A Sustainable Business

August 1, 2013 in Blog, Team news.

2013 has, so far, been a great year for WooThemes. We turned 5 years old, surpassed 1 million WooCommerce downloads and have more than 100,000 paying customers. We’ve launched more than 80 products and added to our super talented team.

All in all, WooThemes is looking extremely healthy.

That said, we want to continue creating great products, providing even better support and work to surpass more milestones. We have a great hunger to deliver happiness in the most authentic & innovative way.

In order for us to do that, we’re going to be making a few bold, but important and well justified changes.

Overview:

  • We’re increasing the prices of all of our products (themes, plugins & WooCommerce extensions.)
  • We’ve implemented a consolidated licensing system (the one we’ve been using for plugins & WooCommerce until now), which now includes themes too.
  • We’re dropping our Unlimited pricing tiers in favour of a 25-site license tier.
  • Support and updates will be capped to one year after purchase (with the ability for you to extend this).

Let’s look at each of these changes in a little more detail:


Price Increases

Themes

Package Current Price New Price
Standard $70 $99
Developer $150 $179

Club Subscription

Package Current Price New Price
Standard $125 $20/month $199 $29/month
Developer $200 $25/month $299 $39/month
*Current subscribers remain at the current price levels.

WooCommerce Extensions

Tier Single 5 Sites 25 sites
Tier 1 $29 $49 $99
Tier 2 $49 $79 $149
Tier 3 $79 $99 $199
Tier 4 $99 $129 $199
Tier 5 $129 $199 $299

Consolidated Licensing System

We’ve been using the WooThemes Plugin Updater along with our licenses for plugins & WooCommerce extensions since late-2012. We have now expanded on that and consolidated this usage to include themes as well.

What this means is that you will receive a license key whenever you purchase anything from us and you’ll need to authenticate your product with that to get access to both support & updates for said product.

No More Unlimited Licenses

In the past, we had 3 pricing tiers for plugins & extensions: single site, 5-site & unlimited. We’ve decided not to make the unlimited pricing tier available anymore and have instead replaced this with a 25-site license / tier.

Going forward, you can choose between a Single Site License, 5 Site License and a 25 Site License.

(What this means is that if you need to use a product on 50 sites, you’ll need to purchase 2 x 25 Site Licenses.)

1 Year of Support & Updates

For each license you purchase, you will be able to download your product, get updates and receive support for an entire year.

After a year, you will be required to renew your license in order to receive updates and support. We do plan to make significant discounts available for license renewals and you definitely won’t need to pay 100% of the initial purchase price again.

Within 60 days of your license expiring, you have the option to renew yor license at the discounted rate of 50% of the product’s price. Once the license has expired, you will need to pay the full price to re-actiavte the license. We will, as needed, change the discount rate depending on expected support or development required for the product.

What about my previous purchases?

Any purchase made before today will be grandfather-ed into the new system with access to support and updates for 2 years.

All theme purchases will also now have a license, which you’ll be able to use with the WooThemes Updater once all themes have been updated.


Why The Change?

Over the past 5+ years, we’ve matured as a company. We started out as 3 rookie entrepreneurs and web designers, and have since progress to running a business that serves more than 100,000 paying customers. We also help a team of 30 awesome individuals pay their bills and this WooTeam’s livelihood depends on our ongoing ability to be a profitable & sustainable business.

We’ve learnt a lot in this time and whilst the journey hasn’t been without its hiccups, we’re really happy with the way that we’ve grown up.

One of the things that we’ve learnt in the last 2 years is that our business model is unsustainable, mostly because we originally conceptualized it back in 2008. Since that time, everyone else in the WordPress ecosystem has followed our lead and that business model has become the standard. So the way that we (as a WP ecosystem) price / value our products, the way we provide support and how we maintain our products over time is all based on considerations & data from 2008.

Last year we started to address this when we introduced our tiered licensing for plugins & extensions. These new, additional changes to our business model is basically Phase 2 for the process that we started last year.

I would like to share our internal considerations & reasoning in making these changes:

  • This is about money. There’s no way that we’d like to spin this in our favour. The truth is that these changes are designed to increase our profitability.
  • We believe that increased profitability enables us to be a better and more sustainable company in the future. This means that we can ensure and almost guarantee with 99,9% certainty we won’t be going away any time soon. You can purchase our products today and know that we’ll be around in 5 & 10 years time supporting you / those products.
  • The real question is what we can do with the increased profitability and improved operating margins. For us, there’s two areas of Woo that deserves greater investment: 1) creating innovative products; and 2) providing insanely accurate, fast and helpful support to the WooCommunity.
  • To create innovative products, we need to hire the best product designers / developers, pay them well and give them enough time to experiment and learn. At the moment though, we simply don’t have the operating margins to do that, which means we need to be leaner. Many of the ideas we have for products never see the light of day, because we need to focus on the things that we know will pay the bills, instead of the things that could change the way you use WordPress.
  • We’ve found that the only way to consistently answer all incoming support requests quickly and accurately is to hire a bigger support team. There’s a human scaling element involved with this and that requires money.
  • These price increases are designed to earn us more money, so that we can reinvest it in the things that would be more valuable to you.
  • We’ve gotten better at what we do and we’ve invested heavily in our personal development as individuals, along with the way that we’ve developed as a company & team. The pricing increases align with that in that our skills have become more valuable.

An Example

Canvas was released over 4 years ago, and has gone onto become our best selling product. We’ve poured thousands of developer hours into making it a great product, and we’ve answered loads of support tickets. This year alone, we’ve solved more than 5000 tickets related to Canvas.

If you had purchased Canvas when it was originally released in 2009, you would’ve paid $70. That purchase has allowed you to use Canvas on as many sites as you wish.

Say that you have implemented one Canvas-powered site for a client every month in those 4 years and you’ve charged $1000 for that work. That’s 48 client websites and $48 000 in revenue to you.

In that same time, you’ve submitted at least one support ticket per every client site you’ve worked on. We know that the average support ticket costs us $5, which means the 48 support tickets resulted in an expense of $240 for us.

And that’s where the math goes wrong: we’ve made a loss of $170 ($70 minus $240) on your purchase, and you’ve made $48k.

On top of that, we’ve also maintained and improved Canvas over the years without being paid directly for it. So the math potentially gets even worse from our viewpoint.

The biggest problem is that the model compounds the risks and expenditure over time. In our early days, we just didn’t notice it, but as we’ve seen our customer lifetime value and operating margins decrease (even though revenues are growing well), it’s impacting our business more significantly.


I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the above example of Canvas represents some serious threats to our business (if left unaddressed) going forward.

We’re trying to move away from absolute terms like forever and unlimited in the way that we price our products. Instead we’re focusing on aligning our benefits with yours and pricing our products based on the value that they provide.

If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that, because Canvas has saved you a bucketload of time and effort. We’re also helping you earn that $1000 by answering any questions you have related to it. That same thinking applies when you then work on your next Canvas-powered client project. We’re saving you time again and providing you with more support, so surely we should get paid for that again.


Our hearts are in the right place and our ultimate vision and mission still remains: we want to help you be better designers, better developers and better entrepreneurs.

By improving on our business model, we believe that we can do this even better going forward. And more importantly, we can do it sustainably without the threat of eventually going out of business.

Feel free to use the comments below to talk to us about this, ask us to explain certain things in greater detail or just to share your opinions / concerns. Please be constructive though.

Update
We’ve released a follow up post, you can read that here.
Important

  • All our products remain GPL compliant, the new licensing system does not change that at all.
  • We are also in the process of updating our themes and subscriptions to include integration with the WooThemes Updater. We hope to have this completed for each theme by the 9th of August.
  • Within 60 days of your license expiring, you have the option to renew yor license at the discounted rate of 50% of the product’s price. Once the license has expired, you will need to pay the full price to re-actiavte the license. We will, as needed, change the discount rate depending on expected support or development required for the product.
  • There is no domain limit on our themes; you can install them on as many domains as you like.
  • All current club subscribers stay on the same rate as when you signed up.
  • Our theme club has ended, all customers have been grand-fathered into the All Themes Package.
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492 Responses

  1. andrewjhscott
    1 August 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Brace yourselves… ;-)

    In short you have to do what makes sense for your business. Customers can vote with their feet if really unhappy.

    I’m not going anywhere.

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      I’m glad this is the first comment. :P

      We really appreciate the understanding and are thankful to have supporters like you!

      • vikas
        2 August 2013 at 4:51 am #

        i read all comments mention below

        i found you replay only those peoples who support ur idea

        not a single replay to who against ur idea and u always says ur support team is very fast and round the clock (24X7) it shows how u solve customer tickets.

        GOD save ur company

        • lucifer666
          2 August 2013 at 12:25 pm #

          Vikas, not so, they do reply to most comments that are not just statements

        • Ryan Ray
          2 August 2013 at 5:39 pm #

          I haven’t had a chunk of time to get through all the comments just yet, plus others have weighed in and replied perfectly. :)

      • vikas
        2 August 2013 at 4:59 am #

        its time to leave woothemes becz 3 year ago u produce quality products but today ur products are not upto mark. always u tell about support and etc in last customer not getting anything good from u. u give example about canvas but what about 1 or 2 site creator ?

        i have to say u earn good money by this step but u lost ur loyal customers, who support and believe in u

        i purchase lot of things from u this year all gone to waste my money

        good luck for ur future

        • Jepser
          2 August 2013 at 5:37 pm #

          English please…

    • Tony Banta
      2 August 2013 at 12:43 am #

      I’d like to echo andrewjhscott’s comment:
      I’m not going anywhere.

      Do whatever you need to do to keep the quality great!

      • Ryan Ray
        2 August 2013 at 5:40 pm #

        Thank you, Tony. So glad to have this comment!

      • Timmy
        2 August 2013 at 6:20 pm #

        Hey Tonny,

        Let me know if you need any help removing your head from WooTheme’s butt.

  2. Mike Healy
    1 August 2013 at 11:01 am #

    I’m glad Theme & Plugin providers are starting to realize that a one time purchase + lifetime support is fucking stupid (pardon my french). Though I’m not sure every customer submitting a ticket for every site they build is a reasonable average.

    So to be clear, when a theme we’ve purchased in the past (via subscription) runs out of support/updates in two years, will we need to buy additional years of discounted support per-theme; or renew the subscription? (Or choose one of those options?)

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Hi Mike,

      Themes that you obtained through a subscription will only receive support as long as you are subscribed. Once you cancel your subscription you will not have access to updates and support for the theme, unless you re-subscribe through your account dashboard.

      • Alejandro Carrillo
        2 August 2013 at 8:52 pm #

        Fair enough!

      • Alejandro Carrillo
        2 August 2013 at 10:08 pm #

        Hi, Guys!

        I’m along time club subscriber customer… I understand the changes in the price structure, and it’s a great choice to let us keep our first rate! great for that!

        The new price structure it’s ok too. I offer my clients one year free of hosting, updates, support and domain when I make a site for them. After that I charge them with a 30 dls monthly fee (some clients are willing to pay for it a some other don’t – mainly because I haven’t explain them correctly the pros of have a site updated or to have someone to restore it when hacked). I think this is a model it’s better them and for us. And paying a monthly fee for all the themes and support of woothemes is worth it… you maybe can encourage the rest of woo customers to be a in the club, instead of buying individual themes

        About the terms I do think that you have managed it very wrong: Sure, you got that little paragraph when you say that you can change everything when you want… it may be legal, but that’s not ethic… all those little lines intended to not be read by the customer… you are acting like the typical capitalist greedy company who write long terms and hide (or not make clear) the small letters in the contracts(like Rumpelstiltskin). I know it’s not your fault that the customers don’t read the small letter but, a really ethic company can asure that their clientes REALLY understand, in a clear way, what are they signing for…. just take a look a what 500px have made for their costumers. I think is one of the few companies who goes this way. I now you are humans and you have made mistakes on your business model… so if you make a clear state an announce a refunding to everyone who has been cheated by this trick way of doing business will be great…

        A part form that, just thanking you for have gave me great tools to work with my clients!

  3. Skyedesign
    1 August 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I have a huge problem with the price increase, and with most of what you’ve said. But this is probably the worst/most arrogant statement of the lot:

    “If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that, because Canvas has saved you a bucketload of time and effort.”

    No, it doesn’t “make sense” for you to earn “a chunk” of what we charge our clients, because your themes are simply the platform on which many, many hours of development and customisation takes place.

    And if your platform becomes too expensive to use, there are many alternatives to choose from.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:39 am #

      Why are you using Canvas then? Surely there is some value in it for you? And that’s why you use it on multiple client projects? (We never said that Canvas was responsible for 100% of the client projects that you guys & girls implement; we just said that it is a valuable ingredient in all of those.)

      We also totally accept that our products aren’t for anyone and we know that there are alternatives out there. It is however our aim to work with the type of customers that buys into the “WooThemes ethos” that surrounds the way we build and support our products.

      • Skyedesign
        1 August 2013 at 12:38 pm #

        We don’t use Canvas – or any of your themes, for that matter, because they’r for the most part uninspiring and generic – and only use Woocommerce plugins. Woocommerce has now become too expensive to use when almost every function available in other ecommerce platforms is only available by purchasing an (expensive) plugin.

        • Jim
          1 August 2013 at 10:20 pm #

          Maybe wipe your tears of fail elsewhere.

      • jauntmedia
        1 August 2013 at 11:12 pm #

        Here. Here. Well said.

    • Chris Lema
      1 August 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      In every other industry, the tools to become a professional are far more expensive.

      I’m not just talking about web professional, but Adobe Photoshop costs more than multiple themes. Designers pay up.

      But look at becoming a dentist (and ignore the high cost of education). When you buy equipment to start your practice – you pay a healthy % of your expected income. It’s called an investment.

      So the fact that you think it’s arrogant for a tool/platform vendor to charge you virtually nothing so that you can be a professional suggests that we’ve all missed the boat.

      I’m not blaming you. I’m just saying we’ve moved far from the reality that we would expect in any other industry.

      • Doug Cranmer
        2 August 2013 at 1:15 am #

        Chris’ comments are spot on to my business experience. Coming from a software industry where we had to maintain support on a very expanded time-schedule, it’s easy to make pricing models that aren’t sustainable. “Unlimited” can be vexing.

        The investments for a developer to build client websites with the WordPress platform are very modest in cost compared to many other types of professional training.

        If this is what Woo needs to do to maintain a viable business, that’s there right. Market forces (people voting with their wallets, or ‘e-Shopping carts’) will judge the decision.

  4. Ed
    1 August 2013 at 11:12 am #

    “If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that.”

    Looking forward to seeing what chunk of your chunk you plan on donating to WordPress. The free open source software that you forgot to mention in your multi-page appeal for more money.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:37 am #

      We have always sponsored WordCamps across the globe & try to contribute to core whenever you can. In fact, the WP Menu’s as you use the functionality today, is something that we developed and we thus paid for it.

      Also note that we have been one of the most progressive and innovative companies to build WordPress products over the years. The very fact that these products are available grows WordPress as a platform. If we didn’t develop WooCommerce for example, thousands of users would’ve had to look at non-WP based platforms (Shopify, Magento, etc.).

      • juju
        2 August 2013 at 1:33 am #

        You didn’t develop Woocommerce you forked Jigoshop and then build upon that.

        • Alex
          2 August 2013 at 6:49 am #

          Oh, not THAT again… Sigh

    • Ryan Ray
      2 August 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      Pick an area and get involved with us as well! – http://make.wordpress.org/ ;)

  5. Jon
    1 August 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I think you could cut down a lot of support tickets and also time replying to ones if you expanded the knowledgebase more.

    With all the changes there have been to the forum and support area etc there are a lot of broken links (which makes things massively frustrating if you find a post where someone links to a solution but the link doesn’t work). Messed up code in the posts due to formatting changes. The video tutorials were really helpful to my when getting started but they are hard to find and haven’t been expanded on for a long time. Creating more tutorials on commonly requested things would be a massive help.

    The time you spend answering a query for one customer if that was then adapted into an article or video (or even both) this would make the site way more useful and save woothemes a lot of time and money. That extra use may even generate more sales and revenue as well.

    • Steph
      1 August 2013 at 11:32 am #

      I agree with this comment about improving the knowledgebase and publicly available support. I have emailed in the past with a question, which as described above had a broken link to the solution!

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:42 am #

      There’s obviously no excuses for broken links and we should be fixing those. If you pass those onto us, I’ll make sure that they’re fixed ASAP.

      In broad terms though, an extended KB (or even a community forum) unfortunately doesn’t solve a big part of the support demand. Our data consistently shows that 90%+ of the WooCommunity prefers to just create a support ticket instead of searching for the solution themselves. This is easier and it’s like #lazyweb; which we’re fine with, because our customers pay for us to help them out.

      (I know we’ve shared this in the past and many of you don’t agree with this. Let’s just agree that those of you that don’t agree with this is part of the 10% that prefers using the KB instead of creating a ticket.)

      • Francis
        2 August 2013 at 12:33 am #

        If 90%+ of the WooCommunity is creating a support ticket rather than searching your Knowledge Base then:

        a) you’re not training your community properly and

        b) it’s likely that your KB needs a serious looking at.

        If people can find the information they need quickly and easily, why would they wait hours to get a reply to a support ticket?

        The last time I looked at your KB, which was last autumn, I found missing links and a not particularly efficient approach to presenting and providing the information. Unfortunately, you’re not alone in this.

        Some ways you could improve:
        – a better understanding of the different workflows your customers have and tailoring information resources to those workflows
        – a better understanding of the many individual jobs to be done that your customers have (using Clayton Christensen’s concept) and tailoring resources to those jobs
        – a more targeted and efficient search function.

        People have multi-dimensional support needs but most KBs are one-dimensional so it’s little surprise that people opt for a support ticket.

        If you’re looking to keep down support costs, I would suggest that improving your KB should be a high priority.

        • Tyler Reed
          2 August 2013 at 9:49 am #

          People are inherently lazy. Sure, you will find people that like to crawl through KB and support forums to solve problems themselves. However, many people find it more efficient to delegate and have people solve (or assist in solving) the problem for them.

