Thoughts on licenses

This happens to me quite often, but I guess also with most of you fellow developers:

  • Support tickets for products purchased 3 years ago
  • One product/purchase being used for multiple websites/clients

So I wanted to hear your thoughts about licenses and packages in general, as I see these implemented in other platforms:

  • Normal license: for personal use, or for a not-paying client
  • Extended license: allows for a x number of payed developments
  • Support packages: 6 months (maybe included with purchase), 12 months etc
  • other ideas?

Also: would it be a problem for you RMS guys if at some point I begin testing some of the changes above when selling my stuff?

For 1: we still receive emails about RapidWeaver 3.5.1 from time to time (2006!). We still answer, though we do also gently nudge the user to upgrade.

We’re not going to tell developers what they should or should not do, but I do think that the idea of support packages, or differing licenses, may see some kickback from the community. If folks are using the products they’ve bought within the existing license terms, and they’re benefiting from that, they may well be unhappy to see limitations placed on addons usage in future.

There are some in the community who may use addons for a number of projects, but I’d imagine that the majority of folks don’t…

Interesting thoughts.

Yes I do get still get emails from customers who might have purchased something 5 - 8 years ago wanting support or updates. I actually had an email from a customer on Sunday who was still using one of the very early versions of my Composition theme, which I think dates back to 2007! To be honest it doesn’t really concern me all the much - I’m happy that someone is still using one of my creations after all this time and not felt the need to switch.

I think that perhaps cutting-off customer support after a period of time (e.g. 3 years) might send a wrong message. Possibly at that point a customer might feel the urge to switch to using addons from another company (if they land in a position where they have to pay to continue using something or receiving support). The loyalty might begin to dwindle if a customer is presented with a paywall.

Regarding licenses, I guess the biggest issue would be enforcement. If you’re physically taking domain names during the checkout process and running spot-checks on addons that people have to register within the addon, then you possibly have the ability to police where and how people are using your addons. The remainder of the time you’d have to rely on honesty (which some days is in shorter supply than others)!

I guess that one of the reasons people continue to use RapidWeaver is because developers have often been perceived to be a lot more friendly and flexible towards how and where their addons are used. I don’t think the ‘code canyon’ business model would fit the comparatively small user base of RapidWeaver that well, IMO. Yes it could (and has) worked well for some specialist addons (RapidSearch Pro and Total CMS spring to mind) but for general themes and stacks it may be less suitable.

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there are a few things worth thinking about here:

  • the idea of paying for specific instances of use for a specific product.

i have stacks cloud, joe has the cms, blueball has his – they all come with licenses that only allow limited use.
although i think these are great things for the general market – RW users are self selected to dislike these things. i haven’t been able to turn a profit on these things and i don’t think i’ll be trying again (within RW ecosystem).

  • the idea of charging for a specific interval of support

i already do this (in a round-about way) by charging for upgrades. charging for upgrades means that those people that upgrade pay a bit more ever once in a while (1.5-2 years?) and will get the best features and the best support. i still support the old versions, but in a more abbreviated style. i like this because all customers contribute toward the goal of improving the product – rather than just the few who need extra hand holding. and i think it just sends a better message to customers “buy this new awesome stuff” vs. “pay us to help fix broken stuff”

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