Making a case for subscriptions-based Market.

Andrew Boon posted 24th of January 2016 in Boonex News. 156 comments.

Boonex added subscriptions for licenses and license+hosting plans a few months ago. Already subscriptions make up more than half of our business and growing. Our own impression so far is quite simple - subscriptions are better for us and for clients. First, initial spent is never too high, and people that are "just trying" can either just for a free trial or invest a relatively small amount of money. Second, all the hosting and installation woes are over - we take care of it. Third, no version update dramas - we take care of it. And we have ongoing motivation to provide excellent service, because if if don't - we don't get paid.

 

Now, let's look at Boonex Market. It has hundreds of good extensions for DolphinPro. Dozens of qualified, talented, reputable vendors. Clients are interested and willing to pay for good extensions - they often save thousands of dollars by not engaging into custom development. And still, we have a bunch of problems...

 

First, poor support. Some vendors are trying to provide adequate support, while some just don't. Even the "good" vendors often delay their response. Clients have to do a fair bit of research before they can confidently buy an extension.

 

Second, high prices. Good modules and templates often sit in $50-$100 price range or even more. It is a lot, especially for new sites that don't make any money yet. Understandably, some vendors are factoring in potential support overhead, but they have to "carpet-bomb" everyone - some clients never ask for any support, while others take up weeks and weeks. Still, everyone has to pay the same price. Even if you never use the extension you bought.

 

Third, lagging updates. We update DolphinPro periodically and vendors are supposed to check their products, adjust them if needed, and update to keep them compatible with the latest Dolphin. Some vendors do it, but typical trend is that products that don't sell well anymore aren't getting updated. This leaves the old buyers with nothing but frustration. And vendors don't have the incentive to do update, because they have their own bills to pay and need to concentrate on what's lucrative. 

 

Enter Market Subscriptions


It looks like subscriptions for Market products could potentially fix all those problems. For example, let's take an extension priced at, say, $3/month instead of $50 one-off. Client would be able to try it spending just the first $3. If it's good - they keep paying. If they don't need it anymore - they cancel it. 

 

In this case vendor would be motivated to retain the client, which can only be done if good support is provided and value is continuously added in a form of compatibility updates, feature improvements, fixes, optimisation, etc. 

 

By the end of average subscription period of 2 years (typical for this sort of products), the client would have paid $72, instead of $50. It's appreciably more, but it was spread over the long period, making it easier to handle. Plus, in these two years they received a much better product with fewer ongoing issues - all thanks to better support.

 

Vendors would have to work harder and longer to even make those first $50, but on the other hand their revenue would become a lot more stable, predictable and continuously growing. And they would only need to support those who keeps paying. Strong vendor-client relationship would result in additional sales, trust and longer-term commitments. 

 

And most importantly - this would encourage an overall shift from quantity to quality. Vendors would need to focus on fewer products, improving them consistently. Even one active subscriber would mean that there is potential for more - hence the products need to be improved, not discontinued. Vendors would have to update extensions in advance - before DolphinPro releases, so as to avoid sales halts and backlash from subscribers.  

 

It's a whole new game, in a higher league. 

 

The How and The When

 

We plan to tie this to our own subscriptions. Every extension would be processed as a subscription-addon, billed monthly. We would deduct a commission and pay the rest to vendors. This would also allow us to remove a lot of friction-points in Market experience where payments have to go directly to vendors, complicating checkout process. 

 

There are quite a few little details and nuances that we have to figure out, so don't expect this shift to happen tomorrow. We will first experiment with Trident, which is something we already started working on. We will also definitely keep the option to sell directly for one-time payment. Extensions would also need to undergo a review before being offered as part of subscription plans. So, I think we need about 3-4 months after DolphinPro 7.3 release. 

 

That's that. What do you think? Let's talk this through!

 
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I love this idea! I can try a mod and see if my members like it before I spend allot of money to buy it. I would purchase 4 mods today!
Spinetta
I've been using Dolphin since v1. I can say if it was a subscription model, I would never have even tried it. Not at all interested in this business model. If the market goes to subscription based, it will be the last purchase we make.

This is nothing more than you trying to milk customers for more and more and more money & it's getting REALLY old. It was bad enough when you "redid" the licenses and effectively removed our license from future perks/benefits we were promised, now see more this? Really starting to lose what little faith I have left in Boonex. The stupidity is spewing forth from your company at an amazing rate. You have been around as long as you have for a reason. If it's not broke, DON'T FIX IT.

We paid you enough for the license. We shouldn't - and won't - pay you monthly to fix the numerous bugs that have always plagued this system. The only problem Boonex has and always has had is horrendous support & quality control. Money won't fix that.
Spinetta
You can't even write a bug free social networking script & you think we'd trust you to run our hosting?
Andrew Boon
Nobody can write a bug-free script, but we can and do write a really good one. As for hosting - it is run by Zarconia, who has proven to be very good at Dolphin hosting. We package their hosting with our license and some pre-paid support, which works out to be not much more or in many cases LESS money than you would spend for the license, hosting and support otherwise.
Spinetta
If you're some fly by night company running a network, sure. After, what, 10 years? This model would have cost us a small fortune. You guys need to up your monitoring of the Market. Changing how clients pay is not going to fix the fact that market is & always has been overrun with scammers & junk products.

You want to clean up the market? BAN the scammers. BAN the spammers. BAN the hosting companies that clutter everything up with useless ads. In short, moderate your network & you see more won't have these issues.

Changing to a subscription model will do nothing but scare people off. Countless marketing studies have shown that clients STRONGLY prefer a one-off payment to anything recurring. But as usual Boonex doesn't want to actually do any work, you just pass the buck & blame us. I'll never, ever, forget your rant about 5 years ago about how paying customers "spam" support trying to get this buggy software to actually work. This post smacks of it. Passing the buck as usual Andrew.
Andrew Boon
Like I said, we want to keep both options. Subscriptions and one-off payments. It's a case of choice. Personally, I was always a "pay once" person before, but gradually I came to see that paying, say $10/month for Photoshop works better for me than paying $500 one-off and then potentially extra $50 every couple of years.

As for the money aspect - I don't really see what is with the "passing the buck" issue? We provide product and service in exchange for money. In order for see more us to do anything at all we must be able to commit time to it, and therefore receive compensation. One-off payments are good in the beginning, where there's a small client-base and fast growth. After 10 or so years, the pyramid stops working. We can't justify paying $30/hour to a tech that will support a client that paid $300 some 10 years ago and needs 5 hours of assistance every month. It just doesn't work and it is the same for Market vendors. One can complain about poor coding, bad support, no documentation, ban this, ban that - but software is never a finished product - it needs continuous attention, it will always keep everyone busy, and so small monthly payments make everything more sustainable. So, thus we may be able to afford additional moderators, reviewers, coders, etc.

And again - there is still a one-off payment option.
geek_girl
For large ticket items, subscriptions, like leases, may be a good way to go. Most modules in the Market are not that expensive so a subscription model in those cases is not a good ideal. If you decide to try to go with subscriptions, it should be up to the vendor to decide to allow a module to be sold by subscription. Coding in a call home for a $20 module means that the module will no longer sell for $20 so you may end up driving up module prices.
Andrew Boon
Yep, I believe it should an option. Just a way to create separate listing, perhaps for bigger modules that need continuous support and development. Also call-home can be bundled into once-a-month-for-all.
Andrew Boon
You can think of it as of a way to trial-run an extension. If it's good for a month or two - you can buy it.
Spinetta
And how long before module makers figure out they can exploit more cash out of people using the monthly model & start refusing to put a one-off payment, or jack it so high no one in their right mind would pay it? You see it happen with just about every such based market, hell even Ebay & we all know you're not going to bother policing it, you never have.

As far as passing the buck, your attitude talking to me right now is a great example. I'm a paying customer. I very likely would have see more spent more money here over the years than I have, except that every. single. interaction I have ever seen you have with this community is you blaming us for your problems.

And no, I didn't expect you to provide 10 years of free support but a little help getting v1, which was a pain in the a** to setup & running would have been prudent. But nope, you tried charging even for that.