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 1:32 am #

        You guys love to fall on “your data” on this (saying that no one ever looked for answers anyway, and that support tickets are the only way we’ve accessed your resources) but the bottom line is that you’ve made it hard for us to easily access documentation and previous support tickets at every turn since getting rid of the forum. There wouldn’t have been nearly so much griping about that and you guys bringing a forum back if it weren’t that we used it. Since the new “forum” sucks so much, I’m sure far less people use it.

        • ronaldus
          2 August 2013 at 9:53 am #

          +1000!!

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 1:46 am #

        It is absolutely infuriating the way that you quietly sweet the 30% discount for club subscribers under the rug and then basically double your prices and get rid of our purchased unlimited licenses a couple weeks later, especially after promising that club subscribers would be “grandfathered” in.

        All of your policy changes f*** over your most loyal customers the most. The sad thing is that there aren’t a whole lot of options and many of us have already invested so much in WooCommerce, in terms of time and money. I guess now with all purchases basically having an expiration date customers will have many more moments where they can decide to leave or not.

        You’ve made is so that our investments in your platform have an expiration now. You’re going to be getting a lot more customer turnover. Hope it’s worth it for you guys. I also hope that WooCommerce gets a serious contender so that the market checks you guys.

        A lot of the types of developers who use WooThemes products are small or medium-time and serve small businesses or individuals with small project budges. I’m guessing a huge percentage of your developer base is going to be priced out by these changes.

        As a company you guys are so concerned with growth, when you should be much more concerned with trimming the fat and creating efficiency. For all the talk you do of how solid your model, products and platforms are, it’s all bloated. If you guys ran a leaner and more effective ship (your documentation and support forums were worth a crap, your website wasn’t slow and down all the time, you weren’t constantly changing things) you wouldn’t have to have so many support people on staff and wouldn’t have to screw your customers over with unilateral changes like this every 6 months or whatever.

        • smehero
          2 August 2013 at 5:49 am #

          Why penalize those who do not request for support tickets? A lot of us self-help by googling around and poking in the community support forums. We are looking for lifetime updates instead to ensure the projects we built for our clients are not broken as wordpress core keeps improving.

          There could be a separate tier for people who requires direct support e.g. they can purchase a $20 support package which entitles them 4 support tickets (i read that the average support cost if $5 per ticket).

          I would further speculate that when it cost $ to open support tickets, more will self-educate or self-help. When its free to open unlimited tickets (during support period), most will do it, its plain simple. Unlimited support leads to overconsumption.

          I used Canvas for a few client sites, now I am moving over to the Genisis/Dynamik combination as the alternative.

          • Syrehn
            2 August 2013 at 7:25 am #

            This seems like an excellent solution to build on.

            Instead of pissing off your loyal customer base who purchased unlimited licenses and updates by slapping a big Woo FU in our faces implement a support tier.

            Honour our existing purchase and figure out some sort of extended support for tickets. Many of use who purchased don’t utilize support and are getting punished for those that do.

            I’d be more willing to stick with Woo if something like this was implemented instead of the “hey btw you need to pay $5 – $14k/yr renewals to get updates”.

          • thenbrent
            2 August 2013 at 8:33 am #

            There could be a separate tier for people who requires direct support

            That is a very good suggestion, but I think Woo were concerned about making the pricing too complex. There are already complaints about it being too complex, so adding in a whole new dimension would compound that.

          • Tevya
            2 August 2013 at 8:53 am #

            I too, will not be going anywhere. I think most are overreacting. Yes it’s more expensive, but they’d be a lot more pissed if suddenly all this just went away. It’s good to see you know how to look at the data and upgrade your pricing to something sustainable.

            However, I also have to agree that at least for themes and maybe plugins/WC extension, it would be awesome if you provided an updates-only option. For example, after 1 initial question about the Stripe gateway that I could have asked Stripe directly, I doubt I’ll have any questions. It “just works” and I assume it will continue to do so in the future. So having to re-pay for it (even at a 50% discount) every year, seems difficult to swallow. If it were 25% or less, and just included updates, I’d feel a lot more comfortable about it.

          • Tevya
            2 August 2013 at 9:09 am #

            As I said in one comment thread above, I’m a big supporter of looking at the data and upgrading to a business model that’s sustainable.

            But how about some kind of love for us long-time loyal customers? As just 1 example, I recently purchased the Stripe gateway, with an unlimited license, so I could activate on Multisite and would be able to offer it to a client here or there as needed. But guess how many sites I’m using it on currently: 1. Yep, just 1. I purchased unlimited thinking it would make updates automatic and easy on Multisite, and give me a little room to offer it to a few clients. But most importantly, I bought it expecting it would include updates for as long as I needed. So 1) it would be nice to see some gesture to compensate those of us who purchased with very different expectations.

            2) the Multisite issue with Updater needs to be addressed now, more than ever. I’ve had a discussion via support around this. You seem to understand my concerns, but I’m not sure anything is going to change. I use most themes and several WC extension on just 1 site. Other extensions I use on 1-5, but rarely do I really need what used to be unlimited and is now 25. Yet I own at least a handful of Unlimited licenses.

            It would probably create too much hassle and cost to give every customer like me some kind of store credit for the difference between what we bought, and what we actually need at this point, but it would sure be nice to see at least some kind of gesture for those who purchased with very different expectations than what has now become the reality. I purposely over-purchased in good-faith that I’d be able to get those updates forever, and without ever thinking that my unlimited license might mean a higher renewal cost in the future. So at the very least 3) you need to provide a down-grade-renewal option that’s 50% of the option we’re downgrading to.

        • thenbrent
          2 August 2013 at 8:31 am #

          You’ve made is so that our investments in your platform have an expiration now.

          The software never expires. You can continue to use the products forever.

          After one year, if you want to have a human available to answer your questions or want a human to continue adding code to the software, then you have the option to pay for that extra human time.

          • Syrehn
            2 August 2013 at 8:46 am #

            This is all fine and dandy and seems to be a minuscule issue for future purchases.

            It’s not about not wanting to support Woo or that we’re being stingy with wanting to pay. Many of us would be HAPPY to pay going forward for new purchases.

            The outcry is coming from the royal boning that existing loyal customers who have invested in Woo are now receiving when the terms of their initial purchase are being reneged upon. There are customers that this will effect that could potentially end up with $5k – 14k renewal fees. Even more if we can’t pay that sum of fee money before the “grace period” expires; then we have to pay the full new pricing.

            If we don’t need the support but need the updates we don’t have a choice; despite this not being what we originally purchased. I mean seriously who would run outdated software on their site. It’s begging for someone to potentially hack you or will cause compatibility issues when WooCommerce/WP gets updates.

          • smehero
            2 August 2013 at 10:22 am #

            Sorry, I purchased for the lifetime updates. That was one of the key factors that led to my initial purchase. I purchased 22 WC extensions on this basis so that I do not have to worry updates costing when quoting for projects.

            Now that has been changed unilaterally and retrospectively. I am pissed on the latter i.e. past purchases are affected!

            I understand you can change your renewal pricing, that’s your right. But changing the original terms of the contract is NOT OK. The original term is lifetime updates (I am not even going after unlimited sites license which was also in the original contact).

        • thenbrent
          2 August 2013 at 8:31 am #

          You’ve made is so that our investments in your platform have an expiration now.

          The software never expires. You can continue to use the products forever.

          After one year, if you want to have a human available to answer your questions or want a human to continue adding code to the software, then you have the option to pay for that time.

          • farrel
            2 August 2013 at 8:59 am #

            “or want a human to continue adding code to the software, then you have the option to pay for that time.”

            That’s a false claim. If you pay for an upgrade you are not getting a human to add code to the software. All you are paying for is to access the latest version of the software that a human has already added code to.

            That software had to be updated for a variety of reasons anyway. Either because of security issues, bugs, or to add new features which are used to sell the product to new customers.

            There is no additional costs, aside from maybe a few cents for the download, to have people access the latest version.

            There is for providing individual support, but not for simply providing access to the latest code that would have been written regardless of whether you had paid your upgrade fee or not.

            There is obviously nothing wrong with having this model for someone who knowingly buys the software with the understanding that this is how it works.

            There is however when someone has already bought it and may have done so primarily because it was being sold as a one-time purchase, not an annual license.

          • hoodoofactory
            2 August 2013 at 9:54 am #

            That’s only true from the general’s armchair, not on the field.

            WordPress plugins need to be updated to maintain security. WooCommerce extensions need to be updated to work with the current version of the WooCommerce core. Extensions that were built for WC2 probably won’t work well (or at all) with WC3.

        • ronaldus
          2 August 2013 at 9:52 am #

          Thx for describing my feelings adequately, @hoodoofactory.

      • Jepser
        2 August 2013 at 5:44 pm #

        I can contribute to the KB, I have solved many problems, just checking your code. And I can share snipplets and stuff for you.

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Extending our KB is something we do every day :)

    • Evgeniy
      1 August 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      I agree with this comment. WooThemes I liked its stability.

      I believe that a possible customer churn will push WooThemes further price increases. The higher price with WooThemes, the more customers from competitors!

      Perhaps I would be wrong!

      In any case WooThemes creates its products in a very competitive environment.

      I think WooThemes understand all the risks!
      WooThemes need to generate more sales for success..

      Sorry for my English.

  6. mpedant
    1 August 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Which tier is WooCommerce Subsriptions in then? At $199 it has doubled in price!

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:42 am #

      It’s also doubled in functionality. :)

      • mpedant
        1 August 2013 at 12:01 pm #

        What, since yesterday?

        Seriously though, I’ve been planning on using this for a client site, the costs have all been agreed and it’s a real drag that I now have to go back to the client and renegotiate. Even 10% I could handle, but not 100% – especially as the extension also requires Groups for WC (up a mere 60%) to function as required. Bundle those extensions together, and $199 could be just about OK.

        • Lachlan
          1 August 2013 at 12:40 pm #

          If an increase of $100 is causing you pain for a recent quote, I would say now would be a good time to revisit how you quote. A website quote that is as complex as CMS + eCommerce + Subscriptions + Groups should not be thrown off by an increase of $100.

          Have a read of this article, I think you will find it useful: http://planscope.io/blog/the-definitive-guide-to-project-billing/

          Maybe WooThemes could look at providing similar articles to help their customers get even more value from their products?

          • Adii Pienaar
            1 August 2013 at 12:56 pm #

            Well said, thanks Lachlan.

          • lucifer666
            1 August 2013 at 3:53 pm #

            Well said Lachlan.

            Do you change the terms and conditions of a service with your clients after they have paid for that service and you have delivered?

            It’s not about the money, it is about ethical behavior with your customers.

          • lachlanj
            1 August 2013 at 4:09 pm #

            Do you change the terms and conditions of a service with your clients

            @lucifer666 No, I don’t change T & C after the fact, I guess my point was that you should try allow for some variance, whether it be in the form of a plugin price increase or in the form of ‘scope creep’ especially when it comes to something complex like eCommerce.

          • lachlanj
            1 August 2013 at 4:15 pm #

            Do you change the terms and conditions of a service with your clients after they have paid

            @lucifer666 No, I don’t change T & C’s after the fact, I guess my point was that you should try to allow for variances in your quote (going forward, not much you can do with existing contracts) whether that variance be in the form of a plugin price increase or in the form of ‘scope creep’ it’s business and it is bound to happen.

            It’s not something you can see every time, but it should definitely be part of the quoting process.

          • lucifer666
            1 August 2013 at 4:37 pm #

            Read into their actual post Lachlan, people who have purchased one or two extensions will be hit with minor increases. I am looking at a 14k per year price increase on extensions and plugins I have already purchased – not including what I may need in future.

            The majority of my clients are very small stay at home retailers trying to get by, the majority of them sell one or two products per month. Price increases for them will drive them out, and I care about them just as much as bigger clients

            This has never been the way I do business no matter what I have in my terms and conditions.

          • jauntmedia
            1 August 2013 at 11:13 pm #

            Here. Here. Well said.

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Some of our most advanced extensions will carry a unique price which is outside the standard tiers. WC Subscriptions is one such extension that requires a higher price.

  7. themaynedesign
    1 August 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Hi Warren,

    Please can you confirm that the Themes I purchased before 1st October 2012 still includes lifetime support and updates as per the terms at purchase?

    Many thanks!

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Hi,

      Any purchase made before today will be will have a license which gives access to support and updates for 2 years.

      • visitonweb
        1 August 2013 at 11:59 am #

        That way, you do not respect old sales terms :-(

        What would say a lawyer ?

        • Magnus Jepson
          1 August 2013 at 12:22 pm #

          This is covered in our T&C: http://www.woothemes.com/terms-conditions/

          • themaynedesign
            1 August 2013 at 12:45 pm #

            Your FAQ says:

            How long will I recieve updates and support?

            Each theme package includes one year of included support and updates. After one year you will no longer be able to download the theme from your dashboard, or receive support from our staff on this theme. The theme will still continue to work on your site.

            There is an optional lifetime support package available when purchasing the theme for $30. The lifetime support package will also apply to the bonus themes and is good for the lifetime of the theme.

            Any theme purchased before 1st October, 2012 includes lifetime support and updates.

          • themaynedesign
            1 August 2013 at 1:00 pm #

            My comment is awaiting Moderation which deals with the un-enforceability of this change. I have Tweeted Woo also, but still nothing. Very poor show chaps.

      • YouMustBeKidding
        2 August 2013 at 6:47 am #

        So you knew you were going to do this, but you advertised a lifetime license anyway?

        I just got done purchasing Canvas under the conditions that it was licensed for life and you change the terms a couple weeks later? What part of this do you think is good business? You blatantly & knowingly mislead people to fill your pockets.

        What is your refund policy? I would like one now. This is outrageous and only proves that you cannot be trusted.

    • visitonweb
      1 August 2013 at 11:50 am #

      Hi,
      I agree with you.
      It should be so.
      I’am afraid they don’t care about previous terms.
      They change unilaterally their system and give only 2 years support to old customers like Us :-(. Very bad way to thank their loyal and existing customers.
      I hope they will decide to respect their past sale terms.
      Dimitri

    • doodlebee
      1 August 2013 at 11:28 pm #

      I have to agree, as well. I really like Woo, and good for you all that you can do this.

      But the fact is, some people did pay for unlimited support for the lifetime of themes (I’m not one of them, but I know there are some out there.) It does not seem right that people who paid for that will no longer get it. (themaynedesign is right – your FAQ does specifically say you get lifetime if you buy lifetime.) You do state price changes can be made at any time in the terms, but service isn’t the same thing as a price change. You all retire themes all the time, and it even states that unlimited support only lasts for the lifetime of the theme – so even unlimited support isn’t indefinite. I would suggest you just stick with unlimited support until you do retire the themes – even if it takes you 5 years to retire them, instead of cutting people off at 2 years. I think a lot of people will not be happy with that little detail.

      Moving forward, if you don’t want to offer it, that’s cool. I totally get why (and like I said, good for you all to be able to do this) But it just doesn’t seem right to not back a promise. It has a tendency to make people wonder what other promises you’ll break in the future.

      Please don’t get me wrong – I really do think it’s great you can do this. Just a bit of constructive criticism from me on a bit of the “fine print”.

  8. m_uysl
    1 August 2013 at 11:37 am #

    And math goes wrong again: If we create 25 ticket per year 25X5 = 125$ and theme only 99$. So you’ll lose 26$ and I’ll earn 12.000$

    Is there any ticket limit? If I don’t want to buy support? (is there any special package for that?) For example, I was a club member for a long time but I can’t remember when I create my latest support ticket, and I’m not using your themes for creating customer site…

    You can increase prices, don’t need shitty reason but logical mistake started in here and that’s not about only math…

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 11:53 am #

      I’m afraid we don’t have a subscription or package which is without support.

      The example above with Canvas is just meant to be an illustration of the fact that we can’t make a profitable product if we continue to give unlimited support.

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 3:34 am #

        Maybe you should have a support package, so that you can get your extra money from the customers who are sucking up most of your resources instead of penalizing everyone.

        • Peter
          2 August 2013 at 6:57 am #

          This!

        • Syrehn
          2 August 2013 at 8:07 am #

          150% This!

        • m_uysl
          2 August 2013 at 4:21 pm #

          definitely agree

  9. visitonweb
    1 August 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Hi,
    I Can say it is a really bad news for existing customers.
    I personally bought all my woothemes products with an unlimited license. For most of them, they are used only for 1 or 2 sites.

    Your new system heavily penalizes customers like me with unlimited licenses. You will easily understand that I do not want to pay renewal fees for unused licenses.

    Could you please publish somewhere a price table with renewal prices.
    Customers need to know how much they will pay after 1 year. You can not hide this kind of information. Those prices help the consumer to decide if they buy, or not, your products.

    Thank you.
    Dimitri

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:43 am #

      We have not yet finalized renewal prices or plans. The only thing we can share at this stage is that it’ll include a significant discount compared to the first-time purchase.

      • visitonweb
        1 August 2013 at 11:56 am #

        Hi Adii,
        How can you start to sale products without inform your customers how much they will pay after 1 year ? This information makes part of the decision to buy or not.
        Not really fair -:(

        Dimitri

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 3:24 am #

        It better be, if I’m expected to continue paying for clients who’s sites I did years ago as a one off. I hold 39 extensions. The cost of overhead on those is going to be INSANE. The ongoing overhead is going to determine whether I stay or go as your customer, and I’m sure I won’t be alone. A lot of people think this is fine now, wait until two years from now when a giant bill comes for things they did years ago.

      • Phill
        2 August 2013 at 8:02 am #

        Let me preface my comments by stating that I don’t have any particular objection to prices being raised.

        What I do have a problem with is the way that WooThemes goes about this which is a consistent history of making promises and then breaking them.

        Let’s go back in time less than a year:

        http://www.woothemes.com/2012/08/a-club-reimagined/

        “WooCommerce has grown in leaps & bounds and we have almost 150 fantastic WooCommerce Extensions available today. Club Subscribers receive an ongoing 30% discount when purchasing these.”

        and…

        “Discounts on WooCommerce & Plugins. This is a new value category on WooThemes and one that will become bigger & bigger moving forwards. For those Club Subscribers that use these, the available discounts represents major value.”

        and…

        “Similarly, it is our intent to continue releasing plugins that further extends the value within our themes; WooSlider – released this week – just being the first of these. These plugins will always be available to Club Subscribers at a discounted rate.”

