laws of the jungle?

@AndyF, tagging you here as I believe the 3rd party marketplace is under your control. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, jair101 said:

Apparently 3rd party developers do not have to follow the same logic and while some are honoring the IPS approach we have seen many devs asking for customers to buy again when their apps were updated between 3.x and 4.x.

That makes sense because it is a new resource; everything was remade from the scratch.

8 minutes ago, jair101 said:

OK, fast forward to the update from 4.1 to 4.2. There are devs asking to rebuy the product again, because according to them updating from 4.1 to 4.2 required a lot of work. You can have active license for the same product on 4.1, but you are asked to buy again.

Well, personally I disagree and didn't request to rebuy my resources.

10 minutes ago, jair101 said:

I am generally looking for feedback from you guys if you consider this fair? And if it is fair what will stop another dev tomorrow to claim that update from 4.2.1.18.23 to 4.2.1.18.24 required too much work and again asking to buy his skin/mod/app from scratch. Do you believe that there should be rules saying that if it is a point update people with active licenses should get the update for free, if not, why are we paying renewal costs? Or you believe that the marketplace should be governed by the laws of the jungle?

Actually there isn't any rule regarding this for marketplace submissions so, in theory, the dev is allowed to do that. If you think this is not fair, and I do agree, you should look for another dev to make similar resource. IPS is an open market and that's allowed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IPS doesn't have control over what people do with their pricing. While some add ons might require more work to go to 4.2 so many not. It's basically up to the sole discretion of the add on author. It's like this, you don't have to buy it. Everyone uses different add ons. IPS cannot judge the quality or amount of time an add on may take. To regulate the market might be fair to one author, while unfair to another. If you are un happy with an author charging again, just don't support them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, jair101 said:

@AndyF, tagging you here as I believe the 3rd party marketplace is under your control

Control is a subjective word. Its probably not the one I would of picked personally. :) I'd like to say "assist in the running of" or perhaps "front end point of contact for the Marketplace"

Regarding your points as such: I do agree that it is likely correct to repurchase a file for a 3x to a 4x version rather than an 'upgrade' , the same happened at 2x to 3x too. As a case in point a similar thing actually happened at 2.2 as it was sufficiently 'different' to 2.1 (and 2.0) to mean quite a lot of third party files needed major work from their authors to make them compatible. 2.3 versions files from 2.2 did not need a great deal in many cases. Enough of the legacy history lesson however I wanted to mention this as this is not a new situation as such.

Speaking as a client: Taking this to more 'modern' versions the differences between say 4.0.x and 4.1.x probably do not justify in my personal opinion in most cases any extra 'fee' other than perhaps paying the renew when a file has this. By this I mean again in most cases an upgrade to the existing submission is likely enough to suffice rather than a fresh, new submission.

Speaking as a client still: 4.2 is I feel different enough (but I'm not a php developer, bear this in mind) to justify either a new purchase or an upgrade fee, given that in some cases a fair bit of "rework" may be required to both ensure compatibility and take advantage of new features where appropriate: mentions, clubs etc

Speaking as Marketplace Moderator: Regarding prices in general: Well I do think its an open market and the market forces will dictate pricing to a degree. If the price is too high then people will not buy. One thing that is often overlooked is perhaps the time the author has put into a file (I do code occasionally in Z80 assembly so I'm well aware of the time and effort factors in writing and testing code!). Renew fee's I feel are OK provided support and / or updates (minor version**) are being provided. :)

** By this I mean if the file has a renew fee and it was, for example originally released for say 4.1.4 and needed a few minor changes for 4.1.5 it is acceptable to expect that as you are "paying for something" as such with an ongoing renew. You are also supporting and encouraging the author to keep their file(s) up to date as well as possibly providing new features too.

Speaking as a client again: I have seen files I think are underpriced, given the time it has likely taken to create them, moreso in the cases where they are supported. I have also seen things that (just from a personal point of view only) I think the price is too high, however it is not up to me to judge this in any way. The author will decided what is reasonable and sales will likely dictate if the price was incorrect.

Finally, speaking as Marketplace Moderator: I am happy to also receive any feedback in private regarding the MP too, good or bad if anyone wishes to send me via PM they are most welcome and I will ensure it is passed on where appropriate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally think if they charge a renewal then they should not upload a new one making you buy it again, That's what the renewal is for, Minor or major, don't charge renewals if you are not looking to do upgrades/updates to it. I would never charge a renewal and then upload a different plugin for 4.2 and say buy it again, But that's me.