The reason your market share has dropped Andrew, is your reputation. Not because of any one-off payments. Search around. Seriously. You have a reputation for producing buggy software with zero support. Why would people buy it?

When you go and "redo" the license, removing licensing people paid for from having access to new features and perks that were supposed to be included in the purchase price...why in the world would we trust buying another one?

You have a long standing history of blaming your customers for problems & constantly trying to figure out how to milk us for more and more money. THAT is why Boonex is dying. This "new" Trident thing you've got going is a prime example & it makes me wonder how far off Dolphin's EOL is.

I can say that I run 10 sites. 1 runs Dolphin. They all would, it's the best software out there if you can actually get it to run but you lost our trust a long time ago & have done squat to get it back.

Dolphin is great, when it works, and could SO easily blow these other software companies off the face of the internet but you're so busy blaming your customers for your issues, you fail to see that you are the only one that can fix it. And yes, that does mean long hours. Yes, that does mean little pay. That's called being a business owner. We all deal with it. That's just reality my friend & it's how you stay in business. You have milked this community dry & it's dying a slow death.
Prashank25
Well if something doesn't feel like its priced right then you simply just don't buy it and about vendor "exploiting", you do know vendors want to actually sell and is not the cure for cancer that you have to buy.
Spinetta
Thank you, you summed up the attitude I'm worried about vendors cocking very nicely. Andrew, right here, case & point.
Prashank25
And you sound like a good client to have as well. Good luck with your sites.
Andrew Boon
I'm worried about product quality and support, not attitude. And look, if you have paid $100 to a vendor, received a product and don't plan to pay again - would you expect better attitude compared to a situation when you pay $10 and would continue paying $10 each month IF you're happy with the product? If anything, vendors would have to become a lot more accomodating then.
Spinetta
Touche', Mr. Boon lol I do see your point...I just see an incredible potential for abuse and more cost in the long run. There's several modules I've purchased that were worthless, despite having great reviews & thus aren't used, at about $50/ea. But on balance, there's several I have purchased at much lower price points (around $10-20/ea) that are fantastic and used daily. It's one hell of a Catch 22. However when it comes to Prashank here, I more meant he read your post & is seeing dollar see more signs. Not incentive to provide better support, or hell even just not be rude to people.
Spinetta
Joomla, Wordpress, etc. all have curated markets and have never had to do anything like this. Might be worth studying their modalities before you make any changes? Granted they do have subscription based modules but they are by far in the minority.
Andrew Boon
We once made a WP plugin for a project we've been experimenting with (called "webhome"). It was listed although it was half-done and was more like a proof of concept. It also sat there for a few years despite being incompatible with at least a few latest WP versions. Why? We just had no incentive to update it, or even look after our listing. If we were receiving at least $20/moth for it, we'd certainly give it more love.
Andrew Boon
I find that clients are a lot more price conscious when dealing with subscriptions. So, vendors would have to set prices wisely and make sure they continue providing added value continuously. Also, we can work out a way to provide free trials.
Spinetta
Yeah but due to their ranking structure, etc. your project was likely actually seen by very few. Which granted, that presents it's own problems in & of itself as far as new guys getting started & ranked, etc.

And yeah, you hit the nail on the head with that one. The pricing is exactly what I'm seeing become a huge issue. Say each of them decide they want $5/mo. They decide that's "reasonable". I go and add 15 of 'em. My operating costs just spiked from $50/mo for the server, see more to $50 for the server + $75 for the modules so from $50/mo to $125.

Now taking into account that your average Boonex user/builder is a hobbyist working on a small community with a shoestring budget and the attention span of a humming bird, how long & how much money do you think they'll spend monthly until they give up and the negative reviews start spewing forth as they vent their frustration?

Say I have a small paysite, it starts to struggle. What am I supposed to tell users when I have to start yanking features because I can't afford their monthly fee and still maintain the professional "big site" image you need to get anywhere?

Your average vendor can't even figure out that they need to be polite to customers and provide at least basic after-market support but you're expecting them to behave as professionals? The average vendor is also generally just a hobbyist, which is why the code tends to be sloppy & half assed. Very few if any do this for a living and while that would be nice, I don't really see it happening.

I can also honestly say that there is not a single module on the market at present that I would pay even $3/mo for. A one-off $20 maybe, but the last thing I want or need is another monthly bill to worry about.
Spinetta
For the numerous instances of Dolphin that barely stay open from ad revenue, where do they get this money?
TravelNotes
Free trials are a must. But don't expect too many buyers (sorry, renters) to stick around once they realise that each module has a monthly 'service' fee.
TravelNotes
I'm thinking some of those 'reviews' are from fake accounts.

Take a look around, how many of these 'reviewers' actually show how good the mods are working on their sites?
Andrew Boon
I really didn't mean to display any kind of negative attitude. Sorry if it seemed to be that way. In this exchange I am trying to talk to both you and anyone who reads it potentially - and explaining my ideas to clear things up.

Subscriptions is going to be one of the options, and there will be people - both clients and vendors - who would benefit from such options. I see it as a positive development and not at all as another way to "milk" community. I see forums posts where clients see more are complaining about lack of attention from vendors and I understand where it comes from.

As for product and support... we have done quite a bit in recent months to address both - we have live support chat where we actually respond within a few hours on average. We released the new DolphinPro 7.2 and rearranged development to push 7.3 earlier than planned. We also released a service update to address and urgent bugs. The long-awaited responsive design is finally there and we're adding a new Chat with 7.3. I believe that Dolphin is by all means #1 in the industry and our current support and development is among the most efficient.

And still, I assure you that your feedback, critique and input is very much appreciated.
Spinetta
Well, you asked for feedback & that is my feedback; and it's coming from someone that has been in this industry just about as long as you have. It is a VERY BAD idea. I'm sorry but the potential for abuse is HUGE. Unless you're planning on actually moderating the market and keeping it under control, I see this blowing in your face Andrew.

Please understand that my frustration with you & Boonex as a whole is entirely born out of 10 years of loving this product, despite it's numerous flaws. see more There is no consistency with the code, or the database structure. When you get under the hood it looks like a bunch of amateurs slapped a ton of scripts together & prayed it would work. That's what I meant by "poor quality control". QA is a HUGE part of software development and you guys never do it. In fact, I'm still running 7.0 because I know better than to upgrade when you release something, it usually takes a few years for you get the bugs out. Hell it's been 10 & Orca STILL doesn't work.

So far as subscription anything on this site, my answer is a loud and resounding NO. By moving the licenses to subscription you insured I'll never buy another, even if you somehow manage to regain the trust you lost the last time you decided to modify the licenses.

I completely agree that Dolphin is the best on the market, as I said, but it's reputation is crap. Like I also said, search around. Feedback for this product is not hard to find. Good feedback, anyone saying anything good about it at all however, is very fleeting.

You issue is not pricing & it never has been. Your issue is a complete lack of support & crappy attitudes from your staff. To be blunt (ok, more blunt) you make us feel like freeloaders. And we're not. We paid you fortune.

On a side note, you really need to explain what "DolphinPro" and "Trident" and all these new buzzwords mean. You've made a lot of changes, that much is true & I'm glad to see some forward motion here however you changed so much that even your veterans are confused and uncertain as to the future of this company....which is likely why none of us are buying.