        More broken promises to add to previous promises broken.

        Woo has established a consistent pattern of large long blog posts that justify raising prices, talk about how much better things are going to be while systematically reducing the value of the club subscription.

        Promises are made that it seems Woo never actually intends to be kept (see above) but are simply stated to sooth the angry club subscribers at the time of the latest blog post who feel they’ve been lied to yet again.

        Worse still is the pattern of response Woo has developed towards customers who express their anger / disappointment to these broken promises.

        Time and time again if we review these blog posts we see the following:

        If someone makes a particularly pertinent point that contrasts with Woo we often see a passive aggressive response against that customer along the lines of:

        “Well why are you even using our themes then?”

        …or…

        “I can see we have answered 17 support tickets for you in the last month so what are you complaining about?”

        …or the comments simply disappear.

        To be frank I half expect this comment to disappear pretty quickly so I’ll be doing a full image capture of the page & comments :)

        Like I said I don’t have a problem with prices being raised – I’m fully in support of Woo being a profitable enterprise and I understand the unexpected costs associated with supporting a massively growing customer base.

        But at the very least make a decision about whether you’re going to honor the commitments and promises you’ve previously made to club members with regard to discounts and product access (the ideal solution) or show enough integrity to openly explain why you are breaking your past promises.

        Instead what club members have seen is previous commitments swept quietly under the carpet.

        The WCSUB 30% discount disappeared without any notification or discussion.

        When club members asked they were told that the discount was only a “temporary introductory offer” – the very first time I EVER heard that and in stark contrast to the actual promises made in the past.

        No company can every succeed in keeping every customer happy all of the time but when large changes are needed we can at least try to make them with integrity.

        • Syrehn
          2 August 2013 at 8:11 am #

          Perfect comment that hits the nail on the head.

          I also didn’t realize the discount vanished until I tried to use it and it failed. Then saw it tossed in at random in a comment on one of the blog posts.

          Stellar communication! Oh wait… no.

        • hoodoofactory
          2 August 2013 at 10:23 am #

          +infinity

        • Ronalds
          3 August 2013 at 12:14 am #

          + a lot !!

    • themaynedesign
      1 August 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      Yep – I agree!

    • Ronalds
      3 August 2013 at 12:12 am #

      Sorry, I purchased for the lifetime updates. That was one of the key factors that led to my initial purchase. I purchased a lot of themes on this basis so that I do not have to worry updates costing when quoting for projects.

      Now that has been changed unilaterally and retrospectively. I am pissed on the latter i.e. past purchases are affected!

      I understand you can change your renewal pricing, that’s your right. But changing the original terms of the contract is NOT OK. The original term is lifetime updates (I am not even going after unlimited sites license which was also in the original contact).

  10. Griffo
    1 August 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Woothemes had better lift their game in all areas of it’s business to justify the model and price increases because as of today it isn’t sufficient.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 3:37 pm #

      We’re up for the challenge. ;)

  11. allmyhoney
    1 August 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Here is the piece I need clarity on as I think the price increases and so on are fine but this is something I think everyone needs to be clear on:

    “Support and updates will be capped to one year after purchase (with the ability for you to extend this).”

    I do not understand this? If I purchase say 20 plugins for wooCommerce at say 99 dollars that is 1980 dollars to get my wooCommerce site off the ground. Then the following year I must pay this or a discounted version of this again to just get access to updates? Is this correct. Alot of the plugins I see now for a single site are actually 99 dollars and using between 10-20 plugins on a wooCommerce site is actually not that strange to be honest. This would be obviosuly crazy for a small business to be paying over 1000 dollars on this kind of scenario for a small eCommerce store not even taking into account domain costs, hosting costs, upgrade costs. Shopify surely suddenly makes a whole lot of sense unless I am missing something here?

    Just curious if this is the case really – why am I paying the subscription each and every month if this is all based on a licensing system now? I thought the subscription each month was for support and updates?

    I distinctly remember a sale a few weeks ago where we all ran out and purchased our unlimited licenses for over 500 dollars worth to get a 30% discount. I do not believe in the unlimited license model either by the way as of course its silly in the long run but I believe the sale you ran should have been after this announcement in all fairness? I just feel a little dump for making these unlimited purchases when really I was buying a 25 license purchase right?

    I agree with the pricing points in general – but the each year paying for all these purchases again scenario, well I am not understanding it really. Maybe a different set of user it makes sense for if so I might be missing the point here. Sorry if these questions are silly and I have the wrong end of stick but I need to be sure maintaining a wooCommerce site is not going to be extremely costly each year. Thanks for your time on this.

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Its certainly not uncommon for a WooCommerce site to be running more than 10 plugins.

      As explained in the post, by capping support and updates after the first year we can guarantee that we can provide great support for our products and justify time spent improving a plugin.

      Without future income for a plugin, it will be hard for us to justify time to improve a plugin.

      And, with the new licensing system you don’t have to renew your license. If you’re happy with the functionality of a plugin, there’s no need for you to renew your license :)

      • allmyhoney
        1 August 2013 at 2:07 pm #

        I would have to disagree here “And, with the new licensing system you don’t have to renew your license. If you’re happy with the functionality of a plugin, there’s no need for you to renew your license” it’s an eCommerce website which by its very nature needs to be secure and kept up to date, regardless of functionality the plugins will of course come across certain security enhancements and need to be updated. So I am bit surprised this coming from an employee of an eCommerce plugin company – surely the fact is if at all possible you should be updating all plugins when a new update is released?? which leads into my next question…

        Also you did not address my questions to be honest in full even though I do now know that yes we do need to pay again in year 2 for all the plugins. So a pretty simple wooCommerce site is actually going to have a recurring cost of 1000 dollars give or take if you want to keep it fully up to date and secure for about 10 plugins? correct yes? Just like your blog post – this is a money question and not a matter of principals etc. One must know the recurring cost of their eCommerce store or how does one do business?

        Also my membership each month – what is this for if not for support and updates? I am lost still on this point?

        In your blog post you use an example of Canvas and how that scales. For the life of me I do not know why you have not used an example of a wooCommerce site with 10- 15 plugins recurring each year which is actually much more relevant.

        I think what I am saying is if a client of mine uses Canvas for example and I see its great and offer that to 100 clients then of course I think you should get paid for each and every install of canvas in some shape or form if not the full price each time. What I do not understand is how this applies to wooCommerce with 20plugins as its really not affordable? Can you please provide an example of an eCommerce Store in your blog post as this would really be much more use to customers I believe?

        • Peter
          1 August 2013 at 3:07 pm #

          I agree with all the points you’ve raised – thanks for saving me from typing them out. ;)

          So we are now supposed to charge our clients a few hundred dollars each year to offset our cost in keeping their site plugins up to date? I’m sure they won’t mind!

          And personally, I ALWAYS prefer to use a knowledgebase rather than submit a support ticket because it doesn’t take 24 hours to get a response. If the support forum had been kept it probably would have cut down on support costs AND improved response times due to the decreased load.

          Don’t forget that the standing 30% discount for subscribers has also been dropped (without announcement). I understand Woo needs more money but I’m really struggling to put all the new pricing together and see it as something that’s coherent and fair.

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 3:35 pm #

            I got clarity from Adii and Coen below that realisitically each client should epect to pay in the range of 1000 dollars per year per site to keep every ship shape each year. I just needed to get this so we could see if woocommerce is worth it in the future.

            1 wooCommerce site with say 15 plugins could be around €1300 worth of plugins and then you need to build the site for the client and then any resonable website designer would offer to support a client website for a year. So you would need to either tell the client to get in touch with woothemes direct and pay the 1300 for all these plugins and explain the business model and reasoning etc or you would need to take on this for the client and pay the 100 – 1300 a year and also something on top for your own time and effort so lets say 500-750 on top of this which would mean to the client its about 2000 dollars a year to maintain a woocommerce site a year which is a tough sell indeed for smaller stores.

            So in effect I would say wooCommerce is pricey in the long run for any client project so being very clear with the client upfront probably will allow one to get the good clients from the bad ones!! but yeah its massive change indeed as now all of us website designers have to move to a subscription model to support our clients in any real way or else tell our clients go to woothemes direct

          • James Dalman
            1 August 2013 at 7:15 pm #

            Peter, of course you should be charging your clients for the software or plugins that run their business. This shouldn’t be free and certainly shouldn’t be absorbed by you or your business.

          • Peter
            2 August 2013 at 7:08 am #

            James, I do charge clients for them, in the sense that additional extensions provide additional functionality, which is chargeable. What I didn’t expect to have to do is go back to people I built sites for 1-2 years ago and tell them that they will now need to pay me $300/year to keep their WC extensions updated.

            I have chosen Woo as a platform so any changes in availability, price, etc., to the components of that platform are my problems to shoulder. My clients could rightfully ask why this is their problem. I quoted a price, I created a site, they paid me my money. Now I go back and demand more money lest their plugins get outdated and potentially leave their site vulnerable to hacking.

            This is very much like what Woo is doing to their customers right now and it will probably make me as popular with my clients as this move has made Woo with theirs.

          • Peter
            2 August 2013 at 7:13 am #

            James, I do charge clients for them indirectly: extensions create additional functionality and this is worth money. What I didn’t expect to have to do is go back to people I had created a site for 1-2 years ago and tell them I now want a $300 annual fee to keep their site updated lest it become vulnerable to hacking. This is very similar to what Woo are doing to their customers right now and I suspect it will make me as popular with my clients as Woo are with theirs at the moment.

        • Peter
          2 August 2013 at 7:12 am #

          James, I do charge clients for them indirectly: extensions create additional functionality and this is worth money. What I didn’t expect to have to do is go back to people I had created a site for 1-2 years ago and tell them I now want a $300 annual fee to keep their site updated lest it become vulnerable to hacking. This is very similar to what Woo are doing to their customers right now and I suspect it will make me as popular with my clients as Woo are with theirs at the moment.

          • Peter
            2 August 2013 at 7:14 am #

            Wow, sorry for the repeats. I kept getting HTTP 500 errors when posting. Derp.

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 3:30 am #

        “And, with the new licensing system you don’t have to renew your license. If you’re happy with the functionality of a plugin, there’s no need for you to renew your license”

        Really, you’re going to recommend to people that they don’t need to keep their plugins up to date? What would Sucuri say about that?

        • Syrehn
          3 August 2013 at 12:58 am #

          It continuously blows my mind that “not updating” was even brought up.

          What idiot in their right mind would choose NOT update. Security/incompatibility issues would run rampant down the line.

  12. Theresa
    1 August 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi I am a long term club subscriber and was grandfathered in the last price rise, is my grandfathered rate of $15 pm now going to $29? That’s some hike. I do value Woo’s worth in my business but this is quite a difference!

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Please see my answer below :)

  13. firebubble
    1 August 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Hmmm, not really sure what to say about this. So my membership will be increasing?

    :(

    • Magnus Jepson
      1 August 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      All current subscribers will remain at their current price level. So your membership will not increase if you are a current subscriber.

      • firebubble
        1 August 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        Thanks for your reply Magnus. Good news to hear existing members will not be charged more each month for the subscription.

        I think limiting the unlimited use of items is fair.

        Not a big fan of the need to repurchase woocommerce extensions though so that you can update them and keep everything secure.

        How much support would somebody need for a woocommerce extension once it had been setup? I would expect for most people they would not need any support for a woocommerce extension after the first year. They would just need to be able to update it.

        • Mark Forrester
          1 August 2013 at 1:14 pm #

          Each and every extension is different in terms of support and updates. Should particular extensions require little updates/support as WordPress and WooCommerce gets updated, we’ll evaluate the license renewal discounts customers can potentially receive accordingly.

  14. Rodney Isemann
    1 August 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Adii – why oh why on earth has this been made so complicated?? The price increase, stability for the company and all the other things mentioned in the post are one thing but confusing the daylights out of existing customers, let alone potential new ones is madness.

    An example of the power of making things simpler – Expedia Saved $12 Million a Year by Deleting One Input Field on Their Website – http://www.geekosystem.com/expedia-12-million-field-delete/

    Just my two cents.

    R!

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      We try our best at communicating as best as possible. Everyone of us – as human beings – are unique though and see / read / understand / perceive things differently. So we can only do the best we can do.

      We’re definitely trying to keep things simple, but at the same time transparent.

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 3:32 am #

        There isn’t a whole lot of transparency in “we haven’t figured out what updates will cost yet”. How are we supposed to bill our clients to cover your future costs if we don’t know what they are?

  15. Mark
    1 August 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I have to say… I can totally understand the pricing model needs to be updated to create a sustainable business. I have never understand how someone can offer a unlimited license with lifetime support for only a couple of $.

    However in my opinion, as well, the post has been written very unfortunate and arrogant. The examples given are completely unnecessary and irrelevant to the case. It’s none of your business how much money I make by using WooCommerce or the any of the plugins for that matter. Personally I do not even use the themes. The matter is about WooThemes providing a product / service for a certain price and then it’s up to me whether I choose to use it or not. What I do after purchase of a plugin is my concern. So is how I price it and you do not deserve any of the “chunk” for that matter. I have paid already what the product / service is worth and that’s it.

    Anyhow this is just about how the post is written and again I think some parts are chosen / written in a very unfortunate way.

    A completely different case however in my opinion is screwing your loyal customers over by completely changing the current subscriptions they have bought in the past. Changing your pricing model for future purchases is one thing but also affecting those to old purchases will give a very bitter and negative taste to your customers.

    Again I understand and fully agree that a change in pricing model is the most valid, and in my opinion only reason, you need to update the pricing model. Actually a lot more plugin / theme providers should do this to sustain the ecosystem. However I would have chosen to keep the old licenses as they are and to implement this only for new purchases. In this way I think all of your existing clients would have accepted the change a lot easier and would have left them with a way more respected feeling then you do know. How would it be for WooThemes if customers would be able to return you the plugins / products they do not use anymore and you have to refund a % of the purchase price for every return. Basically it’s the same situation only reversed. I purchased something against a price and now you say, too bad for you we wan’t more money… That just does not work in my head… sorry!

    All in all how this post has been written and the fact that I made a purchase / deal with a company who now completely leaves / changes their part of the deal leaves me with a very, very bad feeling!

    • Mark Forrester
      1 August 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      As Adii said above we’re only human and could have probably worded parts slightly better. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

      The point is we are trying to be as transparent as possible and we need to ensure sustainability. This was a data based decision and having grandfathered in all users would leave us with the same issues we are facing today.

      Products will continue to work after licenses expire, and should data show we can offer discounts on license renewal we certainly will do what’s best for our customers.

      • allmyhoney
        1 August 2013 at 2:12 pm #

        @Mark, I think its resonable to assume a WooCommerce site will have 10 plugins or even 15 plugins. Would it not be more use in your blog post to give a wooCommerce example rather than the Canvas example as I think the model just does not seem to make much sense in the WooCommerce space. If I am right I see most decent plugins are 99 dollars for 1 site and if you have say 10 or 12 of these in a site which you really do need to have these days then thats roughly 1000 dollars. Then one needs to pay that each year for your wooCommerce site right? I know you mention discounts but I think in all honesty one needs to know the discounts on year 2 before getting involved in this. Obviously the higher end stores would pay out 1000 dollars a year to maintain their stores but for a small store it’s really not viable to be honest or am I missing something?

        • Mark
          1 August 2013 at 2:36 pm #

          @allmyhoney

          True that, however it’s not really WooThemes problem if a small shop owner is willing to pay the price to keep his shop elements up to date. This is basically just the new WooThemes philosophy and maybe they try to aim more at the bigger shops then the small ones. Of course anyone can have a own opionion about this and if it’s really smart is another issue.

          The thing I just cannot wrap my head around is how something what I already bought a while ago can suddenly be changed with the blink of an eye.

          – Mark

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 2:51 pm #

            @M`rk, absolutely its not a Woothemes problem if a small shop owner wants to spend a 1000 dollars a year to keep things ship shape. I just like doing business with people who do think about these things that’s all. As you say seems like wooCommerce is for the bigger boys to be honest. 1000 dollars a year for a site with 10 or 12 plugins just is maybe a bit too rich for my blood.

          • Warren Holmes
            1 August 2013 at 2:53 pm #

            I understand your gripe Mark, we’re not increasing prices just for short term profitability; we’re trying to make sure that we’re around for as long as possible.

            By implementing the licensing system, we feel we’re moving in the right direction.

            If we didn’t change our pricing model, we would have been faced with two scenarios. First, we probably would have looked at paid upgrades for most of our products. Secondly, there would be a good chance that we wouldn’t making enough money and wouldn’t be able to provide support or be able to dedicate time to improving a product. We want to avoid those situations.

            Its also worth remembering that any purchase you’ve made up until now as a license valid for two years :)

      • Mark
        1 August 2013 at 2:31 pm #

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Again I do totally understand the change you need to make and also again just the term sustainability already validates the updating of the packages.

        The thing which just completely blows my mind is how you can disadvantage current clients and purchases by reverting the purchase that they already made…

        Ill come back with an example… I buy a car today. Tomorrow the dealer from where I bought the car gives me a call. Sorry Mr. van der Putten we have changed our business policy, we wanna make more money and if you wanna keep your engine in your car you have start to pay us $(some amount of money) each year. Oh yeah and by the way the same counts for the gearbox, steering wheel and so on.

        – Mark

        • Warren Holmes
          1 August 2013 at 3:47 pm #

          Mark, I don’t think that analogy works at all :)

          When your drive your car off, it’s your responsibility to maintain it. That’s simply not the case with our products. After we release a product we make sure that we get rid of all bugs and implement new features. That requires us to employ the best developers, and pay them well.

          We also help our customers with installations and getting the plugin working correctly. That, too, requires that we make sure we have the best support ninjas around and pay them well.

          • Mark
            1 August 2013 at 5:59 pm #

            Warren, yes it deffinitely is my responsibility, that is exact the reason I bought those lifetime “falsly named” licences!!!