If a item has no renewal and then needs a lot of work yes then I think its OK to upload a new one as you bought it for 4.1 and now its 4.2, the description says its for 4.1 and you can see there is no renewal so it won't work on 4.2 etc, Basically they won't be updating 4.1 version no more as IPS will stop supplying 4.1 to the public, so in theory they need to remove all renewals from them files and stop taking money for it, Why renew something they are no longer working on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we're on the same page...almost :) WIthout going in to too much details I believe a clear rules should be set what is the renewal period and whats its purpose. I think the 3rd party developers should make their license terms more explicit in the listings and they should include sentences like these:

- This mod is supported for the main branch only
- The renewal cost of this mod gives you support only for the current .x branch or x.x. branch or x.x.x. branch or whatever
- This mod follows IPS license logic, i.e. you can update as long as subscription is active

This way, I as a customer will be better informed what I am getting in to. Because right now you can have free updates for some mods and you have to rebuy other without knowing before hand. Feels a bit like playing a marketplace russian roulette, which is not exactly what I want to do, because installing 3rd party mods and skins is not a game for me, I try to always consider the long term implications. IPS release cycle is much faster now, Lindy gave a ballpark figure for 4.3. before the end of the year, I don't want to buy the same product yet again, it feels like my community is held for ransom. 

What this makes me do, it makes me be extremely conservative towards marketplace purchases and I buy only from long time trusted developers. Which is not very good for me, because I am limiting my choices, not very good for @TheJackal84, because he might be very competent developer, but he is also new. As I have been burned by others before I don't even consider his mods. In the end it is not very good for everyone. And yes, you are right, free market. I also believe in it. But the 3rd party marketplace here is hardly a free market, you have very little if any competition (except for the skins, obviously). So it needs a bit of regulation. 

So to summarize - something needs to be done so we as a customers can predict our long term costs. You can't have renewal pricing without explicitly stating what is the reason for this renewal price and what you are offering against it. I think this will benefit both customers and developers who offer fair and long term support. 

Edited by jair101
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, jair101 said:

 I think the 3rd party developers should make their license terms more explicit …

Or have them to begin with. I really only see two options:

  • Either IPS dictates 3rd-party licenses and conditions for all Marketplace submission. (which I am not really proposing)
  • or 3rd-party developers get an option to upload their own licenses, which are then shown along with the current IPS disclaimer before the purchase/download

At the moment, you just get this IPS disclaimer message when downloading. So there are no clear and legally binding conditions and that will lead to problems. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, opentype said:

Either IPS dictates 3rd-party licenses and conditions for all Marketplace submission. (which I am not really proposing)

Why not? I think they should, I would say they should, Selling renewals then not renewing the files is bang out of order and a dog move in my view, The renewal regardless of it being said r stated should include updates if it being 3.x, 4.x or even 5.x

7 minutes ago, opentype said:

or 3rd-party developers get an option to upload their own licenses, which are then shown along with the current IPS disclaimer before the purchase/download

Although this is a good idea too, but then if it's away from IPS terms then IPS will have no say if its honored or not

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management

There's some significant marketplace changes that need to occur overall, but I think your points are very fair and valid. On one hand, I'm a proponent of speaking with your wallet. If terms weren't clear and you feel wronged, I would personally indicate such in the review and not purchase from that author again. On the other hand, I understand the need for a basic set of ground rules. I think requiring paid resources to indicate terms is entirely reasonable and I too would find it a bit sketchy if there were renewal fees and no mention in the listing of "major updates may require an additional purchase." If you have specific examples of this occurring, please send the listings to me and we'll either work with the author to make their conditions clear, or delist the submission if necessary.

Although IPS plays a minimal role in the marketplace and merely facilitates transactions, we do want clients to have confidence in third party resources. I'll add license and renewal term fields to the marketplace listings. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hold on.  The Marketplace is a much more complex discussion than the lopsided concerns of the OP, and I think this discussion deserves a deeper analysis.  To all my fellow IPS clients, here are some important points to keep in mind: 