What is "DolphinPro" and how does it differ from Dolphin? What is "Trident"? I thought that was new version of Dolphin, as that was said at some point but at this point I have no clue what it's even supposed to be. I'll tell you the way it's been presented it looks a Dolphin clone that you're going to have separate licensing for. Like I said, milking customers. When I buy a LIFETIME license for something, this is exactly what I expect to get.
Spinetta
The bottom line is that there is already so much abuse on the Market, abuse that's been there since the ZZZ sites that has never been dealt with I have little faith this is going to work. It would require constant supervision and strict policies that are actually enforced.
Andrew Boon
I agree. And as any continuous work that is to be done it has to be backed by sustainable revenue that covers the cost. Subscriptions would be the way to arrange it. We plan the subscription-based products to be reviewed and supervised strictly, since the payments would go through us and we must ensure quality.
Spinetta
If it means the market's going to be cleaned up, as in honestly cleaned up then I'm much more open to the idea. In any case, please don't take my blunt nature as ungrateful or unappreciative. I code as well & know full well how much work has gone into Dolphin, Oraca and Ray to become what they are today and they are great, could be better but compared to virtually any of the others on the market that allow self-hosting it is hands down the best. My users love it, I just get tired of beating my see more head against it (I was in the process of trying to move it to new server as we've been talking...stilling fighting with it. LFD has decided it's bad thing for some reason. Keeps killing sql.)
Andrew Boon
I appreciate the blunt nature of your feedback. Easier to process and understand this way. Thank you! ;)
Spinetta
It's rare that I get thanked, I usually piss people off LOL Thank you for at least listening.
geek_girl
"We plan the subscription-based products to be reviewed and supervised strictly, since the payments would go through us and we must ensure quality."

I doubt if the vendors are going to like this. Most vendors want the payments to be handled by them; now Booenx is going to be the man-the-middle? Some vendors have already moved their products outside of the Market and more may follow.
Andrew Boon
Yes. They won't like it. I know for sure though that it would increase sales significantly. Frictionless billing is what made Apple App Store so successful.

"The average rate of cart abandonment in 2015 is 68%." - this can be halved if billing is done through one-click order billed to preset card. It's even more pronounced in Boonex Market, because every vendor has their own separate checkout, so shopping cart has be checked-out in stages. Theoretically, we should be able to DOUBLE see more checkout success. Refunds on subscriptions are only given in cases of approved stolen-card cases, which is handled by PayPal and Stripe quite efficiently. So, at the end of the day, even if vendors only try this with a few products, they may end up seeing the benefits and then expand.
Andrew Boon
You should try 7.2.x. It is by all means a MUCH more polished product than 7.0. In fact 7.0 was a big core update that had to come out quite "raw". 7.1 and 7.2 were evolutionary and stabilised the platform significantly.

Also give our support a second chance. In last 4-5 months we have been attending to every single support request with an average response time of 6 hours. All through email and online chat.

And as for DolphinPro and Trident - we have announced before and re-confirmed see more a few times that if you have a license for Dolphin, even if you bought it for $99 or whatever - you will still forever be able to use DolphinPro or Trident without paying for the license again. It is a lifetime license, and it does cover all future versions and iterations. The new names are not for new licensing - they are for product differentiation and marketing purposes.
Doc
Dude, My support emails take about 2 or 3 days round trip just to get back to me.. and that's on trivial matters. I'm trying to evaluate this thing so we can actually buy a subscription for our club, but if I can't even get simple stuff handled, what's the point. We want to move to a paid membership setup, but I looked in the forums about it, and a request to fix this module (money maker for customers) is only met with impudence and a blasé attitude. It took you guys over 2 weeks to add Captcha see more to it. That kind of response is not a confidence builder for a customer that is deciding on if he should come back and try this new version.
Andrew Boon
Thank you for feedback. I've looked into your conversion with us. It is indeed going slower than most, because it is assigned to AlexT and he's a bit overloaded, bust still trying to fit it within 48 hours. Also, please check - there's an unanswered email we've sent you a few days ago.
TravelNotes
You're fighting your corner well, Andrew. Kudos for that!
TravelNotes
Every time Dolphin upgrades it's becoming a real pain going through all the market modules to see if they are keeping up.

One has, another hasn't.

Some module version numbers change, others don't.

Updated dates on the modules may be altered without any clue as to whether certain files need to be uploaded again, or not.

If anyone is considering purchasing Dolphin, I would have to advise them to think very carefully about whether the out of the box package does everything they want.

Using see more the module marketplace is both costly and very time consuming. Add to that any customisation you might want to make, and you could find yourself permanently in development; or slowly going bald through periodically tearing your hair out.

How can people concentrate on building a community if they have to keep fixing the back-end?

https://www.boonex.com/forums/topic/Upgrading-Dolphin-is-a-Pain.htm
Andrew Boon
And yes, as for exploiting more cash... you would see that it would rarely mean that clients spend more cash. Majority would actually save quite a bit. Only those who PREFER subscriptions and use the extensions for long-long periods of time and like it that way - those would pay more, willingly.
geek_girl
Yes, and this is also an irritant with some. Boonex moderators are getting a slice of the pie; what about other hosting providers that provide just as good a service? Remember there are many that drive business towards Boonex and they should be included. What about an affiliate programme where I get a piece of the pie for every person that I convince to use Dolphin or what about my hosting company where I optimise servers for Dolphin using Nginx and MariaDB which means better performance than some see more Apache/MySQL server.
Andrew Boon
We had an affiliate program for a while and in fact we are still tracking referrals. Once all these pricing changes get settled, we'll re-launch it. Also we do have hosting partnership program, where we can work out a referral deal, too. Yes, there is still room for hosting service, since we will continue providing downloadable package for DIY setups. By the way you could offer it as a subscription product at Boonex Market when we launch subscriptions.
Andrew Boon
Every time we "redid" the licenses we upgraded them. We have never removed any perks or benefits and grandfathered all end every commitment we ever made.

It really isn't a case of "if it's not broken, don't fix it". Better (or worse) half of negative feedback that we get stems from poor market experience. It does need fixing.
Andrew Boon
That's fine and this is why we keep one-off payment option for Dolphin and will also keep it for Market extensions. It's a choice. I just happen to believe that the subscription way is better for all.
I joined Boonex and Dolphin because it wasn't subscription based and we already have a substantial investment and growing. There needs to be an option: 1) Subscriptions. This would help in evaluating ext/mods; 2) We still need the option to purchase... If we cannot purchase it defeats the point of joining Dolphin. Thank you for creating a great product, please don't go the way of Microsoft and destroying their great parts, by adding/changing a great model. Again, adding subscriptions would surely see more benefit, but only if we still have the option to purchase.
Andrew Boon
Sure, and we will most definitely keep the one-off payment for Boonex licenses and will maintain this option for Boonex Market. I agree that at some point, when your site grows enough or when you assemble a strong tech team, the option to buy would be preferable. We shall keep it.
paansystems
If subscription is available there is a licensing model needed too!! If not, someone can pay one subscription fee and own a copy of the module for ever. Also vendor must have the chance to decide if they want to sell their modules per subscription.
Andrew Boon
Absolutely. We will definitely support both options - buy or subscribe or both, depending on what vendor decides. And you're right - the trickiest part is to control licensing on subscription-based extensions. This is what we are working on now in Trident and when we get it right, we'll bring it to DolphinPro. In a nutshell - extensions are downloaded directly from within the site-admin and Boonex tracks subscriptions status, deactivating the ones that go unpaid (with prior warnings, keeping the see more data untouched).
rockradio
Andrew from a business point of view I agree with the idea of subscription. Expenses for businesses never stay the same. The market does need a lot of cleaning, to many useless ads, scammers and spammers. This could help afford staff for this job.
annabel
Great idea !
Most software packages and plugins today come with a monthly payment and they are very popular amongst startups.
My opinion of the market ?
Too many useless mods, some of them even based on 1 mod and just copied with some changes in it and then given another name.
I love the idea of trying out before buying, it will improve vendors support.
I would rather spend 50 $ for trying out 10 mods than spending that money to buy 1 mod which I'm not sure of it will work as it's expected see more to work.
That way our feedback will be taken into account.
daihlo
Question - does this mean that admin area will call back to boonex to license check the mod? This presents potential problems for some setups if so.