            Again let me stretch that I understand the whole price change!!!

            I just fail to see how it is possible that you can change a lifetime licence into a not lifetime license…. That is just not what I bought!!!

          • DianaHeuser
            2 August 2013 at 4:45 pm #

            Warren and Adii,

            Although I understand the need to update your pricing policy, you have treated your existing customers (those that got you to this point of success) with complete disdain and disregard.

            You have also reneged on your “Lifetime” updates policy.

            Thirdly, the fact that you ran a huge sale just a few weeks ago encouraging people to invest heavily in your extensions and plugins knowing full well that you would be implementing this change is completely unethical in my mind.

            Your ‘2 years’ of continued support and updates will mean diddly squat in 2 year’s when those sites need to be updated to the next WordPress version to keep the sites safe and compliant.

            This is disappointing from a company of your calibre. You guys really need to rethink about how you handle your existing customers – you know – the ones that bought all your software and recommended it to others (without any affiliate commission) and made WooThemes the success it is today.

            Just a thought. Use it. Don’t use it.
            Di Heuser

    • lucifer666
      1 August 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      100% totally agree, not to speak if anyone decided to take legal action, this post is so bad for people who have been loyal customers for many years.

      How legally one can change a price after a purchase is beyond me especially for things that state ‘unlimited’ that is an open and shut case in any court!

      This also smells of coming for a while, the woo-license plugin, smells, smells bad!

    • visitonweb
      1 August 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      I agree 100% with Mark.

  16. cynion
    1 August 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    “If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that.”

    By that logic, if I buy a truck and decide to create a delivery business, you suggest I should pay the manufacturer a ‘chunk’ of my earnings?

    Just noticed Mark’s response above:

    “…What I do after purchase of a plugin is my concern. So is how I price it and you do not deserve any of the “chunk” for that matter. I have paid already what the product / service is worth and that’s it.”

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Maybe I worded that wrong, but the point remains: we’re continually improving all our products, especially Canvas.

      In order for us to continue to make Canvas (and any of our other products) awesome, we have to make sure that all our development investment sees a return.

      • cynion
        1 August 2013 at 1:36 pm #

        Even though I own Canvas myself, I’ve always made it a point to buy an individual copy for each client (about two dozen so far). That is the transaction/chunk you’re entitled to.

        How do you think my clients would feel if I told them they had to forfeit some of their earnings to a company whose product they’ve already paid for?

        • Warren Holmes
          1 August 2013 at 1:56 pm #

          This is exactly what our club subscription is designed for :)

          In fact, you only need to purchase a theme once and you have every right to use that on as many sites as you like. All themes can be

          So if you had bought just one version of Canvas, you would only need to update it once your license ran out.

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 2:16 pm #

            completely confused here now mate to be honest! so the membership means the updates are something you are entitled to each year right? or even with membership you need to pay for the license extension? I am just lost as to the difference here? If you could give a basic example that would be great. Right now I pay for subscription each month – I get access to support and updates which is what I thought it was for? is this changing?

          • Warren Holmes
            1 August 2013 at 2:29 pm #

            If you’re referring to the club subscriptoin; there’s no license system in place there.

            As long as you’re paid up, you get updates and access support. The only thing that has changed with out club subscriptions is the price increases. And that only affects new sign ups.

            That make more sense? :)

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 2:33 pm #

            Honestly it does make sense NOW – but in your blog post that is certainly not clear mate. From what I see in the blog post after 1 year of using a WooCommerce plugin or a theme if you are not/ or are a subscription user you need to renew the license!! That is what I see and probably alot of other people too!! you need to make this crystal clear.

          • smehero
            2 August 2013 at 7:22 am #

            It only works for Canvas as you only need one per site, as the cost is a fraction of the total cost. Hence any price increase is still manageable.

            But for woocommerce implementations, it is not uncommon to have 10 plugins per site, its impact is no longer marginal! Then again it depends how much it cost to renew the licences (For enterprise sotware, it typically cost 18% to 25% per year to renew the license).

      • lucifer666
        1 August 2013 at 2:24 pm #

        And the massively (millions) growing base does not do this organically? I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of products from you over 4 years or so and have used your support a handful of times. Your justifications are lame, I am sorry.

        • Adii Pienaar
          1 August 2013 at 3:33 pm #

          It’s easy to be a coach critic and having opinions with no factual backup. If we were so inclined we could share all of our financial data and I can show you the effect that the business model has had on our business over time.

          You might just be an outlier in that what you’ve paid us and what you’ve cost us has still generated a net profit. But for a growing majority of our customers that math started to lead to deficits and losses.

          We also can’t support old customers with new customers’ revenues. Every customer should pay for itself. If it didn’t, then the long term sustainability of the company would be threatened.

          • lucifer666
            1 August 2013 at 3:58 pm #

            *Couch Critic.

            I can assure you Adii I work 16 hour days 6 days a week, operate a company with 30 employees and I have never changed terms and conditions on one client after they have paid for a product under another set of terms and conditions!

            How you do not see your customers point of view on this is quite mystifying.

      • smehero
        2 August 2013 at 7:24 am #

        It only works for Canvas as you only need one per site, as the cost is a fraction of the total cost. Hence any price increase is still manageable.

        But for woocommerce implementations, it is not uncommon to have 10 plugins per site, its impact is no longer marginal! Then again it depends how much it cost to renew the licences (For enterprise sotware, it typically cost 18% to 25% per year to renew the license).

    • franticpsyx
      1 August 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      Examples rarely work well to make a point clear.

      “By that logic, if I buy a truck and decide to create a delivery business, you suggest I should pay the manufacturer a ‘chunk’ of my earnings?”

      Actually, you would. You would invest a huge amount for the truck upfront, and then you would have to pay a significant amount for recurring costs (maintenance, license, taxes, insurance, etc). The large investment cost and maintenance cost would be paid to the manufacturer of the truck. The upfront cost for the truck wouldn’t pay off anytime soon.

      “…What I do after purchase of a plugin is my concern. So is how I price it and you do not deserve any of the “chunk” for that matter. I have paid already what the product / service is worth and that’s it.”

      Correct. And Woo has the right to choose their customers, too! Remember that developers can also choose the businesses they work with and the solutions offered to each business. Obviously, businesses that host their e-commerce websites for $4 per month and/or make just a few thousand $ per year may not be willing to pay recurring e-commerce costs. That’s fair enough.

      However, it’s also up to the developer to choose whether to
      – work with such clients, and
      – quote using WooCommerce / something else for the project.

      There are many tiers of clients and developers in terms of project requirements / costs — Woo is obviously not willing to work with developers / clients that expect to build and maintain complex e-commerce websites for a few $ per year with full lifetime support.

      Although I have no data to back this up, I would bet that DIY customers / small developers that expect to invest such little in their business / work with small margins are the ones that generate the most support, since they lack the know-how to get things done in-house.

      Woo seems to be simply re-defining their target audience. With growth, this is simply unavoidable.

      I agree that the post could have passed on the message more clearly with less words.

      • Ryan Ray
        2 August 2013 at 6:11 pm #

        Right, and the truck isn’t going to receive updates like software does. Your drive it off the lot and it is not receiving any more features or luxuries. Let’s take the Canvas example and apply a truck sale analogy…

        People bought the 2010 version of Canvas and have got the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Canvas models at no additional cost, plus free maintenance every year!

  17. Rodney Isemann
    1 August 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    I’ve tried quickly (see the p.s.) to come up with something better.

    A simpler pricing structure for WooThemes. http://biltongandcrumpets.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/a-simpler-pricing-structure-for-woothemes/

    Rodney Isemann

  18. Dumitru Brînzan
    1 August 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    This change is very welcome, better late than never.

  19. lucifer666
    1 August 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Think about it, you are retroactively changing terms and conditions on products already purchased, it doesn’t matter when this kicks in – there are serious legal consequences in doing this.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Our Terms & Conditions have always included a clause that allows us to do this.

      • momofone
        1 August 2013 at 3:56 pm #

        Actually that is a sad and weak ‘excuse’ to retroactively changing the terms of any license. IPS board software sold lifetime licenses that they still honor to this day.

        When we are told that a license doesn’t expire – we expect that license to not expire. Not be referred to some small print that states that you can go back on your word.

        I have seen Woo staff answer many times in these comments that unlimited licenses don’t expire. People should know to take comments made by Woo staff with a pinch of salt. This is Woo being disloyal to its customers. This is Woo being greedy and disloyal.

        • Adii Pienaar
          1 August 2013 at 3:59 pm #

          This is Woo making sure that we’re still in business in a couple of years’ time.

          We understand that not every single WooThemes customer will understand or appreciate this. The reality is that this has been a really hard decision for us and greed has been the last thing that has driven this decision.

          Whilst this decision is far from being altruistic, we want to be around for years to come and we want to build + support awesome products during those years. This decision hopefully enables us to do that for longer.

          • momofone
            1 August 2013 at 4:44 pm #

            I’m sorry but I have to disagree here. You have set a precedent that you can retroactively change license terms and conditions. So in the coming months are we to also expect that our ‘unlimited’ licenses are only good for use on 5 websites?

            Aside from the legal implications, drawing attention to terms and conditions which state you can change your prices doesn’t apply to existing contracts. For instance, you can’t go back and ask people to pay more for something they purchased last week.

        • lucifer666
          1 August 2013 at 4:32 pm #

          Yes, just got notice of a $14k per year increase, I should keep them around for a few more years on my pat malone.

          I guess they did the math on their loyal customers and went Woooooooooooo

          • hoodoofactory
            2 August 2013 at 3:41 am #

            +1

          • Ryan Ray
            2 August 2013 at 6:18 pm #

            Doing the math from our previous pricing structure would make any business go Wooooo, and not in a good way…

            If you want WooThemes and our products to be around then this change had to happen. That is as simple as it gets, we changed the pricing structure only to ensure we are creating awesome products as long as possible.

        • Jane
          1 August 2013 at 8:10 pm #

          I think what we need to keep in mind here is that you’ve already paid for the license, and nobody is telling you that the license expires. Let me say that again; Your license DOESN’T EXPIRE. You can keep using the theme or extension. You are in no way obligated to pay the recurring costs here. I think a lot of people missed that point.

          If you like the way your theme works, or are happy with the functionality of your WooCommerce extension, great. Don’t pay another dime. Feel like you can fix bugs in the extension or update the theme on your own? Awesome, go do it at the cost of elbow grease and sweat alone.

          The recurring model is to pay for the additional man hours that WooThemes is putting into their products. A year from now, they are NOT the same products you purchased. You are paying for updates, and access to help for things you can’t figure out on your own or don’t have time to solve. If you don’t want updates, don’t worry about paying for them.

          Even though I obviously never want to pay more money than I have to for something, I can see why this is very unsustainable, and I agree that developers and support personnel should be paid for the work they’re doing to continually update your product. I would rather purchase a product knowing it won’t be a dinosaur in five years. If you’re not happy with that, buy a license, and when you need support or updates, pay a developer or freelancer to do it out of pocket. I’m pretty sure that paying the 50% discount here will be cheaper.

          I think many of us need to slow down for a second and get over the initial irritation of paying more for something. Personally, I think it’s worth it for me. If it’s not worth it for you to have products that continually improve, buy it once and don’t pay again. Problem solved. If it’s for your customer, and they can’t understand this investment, you need a new business model.

          • lucifer666
            1 August 2013 at 8:21 pm #

            Paying for support, yes, paying annual fees for 50 extensions when purchased under a different contract, disgusting!

            Everyone who agrees is probably only has a few extensions on a few sites. I am supporting 100 and most of them pay annual fees of less than $500 per year.

            Telling them that their fees are going up by about $1000 and I get nothing out of it, not even close to justifiable !

          • Jane
            1 August 2013 at 8:34 pm #

            I’m so confused @lucifer666 – you don’t have to pay any annual fees for your extensions. Buy them and use them for as long as you want. The only thing you have to pay for is if you want updates or support. If you’re fine with the version you buy (and the versions that have been released 1 year after your purchase), don’t buy another thing.

            Your customers do get something out of renewing if they choose to: updated products. Someone used a car analogy before…if I bought a car, and for half price, I got a new car every year (or got a bunch of cool new features that weren’t included in the price when I paid for it), I would be okay with it – ESPECIALLY if that care is making me money which justifies updated the features or essentially getting a new one. If your customers can’t afford it, tell them they can keep using the old version for as long as they want, but it’s no longer supported.

            You paid for a lifetime license – WooThemes is saying you essentially have that. Go use the extension, and if you’re happy with it, don’t pay again after a year. I think the issue is that you want lifetime updates and support still, and we all have to realize that our “lifetime” is going to be way shorter than we thought if WooThemes goes out of business. Aside from that, after thinking about it, it’s not really fair to me to expect a developer to update their extension forever and I never have to pay again for new and improved models. Going back to the car, it’s like saying that I purchased a 2010 Audi S4 (I wish), so I should be entitled to the newest model every year with all of the cool new features. If you’re fine with your 2010 model, awesome, don’t pay again. If you want to cool upgrades, pay for them. Seems simple to me.

          • lucasstark
            1 August 2013 at 9:53 pm #

            Well said Jane.

          • lucifer666
            1 August 2013 at 10:36 pm #

            Jane, you perhaps only own a handful. I have nearly 50 all of which I purchased Unlimited Lifetime updates and support.

            Multiple that by $300 and you will get why I am so peeved about this. Most of my clients (the vast majority are very small businesses selling one or two products per month and they pay me around $480 a year for support, updates and hosting.

            Now I am asked on average to charge them $1000 per annum for the same thing they signed up for, most of which goes to woo. This is a $14k increase in fees I am being slugged for.

            I remind you, I purchased Unlimited Lifetime updates and support for all of these. Now does that make it clearer?

          • hoodoofactory
            2 August 2013 at 3:43 am #

            “Your license DOESN’T EXPIRE. You can keep using the theme or extension. You are in no way obligated to pay the recurring costs here.”

            Everyone who knows anything about WordPress knows that keeping your software up to date is important for security. Also, when WC3 comes along many of the old plugins will probably cease to work. Most people will definitely need to either re-up or find alternatives. It’s the only way to keep things well oiled and it’s certainly the only responsible thing to do from a security oriented WordPress perspective.

  20. Evan
    1 August 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I have no problem with the pricing model and the changes for future sales – probably long overdue, actually, for the high quality you provide. But did you actually run the changes to past sales by your lawyer? They have a name for changing the terms of something that’s been previously ageed to, at least in the U.S. It’s called breach of contract. Just because the terms of a previous agreement (like someone agreeing to pay you money for lifetime support) aren’t working out for you, you can’t unilaterally rescind that agreement and demand more money.

    And, as noted, stating that you are entitled to a “chunk” of someone’s profits was really a poor choice of words (hopefully that is all, and not a relection of true mindset). If I open a yogurt stand, and pay various vendors for signage and equipment, those vendors are not entitled to a chunk of my profits. They’re entitled to what I paid them for the services and products they provided.

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      Our terms and conditions make it clear in point 13 that our prices are subject to change without notice.

      Perhaps it was a poor choice of words, I did mention that above in another comment.

      The point I was trying to get across is that all our products require ongoing maintenance and development time to improve the product. Our products are not like trucks, signage or most physical products.

      They are products which exist in a competitive, ever-changing environment and we’d like to be able to produce the best product we possibly can :)

      • Mark
        1 August 2013 at 2:49 pm #

        @Warren, agreed that the products need maintenance and are in a ever-changing environment.

        However you cannot let someone purchase a lifetime subscription to something and then, because you practiced a non-sustainable business philosophy, start charging that custom extra out of nowhere.

        Keep the old purchases as they where and start the new pricing with future purchases I would recon that none of your customers would complain about that. At least they should not complain about that.

        @Evan if it’s legal and all I have no idea about, I am not really good in these matters. But you’ve got a point there.

        • themaynedesign
          1 August 2013 at 3:09 pm #

          Mark – Their own FAQ says, “Any theme purchased before 1st October, 2012 includes lifetime support and updates.”

          It’s against the law in my country to try change the conditions after a sale to the detriment of the purchaser.

          I bought WooThemes instead of Thesis simply because of the lifetime support and updates.

          I grandfather all my clients when things change, it is deceitful to do otherwise. Now I am going to be out of pocket for a multi-year support contract I have brokered with a client + the sites I run on a volunteer basis for my local community. Not happy.

          • Adii Pienaar
            1 August 2013 at 3:27 pm #

            We’ve got you covered for the next 2 years in which you can renegotiate those deals.

          • Mark
            1 August 2013 at 3:34 pm #

            themaynedesign, Jup, I am far from happy as well on the fact that this will affect all licenses bought.

            That’s the whole point I am trying to make all the time. Bringing this in for new licenses is just fine and I think it should have been done a lot earlier already… so no problem there.

            However the fact that something you purchased just changes does not work in my head and indeed in many countries is not even legal.

          • themaynedesign
            1 August 2013 at 3:53 pm #

            Mark – Their own FAQ says, “Any theme purchased before 1st October, 2012 includes lifetime support and updates.”

            It’s against the law in my country to try change the conditions after a sale to the detriment of the purchaser.

            I bought WooThemes instead of Thesis simply because of the lifetime support and updates.

            I grandfather all my clients when things change, it is deceitful to do otherwise. Now I am going to be out of pocket for a multi-year support contract I have brokered with a client + the sites I run on a volunteer basis for my local community. Not happy.

            To respond to Adii Pienaar below: It’s a 5 year contact and 4 years remain – extend my account to May 2017 and I’ll rollover.

      • Geoffrey Allan Plauché
        2 August 2013 at 5:49 am #

        “Our terms and conditions make it clear in point 13 that our prices are subject to change without notice.”

        Changing prices is not the same thing as changing the nature of the product itself. Reducing unlimited licenses with lifetime support and updates to 25 sites and 1-2 years of support and updates is not a price change.

    • Griffo
      1 August 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      “…But did you actually run the changes to past sales by your lawyer?”

      Did they actually even consult a single customer before making the changes? Customer Development 101??

      • Adii Pienaar
        1 August 2013 at 3:22 pm #

        What do you think the average customer would answer when they’re posed with the question of being more or less with a product? There’s an inherit bias there (naturally), so CustDev would not have been helped.

