Following on from my comment in another post about sky-rocketing prices of themes and add-ons, etc from USA (mostly) developers (the phrase ‘rip off’ springing to mind), I suggest some consistency in terms and conditions for the sale of the products of third party developers is called for.
I appreciate each individual developer is its own business, but that no excuse for themes, add-ons, etc that only work with RW. When third-party developers are allowed to latch on to a high-profile core product, such as Rapidweaver, the owners of the RW should impose mandatory guidelines on the conduct in relation to customers of any third-party developer/seller.
For example, some developers offer free trial, others money-back within a short time if not satisfied, and one particular, there may be others I don’t know, doesn’t offer refunds at all.
Those that do not offer free trials claim that customers might abuse the process, but that could be overcome either by incorporating a time-limt on usage (number of hours, rather than days - not everyone, myself included, has the time to experiment shortly after downloading) or only working off-line. That must be possible, surely: with all the software I’ve bought over the years (with the exception of some RW developers), I have downloaded a trial version first and not been required to part with money before deciding whether to buy. Sometimes, the trial period might expire before I’ve had time to experiment, in which case the developer has on request usually granted an extension. Where no extension is granted, I then decide whether to take a chance or not bother. (Nowadays, having spent a fortune over the years on software that I end up rarely using, if ever, I am far more circumspect.)
It’s not only some third-party developers (you know who you are) for RW, but also Realmac itself that comes into criticism, A good example of outmoded thinking is Typed which offers a free trial provided you pay at the onset. If before the free trial ends you decide not to continue, then you cancel, and your payment is refunded. I don’t know whether the credit card company registers chop-and-change, but it obliges the customer to check the monthly statement carefully and puts the onus on the customer to ensure the refund. When you read the report to investors, (of which incidentally I’m not one) you’ll note that the number of new subscribers in December one year was considerably lower by the following January when the free period had elapsed and many subscribers cancelled. The well-known adage ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity’ seems to have escaped some, which might explain why increasingly investors in start-ups are discovering that start-up managers are better at attracting investment and spending money on launching the business than making any money out of running the business itself.
“RapidWeaver is used by novices and professionals alike”. It would be helpful if third-party developers could make it clear for whom their ‘products’ are designed. Most if not all third-party developers for RW present outline details of their product; some with documentation. and/ or video, but in my opinion there is no substitute for experiencing the theme, etc on one’s own site.
Many products are promoted as easy to deploy but when it comes to it, speaking for myself, are more complicated than the developer would have us believe. That can lead to needing support, which might not be forthcoming by return (frustrating if you’ve set aside time to use the product) and a flurry of questions and answers which, bearing in mind the differences between inexperienced amateur description of the problem and informed technical explanation, might if you’re lucky resolve the issue, but could leave the customer confused.
I consider myself an intermediate novice. Having started with an Acorn (BBC model B), then PC and now iMac, my knowledge of computers, operating systems, coding, and so on, has come from learn as I go, following instructions for resolving any problems that I’ve experienced. When anything like I’ve just outlined happens to me, as it did on a couple of occasions recently, I give up, delete the product and put it down to experience (also I might be wary of buying from that developer in future). [It amuses me when developers want to replicate the problem their end and finding nothing wrong suggest it must be the customer’s fault. How a problem can be replicated when the system set-up might be entirely different is beyond me!]. The solution to the level of understanding needed for using a product would be for the product to be advertised as suitable for novices, intermediate, or advanced users of RW (where each category is clearly defined) so at least we might know what we’re letting ourselves in for at the onset.
Allowing third-party-party developers to do as they please in their dealing with RW customers is risky. It only needs a few rotten apples to tarnish the honourable.
When I used a PC, I started with NetObjects Fusion but after being advised its coding was proprietary and difficult for outsiders to help with, I switched to Dreamweaver and took a few lessons in how to use the software. When DW stopped including its own starter-templates, I had a go at Sandvox but found it rather twee for my purposes so had a go with RW and have never looked back. For a while, I felt uncomfortable in having to use some else’s template but after a while, realising that content is king, I now focus on that.
I thrive on helping businesses and people to be successful, so don’t get me wrong: I enjoy using RW, simply the running of the business-side of things I reckon could do with some more oomph.