If not, then whats to stop me subscribing to a $100 mod for say $3 to 'test' it, then cancelling my subscription, keeping the mod. Then when I need to upgrade to latest version, I just pay another months $3 to renew my subscription, re-download...
Andrew Boon
Yes, this is the main challenge. Initially we would do this for those with Boonex subscription, which already checks for payment every month. A bit later it would work in a way similar to Trident - with built-in Store and monthly checkups.
daihlo
so if a dolphin site/admin is not able to communicate with boonex servers, what happens? I have some major D based projects on the go that run on private intranets so would not link out to an external server for verification (everythings licensed so wouldnt be a problem by hyperthetically...)
Andrew Boon
I can see a few ways to manage this... perhaps a built-in usage tracker which would report module activity even after months of being "offline". You still need to open it up sometimes to check for updates. Surely, if a client is hellbent on pirating the module, they can probably manage to do so somehow, same as they can do it now. At least the vendor would know to provide support to only those that are paying.
Rusty
Andrew, how about going the "Poll" way before making announcements of major changes etc.. We as license holders are stakeholders in Boonex and sure as hell does have a say in what Boonex plans for the future of Boonex Dolphin. I have 10 Licenses and I guess there are many webmasters with lots more. Some of us run websites for fun and not an income and to spend even more money on what is not generating an income is stupid. I have spend 1000's of $ on mods etc... and I guess to pay subs by see more the end of the day will force me to remove all my websites. In case of the latter, will Boonex refund webmasters for license fees paid?
daihlo
At a guess, Im sure if you have purchased a mod already, then you have the licence already so would not need to subscribe.
Andrew Boon
We will definitely continue "one-off" payment option and subscriptions would not affect your previously purchased licenses. Most likely subscriptions-based products would require separate listing.
Can any of you read what he was simply saying for those of us who cant afford to spend allot of money upfront why not make a payment system from the vendors.
Andrew Boon
Exactly. It's just an option.
Personnaly I will stay with the one off payment .... it has its pros and cons but I choose Dolphin because of its pros and that makes part of it : control, independance, flexibility.
I am not an IT guy, but I work in a software company and let me tell you, the monthly service contract and fee we get with the customers, are rather to keep them into the loop and make them more and more dependant from us.
What about the license you purchase ? what about the support to be given to the guys who will see more stay with the one off payment for the modules....NO support later, since these won't be payers anymore ???

I think that Boonex should keep its core license commercial principle as such (one off payment).... I would think that a lot of its present/old customers are here not only of the product but also because of the way its been commercialized.

The emphasis should be put much more on the control of the modules vendors by certifying these vendors and modules and direct these Official Modules Sales through Boonex, which would give us a guarantee of quality and seriousness.
Andrew Boon
Yes, we plan to keep the one-off payment as is, along with subscriptions.
Yes and I am not sure that the service behind the 2 types : one off and subscriptionm will be the same.......just a question of motivation.
Today we purchase licenses for modules and these allow us to get the upgrade versions whenever occurring.......not sure in the future should we opt for the one off payment........
Andrew Boon
I believe it would help on both sides - subscribers would encourage vendors to provide timely updates and on-off payers would keep vendors afloat while they accumulate their initial subscribers base.
StanCA
This is interesting, but the software needs to do what it should, the match making part is sub par and has been for years. There are several other problems that keep on getting ignored, is fixing them too much to ask? I see ignoring problem scary if we are going to have boonex host us, having a non-responsive history does not make one comfortable enough to trust hosting.
Andrew Boon
We are working on regaining that trust. Hosting part is serviced by Zarconia - these guys don't even sleep. Also we're consistently responsive now and have stats to prove it.
geek_girl
"Also we're consistently responsive now and have stats to prove it."

I have a client that would disagree LOL.
Andrew Boon
"median first response time of 157 minutes." - this is our current stat averaged for 28 days.

"median first response time of 163 minutes." - this is for 90 days average.

We process all messages linearly - first enquiries are answered in same queue with repeats. So, the average response time in general is the same, and slowly improving.

The best way to get support is to email to team@boonex.com.
StanCA
I use Zirconia, and they are incredible... but still need the matchmaker part to work, and it seems like it is not yet on the scope. We are getting same sex matches and it irritates those who are not looking for that. Females that are 70 are getting matched by makes who are in the 20's. Please located resources to firm this part up.
StanCA
and thanks for responding, it is appreciated.
Andrew Boon
Dolphin itself is not focused on matchmaking as much anymore, but there are a few good extensions for that in Boonex market. For a heavily matchmaking-oriented site I would definitely recommend them.
StanCA
You can imagine our joy when we purchased it for such, and it was changed on us.. I have not been able to find those extensions..
StanCA
Can you please fix it for this software to work? We feel orphaned and would rather not see which other software can work and import Boonex at the same time. Please, or even if you had a paid option, perhaps a fork in the develop meant strategy... please.
StanCA
Pretty please, show me the extensions that make this work... for the good matchmaker script.
launch3
As a business owner, I prefer the subscription model (which is the direction many companies big and small have headed towards).

As a customer, I still prefer one-off payments (but warming to subscription slowly).

That said, I've noticed a significant improvement in product development, interactivity & customer support since Boonex went subscription. It's as if new life has been breathed into the company.

I am much more comfortable NOW with Dolphin going forward than I was two years ago see more when I bought my first license. You guys really fell far behind the curve.

As has been stated above, I also believe Dolphin has the potential to blow the socks off of any competition.

My frustrations have been bugginess and antiquated versions of modules. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Unfortunately, I have no hair left to pull.

My members #1 biggest frustration is non-intuitiveness / the lack of ease of use (some find it limiting, complicated and confusing).

However, the trend is your friend. With each update, I am seeing noticeable improvements in the product.

If subscriptions can also improve the market, I'm all for it.

I've bought A LOT of extensions. Luckily, all the vendors I purchased from are awesome.

I just want the best product on the market & finally get ahead of the curve, whatever direction that means Boonex needs to go.
Andrew Boon
Yes, we are just extrapolating our own sentiment. We are getting a lot more motivation from seeing subscriptions base growing. With one-off payments when revenue doesn't cover expenses, you start questioning the need to invest in R&D, because you never know how the next month would pan out. With subscriptions - you know you're constantly growing, you can see how even small improvements reflect in numbers and you can predict revenue. This makes it more comfortable to invest time and money.
Well as a business model it's poping up everywhere the monthly fees i think there should be a model to if you pay monthly for 2 years example it should be changed to you payed the module. And stop paying the monthly fees because after 2 years it's supose the module is stable unless boonex makes a lot of changes and make it instable ofcourse.
Andrew Boon
Software is a different beast - an extension, for example, depends on many things that keep changing. Core platform updates (7.2 > 7.3 > ...), browser updates, devices evolution (screens, resolutions, browser capabilities), UI trends (i.e. social logins), various libraries updates (jquery, meteor, etc), server software updates (PHP, MySQL, web-servers, image converters, etc). So, software is never really "finished". Old way is to maintain a major version for a while, then eventually see more depreciate it. For example, WindowsNT seemed like a good "finished" OS, but had to be depreciated, because the world moved on. The new way is to continuously update, making "versions" less relevant and charging incremental fees for as long as it is being used. Google pioneered this with Chrome... most people don't even now which version of Chrome they're using - it's just latest. Paid software is gong the same way - even giants like Adobe, MS, Apple are shifting towards the subscription model with continuous updates. After all software doesn't have any collectible value and there's no point in OWNING the windowsNT. Your grandchildren wouldn't value such inheritance much, it doesn't grow in value and it only becomes less and less relevant.
Andrew Boon
Having said that, I can how some sort of gradual discounting could be a good option. Perhaps discounting by 10-20% every year until it comes down to a certain monthly minimum. I guess it depends on specific cases... some products have associated costs (like hosting, energy, etc).
Yes you are right before they were selling a "finished" product like you say buth like programmers the programming languages are changing constantly buth some helpfull programmers IDE are just to expensiver for the normal programmer now that they changed to yearly/monthly payments. And that's why ppl stop bying it buth well said that. Now for giving better sopport MS is giving there windows 10 to windows 8 users for having less programming work.

Buth well is everyones decision i like see more the trial / buy part for checking if something really works as expected.

And what i'm talking about is if you have a good product you will have constant flew of good comments and ppl will keep buying the product. So new costumers will keep you paying the product buth well that's everyones opinion.

Facebook keeps updating every "day" so social plugins need a lot of maintenance.

I bought the no renewel licence of boonex exactly for knowing the cost because what happens with monthly payments is that prices changes and mostly they get up.