        • lucifer666
          1 August 2013 at 10:41 pm #

          As a client I would be happy to be consulted, I would be happy to pay extra ongoing fees as well, I would be happy to pay for a new structure as I purchased under a new structure. I would also be happy to pay for support. But updates to things I have purchased in the past offered under unlimited contract I am not.

          There is a massive difference here.

  21. allmyhoney
    1 August 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    My finally question on the topic. I am a subscription developer of the Woothemes club for the past 3 years, I buy a plugin for WooCommerce and after 1 year because I am a subscription member of the woothemes club – do I need to pay for a new license for this plugin in year 2 or does my club subscription cover this for all updates and support? Il keep this simple – its a YES/NO answer ;)

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      No :)

      The Club Subscriptions entitles you access to only our theme club.

      • allmyhoney
        1 August 2013 at 2:44 pm #

        So my assumption of a WooCommerce website costing about 1000 dollars a year with 10-15plugins is actually correct?

        • Warren Holmes
          1 August 2013 at 2:56 pm #

          Yes, that’s true .

          But there are two things you need to remember. Firstly, you don’t have to renew a license. If you feel that you’ll be needing support or updates for it, then extend your license.

          Secondly, and most importantly, you don’t have to pay the full price for extending your license :)

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 3:02 pm #

            With all due respect we do not know the renewal price so this argument cannot really play here until you tell us the renewal price!! Let me give you an example. I have 20,000 in the bank, I maybe want a new car, I might go for a new toyota enegy saver type model or a second hand (maybe 5 year old) Jag with a big 3 litre engine. They bought cost the same as the toyota is new!!

            So which do I go for, the jaguar, costs loads on petrol, it is alot to maintain and upkeep, it has massive road tax. Or do I go for the low tax electric toyota with government incentives. Most will pick the electric car because the ongoing costs are low and you can work them out. We have no idea here what the ongoing costs are – I am guessing 1000 minimum a year to be honest for a decent store!!! thats alot and its something you guys cannot even give me an answer too – so why in the world would I get involved in wooCommerce then without knowing the costs at least – yes the jag might be better and more comfortable and just cooler maybe – but I still need the facts of the costs to run it – or well, I look a bit dump telling a client – the ongoing costs – well who knows on that front ;)

          • Warren Holmes
            1 August 2013 at 3:38 pm #

            I’ve updated the post to include important information about the renewal process :)

          • Geoffrey Allan Plauché
            2 August 2013 at 5:52 am #

            “Secondly, and most importantly, you don’t have to pay the full price for extending your license :)”

            IN a comment above, Adii suggested that the discounts for renewals are subject to whether your “data” says it makes sense for you to offer them. You guys need to get your stories straight.

        • Griffo
          1 August 2013 at 3:09 pm #

          Your assumption is correct.

          Many Woocommerce extensions are just features that should be in the core software, the extensions provide enough fragmentation to increase volume, hence sales.

          What are our clients going to say when we tell them that their fixed-fee websites now cost $500-$1500K a year and if they choose not pay renewals, their sites will eventually deprecate as WP versions progress?

          Do we just tell them that the company that forked Jigoshop’s ecommerce plugin decided to create an inflated ecommerce plugin marketplace on terms that made them who they are today, and yet planned to renege on those terms all along because they knew it wasn’t sustainable??

          Just wondering… because I am going to have to tell them something!

          • Adii Pienaar
            1 August 2013 at 3:18 pm #

            Perhaps you should explain to them that $500 – $1500 for a website a year is cheap and that they’ve been using fantastic software (WordPress + WooCommerce) completely for free. So paying even $1500 annually (for something that should generate them more money than that) is fine. Not?

          • Coen Jacobs
            1 August 2013 at 3:19 pm #

            Hi there,

            A little while ago, I’ve published an article about just this: Keep your WordPress plugins easy to use and expand. This is a quick summary of why we (as WooThemes, specifically to the WooCommerce plugin) feel that a lot of features should not be in the core plugin, but are optional extensions to be purchased.

            The renewal fee is something that your clients will have to face, yes, in order to keep their websites updated. But, considering that we’re talking about WooCommerce here, your clients are also making money from their website. In other words, their website is important to them. Now, don’t you think it’s important for them to have some sort of SLA in place, where they hire someone (you, perhaps?) to do maintenance updates for them and make sure their site stays online?

            It can’t be expected (not from you, or from us) that a website that has been developed for a fixed fee, can continue to receive updates that keep working with everything. We don’t know what WordPress core is going to do in 1 year time from now, I doubt they know for themselves what is coming in the 2014 versions.

            In the end, this is going to be a good thing. Your clients will have a way to make sure their websites contents are looked after and properly updated with fixes and security updates.

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 3:19 pm #

            From my inquiries so far, it seems that a wooCommerce install will cost a client in the range of about 1000 dollars a year to maintain. It’s only responsible to tell clients this upfront of course as after all the site is running on wooCommerce. This is not a double increase in price for everyone but a staggering increase – maybe we all need some time to digest it really. Basically the cost of my eCommerce site alone has gone up 5 fold over the next 5 years and maybe it just should as this post says.

          • allmyhoney
            1 August 2013 at 3:24 pm #

            @Adii & Coen, thanks for the clarity on this. I just really needed clarity that any normal wooCommerce install will be in the range of 1000 dollars per year. I think from the originally post that is not clear. The free WordPress and free WooCommerce myth is something we all get lost in sometimes including clients and I think it just needs someone to say “YES a wooCommerce site will cost 1000 dollars per year every year are you in or not!!” For me all the other prices changes seem fine and logical – its this one I find hard to swallow. I think woocommerce will march forward in the ecommerce space but sadly I may have to march another way as its maybe for the bigger stores to get involved in to be honest. Thanks for the clarity here and god speed on the new enhancements coming.

          • Dave
            1 August 2013 at 9:55 pm #

            Anual WC cost of around €1000, hosting €200, Ssl €50, fixed ip €50.
            Looks like the woo-chunk is bigger then what the designer yearly gets, right. Depends on the support fee of the designer.

            Okay i know, nothing is for free and renew license is not demanded to keep it working. Well, that last one is not certain.

            Gets me a bad taste, woocommerce for the upperclass?
            Have to rethink about using WC on my next e-site when making a quote.

          • Ryan Ray
            2 August 2013 at 6:26 pm #

            @Dave – You’ve kind of created an endless loop, contradicting the first statement with the next following sentence…

            Looks like the woo-chunk is bigger then what the designer yearly gets, right. Depends on the support fee of the designer.

            Anyone building a site would be able to know a fixed cost using our products, they can of course compare the pros and cons to any other products out there. Knowing the actual cost of the software a developer/designer needs let’s them build in their margins for it, if needed.

            They then of course need to figure out the value of their time, but that’s for them to decide.

  22. tinygiantstudios
    1 August 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Hi Woo,

    You mentioned in your 5 year celebration that there would be some better benefits to club subscribers (seeing as you deprecated the club discount) – what are they (other than having access to the theme club)?

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      We don’t have finalized plans yet.

  23. Adii Pienaar
    1 August 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    I’d implore everyone here to read this article before criticizing any decision or comment: http://ryanhoover.me/post/56428467528/dear-startup-critics

    • allmyhoney
      1 August 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      @Adii I know it seems like maybe everyone is jumping on the prices and the increase but I take my hat off for growing the business the way you guys have. I just feel a little “dumb” because in the last few weeks i ran out and bought loads of plugins though a 30% sale you guys ran thinking I was really getting value and buying for the future, when effectively I was buying a 25 site license. I think unlimited licenses dont make sense by the way so it was a change that needed to be made but 2 weeks after you run a sale for everyone to go out and buy something they were not buying – ouch!! not exactly savvy when you make this customer right here feel a little used! All in all best of luck with it and hope its sustainable long long into the future, I just wished you ran the 30% sale now after the price changes because even though I am sure the maths would not benefit me at least I dont feel tricked. Always been happy with Woo in general and happy to recommend in the future however.

  24. jgardner
    1 August 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    I’m surprised by a lot of the comments here. My experience with Woo is that each decision, especially decisions regarding price, is taken very seriously. If they say they have data showing their business model is unsustainable (and I believe them because offering free support and updates for the life of the theme for less than $100 is ridiculously unsustainable) then we should take them at their word. If you disagree, then feel free to shop elsewhere. You’ll find it’s not much different with other well-reputed theme shops.

    Yes, the prices are going up. But is that better or worse than the alternative — weak support or worse, no Woo at all?

    • Mark Forrester
      1 August 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      Thanks for the vote of confidence John!

    • lucifer666
      1 August 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Obviously do not use their themes or plugins

      • jgardner
        1 August 2013 at 5:47 pm #

        I do, and have been a customer of Woo’s since 2009.

        • Hugh Lashbrooke
          1 August 2013 at 6:20 pm #

          Awesome! Thanks for the continued support :)

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      I second Mark here as well!

      Sometimes these aren’t easy decisions, but when it’s something to ensure WooThemes is around for another 5, 10, or I’d prefer 50+ years, it becomes easy to say this is something we have to do.

      • delerium
        1 August 2013 at 9:15 pm #

        I certainly like hearing that statement: “to ensure WooThemes is around for another 5, 10, or I’d prefer 50+ years” – there is nothing worse than a service or company that you rely on going under.

        All this negativity on the pricing comes down to the “Walmart mentality” – drive prices as low as they can go, quality & service be damned. It’s a recipe for disaster and I’d rather deal with businesses that don’t necessarily provide the best prices but the best products and quality. Price should (almost) always be a secondary issue.

        It would also be a novel idea for people to actually read the terms & conditions of the services you sign up for. Changing those terms is well within the legal rights in most countries, even for existing customers.

        • thenbrent
          2 August 2013 at 12:16 am #

          “I’d rather deal with businesses that don’t necessarily provide the best prices but the best products and quality.”

          Perfectly put @delerium. I think ultimately that’s what this move is about – maintaining high quality service & products. That’s why I support it.

  25. tinygiantstudios
    1 August 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi Woo,

    Again just to be clear: I purchased a few thousand dollars’ worth of extension over the last 2 years – Am I right in saying I would now need to “re-purchase” them every year and I only get to use them on 25 sites max? What if they’re active on more than 25 sites already (because it was unlimited when I bought them)?

    What happens if we’ve got 25-site license and want to downscale because the yearly cost is too much?

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 4:26 pm #

      We’re not going to be taking away your unlimited site license, you simply won’t be extend it as an unlimited site license in 2 years time. When you extend it’ll be extended as a 25 site site license.

      You’ll need to purchase as many licenses for the site you’re running. That make sense?

      And, as I have no included in the post : All renewals will be liable for a discount within 60 days of it expiring :)

  26. lucifer666
    1 August 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Woo has just notified me by a blog post that all the products I purchased in the past on an “unlimited” plan will now cost me an $14,000 a year – starting next year.

    Adii calls me a “coach critic” (couch) for not being happy with this change in terms and conditions of products previously purchased.

    I have invested in Woo just like I have with WordPress all those years ago. I have invested time and money, reported on issues quickly, rarely needed support and spent $thousands and thousands of dollars.

    Woo so quickly reminds us that our clients will pay when the majority of them who own a Woo Commerce Website are very small trying to do the best they can and have very limited funds and are just trying their best to sell their wares and compete with bigger more financed companies.

    I purchased everything originally for unlimited sites because I didn’t want to have to pay every time I signed a client, in fact it was a trust and investment in future and woo could see that by logging int my account. Some have not even been used as yet. This is called investing and trusting, basically now I am just throwing money away.

    Price increases is any companies right, changing the terms of any product purchased under different terms is both unethical and more than likely illegal. and It does not matter what someone places in their terms and conditions document.

    A very sad day for Woo and its loyal customers.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      I think there are generally two ways in which you can view these changes today:

      1) You can celebrate along with us the fact that we care enough about our business (and our long-term sustainability) to make hard decisions like this. The fact that we’ve committed to also reinvesting these funds into further innovation and support improvements should also be a bonus.

      OR

      2) You lament the fact that you will be paying (us) more going forward and you forget that you still got a helluva of a lot more (value / bang for your buck) than you paid for in the past.

      The former group of customers are what I call loyal customers, because they are the one’s that are helping us correct our wrongs from the past. We have never hidden the fact that we made mistakes with our previous decisions re: our business model. Heck, if anyone was being unfair, we were being hellishly unfair to ourselves.

      I understand why some customers may feel hard done by; we’re most certainly not ignorant to that. Hence why this has been such a hard decision.

      But this is the type of decision where we’ve drawn a line in the sand and if that splits customers into two such distinct groups as I’ve “labeled” them above, then that’s a by-product of the decision.

      • lucifer666
        1 August 2013 at 4:48 pm #

        I don’t know what to say about that response Adii. You have basically written to me about what group you think I belong to.

        You did not consult anyone on this except your books, maybe if you had of had some consulting process with your “lamenting” disloyal customers who have invested thousands of dollars with you – you could have avoided this PR disaster.

        In a nutshell, your customers that have invested the most money with you (and I must be in the top few%) you are now asking them to pay you exactly what they have invested in wholly in past years in premium plugins and extensions, now every year, because you had something hidden in your terms and conditions.

        I do note a screenshot of your “unlimited” plan did not have an Asterix next to it.

        • Warren Holmes
          1 August 2013 at 5:06 pm #

          I don’t think we would need to consult our customers to know that we have an unsustainable business model. We have all the data to analyse which shows its not going to be a long term business with our model.

          As we mention in the post, if you’ve purchased anything before today you don’t need to renew that license for another two years. And, when renewing you won’t be required to purchase at full price within 60 days of its expiration.

          We’re also working on plans to better reward all our loyal customers, we hope to have something for you there soon :)

          • farrel
            1 August 2013 at 8:59 pm #

            “I don’t think we would need to consult our customers to know that we have an unsustainable business model. We have all the data to analyse which shows its not going to be a long term business with our model.”

            ——————————

            There are lots of ways you can respond to those challenges without undermining your past relationships with existing and loyal customers.

            Necessity is the mother of invention. I bet if you really wanted to you could find many ways of increasing revenues without doing what you are doing now to loyal customers.

            You could change the existing model for new customers, but then find other means to increase revenues to compensate for not increasing prices on existing customers.

            I could throw out tons of ideas things like: Create a marketplace where 3rd party developers can sell their Woo Extensions on your site and then pay you a commission.

            That’s a win-win situation and the developer gets to pay, not the customer.

            The problem here is you guys are trying to put this situation on the shoulders of the very people who helped you get to this point by supporting your growth.

            In order to justify changing the rules of the game you almost seem to want to put blame on your customers for you having expenses.

            I’ve definitely noticed a change in Woo culture since Adii left to start his own venture.

          • hoodoofactory
            2 August 2013 at 3:51 am #

            By definition, a “sustainable” business model is not one that makes the business that support your business carry an ongoing burden that may very well put them under.

            You guys have thought so much about Woo’s sustainability. Did the sustainability of small developers with individuals as clients not cross your mind? That is a huge percentage of who you service. A lot of websites I do for people cost $1,000 or less to develop. Now I’m supposed to expect those individuals to pay that much in just software maintenance? They won’t be able to afford it. I won’t be able to afford you. Not the definition of sustainability.

        • Adii Pienaar
          1 August 2013 at 6:53 pm #

          @lucifer666 – You get to decide how you want to act / react. My mom always told me “If the shoes fit, then wear them.”

          • lucifer666
            2 August 2013 at 12:06 am #

            My Dad taught me my oath is everything, nothing outside of that matters. If I give my word that is final!

      • SoDisappointed
        2 August 2013 at 9:45 pm #

        “The former group of customers are what I call loyal customers, because they are the one’s that are helping us correct our wrongs from the past.”

        Adii, your entire response above and this line in particular makes me hope I never have to pay another penny to WooThemes. I am shocked and disappointed by the lack of respect that you and the WooThemes team have shown towards your customers in your arrogant and dismissive responses to genuine customer concerns. Most of your customers are not complaining about an increase in price, but are rather confused and upset by drastic changes to licensing. They purchased “unlimited” WooThemes products specifically because of the promises that came with those products, and to have all of those promises suddenly taken away feels like betrayal (particularly after the recent “sale” that encouraged many to proactively buy more WooThemes products). To then imply that customers who are questioning this change are somehow disloyal, even after some have paid you tens of thousands of dollars already, is a kick in the teeth. If you are unable to respond to customers in a courteous manner during this stressful time, perhaps you should hire someone to handle your PR and social media.

        We thought long and hard before purchasing WooThemes products, mainly because we were unimpressed by the way the previous pricing change was handled and thought it raised questions about the stability of the company. We did finally decide to use WooCommerce for our website and purchased quite a few extensions. We later also purchased Canvas, with the intention of moving our website over to it and potentially building customer websites with it. To be completely frank, the Canvas purchase was a hesitant one too because we generally think that, visually-speaking, WooThemes are not particularly special on the front-end (and really, most clients want a website that looks good and is tidy). But we wanted a powerful framework on the back-end and were impressed by the WooFramework, and figured we could put enough hours into Canvas to create a visually appealing website. However, at this point we will shelve our plans to use Canvas and will begin shopping for a new framework. We are just so so so thankful that we did not recommend WooThemes to any clients yet. We would have been mortified to have to tell clients that the fixed cost website we created for them was suddenly going to be a recurring cost for them.

        To be clear, I have NO problem with a price increase and would be willing to pay more for future purchases or for support on a per-use basis. However, what I do have a problem with is the sudden business model flip-flop and complete lack of professionalism that the WooThemes team has shown in this announcement, and the disrespectful and almost contemptuous attitude you have towards your customers. Contrary to what you seem to think, customers are not responsible for making up for your poor business planning. People are generally accepting of prices going up with time, but you shouldn’t be surprised or angry when customers question a complete rearrange of the products they purchased. From this announcement and the shocking way it was handled, we can no longer have any faith in any current or future promises made by WooThemes and we do not believe that this company has a well-thought-out business model. We will continue to use WooCommerce for now, because we feel it is a genuinely good product, but we will not be using it for customer websites and we also hope that a competitor will develop an equivalent product within the next 729 days. :)

    • visitonweb
      1 August 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      @lucifer666.
      I agree with you 100%.
      As scammed customers I think we should do something against this illegal and unethical commercial practices.

