Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

11 posts by 8 authors in: Forums > Off Topic / Other
Last Post: September 10, 2002   (RSS)

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By Dave - July 29, 2002

First of all, I just wanted to say thanks to everybody who's responding to these threads. We really do appreciate and value your input. Now, on to the fun... : )

Software subscriptions, the idea is that instead of paying a one time license fee you could have the option of paying a lower but re-occurring annual fee for the software. This is something that a lot of people in the software industry have been talking about lately and personally I have mixed feelings about it but I'd really like to get some feedback from our user community.

What do you think? Would you consider paying a lower re-occurring fee for a product or would you rather pay a one time (higher) fee and be done with it?

The additional advantage the "subscription" fee is that new upgrades and features would always be included for free in the subscription.

What do you think? Good idea, bad idea, something we should consider doing? Let us know! : )
Dave Edis - Senior Developer

Re: [Dave] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By Thomas - August 7, 2002

BAD Idea!

When I buy web software I need the reassurance of knowing that my product will last for as long as I need it, I don't want to worry about the company going under or ceasing to exist (which has happened to me before) and not being able to get next years key or whatever, possibly losing a valuable part of my site.

Plus I don't really trust those encrypted keys, espcially lifetime ones.

Re: [Thomas] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By MalaK_3araby - August 7, 2002

Hi Dave
Hi Thimas

I was probably the first to mention the idea of subscribtion in here, so i am all for it.

I have to say that subscribtion is not a limited-time use liscence.

When you pay for the software you own that VERSION of the software, but when you are a subscribor/ a member, you get EXTRA benifits, (i.e: free updates and upgrades, maybe special offers, access to member's only area, priority support, addons before its released in an upgrade.. etc.).

So the case is basically this:
- Currently we (IT customers) pay $299 to purchase AM and they give us lifetime support and upgrades. cons: price too high + not much initiative to develop extra addons or customization.
- Proposal: Drop the price to be more affordable, add a 1 year of support and free updats/upgrade to the initial purchase .. and the buyer has lifetime use of the software ... but one has to subscibe to get free updates/upgrades after that.

It does not make sense to support me in 2012 just cause i paid you $299 in 2002 .. thats if i still use the software or if it still exists. Do not tell me that IT will continue supplying FREE upgrades to everyone forever .. they would probably go find another job after they spend what they collected once. :)

If subscribtion or a similar program is not implemented, I can tell you now that AM will either discontinue, or will be so out of date ... and rivals in open source Php are plenty.

I am not affiliated with AM in anyway ..i am just acustomer who paid for AM and want to see it getting better. I want IT to respond to my requests for addons and customization and am willing to pay for it in installments through subscribtion. That ties them to me, and leave me with a choice to stay with them or discontinue whenever i feel the product does not meet my expectations.

Just an opinion.
Sure you can spell it, but do you get it?

Re: [Dave] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By Dave - August 7, 2002

Ok, so that's one resounding no, one yes. What does everybody else think? : )

On a personal note, we have a subscription to "QuickBooks Pro", and they provide us with tax tables, new versions and updates. It seems like a good idea since we were buying all the new versions anyway. On the other hand, I don't know that I'd go for a Windows subscription.... Because once I have the OS I'd have to think about whether I want to upgrade or not. I basically know we're going to want to stay current with QuickBooks.
Dave Edis - Senior Developer

Re: [Dave] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By chris nz - August 8, 2002

If, as a customer, I want to get a long term commitment from a software supplier, I would prefer the option of paid upgrades rather than subscriptions. That way I can consider the upgrade first before actually commiting to it automatically for that year. This also allows you to set individual upgrade prices commensurate with the increased level of features. Those features or general improvements could vary substantially from product to product, and from upgrade to upgrade...or not? In any case, I am in a little more control of assessing the need to upgrade and timing of such. Not to mention being able to assess the worthiness of the set upgrade price. Makes any sense to you?

Just another personal opinion

Re: [Dave] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By Cathy - August 12, 2002


Add my vote to the resounding NO's. I think subscriptions work on the things that have got to be updated, such as your accounting software. But for the products you sell, updates are not a requirement. I prefer to pay one price, update when I want to and pay for the updates.
Grafix Unlimited

Re: [Cathy] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By thankful - August 29, 2002

Count me as a NO also on subscription fees. Your price is very fair and I absolutely love your products. Worth every penny. But I wouldn't feel abused if after a year or two, upgrades came at a (small) price. That would seem fair, and I do want you folks to continue developing your products. For the most part, we would pass that plus a mark-up for the install and clean-up onto our clients anyway, or they would just pass. I've already installed two of these (one for myself), and have another sale pending following a demo.

I sold a from-scratch database driven site to a doctor some time back, for $2,400. It ended up costing me (I don't do perl, just the pretty fronts and flash) over $3,600, and it is awful, just awful, compared to your product. The back end admin portion was particularly ugly, and when I saw your elegant admin area, I almost cried. I coulda made good money and a happy customer (who tells others either way)!

Re: [Dave] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By ecamty - September 2, 2002

I´m against subscriptions. It simply makes me feel unconfortable because what I buy should be mine, not rented, leased, suscribed to, etc...

It may feel that you are being genereous because you give lifelong upgrades, but it is what attracts clients. I bought Article Manager with you, and because of the service, quality and reasonable price and terms, I bought DocBuilder and the Search from you. Many partners and clients have liked these programs and are looking into buying them.

I know that the software you already sold under those conditions will remain the same, but as a "medium" webmaster and designer (generally of non-profit group´s sites), I know that this is the best software around. Newbies go to geocities and squeeze the most out of them, while not-so-newbies have their homepage and add in at most simple javascripts to impress clients, "mediums" run medium sized sites and dont have much programming experience, while what they have is enough to implement systems like yours (simple to install, administer, etc.) ... experts running large/corporate sites design their own software for specific needs. You would also have to consider resellers.

Pros: Incrementing the annual income, more incentives to update/upgrade software, dont have to develop new programs. more clients if you reduce the price and sell it in the long run (for AM: annual payment of $50 plus a one time set-up fee of 100 which includes two years and installation) or something like that.

Cons: Losing potential clients, acquiring compromise to upgrade software continuously, not enough time/staff to develop new programs, less initial income. Losing clients who shut down their sites (If you buy AM, for example.... you pay 299. If you bought the subscription, you´d pay 50 a year, for example... the website closes in one year and what you got from that client is $100, not $299.

Or you could sell the program for the actual price and charge additional annualities, but then again, that would drive away clients/resellers (because of the extra amount of work they need to put in).

I dont know whats best... but I personally am against subscriptions.
Here to help!
Eugenio B.

Re: [ecamty] Software subscriptions : love them or hate them?

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By Dave - September 2, 2002

ecamty, thanks very much for your feedback. : )
Dave Edis - Senior Developer