Other example everyone is accepting playstation plus even now they are getting more games out without the plus for able to play online exactly because ppl are complaining about the payment. You buy a game and for able to play it you need to pay. I mean I understand well the business behind it buth i would prefer to to see the free trials so you can try it in your site to see if it's really what you are looking for when you use it. Because some demos they show at the end are using more plugins then mencioned when you buy it.


This said i'm not for the fee buth if this is the direction taken we will need to follow anyway the good thing is the try and if you don't like it you can stop paying it. Even the modules would have a more easy integration without the need to inject code in the core.

Maybe dolphin can do something like in symfony to expand classes or opencart VQMode or something like that so when you remove the module all the code will be removed without problems.

Or maybe the code could be better documented so that programmers can understand well the code without taking the course of boonex.

Greetings and hopefully growing succes for all
make1c
I have mixed feelings about this. In the long run, with this new policy, as an Admin I am paying for an indefinite period of time. I prefer a one time payment from a cost point.

However, with that said, if I get BETTER communication with the programming vendor it may be worth it, especially with mod problems.

I paid over $200 in mods that I couldn't get to work the way I wanted them to, so a reduced monthly rate would have saved me money there. I am new too, as I just picked Boonex up in see more november of 2015.

So, I am torn between costs & support. I also wonder about support and why it would be better. The programmers that are communicative to their existing customers, so how would that improve? The ones who have disappeared are not coming back so how does this resolve those issues?

Michael
No eventually you will own it just without the high cost upfront.
Andrew Boon
Just look into vendors reasoning. Why do they disappear? They might think that spending time supporting or updating products isn't baying back. Or they might think that people buy looking at the cover, paying the whole amount upfront anyway, so why bother supporting? With subscriptions, they would know that people would keep paying ONLY if support and updates are provided. They would also see stable revenue growth tied to good communication.
epaulo
Andrew, if/since you honestly believe it will help BoonEx as a company grow and Dolphin as a product improve... then sure, I'm willing to try your idea of a market where vendors may chose to offer their products with both one-off and subscription payments.

Are you thinking of a standard monthly fee of say 5% of the one-off fee for the monthly subscription? And how much would BoonEx deduct from subscription payments to vendors to process them?

One plus for module buyers could be they can see more subscribe monthly *until* they're confident the module works on, and is useful for, the intended site... *then* cancel the subscription and pay the one-off fee to save money in the long run. Alternatively, if the module does not perform as advertised/expected or proves to be rarely used then the site owner can remove and cancel the subscription.

On a related note... assuming each subscription will be linked to a specific website, when a site is transfered to a new owner, so should all the associated subscriptions. Will you be adding an option into the subscription tracking software to allow that to happen smoothly?
epaulo
In theory, subscriptions should be a better option for web developers who intend, within a short time-frame, to transfer control of the site to a long-term owner. Imagine, as a contract site developer, being able to evaluate various vendor modules, both individually and in combination, at 10% of the one-off cost and then letting eventual site owner decide which modules to keep... letting them decide which subscriptions to keep paying, and which ones to cancel and pay the one-off price.
Andrew Boon
This certainly gives more freedom and options.
Andrew Boon
A lot of details still need to be tested and tried as you can see. General vision is that vendors would be able to create both subscription and one-off payment listings and price them as they will. We will be reviewing subscription-based products (we have to, since we'll be processing payments and dealign with potential refunds). We would deduct a commission according to our costs (review and payment processing) - we don't intend this to be a for-profit component.

So, most likely every subscription see more would be added to the subscriptions package and billed monthly to keep it simple and bundled.

Transfers are much easier with subscriptions - the new owner just re-subscribes to the same modules and carries on. No need to worry about individual licensing terms of every module that was purchased one-off (some do allow transfers, some don't). For example, Trident handles modules in a way that data is retained when you deactivate a module, so you can re-subscribe to the module and the site data associated with it would still be there. DolphinPro will be the same when subscriptions come.
I don't think most of you can see the potential in a subscription model for mods. I love the idea if I try something and it works out for my site I buy the mod and if not I lost a few bucks. A win win as I see it. Right now I'm in the market for a point system for my site. There are a few different vendors with a point system. How would I know which one will work out for me? So I would like to give them both a test run and ask my members which works best for them. After spending a few bucks on each see more for a month I would let my members vote on which they would like to see implemented in my site. Plus if you read the email right its like rent to own so if I can not pay upfront for all of the mods that goes with my point system I would have the option of paying a little bit at a time. Yes in the end like with anything you rent to own or finance it will be a little more expensive but for someone like myself I'm able to pay a few bucks a month for a mod instead of forking over $400.00 (estimate for the point system mod and all of the other point feature mods that goes along with it = $70.00 points, $40.00 gifts for points,$30.00 store points, $40.00 paid media points)to name a few and the list goes on and on.
Andrew Boon
And even if you figure out which Points system module is the best, you still won't know which one is going to be the best in 3 years time. Or which one would even be working with the new DolphinPro.

As for rent-to-own, i think this may or may not be a good option for different cases. Some products would have to be paid for continuously (we expect even things like "maintenance service" or "media server hosting" to be offered), while some may well become "owned" after see more a while. I think it should be an option for vendor to choose and offer as part of the deal.
gondwana
As soon as I see a subscription model I turn the other way and look for an alternative. There is an assumption with the subscription model that what is on offer is very modest in cost ie at only a few dollars a month it's less than a cup of coffee and that consumer's pockets are bottomless. But all these 'cheap' expenditures quickly add up to quite a significant amount, and taken over a number of years become extraordinarily expensive, with much of it being useless expense and far outstripping original see more costs. Its easy to see that it's a win situation for the vendor with a low maintenance script. But for me, as a novice user, I'd much prefer to pay for tech support if and when necessary. The argument that we will get lifetime support for the subscription seems to suggest that the product maybe somewhat deficient to start with and I don't think is really supportable.
I would agree with Spinetta that subscriptions are simply a 'milking' exercise and I will be avoiding them.
houstonlively
The first thing that comes to my mind, is: What's the motivation for a market vendor to rake in a whopping $3 a month for three years, instead of just getting the entire $50 at once? That might be a good business model for vendors that live in third world impoverished countries where micro financing is popular, but it's not a good business model for the rest of the world. $50 to $100 is NOT a high price for a software product with a very, very low sales volume like a Dolphin module.

I just don't see more see this sort of business model gaining any traction. I certainly sympathize with those who think $50 to $100 is a lot of money, but I'm afraid it just isn't. If we had modules in the $500 to $1000 range, maybe the subscription model starts to make sense, but I'm not a big fan of micro financing.
Andrew Boon
This was my fear with Dolphin licensing as well. In the first few months it's VERY painful, but eventually the volume builds up. Also maintaining one-off payment option helps to maintain cashflow. For us it took 3 months to achieve 50/50 revenue from subscriptions vs one-off payments. That's with monthly license cost sitting at exactly 5% of one-off fee.

My gut feeling is that we'll see only a small number of subscription modules initially, only from long-term committed vendors. After a few months see more they'll feel the taste of stable growth and will start adding more offerings. In about 8-12 months I'd expect half of the market revenues to be processed as subscriptions.
houstonlively
Is Boonex going to maintain the necessary licensing server for hundreds of different modules? The whole concept is not without some technical challenges. There's a lot of work that will need to be put into solving a problem that barely exists
Andrew Boon
Yes, we have a lot of pieces of the puzzle stacked up already. There are still some serious challenges, but not an unfathomable amount. I think this is an important future-proofing step.
Toxalot
I absolutely hate subscription models. I refuse to upgrade my Adobe products since they moved to a subscription model. I wouldn't mind paying a small subscription fee to test something, but then I want the option to buy it outright. And if I purchase in the first month, it would be nice to get the subscription fee back.
Andrew Boon
A few years ago I was the same. Hated it. I didn't want the new Photoshop anymore. About a year ago I _needed_ the new photoshop to work on some files. I usually need it about once every 3-4 months for a week or so (doing most of the work in Sketch and Pixelmator otherwise). So, I subscribed for a month, cancelled when I was done. Total cost - $10. Will do it again when I need to, and will be sure that I get the latest version again. Works a treat.