      I think Woo do not realize yet that they are going straight into the wall.
      They will earn more on each license but how many people will buy them.
      Their sales will immediately decrease. Unsatisfied customers like us will share this everywhere on the web. Those blog posts, social sharing and the way woo change their terms will have a very bad effect on woo reputation. In my opinion, woo is no more a trustable company.

      They show us clearly that they don’t care about existing customer and that they don’t care about their sales terms.

      Very bad :-(

      Dimitri

  27. jamesbondsai
    1 August 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Ones said lifetime should be lifetime forever. What are you (Woo team) talking now about 2 years? I will not definitely buy any your products.

    Woothemes is not nice to customers!!!!

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      Just to be clear, our lifetime meant for the life of the product. That mostly pertained to themes, as they would be retired every so often. But there were some times when extensions were removed from our site too.

      I see this as ultimately being nice to our customers. You may need to rework your client (or personal) decisions around our new pricing, but you can know that WooThemes will be around much longer with this business model.

      Sure an extension, etc… was nice at it’s one time cost of $29. But what if in two years WooThemes had to shut down because of that pricing model? Slowly WooCommerce and it’s extensions may become decrepit. You then have to consider switching to an a new and actively developed e-commerce system, that surely has a new set of costs. Not only in money, but in time spent switching.

      This is to make sure WooThemes is around for as long as possible, meaning our support and products will be around (and continually improved). That’s the ultimate win win for everyone involved. :)

  28. tgdev
    1 August 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    You guys are passing on the cost of client support to the clients who don’t need all that support.

    Use it / don’t use it suggestions: (Only you guys know your data and expenses, so this is said in respect as well as ignorance)
    – Why don’t you charge a support subscription per month / per year for clients who needs support.
    – Have a subscription where clients get access to downloads and updates of all plugins. Per month / per year. Almost like http://premium.wpmudev.org/

    The fact that you receive so much negative feedback suggests there must be a better alternative.
    So I’m sure there is a pricing model out there that would fit better and be as profitable, but one that is more acceptable to your customers.

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      We’ve explored the option of support plans, but at this stage we feel it adds an unnecessary level of complexity to our pricing offer. The data we have available also suggests that at some point, everyone needs some assistance.

      Whether or not we have support subscription plans we still have to hire awesome Woo Ninjas to answer tickets. We wouldn’t simply be able to get more ninjas in as we needed, and then let them go when the demand for support is low.

      Great support is a fixed cost for us :)

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 12:40 am #

        “We’ve explored the option of support plans, but at this stage we feel it adds an unnecessary level of complexity to our pricing offer. ”

        I don’t see why it should, it seems pretty simple to me. Offer a plugin price with support, and another one without support.

        You will soon see, based on your plugin sales per month, what percentage of people are paying for support and can staff accordingly. It should be easy to average it out over the year.

        Your support staff needs will not go up and down as erratically as you said.

    • Andrew Benbow
      1 August 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      “You guys are passing on the cost of client support to the clients who don’t need all that support.”

      But you do want updates, new features, bug fixes, security fixes, compatibility fixes and the knowledge that, if in 2 years you do have a question, Woo will be around to answer it

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 12:59 am #

        “But you do want updates, new features, bug fixes, security fixes, compatibility fixes and the knowledge that, if in 2 years you do have a question, Woo will be around to answer it”

        Andrew, with all due respect. Updates, bug fixes, security fixes, new features etc are all necessary to be able to continue selling your product to new customers. You should be funding future development costs with future product sales.

        Once a plugin has been developed and sold you have made your profit. Whatever expenses you incur afterward to keep it current and competitive should be funded by present sales and future sales because that updating process enables you to keep selling it.

        There is no additional expense for you to make a new feature available to people who just bought the plugin or theme the day after it added, or to people who bought it last year.

        Once it’s been developed it’s free for you to duplicate in whatever amount you need. It’s not like a factory where each actual product produced incurs a new cost. These are digital files distributed digitally, there is no difference in cost whether you produce 10, or 10,000.

  29. allmyhoney
    1 August 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    I think everyone just needs to realize running a wooCommerce store is an expensive business and putting in a recurring model to support your own clients in the future is something one will need to do if using wooCommerce – that is that it seems with these changes – we shall see what the future holds ;)

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Yes, precisely.

      It’s our fault, in ways, of perpetuating a pricing model like we previously had. Sending the message to the WordPress world that if WooThemes can do it, maybe we should setup our pricing that way as well.

      Hopefully people doing client work for a one time cost have realized the same thing we have.

      • nazrhite
        2 August 2013 at 3:08 am #

        I’m one of those guys…and yes I have realized this. It’s painful to admit this, but client work for a one-time cost is a bad business decision. So we change and move on.

        To all those complaining: Truth is, whether you know it or not, Woo moving in this direction, FORCES you to either improve your business model, or stop using their products.

        You’re free to make that choice. You can disagree with Woo’s argument, but you can’t argue with the decision. It’s their business, just as your business is yours. Stop arguing about how someone else operates their business. The world is full of options. :)

        BTW: If you’re still mad about the supposed change of terms…stop agreeing to terms you don’t read…or understand.

        • delerium
          2 August 2013 at 4:06 pm #

          @nazrhite “BTW: If you’re still mad about the supposed change of terms…stop agreeing to terms you don’t read…or understand.” – exactly!! Why is it so difficult for people to read and understand terms & conditions? Woo’s terms are short and very too the point, so there isn’t any excuse, but I suppose most people ignore them since we’ve all seen those lengthy terms in the wild, such as Apple’s or Microsoft’s, amongst others.

          If you’ve agreed with the terms, live with them!

    • smehero
      2 August 2013 at 7:57 am #

      The new pricing model just made shopify’s value proposition looks great:

      http://www.shopify.com/pricing

      • Ryan Ray
        2 August 2013 at 6:54 pm #

        Their basic setup at $29 a month = $348 a year.

        That fee is only in the costs of using Shopify. They also add a 2% transaction fee on top of whatever the percentage is ( on average 2.9% ) that the payment gateway you choose takes. So you may be loosing near 5% of each sale as well. Take that as you will, but transaction fees add up.

        Now, look at getting WordPress setup with Bluehost or HostGator for a good and affordable host. They charge let’s say on average $7 a month. WooCommerce itself is completely free, and comes with two payment gateways which are completely free. You can use PayPal or Mijireh.

        Now take the $7 a month charge for 12 months. = $84. Then subtract only one transaction fee from the gateway you choose. PayPal’s is 2.9% plus $0.30 on every transaction. WooCommerce is still much cheaper using our basic setup, than Shopify’s basic setup.

        They also have an add on store, where they charge for many things you can again do for FREE with WordPress. Aka – Complete control over SEO costs $30 bucks with Shopify. Some of their shipping add ons cost $25-$65 a month, equalling $300 per year at the lowest price. Then take our FedEx extension for $79 a year…

        Most every example I look at puts WooCommerce on the cheaper end than Shopify. Not to mention they don’t even have features such as subscriptions, pre-orders, etc… available as Shopify add-ons.

  30. SmashBrando
    1 August 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    I am sad to see the price increase (again). Looking at your post it seems the only logical step was to increase prices, because support is expensive.

    “We know that the average support ticket costs us $5″

    Had you perhaps considered a better support system? Instead of passing those costs to users, you should minimize support costs first. If you could cut those costs down to $1-$2 per ticket, would a price increase be needed?

    I also agree on another note above that extensions for WC are getting way over priced. If you look at the cost of one extension compared to the overall price of WP plugins it gets out of hand.

    I think the best answer would to slash prices of all your products and create a separate support subscription. It would reduce the amount of “let me Google that for you” support and would allow users fair pricing/service.

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      The only way we can make our current support system any better would be to build our own. At least to find something that fits our every need, it’d be custom built. That has it’s own inherit costs, obviously.

      We’re always working on our support system and workflow, and if it ever was brought down to a cheaper cost per ticket we’d still have the need for a recurring business model. It ultimately provides the best support possible, and lets us continually re-invest back into the product you bought into in the first place. :)

      • SmashBrando
        2 August 2013 at 7:14 am #

        Thanks for the reply Ryan. I guess what I am saying is, the cost of support/time is one metric that looks to be the main issue.

        In your example:
        “We know that the average support ticket costs us $5, which means the 48 support tickets resulted in an expense of $240 for us.”

        Decreasing the cost of support to $2 would mean a cost of $96 vs $240. Based on last months customer service report, you are spending $50k+ per month on support. I estimate that would be $750k over a years time. If you can reduce the cost, you would save about $500k. Obviously that is a big enough number to say, support is somthing that needs to be more efficient.

        In your response, a recurring model is also the issue. So why not charge a simple flat monthly fee for support? It gets you access to themes and extension support. Extensions could then be made cheaper.

        I already have a subscription. I spent $200 + $20/mo. I have been active for 2+ years and have bought about 15+ extensions. If every user was forced into that model (which simplifies pricing and expectations) everyone would be happier.

        I am on your side, but I think as a whole customers feel that you are not totally on theirs.

        Thanks again.

    • lucifer666
      1 August 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      #SmashBrando, there ya go, a way to do it that backs up their rhetoric, but alas, the Woo Scroo is on and they have found a way to get all their biggest and most loyal customers to pay massive hikes again for stuff they have already paid for.

      You have no idea how ticked off I am that I backed woo so much in the early years and now I regret the decision entirely.

      So it will be Woo for basics and an alternative now going forward for all small stores.

  31. wotacharlie
    1 August 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Can someone clarify the plan for renewals. Does the 2 yrs for grandfathered products begin today? I have bought 34 extensions (many unlimited) over the past few years. Am I going to get a massive bill all on one day for renewals?

    WordPress is very much a hobby rather than a business for me, so while I can afford to throw a few $100 dollars at woo over the course of a year I couldn’t justify $1000’s all on one day.

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 5:31 pm #

      In exactly 2 years time, your license will expire. Its totally up to you whether you want to renew them or not, we won’t be sending you a bill of any sort :)

  32. James Dalman
    1 August 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    I applaud WooThemes and the team! Perhaps there is always a better way or method, but at least they are trying to stay around for all of our benefits. The rest of my two cents can be found on my post: http://jamesdalman.com/woo-themes-price-increase/

    Keep doing your best Woo!

    • allmyhoney
      1 August 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      I think for alot of businesses out there using wooCommerce we just need to now find a way to tell our clients that the cost of their store has now gone up 1000 dollars per year on average, which is something that we all need to plan for and get used to – but its gotta be done. Its frustrating to just have to go about it and take the grief but where there is a will there is a way!

      • Adii Pienaar
        1 August 2013 at 6:43 pm #

        We totally get that. We understand that just as hard as it is for us to communicate this to you, it will be hard on you to communicate to your clients. The reality is that it needs to be done some time.

      • James Dalman
        1 August 2013 at 7:22 pm #

        That is a good perspective.

        I would tell clients that if website solution has allowed them to make a great income online, then investing another $1000 for that opportunity is that – an investment! If clients complain, they need to know the value. And if they still complain, they may not be the best clients to have anyways. Just my two cents.

      • smehero
        2 August 2013 at 8:02 am #

        Basically now it only makes sense to recommend woocommerce for clients with project budget size of $5k and $1k annual maintenance.

        For those without this budget, they might be better off with shopify.

  33. cmwwebfx
    1 August 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    I have a question… in the first price rise we were told that the plugins that we have purchased were going to be grandfathered in for life. So how will this be affecting us now with this new statement that seems to not hold the promise from the Woo team back in the first prise rise?

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      “Life” now means 2 years.

      We tried our best to stop the haemorrhaging and still grandfather the unlimited / forever licenses. Unfortunately those very commitments are the one’s that have threatened to put us out of business in 2 / 3 years’ time.

      We can probably commit to giving you lifetime support & updates, but we’ll be out of business in 2 years time; so wouldn’t be able to provide it then.

      Or we can fund the next 2 years (i.e. take another financial knock for another 2 years), whereafter we need the renewal revenues to kick in to keep us alive.

  34. gmcray
    1 August 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Hey, WooTeam…good for you that you’re looking after your bottom line. I’d much rather do business with a company that is planning strategically to still be around 5 years from now. You’ve got no quarrel from me with increasing your prices. I’ve had to do that with my business, as well.

    Now, just make sure and put your newfound money to good use and crank out some innovative themes! Don’t disappoint us!

    • allmyhoney
      1 August 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Sensei updates fast and furious ; )

      • Ryan Ray
        1 August 2013 at 6:16 pm #

        Sensei will be seeing some very nice updates, very soon. :)

        • thebastion
          2 August 2013 at 1:12 pm #

          Is my lifetime sensei subscription now 2 years as well?

      • Jeff Pearce
        1 August 2013 at 8:53 pm #

        Watch this space closely ;-)

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      Hehe, that’s the thinking. :) Thanks for the support!

      • allmyhoney
        1 August 2013 at 11:30 pm #

        I started off the day a little annoyed but I’m coming around slowly, I still wish that every year licenses for updates only were not so expensive, but sensei needs developer hours and long ones at that!!

  35. Martin
    1 August 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    With WooCommerce having more then 100,000 downloads, maybe it would be a good idea to whack a price tag on WooCommerce. After all it is a back bone to have a way to sell goods online and a good one at that.

    I’d rather see WooCommerce get a yearly price tag for each use then see the themes and extensions get a higher price tag.

    Let’s say WooCommerce had a $30 a year price tag and times that by 100,000 people using it. That’s a whole lot of money.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      If we whacked a price tag on WooCommerce, it’ll likely be something like $500 or $1000 annually (if not more). :)

      Extensions are the way we monetize WooCommerce and essentially it compensates for the lack of direct revenues from WC. What that does though is that it makes WooCommerce an easy to choice to try out and an easy choice for small online shops (that don’t need any extensions or more than one or two).

  36. mikeeylikeey
    1 August 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    yeah woothemes do what you have to do…

  37. tinygiantstudios
    1 August 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Woo,

    Your 25-site license restriction doesn’t play nice with Multisite setups as I can’t set license keys on a per site basis (due to your recent updater plugin update). That means that if the multisite has more than 25 subsites, there’s no way to use a different license key – or would the entire multisite setup count as only 1 site?

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      Every separate WP instance within Multisite counts as a site for licensing purposes. Shoot us a mail and we can elaborate on the practicalities in this regard.

      • mzak
        1 August 2013 at 9:26 pm #

        You may want to update the language in the user account dashboard:

        How do license keys work with a Multisite Network?
        When running a WordPress Multisite installation, all plugins are stored in one location. Therefore, if running 10 sub-sites, you update your plugin in one location (the “Network Admin” screen) and all sub-sites instantly get the update.

        Based on there being only one piece of code involved here, if sub-site “A” updated the plugin, sub-site “B” would automatically receive the update (this is the reason why plugin updates are handled at “Network Admin” level in a WordPress Multisite).

        Due to this, it’s not possible for us to track how many sub-sites are using the license in a WordPress Multisite installation.

        • tinygiantstudios
          1 August 2013 at 10:14 pm #

          That’s assuming that each subsite will be running each plugin. What if you’re on a tiered level where only certain plugins are active on certain subsites…

          For Woo’s updatet plugin to work, extensions need to be network activated – which is completely unworkable for us. Equally if you’ve got more than 25 subsites, you’re screwed as well because there’s nowhere you can enter “more” license keys.

  38. Kai
    1 August 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    All I have to say is… MAJOR PROPS to Adii and the team. This is never an easy decision to make, but the numbers never lie and you have to make the tough choices sometimes.

    Keep up the great work and I wish you guys many more years of success!

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Thank you, Kai.

      A tough choice yet obvious one to keep WooThemes around as long as possible! Which is our ultimate goal. :P

  39. Piotr
    1 August 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    Since WooCommerce plugin is free to Take money for your support. This will solve the problem of unpaid programmers. Simple.
    At the moment, a free plugin in practice it is very very expensive.

  40. mzak
    1 August 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Any chance we can be given a way to change our billing information in our account dashboard?

    I’d like to renew my theme club subscription at my current rate with a different credit card, but the only way to do so is to cancel my subscription and then renew it, which I assume would trigger the new pricing.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Drop us a mail and we can make a plan. :)

      • mzak
        1 August 2013 at 9:00 pm #

        Thanks. :)

  41. petergriffyn
    1 August 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Here’s a support issue.. Trust.

    • Ryan Ray
      1 August 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      What do you mean? Can you explain what you mean by trust?

      • petergriffyn
        2 August 2013 at 4:57 am #

        Enough has been said in the comments below on the issue of Woothemes customer trust being broken as the sentiment is very clear.

        What also is clear is that the virtue of honour does not exist, couple that with lack of trust from the developers who have purchased Woothemes’ top tier products and the natural result is that nothing you say now can be believed without an inherent aspect of cynicism.

        I hope Woothemes calculated their customer churn in it’s projections and still comes out ahead, because 2 years is a long time in the web industry.

  42. Frederik
    1 August 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Bringing this in for new licenses is just fine… but not for licenses that have been purchased. Not a wise move by woo…

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 7:39 am #

      I can’t echo this enough.

      Read through all the comments. The major issue is not “you increased your price tier etc.” The general consensus is your price change going forward for NEW purchases is fine.

      The major issue is, after pushing us to buy unlimited licenses/updates of which more than a handful have invested LARGE sums into, you now say those purchases are not valid and are limiting them and forcing us to pay potentially outrageous renewal fees to get updates to those products (bug updates etc.)
      If we let them lapse we pay even more.

      No one wants to have unsecure/broken plugins running on their site as WP itself updates. You’ve broken the trust you established with loyal users.

  43. Ozzy Rodriguez
    1 August 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m a loyal WooCommerce user and use it on client sites like some complaining above.

    For everyone complaining about lifetime support licenses not being honored or whatever else, would you rather Woo go out of business? What does your lifetime support and upgrades look like then?

    It’s unsustainable. Clear and simple.