  • Buying from the Marketplace is inherently risky.  That should be a known caveat emptor before making any purchases, and it's naive to think you can mitigate all risk factors or control your long term costs to the same degree as buying from a company like IPS.  Most Marketplace developers are doing this on the side with real-life jobs, and the fact that they can even offer some enhancements is already a major accomplishment.  Most Marketplace developers can't tell you their pricing model until something disruptive happens from IPS, such as a major version where IPS changes all the templates.  That's when the devs have to decide if they change their pricing.  
  • If you don't like the pricing or the changes in pricing, then you don't have to buy it or renew it.  It's as simple as that.  The marketplace is truly a marketplace, as a simple exchange between buyers and sellers.  It's a very 'low trust' marketplace with a lot of risk, and you should know that with eyes wide open before wading in.  And if you're willing to bank your community on a third-party resource, then you need to make sure you have money in said bank to privately support the resource if and when the original developer disappears.   
  • Adding a license or renewal field may sound great in theory, but I doubt it'll do any good in practice.  I'm all for transparency and establishing clear terms, but there's nothing to stop a developer from changing those terms at any point or preventing him from, you know, living his real life and not supporting his app.  Even if you pretend those terms are legally binding, how many of you are going to actually go and file an injunction against an anonymous developer?  Let's be a little more realistic.  
  • Yes, there are a lot of pricing anomalies, a lot of risk, and some bad apples in the IPS Marketplace.  I've bought plenty of things from third-party developers who should be blacklisted.  But you know what?  As a buyer, you already possess a method of recourse: to write a scathing review on the product and his total lack of support.  So instead of complaining to IPS and asking them to impose licensing terms on all Marketplace sellers, you should do YOUR job first and provide reviews that are useful to other users.  That is the first step in building a 'high trust' Marketplace.  If you haven't done that on each and every product you've purchased, you don't deserve to be asking others to step up when you haven't done your job first.   Write reviews.  That's the only way anyone and everyone can benefit from your experience.  
  • Although there are a lot of ridiculous pricing anomalies and support problems in the Marketplace, there are quite a few consistently good Marketplace developers.  This means that the Marketplace can inherently function, and function well.  The solution shouldn't be to regulate or impose Marketplace-wide rules.  It should be to broaden the Marketplace, make it more attractive and competitive, and let the Marketplace self-regulate and compete with more developers.  Instead of trying to dictate license and renewal terms like the OP suggested, IPS should instead be reaching out to the third-party dev community for ways to make it easier to code, to maintain that code, to support that code, and make it fun to code.  That will expand the pool of developers, who will naturally compete for the business and we all win.  
  • Lastly and most importantly, before any IPS client wants to complain about not getting their money's worth out of a $10 renewal fee, I encourage all of my fellow IPS clients to take a step back and recognize the Marketplace community is fragile enough as it is.  It may not be publicly seen, but there have been several alarming exits in the Marketplace by developers.  And when they leave, we all lose.  So the more you complain, the more you impose rules, the more you regulate, the more they'll leave for greener pastures -- and all the rules and regulations in the world can't protect you from an empty Marketplace.  
Edited by Joel R
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joel, am afraid by trying to summarize it all you missed the point. Let me try to answer few of your concerns without going in to too much details:

39 minutes ago, Joel R said:

 Most Marketplace developers can't tell you their pricing model until something disruptive happens from IPS, such as a major version where IPS changes all the templates.  That's when the devs have to decide if they change their pricing.

Then it is simple - don't include renewal costs. Put a static price, state that you can't promise long term support and thats it. But offering the product with renewal price should mean some kind of commitment. And it really does for some devs, but not for all of them. What I am asking is to remove this ambiguity from renewal pricing. 

39 minutes ago, Joel R said:

If you don't like the pricing or the changes in pricing, then you don't have to buy it or renew it.  It's as simple as that.

No, it is not as simple as that. At the time you buy it, you have no idea what the future holds. If the developer can state his intentions clearly, sure, thats a fair poin, but thats not the case. 

39 minutes ago, Joel R said:

to stop a developer from changing those terms at any point or preventing him from, you know, living his real life and not supporting his app.Even if you pretend those terms are legally binding, how many of you are going to actually go and file an injunction against an anonymous developer?  Let's be a little more realistic.  

The fact that some resource can be immediately abandoned is an understandable risk that I am willing to take. What annoys me is when the support for the resource is continuing, but under new file requiring new purchase when I still have an active license for the old file. Don't you see the difference?

And who said something about injunctions? But if the dev changes his terms with only reason being money grab, well, IPS has some pretty strong levers at their disposal to handle such behaviour if they wish. 

39 minutes ago, Joel R said:

So instead of complaining to IPS and asking them to impose licensing terms on all Marketplace sellers, you should do YOUR job first and provide reviews that are useful to other users.  That is the first step in building a 'high trust' Marketplace.  If you haven't done that on each and every product you've purchased, you don't deserve to be asking others to step up when you haven't done your job first.   Write reviews.  That's the only way anyone and everyone can benefit from your experience.  

I did write a review. But guess what, this review is on the, now deprecated 4.1 listing, which is never going to see an extra customer. Do you think my review helps in this case? There is a new 4.2 listing that will get all future purchases from now on and on which I cannot leave a review, because I do not intend to buy it. So, please keep this possible quirk in mind when you prophet the almighty power of the reviews. 

39 minutes ago, Joel R said:

Instead of trying to dictate license and renewal terms like the OP suggested, IPS should instead be reaching out to the third-party dev community for ways to make it easier to code, to maintain that code, to support that code, and make it fun to code.  That will expand the pool of developers, who will naturally compete for the business and we all win.  

While I generally agree with you here, I fail to see how one contradicts the other. You can have more clear licensing terms and have an easier system for the devs. It is not like more strict licensing system prevents IPS from making it easier to code, maintain, support and having fun. 