Also I used to hate cloud storage... preferring see more to own a home NAS + DAS devices. They brake sometimes, disks need to replaced, software updated... so I still had to spend time to manage them. Plus, a few months ago they all went kaput in the house fire. Total cost over about 10 years is at $3000+. Now I can get Amazon cloud drive for $700 for 10 years, no maintenance required, fire-proof, accessible from any device.

Another example - we've bought a customer support script for about $600 for Boonex a few years ago. I looked good on paper, but didn't work that well. To update it now, we'd need to pay another $200 or so. Still not being sure it would work well. Instead we went for a service that costs us about $30/month... tried it for a while, didn't like it, changed to another one for about the same price, didn't like it, and finally settled for yet another one (intercom) which is more expensive, but work much better than all the others did. It also gets nifty improvements every couple of weeks without us having to update anything, apply anything or pay extra for them.

So, I'm really warming up to subscriptions.
Toxalot
I can see how people would like subscriptions, but I don't see me warming up to them anytime soon. I see in other replies that you plan on keeping both options. As long as you don't try to force me into a subscription model, I'll be happy.

I went to upgrade Illustrator a couple of years ago because someone sent me a newer file. I was prepared to buy the full version. When I found I couldn't, I asked the person to resave the file as an older version. I will do my damnedest to never buy an Adobe see more subscription. Part of it is on principle. And part of it is the idea that I would not be able to open my own data files whenever I wanted.

One thing you mention is the improvements every couple of weeks. This is something I don't like. I hate it when my browser updates. Sure, some of the new features are nice, but I don't know how many times I've come across some change that reduces my productivity until I get used to it.
Andrew Boon
Yeah, we sure won't be forcing anyone into subscriptions. There are plenty of situations when one-off payments make more sense.
jimmybo
I can see why the seller of modules would most definitely want the subscription model and the buyers not. My site has been running for ten years, if a $30 mod I bought when I started was on a $3 per month subscription model, that $30 would have so far cost me over $350 with no end in site for the bleeding of cash if I continued to use it. Obviously as a buyer of mods, I have no interest in a subscription for a mod. I'd rather pay once and be done.

If you keep the one-off buyout along with the see more subscription, by all means why not? However, I get the feeling from this that the one off payment model won't be here long if subscriptions are initiated.
Andrew Boon
One-off payments will remain for as long as there's demand for them.

As for that $30 mod... In 10 years - did you have any associated expenses apart from the initial $30? Or was it always upgraded in time, supported and services by vendor in time without you having to spend time on it? Very few do, because it doesn't work out for vendors - they can't finance support overhead from new sale forever. It's not sustainable.
onesimus
Great for newbies! Great for me!
"Leasing" has been a big part of the financing of all forms of businesses for decades. Thanks to Andrew for advancing Dolphin into the Leasing model. 5 years ago, I wanted to have a Dolphin site, but there wasn't support on the hosting end to get the thing out of the box. If you know how to do that, FINE, but not everyone wants to code, and not everyone can code. Some are marketers and analysts. Add on modules will be much more of interest, 1- If we can subscribe to them, and 2- If see more the authors can help with setting them up to make sure they got installed. And then to update.

Subscriptions - Leasing - YES!
geek_girl
The answer is no. While subscriptions can work well with Dolphin, they won't work with modules. You are going to lose vendors with this. First of all, Boonex does not own the modules like they own Dolphin. The vendors own the code; the vendors are already giving up some profits to premium members that they have to agree to if they want to sell in the market. Asking them to allow someone to get a module and use it on subscription is too much. The problem is that there is no way to really protect see more modules, the person could continue to use the module after paying for one month. Vendors would have to have the modules calling home to make sure the module was not being used outside of the end of the subscription. Is Boonex willing to track usage of modules? Most modules in the Market are not that expensive; very few are $100.00, so subscriptions are not really needed for most modules and many vendors do have sites where the module can be seen actively.

Boonex can not afford to alienate vendors, Boonex needs active vendors creating modules to expand the capabilities of Dolphin. Subscriptions, if forced, will just drive vendors away or decrease the number of new modules being released.
Andrew Boon
This would work with micro-subscriptions. For example a $20 module can be leased for, say $1/month. We have no problem with small amounts, since we bundle them and process ourselves. Client may pick 5-6 modules for a total of, say $15/month.
Prashank25
what if vendors are already leaving cuz sales here isn't consistent and doesn't put food on their plates?
Andrew Boon
Well, then this may be the reason to reconsider. :)
geek_girl
We need to see the vendors come in on this blog post. I want to hear what the vendors think as they are the ones that are going to be affected. Let's see if they think they will make more money selling by subscriptions. If Boonex can do a mass mailing to all the vendors asking them to come in, then do so.
Andrew Boon
We mailed everyone. :) We'll hear from more vendors I'm sure.

There is a certain beauty in subscriptions that has to do with the way people treat money... When people get a large amount on short period, they generally don't save it. Instead they spend all the excess for more stuff. They also get used to spending more and if the next month comes with less revenue - they get depressed. It's a matter of perspective. If, however, they keep getting smaller, but steadily growing revenue every month see more expectations are met, there's no frustration and no skewed perspective.

IF monthly revenue progression is like: $1000/mo, $1200/mo, $300/mo, $200/mo ($2700 total) = unhappy, stressed vendor, ready to give up.

IF monthly revenue progression is like: $100/mo , $200/mo, $300/mo, $400/mo ($1000 total) = happy, excited vendor, eager to go on.
modzzz
First of all Andrew, you need to clearly define what constitutes Support from Boonex perspective. I have a total different concept of support from some of my clients. I have persons who purchase say a $25 module from me who would request custom code changes to the module (that may take several hours) but they do not think they should pay for that because it is my responsibility to provide "support". When some is paying me $3 per month for a $50 module, what sort of free service am I bound see more to provide them with during their subscription period ?
Andrew Boon
Actually YOU need to define what level of support you are happy to provide within the advertised price - add an SLA and see if it works for you. You can also sell "support service" subscriptions with different levels if you want. It depends on the product.

For example, you know that your "Points with Levels" or "Classified Ads" modules generally need more support and potentially custom setups. You could be selling them for, say $3/month with 1-hour support SLA, or see more as "Ads+" with 5-hour SLA for $5/month... That's just a rough idea. It's really more about what would motivate your and where you meet on that with the client. Competition is there to keep in balanced and fair.
modzzz
I will need some time to think through this suggested subscription model. Please also consider the following improvements to the marketplace :

1) Only products compatible with latest version should show up in search results.
2) You need to display on every product the last time the product vendor was online.
3) Maybe a built-in ticketing system that publicly displays number of answered tickets, unanswered tickets etc.
4) Ability for vendors to display when they are on vacation.
5) Ability see more to see all unread messages.
6) Add a button on each profile which when clicked will show the email history between both persons.
7) Ability to send mass announcements to all clients (maybe limit this to prevent abuse).
Andrew Boon
Thank you! Awesome suggestions. I'm adding them to our Market roadmap. The #1 though may come out differently though - we think about shifting towards built-in Stores inside Dolphin admin panel, which will check on what version it's running and display the modules accordingly.
Toxalot
This is a nice idea, but see my reply above as well.
TravelNotes
I thought these Dolphin upgrades were supposed to show which modules need updating to stay compatible.
Toxalot
In regard to #1, this could/should be the default, but I would like to have the option of viewing them all. There are a few from reputable vendors that are not yet tested on the newest version that I am considering. Even if they don't work out of the box, I am a developer and capable of making changes if needed. Otherwise, I may find myself reinventing the wheel.
TravelNotes
Good input from modzzz - one of the most reliable and hard-working vendors in the market.