    At least with the change in pricing structure and an eye towards sustainability, you’ll have the option to renew instead of having to find another platform out of necessity because Woo is no longer around.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Thanks for the support Ozzy!

      • Ozzy Rodriguez
        1 August 2013 at 9:00 pm #

        Thanks to you and your team for making awesome products!

        • Timmy
          2 August 2013 at 6:12 pm #

          Hey Ozzy,

          How does Woo butt taste?

          • Ryan Ray
            2 August 2013 at 7:01 pm #

            It probably tastes pretty good if he’s using our products to quickly build successful sites and charge appropriately for his skills. ;)

    • marcopako
      1 August 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      Agree with @Ozzy,

      We love WooThemes thanks for assigning value to quality support @Addii, long live WooThemes!

  44. Timmy
    1 August 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    So raising prices and decreasing access to downloads and support periods, limiting the amount of sites we can use your products on… This is a good business model?

    I understand raising prices, and respect for being upfront about the reasoning (money), but to actively decrease access to what we’re paying (more) for I just don’t get it.

    Then, to come in with that smug example, as if we owe something more than what we’re already paying you… That’s what just lost you a paying customer.

    Peace I’m outta here!

  45. joeyrudi
    1 August 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Frustration over price increases aside, I’m not understanding the license renewal costs and I have clients expecting quotes in the next couple of days.

    – I read “Within 60 days of your license expiring, you have the option to renew your license at the discounted rate of 50% of the product’s price.”

    – I also read “We will, as needed, change the discount rate depending on expected support or development required for the product.”

    – And I read “We have not yet finalized renewal prices or plans. The only thing we can share at this stage is that it’ll include a significant discount compared to the first-time purchase.”

    Can I safely quote my clients that renewal costs are 50% of the initial license?

    Thanks.

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 7:10 pm #

      Hey Joey

      By default, every product on our site will be renewable at 50% when a license is within 60 days of expiring.

      We may, if we feel its justified, increase that. There is of course the possibility that that could be well less than 50% if we’ve not released any major updates to a product :)

      • joeyrudi
        1 August 2013 at 7:20 pm #

        Thanks Warren. So, I’ll use a 50% rule-of-thumb.

        Customers never like price increases. I wish you guys could have changed the model for new purchases only, but I’m sure you tried to find the right balance. Best wishes.

  46. Samuel
    1 August 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Well… I must admit that I always knowed that unlimited support for themes at their previous price, was to end someday… ;)

    Increasing license prices is fine too, good support and good plugins deserved it.

    But, doubling the prices of most popular WC extensions… That is too much IMHO.

    But I’m sure you’re aware of increasing prices (at any amount) will make many people to seek alternatives. And maybe that’s the reason of so huge price.

    Before of this change I always recommended people to use WC for their ecommerce because of the best value/functions due to affordable extensions.

    I think indeed that was the reason of the huge adoption for WC. Now that argument is gone :(

  47. David Peralty
    1 August 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    I hope you don’t mind me commenting here, but I had some opinions on the change and I hope that it will help people during the transition. The biggest thing I realized is that Theme and Plugins are NOT products, but are instead services. We, as users, expect constant updates, support, and new features, and as such, we should learn to understand that it requires a service-like fee structure. Check out my post for more thoughts on the change – http://peralty.com/2013/08/01/wordpress-products-versus-services/

    • lucifer666
      1 August 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      Seriously, people who just read headlines and skip through miss the point entirely, it is not about paying for things (who cares about price rises, new pricing structures), it is about the honoring previous deals you have done with customers. Your article is a love song to Woo Themes and the way they are doing business and is glaring that it is poorly researched from the point of view of loyal customers.

      • David Peralty
        1 August 2013 at 8:23 pm #

        Sounds to me like you are one of the people that would like Woo to just close up shop, or archive their previous products. If they stopped creating updates for them, rebranded them all under new product names, and continued forward, would you be happier? How would you feel when WordPress changed in a way that stopped them from working? I guess my question to you is “why should Woo take time to continue to provide services to users that aren’t adding anything further to their bottom line? What value are you as a customer?”

        I get that they’ve made changes that suck. I definitely believe they owe something more than an extra year of support and updates to the people that built their business. I also believe they made this change too late in their product cycle, and are thus affecting too many people.

        I am hoping that everyone can think about this rationally, attempt to see it from Woo’s side of the fence, and not get so up in arms. They made mistakes, but they have to look out for their business interests. It sucks, but you can leave at any time. Your loyalty only extends as far as your support of the company. It isn’t very loyal of you as a patron to rake them over the coals for a change they’ve stated will keep them in business for years to come, is it?

        • momofone
          1 August 2013 at 9:57 pm #

          I’m sorry David, but I disagree with your comment and your harsh reaction. If Woo enter into a contract with me, I like to think that contract is legally binding – both ways. This sets a precedent, and that is that their contract is worthless. What you have in your account yesterday could be installed on an unlimited number of sites. Today, it is only good for 25 sites. In two years what is to prevent Woo reducing that to one website? Does this decision instill any trust that they will not further diminish the value of your investment? The answer to that question is no.

          If Woo’s business model is reliant on reneging on its written and verbal contracts, it is not a trustworthy organization. It actually proves that their business model is not progressive and growing if it needs to alter existing contracts to make ends meet. In reality this should raise a red flag to anyone considering investing time, money and effort into this system.

          Three words for you to ponder: integrity, trust and honor.

          Everyone respects that prices increase over time and what they do with their prices quite frankly is up to them, but when they break existing contracts – that’s a different ball game altogether and may not even be legal.

          Quote: If they stopped creating updates for them, rebranded them all under new product names, and continued forward, would you be happier?

          answer: Chances are if they are this flippant with the contracts they enter into, they may well be using your suggestion as an instruction manual down the road.

          • David Peralty
            1 August 2013 at 10:26 pm #

            The contract you entered into included a Terms of Service. In this TOS, you agreed that they are allowed to change things, like pricing at any time. When we purchase things like hosting that say they have “UNLIMITED” we all know that this means that they don’t. Nothing in life is unlimited. This is a marketing term.

            I agree that changing something like this after you’ve purchased it sucks. I would have loved to see them grandfather everyone, BUT I bet that it would have been such a huge detriment to their business that it’s unsustainable (just a guess).

            I would love to see Woo do more to appease everyone here, but they’ll never make everyone happy. You are right that what they’ve done is stepped on trust more than anything else. And as a consumer, you are within your right to move to another platform. I would be happy to see Woo offer a limited time refund opportunity to people that have purchased lifetime licenses that feel slighted. I would like to see them offer steep discounts for renewals for those that stick around. (50% off for average consumer, one time extra discount to 75% off for lifetime subs that stick around and renew).

            I’ve said my peace here, on twitter and on my blog. I understand why they did what they did. I hope they do well going forward, and I hope they find some small way to make as many people as possible feel more positive about this change. From here on out, I’m just going to let the Woo team focus on their own message, and wish you and them the best.

        • lucifer666
          2 August 2013 at 12:05 am #

          A ridiculous comment.

          My Value as A Customer:
          1. I would say I would be in top few % as far as revenue for Woo
          2. I report bugs and issues with extensions and themes.
          3. I use support less than 10 x per annum

          Loyalty
          Loyalty, honor and respect is being open and honest. Paying for 50+ extensions all “Unlimited”.

          I would have been happy to increase monthly fees to $100 per month for Premium Developer or whatever, but a $14k add on of expenses annually for something I already purchased as “Unlimited” is not loyalty, it is just mathematics.

          Woo have reached out to me, and I am happy to have an open discussion with them about this and the effects that it has on my customers.

          As for keeping them in businesses. Lets say they have 10.000 developer subscriptions. Multiple that by $70 per month, increase your base and you have me.

          Making me pay again for something I have purchased every year – you lose me!

  48. Dre Armeda
    1 August 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Is there value in the product? Yes.

    Is it solving a problem for me when I use it? Yes.

    For professional use, are most WordPress products grossly underpriced? Absolutely!

    Kudos for increasing your margins, and also solidifying resources to sustain a product that has helped me and countless others attain awesome websites.

    For those complaining, there are plenty of solutions out there that offer recurring maintenance licenses, most of them aren’t as awesome as Woo. Feel free to find an alternative that suites your needs at the price point you think is fair.

    If you think Woo is the only team raising prices, you have another thing coming. It’s called natural progression in a market that is young, we soon will see pricing comparable to tools in other industries where buyers are willing to pay for the value they are getting. Maybe you’re pricing or process is the problem, not the product company raising the price on their end. Food for thought.

    Adii, congrats on the move, I would gladly pay double if it solves a business problem for me and my clients.

    • farrel
      1 August 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      “For professional use, are most WordPress products grossly underpriced? Absolutely!”

      I disagree 100%. While individual plugins and themes can appear cheap, you typically buy many, if not at least a dozen. Then you have other services to pay for as well, like 3rd party security monitoring services.

      Another hidden cost is buying a plugin that promises to do X, but then conflicts with another and has to then be abandoned.

      All told that can add up to several thousand dollars a year. Now you are saying it’s ok if people double their prices. That means every developer should then follow suit and double their prices. That will result in WordPress developers having to spend several thousand dollars a year.

      People are attracted to WordPress because of the low cost. But once you start pushing prices for running a site to over $5,000 a year you will kill a large portion of the market.

      There are other and better proprietary solutions that run about the same price, and that are a lot simpler because it’s one proprietary system you have to deal with and one company. Not 10 different plugins that often end up conflicting with each other and 10 different companies you have to engage when you have issues.

      Greed will kill the WP community…..

      • Dre Armeda
        1 August 2013 at 10:34 pm #

        That’s the great thing about WordPress, it’s OK to disagree 100% :)

        You may not agree with my take that equating this scenario to being greedy is a bit naive. That’s OK as well.

        Woo runs a business, and the objective in business is to make money, irregardless of the market you’re in, or the platform it’s built on. it’s Woo’s prerogative to price out any portion of their audience, but leave that to them and don’t make assumptions.

        In the end it’s about value and if the value isn’t there for you, find an alternative.

        “For those complaining, there are plenty of solutions out there that offer recurring maintenance licenses, most of them aren’t as awesome as Woo. Feel free to find an alternative that suites your needs at the price point you think is fair.”

        Thanks for the reply!

        Dre

      • James Dalman
        1 August 2013 at 10:53 pm #

        There is a big difference between GREED and MAKING A PROFIT. No where in business rules does it say that someone taking on a huge risk should lose money or break even. Heck, if you make just a minimal profit in a business, it’s not even worth doing. Go work for 7-11 and collect your paycheck and then go home at the end of the day.

        There is a cost in doing any business, that is how the world works. I spend thousands of dollars every year for software, apps, plugins, themes, and other needs. I’m not complaining because all these tools and resources make me money and a profit.

        I am sorry that other people find it difficult to make a living for themselves, but that isn’t WooThemes fault. They, as we all do, have to pay our bills and stay in business. They are finding a way to be sustainable and so should everyone else.

      • Gavin
        2 August 2013 at 1:20 am #

        your last para is a good point — with WordPress, WooCommerce, a theme and a dozen or so extensions to pay for and keep up to date — an all-in-one hosted solution can start to look a LOT more attractive.

    • farrel
      1 August 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      Here Dre, do the math. I can go to Shopify and get their premium eCommerce hosted solution.

      For $179 per month I get a well supported ecommerce platform AND hosting too. This is for Unlimited bandwidth and Unlimited Products. That’s it. That includes live support and from just one place, not 10 different developers who can each take their time getting back to you.

      I don’t even have to setup anything or support anything myself. It’s all included.

      For WordPress just to host a premium account, without even buying any software or plugins will cost you $249.00 per month (WP Engine) and that is where your traffic is capped at 400,000 visits per month. Unlimited visits will cost even more.

      That doesn’t even include any paid plugins like WooCommerce plugins, or security monitoring and backup services you may need in addition. You can add several thousand dollars onto that.

      Now are you still going to tell us how under-priced WordPress paid products and services are?

      At the end of the day it’s not whether an individual plugin is $45 or $95. It’s about what your overall cost are for the hosting, plugins, developing AND time spent on maintaining the site.

      WordPress is becoming more and more expensive and will end up not being a cost effective solution anymore.

      • Dre Armeda
        1 August 2013 at 10:50 pm #

        It sounds like Shopify is a valid consideration for you, maybe your clients will be good with the value they get with that solution.

        I absolutely think WordPress paid products and services are under-priced!

        My overall take is If you’re not building these plugin and service costs into your project pricing then that’s on you, not the product or service company.

        I have scoped many a projects (mom & pop to the enterprise), and adding in functionality to a project costs money. Whether adding a product like Woo, or a custom build of XYZ. If the customer cannot afford XYZ, we de-scope and only build XY, or maybe even X.

        Really comes down to value. How are you presenting value? How are you educating your audience? What expectations are you setting that may devalue you and your service?

        If this change prices out Woo for your projects, and your audience isn’t willing to pay, it’s likely because they don’t have the budget, or don’t see the value, right? Find an alternative solution, or convince them to pay. Or alternatively, maybe reevaluate your audience?

        One thing is for sure, WordPress business is young, and this is likely the first of many pricing changes to follow. The business of WordPress is big, and maturing quickly.

        If you are questioning this type of pricing change, you are questioning that Woo doesn’t know how to value their product. Maybe your right, maybe not. Sometimes we need to look beyond that and think, maybe they are pricing correctly and we’re not properly adjusting our approach, and in turn devaluing ourselves.

        Cheers!

        • farrel
          1 August 2013 at 11:23 pm #

          “One thing is for sure, WordPress business is young, and this is likely the first of many pricing changes to follow. The business of WordPress is big, and maturing quickly.”

          —————————

          That is exactly what I am talking about. Everyone thinking they need to raise their prices without realizing that one plugin is just one spoke in the wheel. A lot more expense is needed in addition to make it all work.

          If the WordPress user base is growing in size then logically the costs should be coming down or at least staying the same because the same plugin that was once sold to 500 people can now be sold to 900 people.

          The developer costs, apart from support, stays the same, but the profit increases due to the increase in customers. That’s how economies of scale work. You don’t increase the price the more items you sell.

          If support is the justification for the price increase then separate support out from the product price. Many developers never need support so why charge them for something they don’t use?

        • Ryan Ray
          2 August 2013 at 7:11 pm #

          For WordPress just to host a premium account, without even buying any software or plugins will cost you $249.00 per month (WP Engine) and that is where your traffic is capped at 400,000 visits per month. Unlimited visits will cost even more.

          Your comparison is a bit off, that tier at WP Engine is for up to 25 sites. Your $179 at Shopify gets you one site. WP Engine’s cost for one site is $29 a month.

          Their storage levels are different, but WP Engine also offers a pretty awesome setup for unlimited storage using Amazon S3. And S3’s storage costs are dirt cheap.

          A comparison between the two is very valid, ultimately up to the site/shop owner to pick the best fit for them. But we have to be accurate. :)

  49. Steven Gliebe
    1 August 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    That’s 48 client websites and $48 000 in revenue to you.

    …which means the 48 support tickets resulted in an expense of $240 for us.

    …we’ve made a loss of $170…and you’ve made $48k.

    Has WooThemes considered pricing themes “per site” for support/update licenses like you do for plugins? That’d be $3,000 for Woo instead of $240 in the case above, enough to cover every expense every time.

    I haven’t been able to figure out why plugin providers often price per site (which seems entirely fair and 100% sustainable) while theme shops are charging the same amount to the guy making 10 sites as the guy making 1 site.

    Who wouldn’t fork over $70 for every $1,000 project they do?

    In light of what you said above and the fact that Woo’s model does inspire others in the WP ecosystem, do you have any thoughts on the viability of a per site theme pricing model?

  50. Geoffrey
    1 August 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    The only part of Woo I use is the occasional free theme, and even then, I’ve not stuck with those themes for very long before moving on. I have memberships at two other theme sites (Studio Press and Elegant Themes), I just don’t have a need for a Woo membership too (nothing against you).

    I would like to say that I think this price increase is justified. You have to do what is right for your business and what will keep you above water and in the black. Otherwise, you won’t last (as you hinted at in the original post). You may have some negative thoughts now, but I’m sure we can all agree that there would be a lot more if you closed up completely, stopped support and updates, because you couldn’t sustain yourself anymore.

    While I am not a customer and have no immediate plans to become one, I am impressed with how you presented your changes and the level of professionalism and transparency used in this situation. Well done.

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      Thanks Geoffrey :)

    • bytesandbeans
      2 August 2013 at 12:09 am #

      I don’t like too much the price increase but since we are out of the web development business (have moved to software development), it doesnt affect me as much.

      But…

      What Woo should have done is hire a Public Relations Firm, to take all their thoughts and put them in a way that instead of convoking the Public Relations DISASTER, since its clearly, they are good developers but they suck at communication (or copy writing). If the initial article had been written concisely and with a little bit of thought and extra caring, it wouldnt have looked like they are going after everyone’s wallets and throats like good ol corporate mongrels (kinda like Microsoft, Apple and Google does).

      Another thing we saw, prior to our change of market, was something that always kept me at bay of making my customers depend so much on a product that had very low investment, was this change of wind precisely. Woo created a monopoly and everybody fell in it. Then they switched the terms and conditions and everyone is either sucked in by need and demand.

      I think all of this drama could have been avoided by hiring someone competent to present the ideas clearly and to keep an open mind and channels to negotiate with people who dont understand and threatening to leave.

      It doesnt matter how much success you think you have or how much success you currently have. The word of an angry disappointed customer travels faster than the voice of a happy one. Hell hath no fury over a customer scorned, or something like that.

      Good Luck to all!

  51. Bob Dunn
    1 August 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Well, I had to chime in… Having been a Woo customer since 2009, I applaud the guts it took to do this. From reading this very long thread of comments, I can understand the frustrations, but it’s a reality. They need to do this. Will I continue to be a customer? You bet.

    Maybe is doesn’t seem fair that those of us who have purchased in the past will now need to pay for support and updates. But heck, how many of you devs and designers create sites for clients and offer lifetime support? Woo has done exactly that for quite a few years, and now, well it’s change time.

    Prices go up, stuff happens, in all aspects of our businesses and personal life. And you have the choice…. cheers WOO!