39 minutes ago, Joel R said:

Lastly and most importantly, before any IPS client wants to complain about not getting their money's worth out of a $10 renewal fee, the Marketplace community is fragile enough as it is.  It may not be publicly seen, but there have been several alarming exits in the Marketplace by developers.  And when they leave, we all lose.  So the more you complain, the more you impose rules, the more you regulate, the more they'll leave for greener pastures -- and all the rules and regulations in the world can't protect you from an empty Marketplace.  

Oh, great. So I should keep my mouth shut for obvious problems, because all devs are precious delicate flowers and I can annoy them with my criticism and they will leave. Seriously?

Edited by jair101
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can understand both sides here. However, one thing I would like to say, I feel if someone is being charged a renewal and they pay the renewal then they should not have to pay the full price again. I can understand having to pay full price from IPB3 to IPB4 because IPB4 was a complete rewrite. Renewals, in my opinion, should cover all upgrades even if they are extensive. The only time I see having to pay full price is if IPS releases a complete rewrite of the suite.  

What bugs me the most is that some developers (not all of course) take advantage of major upgrades. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@jair101, please stop being deceptive. No app or plugin to date has done this due to 4.2. Themes have. The large template differences may warrant it, but don't lump app and plugin authors in with themers. Our woes are not equivalent to theirs, and often we can ignore template updates where themers can not. Your wording was designed to lead this topic towards the thought of apps, when in fact this is about themes. Taken in the context of themes, a complex theme may be justified in re-release, there were indeed a LOT of template changes.

Edited by Marcher Technologies
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Marcher Technologies said:

@jair101, please stop being deceptive. No app or plugin to date has done this due to 4.2. Themes have. The large template differences may warrant it, but don't lump app and plugin authors in with themers. Our woes are not equivalent to theirs, and often we can ignore template updates where themers can not. Your wording was designed to lead this topic towards the thought of apps, when in fact this is about themes. Taken in the context of themes, a complex theme may be justified in re-release, there were indeed a LOT of template changes.

Only reason I did that is because my question was in general. What to do in case a developer asks to rebuy something with an active subscription and whether the renewal rules should be more set in stone. I.e. if I shouldn't expect to have access to new version if there is a new .x release or .xx release. I think it is fair to know this before hand, because similar resources with similar prices handle things differently. 

I wanted to avoid name calling, thats why my approach is vague. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management

@Joel R - as a point of clarification, I'm referring to adding fields to allow (actually, require) authors to define their own licensing terms, not just for the client's benefit, but the author's as well. Some authors don't mind a resource being used on multiple sites, most only provide it for single-site use. If you charge renewals, you should spell out what that includes and equally important, what that doesn't include. We don't intend on defining the terms, the OP has a very valid point in requesting that someone define them though. 

Free resources are one thing... I think everyone appreciates the immense effort so many contributors put forth in bringing modifications to the community out of sheer good will. If you are charging any money, be it $5 or $500, you are making a commitment and I personally expect you to honor that commitment. I will admit, the paid aspect of the marketplace is an enormous source of frustration for everyone involved -- clients, IPS and authors alike. From a client perspective, if you pay any amount of money, there are expectations (within reason) and some fail to meet those by any definition. From an IPS perspective, those expectations that often aren't met end up in our lap and we dedicate administrative time, absorb thousands a year in chargeback fees and interact with disgruntled clients and authors who can't seem to work together. From an author perspective, it's frustrating to sell a resource for $5 and the client demands the moon and stars. It's also frustrating with IPS moving the goal posts with a very rapidly evolving platform. 

To be honest, you can identify some level of risk factor based on price. The elaborate themes and apps/plugins that are inexpensive are likely the ones that will ultimately get abandoned or encounter poor support. Much of this goes back to expectations. Clients believe if they've paid even $.50, an author is obligated to provide support. Authors think a greater number of sales vs a higher price is a good idea... until they end up with a few hundred clients PMing and filling their support topic and they get overwhelmed and/or otherwise lose interest. Great resources demand a great amount of skill and time involved to create. Some provide those for free because they really enjoy doing them and like the sense of community. Others charge appropriately for their time and do quite well in the marketplace, with fairly minimal drama. Many, however, start out with wanting to make a little money here and there and end up undercharging, overselling and getting frustrated and burnt out. Nobody wins in that case. 

Joel is right - the marketplace is a complex discussion that transcends just this point. I do agree with the OP, however, that we can (and will) make it easier for authors to define their terms to protect themselves and the client.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Joel R said:

… there's nothing to stop a developer from changing those terms at any point …

Sure. That’s why licensing terms should have version numbers and/or time stamps — or even better: become part of the download package. So the user has a copy of his(!) terms for the package. Of course the terms can change at any time, but they wouldn’t apply to previous sales. That’s just how licensing works. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...