I won't name the couple who I feel have let the community that supported them down.
Doc
I see the need to move to this kind of system, as well as the consolidated payment options.. single payment gateway, and read thru many of these comments. It makes sense, I like the idea, I kind of understand the need to get to this model, which allows for new subscribers to easily ramp up into a major site without making a big investment right off the bat, which to me is a little more appealing to be honest, especially since the site i'm building may or may not even be well received by our current see more member base. So, we'll see. Good luck on the conversion.
moonsoon2u
Ok guys i have a solution for you. Obviously permanent license and subscription are two different things. Customer can choose what ever they want. Now lets come to the subscription and vendor issue. Solution is if a customer buy a module and find it good. But don't want to pay monthly payment for that module. he should have option to buy the module with one time payment besides the existing payment he made earlier on monthly subscription. This way customer won't feel being stuck to monthly contract, see more vendor will get the original cost plus monthly subscription payment and boonex will get its commission on monthly subscription but nothing more cause they already took a module selling fee from vendors. How you like my idea?
Andrew Boon
Yes, since we're keeping the one-off fee option, this would be the situation with most modules. Some products may not be suitable for subscriptions at all (like, say, installation service) and some would only be suitable for subscriptions (like, say, hosting or administration service).
moonsoon2u
My suggestion was only for modules, cause hosting and installation service can't be provide by vendor on your subscription package or can they?
Andrew Boon
I don't see why not. Now we have "services" category in Market, but they are all either priced as one-off or just advertise here with payment processing on vendor's site. I think vendors should be able to offer things like, say, RMS hosting or "site administration" service with monthly subscription.
ilbellodelweb
Let us explain our point of view ...

We began to sell in this market when the Dolphin was the most famous and popular social networking CMS and when price for the license was $ 99.00.
Our sales went very well and every day we had 5/6 new customers.

The current cost for a permanent license of Dolphin is $ 599.00.
Meanwhile they have spread very valid alternatives to Dolphin (Pligg, Elgg, Oxwall are free and for SocialEngine the price is $ 299.00).

This is why, in our opinion, Dolphin see more is sinking.
With him we are sinking we sellers.

For our company every year the business was reduced by about 50% despite we have introduced new products each year.
In the past we could only work on Dolphin, now we have to work on other CMS, we had to lay off some developers, we had to increase the cost of some products in order to continue to work on updates and provide support.
All this is to the detriment of customers.

We think that if Dolphin cost less (much less), Boonex and developers would have many more customers and sales.
This would allow us to reduce prices and provide more support (adding more human resources to this market).

In the past, the sales policies were very different than today and now we adapted with many sacrifices.
Now you ask to assess a sales system that is unacceptable to us and, if we understand it, in the price of our service there would be a fee payable to Boonex.

If this were to happen, we believe that almost certainly we would abandon this market definitely.
We cannot no longer resist yet to another change of the Boonex marketing strategy.

We are curious to know the opinion of the other major vendors in this market, although some are now gone and we imagine that the reason is the dramatic drop in sales.
The initial assumptions of when we started have been altered over time and the adoption of this policy would be the end for us.
Giovanni_m
I agree fully with what was written by ilbellodelweb, I do not think this is the best solution for a better market but I think they are much more useful the solutions for market improvement proposals from modzzz that a system of subscriptions that only kills the market.
A very relevant market is wordpress where there is not a "subscription system", just the "one-time payments".
This does not deter customers to use wordpress in fact is definitely the world's most popular CMS see more and this confirms that one-time payments not penalizes market in any mode.
To improve things it just takes more control on products placed in market and on the vendors.
in more exist two relevant problems:
1) if market not have many user that buy a subscriptions to $3 a month is impossible to finance the development and upgrading of the modules and this creating the risk that the user not have product upgrade because developer not have finances and abandon the boonex market, only one-time payments allows to finance the upgrading work with a lower number of sales.
2) in case of templates and many other modules with "open code" after is downloaded with only $3 dollars is impossible to impose deletion from a site if user suspend payments, for example if user suspend dolphin subscription and use dolphin with "free licence" what can do boonex to make sure that user cancel all modules already downloaded with only $3 dollars? for not mention those who use a nulled version in this case after have paid only $3 dollar and have downloaded many modules boonex not have any mode to stop the incorrect use of a modules.
Andrew Boon
Actually some WP plugins are also available through subscriptions now.

1. Depending on price and volume subscriptions may be more lucrative in long terms. One-off payments are good for immediate cash-flow. Vendors would be wise to offer both.
2. We're working on solution for that.
epaulo
From Andrews statements, I'd imagine that each module that's capable of monthly subscriptions will require some extra encrypted code to check whether the subscription is current or canceled. If canceled then the module would be disabled.

An advantage of Boonex developing a *good* reliant system for tracking subscription modules should be the ability to limit a customer's module usage to only one domain name (chosen by whoever is paying). Of course different modules could be used on different see more sites. I wonder how much money some vendors are losing each year due to their modules being used more times than they're paid for (not including duplicate test sites).
Andrew Boon
That's right. We're testing this on Trident now. Modules do have to include certain components that make them compatible with subscription-based licensing. And obviously this is one more reason why they have to be reviewed - both for buyer and seller protection.
Andrew Boon
Thank you for your input!

First, you won't need to adapt or change your strategy. You can continue as you do. You can, however, TRY to offer a couple of extensions as subscription service. Just try and see if you gather some subscribers and what sort of return it would bring for you.

And see... if we had subscriptions, say 5 years ago and you started gaining just 1 new customer a day, you'd have about 1500 clients now, paying a guaranteed 4-5K every month.

Anyway, it is important to understand see more that we don't plan this as a default policy or the only way to sell - it will only be an additional option. I can also think about something like, say, a package of all your mods bundled and offered for a higher monthly price, supported and updated. Or a number of different bundles.

As for Dolphin pricing and popularity... If you explore this, you'd see that pretty much every social CMS has sinked somewhat. We have spent a few years for Trident development and that also pushed us back. With $99/license price-point we couldn't sustain operation - support was overloaded, but revenue wasn't covering expenses at all. On the other hand, I understand that easier entry would make a big difference, and introduction of Trials and leased licenses already show improvements in general interest and activity. We are growing again.

And I've noted before that eventually we plan to make DolphinPro core package free, with separated modules for a fee (honouring all current licenses by keeping all Boonex modules free for them). We're already doing this with Trident and hope to implement the change in Dolphin within this year. This will make Market very active.
Giovanni_m
the main problem is that in the market the current situation is not 1 new customer a day but 1 new customer in a week "in the best of cases 2 new customer".. that way after one year at $3 a month will be able to make only "$144" max "$288" and this prevision is always if all customers will not abandon their projects, because perhaps many users in meanwhile switch to other cms or decide to stop their projects with Boonex, this can not finance an adequate support only see more a one-time payment may give finance to upgrade and support user in a market with this volume, regarding Wordpress also if will have a subscription system, I still have to see a plugin that uses this system, "perhaps 1%" i think 99% use one-time payment and the Wordpress market go very well so I do not think that the problem of Boonex is the method of payment.
Andrew Boon
It's just an extra option, which you might use for some products. If it gets new some extra clients, we're happy.
TravelNotes
Dolphin is pricing itself out of the casual market, for sure. As they do that and the vendors suffer, so do we, the established users. This wind of change can quickly turn into a cyclone.
dudical24
There's clearly a case for both models. As long as the one-time fee is still available for both vendors/customers, and the subscription model isn't easy to pirate, then go for it. Also, let's stop with the "this is the demise of dolphin" talk. The software has come leaps and bounds with 7.2, and it's evident the team is working around the clock to continually improve it.
DolphinHelp
We agree. As we see it, vendors are being given an *additional* option of allowing customers to subscribe monthly to their module as a alternative to purchasing it. The buyers may subscribe for one or more months then switch to buying the module. All modules that are designed well should market well with subscriptions. Vendors that do NOT want to provide the subscription option at all, or wish to limit which modules will offer it, are free to choose what they believe is best for their business. see more Where subscriptions will probably do well is with the more expensive modules or combination of associated mid-priced modules. In other words, the lower priced "standalone" modules will likely be better left without subscriptions.

Essentially *all* (with rare exceptions) site builders have a restricted budget and their desire to purchased several expensive "high-impact" modules, and/or many useful mid-priced modules, soon becomes a process of deciding which ones to buy and which to leave on the wish list. With subscriptions, site developers can get more modules early on and spread their limited budget out so they don't deplete their bank account at the start.

As for the notion that Boonex wants to use subscriptions for profit, Andrew clearly stated "We would deduct a commission according to our costs (review and payment processing) - we don't intend this to be a for-profit component."
Andrew Boon
Well put. Some modules wouldn't be suitable for subscriptions at all, while other may only be viable for subscriptions models. Most would probably be fine with both, and vendors would be able to adjust pricing on both ends to reflect overhead and meet demand.
busdost
As a consumer, I personally am very open to this idea.
If I can test a 3rd party module first for a smaller fee, I would definitely do it and then purchase it for the main site if I am happy.

Slightly off topic....mobile is my biggest interest these days. If Dolphin enhances the mobile app, I will be using Dolphin for many more projects.
Andrew Boon
There will be a service update for mobile apps this month and a big feature update later in the year.
ilbellodelweb
I notice that everything seems to have already been decided.

Personally I think it would be better to discuss first with sellers who have invested so much of this market on the basis of initial conditions completely different.

No one is stopping Boonex deciding unilaterally, but as seller, I would expect to be consulted and informed before participating in this joint discussion between the owner of the platform, customers and vendors .
Andrew Boon
It is only decided as a an extra option/feature. Not as a replacement for anything, so I believe it should not affect any of the current processes. I am bringing it up to discussion in order to get the details right and try to predict possible issues.
NO118
The issue I have with paying a subscription is that take my site which has been live for three years. Based on your idea of paying $3 a month instead of a one off $50 would mean I would have paid for the mod in three years $108.

This is not the way I would like to go. I can see if you go down this route where mod providers get paid $3 for the initial month so users can crack the mod and not needing to pay anything else. At lease now once you have paid for the mod, the developer's got your see more cash.

Just my thoughts
ilbellodelweb
Questions:

Why during the last years BoonEx Dolphin license has increased so much?
Why Boonex asks sellers a commission on sales?

Also...on the market, what about the visibility of modules available only with the one-time fee method only.
Is there a priority assigned to module with subscription?
Andrew Boon
- Dolphin Permanent license price increased because we're trying to factor in support and development overhead spread over time realistically. $99 or $299 were not sustainable.

- We don't ask for commissions on one-off-payment sales, or any sales where the payment goes directly to Vendors. We HAVE to ask for commissions on Subscriptions, because those have to be processed by us, require payment processing fee by the gateway, have to be reviewed on every update (and this expense has to be covered) see more and have to have some money buffer to account for refunds.

- We do not anticipate giving any priority for Subscription-based modules. They'll just mix in with the rest, and the will be an additional filtering option for those who actually look for Subscription ones.
gary11
I don't like the idea of subscriptions for market items. I hate the idea of having to choose between dropping a mod or paying for it forever.
Andrew Boon
Or you could stop paying for a bit and then come back and subscribe again. We design this in a way that module data remains intact on your server when the module is inactive. You own the data no matter what.
gary11
Or I can just pay for it once, and have it active for as long as I want to use it - which is my preferred choice. I have no problem with people who want to rent their mods by subscription, I just don't happen to be one of those people.
annabel
Gary, what if you buy a mod which is, despite the test option and all previews, not running as it is supposed to run ? Which contains bugs and errors ?
annabel
I think the try before buy option is the best way to have good mods with good support.
gary11
Sometimes I download trial versions of software. I don't have anything against try-before-you-buy, nor do I have anything against subscription software for those who want it.

It's just my personal preference not to use subscription-based software. That model does not work for me.
TravelNotes
If 'a mod is not running as it is supposed to', the vendor should be required to return payment!
For those of you who are against this concept, I understand what you're saying & why you're against it, but just breathe & relax people.

From what I understand, this will not affect you or others with the same mentality, its NOT a forced changed to abandon the current marketplace, instead, its a new alternative, which MAY increase potential revenue which "should" increase better support & quality of modules. Its just an additional option.

Andrew, usually I dont like your see more new idea's & suggestions, and Im usually against it for one reason or another. But in this particular case, Im all for it. I see that you're trying to be creative and improve the current state of the market (which has been LONG overdue) all within trying to find the right sweet spot for both consumers and dev's, which isn't an easy task. So I respect & support this idea completely, because Im all for "options".

Although I support & respect this idea, my only worry is that you'll actually commit to it 100%. Usually, people/companies will say anything just to accomplish their mission, then abandon it, and let it go to downhill afterwards (politics). I also realize that you're trying to win us back over by doing what you should've been doing the past 2-3 years, especially with dolphin having no update for 16-19 freaking months, which is...stay productive and keep the community here very much alive & active.

So, good job Andrew, just dont fail us Andrew, please dont! Now, one of the major things you need is more dev's to make all your products less buggy as possible...you know, so that we dont have to spend majority of our time being your free bug testers and can spend more time on our site(s) trying to make successful :)
Andrew Boon
Thank you! Perfectly right on all fronts. By the way, we're announcing the new update today, with bug-fixes and long-awaited improvements. The won't be any 16-19 month brakes anymore.
Ok, 15 minute breaks are fine lol.
Actually, 16-19 minutes breaks are just as fine too, considering you guys have been very busy, and getting sh*t DONE!
Keep up the great work.
Andrew Boon
Oh, thank you! Feeling very relieved now :)
micoots
IMHO, this model works for both developers and customers.

Like most other people, I don't like the "burden" of constantly increasing operating costs, but worse than that is purchasing a module outright that simply doesn't work with the version of Dolphin you're running.

I bought such a module in early December 2015 and even though the developer said it was compatible with 7.2.1 in the market, it wasn't. The developer is working on full compatibility, but it's almost 2 months now and see more am still waiting. That's really an unacceptable delay when the module was purchased outright with no discounts and it's not functional.

On a subscription / trial basis, I would have simply cancelled the subscription with only a loss of a few dollars and went with another developer with a competing module.

Reading the comments, it's also a good option to go with subscription and pay outright, of course if the developer wishes to offer this.

Some people's comments here are valid in that there is potential for vendor abuse, market forces will usually decide this however ie. vendor abuse is short term and isn't a good long term business model.

At the same time I've read in the past that customers also abuse mods by pirating them, subscription models (with a central licensing server) typically stops that bad behaviour.

In regards to a previous poster also querying "how to stop a $3/month purchase then cancellation, then stopping the mod from being used", we used to license a 3rd party white-labelled software product for over 4.5 years, the license that was issued to us was always different (with every add-on we purchased) and was time limited ie. we would need a new license key every 30 days supplied by their automated call-back system.

We paid monthly, they made sure their licensing server always issued us another 30 day license.

That deals with that problem pretty easily ie. in the scenario of a dolphinpro mod, the maximum time you'd be able to use a license is for 30 days, when you pay your next installment you automatically get a new license key, if you don't pay it the license you have expires in the software and you can no longer use it.

Andrew/Alex/Boonex team, if you wish to know which software I'm talking about above, PM me. It's very expensive software and only works on a perpetual monthly licensing model, customers have no choice if they wish to use it and they do, because it's the best software of its kind in the world.
If this is "the best software of its kind in the world"... I believe we all would be interested in knowing it.

Do us all a favour and post it here.
StanCA
I do see an advantage to monthly fees, as it supports development.. The problem I have, and others, is that if you move the software away from the matching software we purchased, then all is wasted for us. I did not find those options you mentioned, even one of your 'big wigs' said there was nothing.
StanCA
I would much rather have a subscriptions with a reasonable amount of ongoing support. Am still upset that I upgraded, and upgraded more to pay for iOS apps etc, that do not work and I had to pay another few hundred dollars to personalize them to an app that is really a waste. People can not even register with them, and I have a rating of 1 out of 5. If the money kept on flowing and there was a risk of loosing monthly income from everyone, it might be seen valuable enough to fix so many bugs that see more have been here for years.
TravelNotes
I would have tried for three months (free); then dropped it.

Now that we've made a substantial investment on the product though, we have to stick with all its problems, or cut our losses.
 
 
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