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks Bob :)

    • Ryan Ray
      2 August 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      Cheers to you Bob!

  52. David
    1 August 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    These prices are still reasonable for quality software. I’d rather WooThemes charge what they need to stay in business than disappear…

  53. icesquid
    1 August 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    I am ruined! I have always loved you guys. You talk about earning $1000. In my country people even cry to pay up 1000 rupees properly. I have to actually make so many websites in order to eat every month. And now this! I will die.. I won’t even be able to pay up my house rent!

    Curse you’ll! :'(

    • bytesandbeans
      2 August 2013 at 12:12 am #

      that made me chuckle… it was funny too. I hope you are being ironic… lol

  54. icesquid
    1 August 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Atleast please don’t do this to your old customers.. please.. for gods sake man…! or else I am finished.. I don’t even ask many questions on the forums… I have always tried to solve any issue or problem myself… only in case when I really don’t understand anything, I ask you since I am not a very good developer.
    If you want then I promise I will never ask a single question on the forum. But please don’t do this limited site of 25 thing. I am ready to pay a little more to you guys, since I understand even you have to run your business, but man I really have to make a lot of use in order to get my house running.. If you do this 25 site licence thing then I will get totally kicked on my stomach. Please don’t do this guys.

    I am sorry for speaking rudely before, I am very frustrated…
    But guys I hope you understand. You guys and wordpress have been my saviours over the last 3 years. In India, I barely get paid much, but atleast I can pay my rent and electricity bill and the food cost each month.

    I really hope you understand. Please don’t keep the 25 site licence. PLease friends don’t do this. Because please don’t think I am lying, but I swear you guys are the main reason why I am alive.

  55. visitonweb
    1 August 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Today, I simulate a buying process to buy a woocommerce extension.
    Nowhere you tell clearly to the customer that the licence is recurring based.
    You should write it down clearly in the order process.
    Dimitri

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:46 pm #

      We’ll get to that.

      Note though that it isn’t a subscription i.e. we will never bill customers automatically. Renewals are optional and manual in that regard. The current copy explains that support & updates are only included for a year.

  56. Joseph Cotten
    1 August 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    I’ve been a customer of yours since the beginning—actually pre Woo, as I used Magnus’s Wood Press theme before you formed Woo Themes. I’ve bought more Woo Themes than I can count, and recommend you all to other developers, and I will continue to do so.

    As a business owner, I know that you have to look at your future strategically, and make entrepreneurial decisions like this in order to stay afloat. Good job for having the guts to do this! I understand, and will adapt my own business model to continue growing.

    That’s what this is about: business. Clients that can’t afford you will be replaced with people like me, who want the best, and are happy to pay for it over and over.

    No worries guys. Keep growing!

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:42 pm #

      Awesome testimonial! Thanks so much for the support!

    • Magnus Jepson
      2 August 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Wow, thanks for buying WoodPress and sticking with us for so long! :)

  57. ravidreams
    1 August 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    I have a standard club membership which is inactive now. If I come back after two years (and within 60 days from then) to renew, will I have to pay the 199 USD fee or just the new monthly fee?

    • Warren Holmes
      1 August 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Nothing changes there, if you’ve paid the start-up fee you only need to pay the monthly fee to join again :)

    • ravidreams
      2 August 2013 at 8:04 am #

      Thanks !

  58. adamburns
    1 August 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Pretty bummed by this. Some will stay. Some will go. I’m Foundation bound.

  59. clarityweb
    1 August 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Totally all good with what you guys need to do to stay afloat…good job! I am a Club member, so I cannot have too many groans I suppose as not a great deal changes. I would like to know asap though what the ongoing plugin costs are though just so I can build them into my ongoing charges to clients and give them plenty of notice. Kia kaha, :-)

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:40 pm #

      Thanks for the support. And we’ve updated the details about renewals in the blog post above. :)

      • clarityweb
        2 August 2013 at 12:38 am #

        Great, thank you… :-)

  60. Peter
    1 August 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Thanks so much for the openness and transparency.

    I totally support your decision. I’d rather pay more for a great product. So if you just keep improving the product palette and offer good support, I’m happy.

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Thanks so much Peter.

      And on my Xmas wishlist this year: more Peter’s as customers. :)

  61. martinrice
    1 August 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Wow! This announcement came just in time. I was literally about to build a store on a site I’m doing by using WooCommerce, which is already installed, tomorrow. I’ll just have to find a different e-commerce package now.

    This project is a labor of love for me that I’m doing for my best friend. I don’t earn a cent. And, I don’t ask him to reimburse me for the various plugins I buy for the site. In addition to that, I’m a relative beginner with WordPress, though quite experienced on another platform, so I would expect to need ongoing support for awhile.

    So, WooCommerce now is clearly not an option for me. It’s a shame, I like dealing with you all.

    Good luck in growing your business.

    Martin
    Signal Mountain, TN

    • Adii Pienaar
      1 August 2013 at 11:36 pm #

      I’m sorry to hear that Martin.

      Unfortunately no business is sustainable if we’re only doing each other favours. We have quite a charitable inclination here at Woo. In fact, I have personally made more than 1000 loans on Kiva.org. But those are donations; not business.

  62. Eric Mesa
    1 August 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I think your themes rock – they definitely seem to be worth $99, which is double the average price of themes right now. Prices have to go up – everything on the Internet can’t be free. If people don’t like if they can learn CSS and make a child theme out of some free WP.org theme.

    The only real issue I have with this announcement is the way grandfathers are being handled. 2 years is quite short compared to infinity. And you’ve changed it once out of nowhere. How do I know if I buy a theme today that tomorrow you won’t say – nope 6 months support or even 6 days. The trust is broken and trust is really the key when it comes to customer/business relationships. Without hyperbole or sarcasm I can honestly say that if I buy a theme from you guys in the future, I’m going to have to assume there will never be support again and that’ll have to factor into the price I’m willing to pay at the time.

    Again, I completely understand where you guys are coming from. Hosting costs money. Developers cost money. Support costs tons of money. The price increases are right and proper. The new support terms are great. But I think it’s pretty messed up to change things on people who’ve already bought stuff – who said – “Yeah, I’m willing to spend $70 – heck they’re supporting me forever”

    Remember the trust thing. Work to build it up again. And don’t ever screw it up again or you may find yourself out of business – which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place.

  63. Rebecca Gill
    1 August 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    I applaud the Woo team for taking the time to respond to visitor comments. They could have easily hid behind the website walls and stayed mute. They did not and it is obvious they are actively participating in discussions and attempting to provide some insight into their decision.

    We are a community. A community that lives and breaths WordPress each and every day. I’ve met many of you in person and I know we are collectively passionate about WordPress and the ecosystem it represents.

    We all want sustainability and we all want the growth of WordPress to continue. To do that, the community must evolve and mature. Woo’s change today is a sign of that maturity. It is a sign of things to come.

    Our beloved community cannot continue to grow without the shifts from free plugins and low cost offerings that may or may not be supported. Our products and services must advance to keep up with the shift in WordPress user.

    We are no longer a bunch of bloggers using WordPress.com. We are bloggers plus a growing number of small businesses and enterprises who are rapidly adapting WordPress and pushing it to a new level.

    • Adii Pienaar
      2 August 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks for the continued support Rebecca!

  64. Jesse Petersen
    2 August 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Adii, you know I’m a fan of your work and your epic entrepreneur sense. Granted, this is unsolicited advice, but given the backlash from a significant portion of your customer base, I’d recommend that you uphold your original licenses and increase from this day forward.

    I know I haven’t used a support ticket but once in the past 2-3 years over a WooCommerce thing, which I was paying for extensions on and thus paying for support, so how bad could it be to give those who have already invested and built their businesses around your framework what they bought into?

    Those of us making $48,000 off a theme don’t create support tickets. We know our stuff. If anything, we report bugs that help you reduce support. I’m talking about unlimited licenses and developer licenses. You probably don’t want to mess with their trust. Some will see this as business and others will see it as bad business.

    Make new customers pay for what you realized support costs, not those who bought on a mutual trust that you’d uphold their support and upgrade privileges. That’s my humble advice should you decide to make adjustments to your announcement.

    • Adii Pienaar
      2 August 2013 at 12:12 am #

      Thanks for the kind words Jesse.

      But unfortunately we’re simply not in a position to grandfather past mistakes; it will literally take us down. As much as that sucks, this decision has been fuelled by our belief that it will guarantee our long-term sustainability.

      • Wrong Adii
        2 August 2013 at 7:57 am #

        There is a big difference between a mistake and lying. Woo flat out lied by offering a lifetime license that it had no intention of honoring. Worse, you did this right up until the end.

        I paid the extra $30 specifically for the lifetime license. You accepted that money under those conditions. Yet you knew full well you were about to do this.

        Now I’ve apparently thrown money out the window. You say you can’t survive honoring YOUR OWN offerings? What makes you think you’re going to survive THIS?

        There is no way for my business to make money if I cannot depend on having my purchases be honored.

        Do you have a legal department that my lawyer can contact?

        • Adii Pienaar
          2 August 2013 at 9:19 am #

          Just shoot us a mail and we’ll issue you with a refund. We will definitely not hold a gun to your head in using our products on whatever terms.

          We don’t have a legal department, but feel free to e-mail me on adii@woothemes.com.

          • smehero
            2 August 2013 at 3:42 pm #

            Is the refund available for all past purchases?

  65. Simon Kelly
    2 August 2013 at 12:05 am #

    The transparency and honesty is great and this makes sense to ensure the sustainability of your own business, especially when so many are profiting from the products you make. I personally am disappointed as a theme club subscriber where I mainly use canvas and 1 or 2 other themes and it seems less and less value is given to me as a subscriber. Seems more the theme club is likely the wrong product for me. Have you considered a theme & plugin club for a higher subscription that includes plugins?

    • Magnus Jepson
      2 August 2013 at 9:48 am #

      A theme and plugin subscription isn’t something that is possible due to the complexity of our third party developers who have made a big portion of our extensions. Distributing the earnings between the 3rd party plugin authors would be to complex.

  66. Robert
    2 August 2013 at 12:21 am #

    There are others plugin providers for WooCommerce that you could use as http://www.stormtribemarket.com for example. That have different plans and approach on plugins etc. It´s a great alternative to have other competitors that have soma plugins but different approach on prices and licences.

  67. Kelechi
    2 August 2013 at 12:53 am #

    I think the price hike is justifiable. I ain’t going nowhere. We build the vast majority of our sites based on woo themes and plugins. The wootheme philosophy has saves us countless hours on development for each project (from simple brochure sites to big e-commerce sites). I have the developer subscription and it’s still worth it even at the new price.

    The one thing that I would say is that some of the products you have are priced sightly too highly. For example the new Coming Soon Maintenance Mode plugin is not as good as SeedProd.

    But most of your stuff is just awesome.

  68. Gavin
    2 August 2013 at 1:00 am #

    Thanks for your clear and concise explanation of these changes.

    May I ask, does this mean that for ALL the Canvas sites I’ve built — I now need to buy a license renewal every year to continue to get updates?

    That’s a bit disappointing — I can understand changing your license structure and pricing from this point forward — but to go and change the deal on everyone for past purchases is unfair, in my opinion.

    Some WooCommerce users will not like the idea of annual licences to renew for x plugins and themes, that can really start to add up.

    Regarding Canvas — this could be the nail in the coffin. Like many here, I mostly use Canvas, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on themes and extensions (and planned to continue to do so…). I don’t post for support or use the forums very often (frankly, response time is usually too slow). And some of the time when I’ve posted support tickets — I’ve just discovered a bug for you.

    I can understand your problems with supporting non- or semi-technical customers — but for developers it s totally different situation, we don’t hound you with support tickets for simple “How do I…” and “This is broken …” -type queries — we just buy the theme and get on with it. 9 times out of 10, if there’s a problem, we just fix it.

    Why can’t you just charge people for submitting over a certain number of support tickets? User pays! May I suggest that you re-evaluate some kind of developer options?

    I note this statement in the blog post:

    >> “We will, as needed, change the discount rate depending on expected support or development required for the product.”

    Could you clarify that please? How will this work?

    So, I need to seriously evaluate my commitment to Canvas in light of all it’s competitors, and I will also need to carefully evaluate the WooThemes offerings at $100 (with ~$50 per year renewals), versus the increasingly stunning work being published on ThemeForest for around $40 – $50.

    • Michael Krapf
      2 August 2013 at 2:09 am #

      Hey Gavin,

      Thanks for taking the time to post. I just wanted to clarify that Canvas still comes with ‘Unlimited Domain Usage” – http://cld.wthms.co/jCVu

      So, in order to get updates for all your Canvas sites, you’ll be required to pay small fee of $50 once a year to compensate the dev time put into updates which is a very minor expense in the grand scheme.

      PS. Stay tuned for Canvas 5.4!

      • gbotica
        2 August 2013 at 2:26 am #

        Agreed, that is pretty reasonable — thanks for clearing that up.

        • gbotica
          2 August 2013 at 2:36 am #

          It still bugs me that themes like WikiEasi, which I purchased and used to build a simple intranet-type site, has only had a few updates over a couple of years or so — and now I’m expected to hand over more money in two years if I want any more updates. And let’s face it, there’s been little or no new features, really just bug fixes. That is unfair.

          Also, I’ve purchased Listings for a project — I think I paid $199 for that. Again, not much going on in that changelog — some fixes, updates to support WP, not a lot else. And now I’m supposed to hand over another what $50 if I want any more bug fixes?

          The more I think some of scenarios through, the more annoyed I am.

          What about all the “bonus” themes I’ve received? Not so “bonus” now are they? On a few occasions I’ve used a bonus theme for a project for the simple reason that I already “owned” it, now I find out I have to pay more money for those sites too.

          I think you have over-stepped the mark with these kinds of changes to existing sales.

          • Magnus Jepson
            2 August 2013 at 9:52 am #

            We will not force you to re-buy the license after 1 year. If your theme is working great and you don’t need further support or any of the updates, then you don’t need to re-purchase the license.

            Also, since you have already purchased these themes, you will have 2 years included support and updates.

          • Syrehn
            3 August 2013 at 1:11 am #

            “We will not force you to re-buy the license after 1 year. If your theme is working great and you don’t need further support or any of the updates, then you don’t need to re-purchase the license.”

            ———

            @Magnus Jepson

            Seriously. Is Woo joking right now. They really think that telling people “no worries, if you don’t pay we just won’t update you” is ok…

            Who in their right mind would want to use outdated software (plugins) when they have already paid their 1 time fee per the original purchase terms. The security and compatibility (both WooCommerce and WordPress related) ramifications of even suggesting that to your customers blows my mind.

      • smehero
        2 August 2013 at 8:41 am #

        I agree its reasonable for Canvas, since its only used once per site.

        But for Woocommerce plugins, its a total different story since it is not uncommon to have 10 or more woocommerce plugins per implementation.

        I owned 22 woocommerce plugins, and the renewal is going to hurt.

  69. farrel
    2 August 2013 at 2:02 am #

    Warren, I’m trying to understand your issues as best as I can. But some things you say make no sense to me. Like this comment here:

    “On top of that, we’ve also maintained and improved Canvas over the years without being paid directly for it.”

    When I go to the Themes section your Canvas Theme is prominently featured, and is used to bring in new paying customers.

    Since you keep selling it, why do you believe that you are not being paid directly for it? Surely the cost of maintaining your flagship product/theme is being supported by it’s ongoing sales? Otherwise, if it was never updated and was not current, like it wasn’t responsive, then people would buy a competitors theme that was.

    Please explain why you (Woo) believe that you are not being compensated for updating your Canvas theme.

    I’m just trying to understand it from your perspective because it doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • farrel
      2 August 2013 at 2:09 am #

      Also, why do you not see any value in all the feedback, suggestions and bug reports your existing Canvas users have given you over the years that have helped you to improve the theme so it is more appealing to more customers, which ultimately leads to more sales?

  70. hoodoofactory
    2 August 2013 at 2:04 am #

    This comment was not intended to be a reply, but showed up as one. Your server keeps giving errors after submission and doing funky things.

    It is absolutely infuriating the way that you quietly sweet the 30% discount for club subscribers under the rug and then basically double your prices and get rid of our purchased unlimited licenses a couple weeks later, especially after promising that club subscribers would be “grandfathered” in.

    All of your policy changes f*** over your most loyal customers the most. The sad thing is that there aren’t a whole lot of options and many of us have already invested so much in WooCommerce, in terms of time and money. I guess now with all purchases basically having an expiration date customers will have many more moments where they can decide to leave or not.

    You’ve made is so that our investments in your platform have an expiration now. You’re going to be getting a lot more customer turnover. Hope it’s worth it for you guys. I also hope that WooCommerce gets a serious contender so that the market checks you guys.

    A lot of the types of developers who use WooThemes products are small or medium-time and serve small businesses or individuals with small project budges. I’m guessing a huge percentage of your developer base is going to be priced out by these changes.

    As a company you guys are so concerned with growth, when you should be much more concerned with trimming the fat and creating efficiency. For all the talk you do of how solid your model, products and platforms are, it’s all bloated. If you guys ran a leaner and more effective ship (your documentation and support forums were worth a crap, your website wasn’t slow and down all the time, you weren’t constantly changing things) you wouldn’t have to have so many support people on staff and wouldn’t have to screw your customers over with unilateral changes like this every 6 months or whatever.

    • Adii Pienaar
      2 August 2013 at 9:16 am #

      “As a company you guys are so concerned with growth, when you should be much more concerned with trimming the fat and creating efficiency.”

      These pricing increases are part of that leaner model.

      It’s incredibly easy to be an armchair critic as you are being now. You assume that we aren’t already lean or incredibly efficient. You assume we have fat to cut. You assume we’re doing a shit job at everything we touch.

      Yet, here we have built a company that has supported hundreds of thousands of businesses and now supports the families of 30 individuals that make up the WooTeam. That’s not bad for a fat, inefficient company IMHO.

      My mother always warned me against assumptions.

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 9:37 am #

        This new pricing model is about as lean as the American tax code.

        “It’s almost like our business that had a time limit if we didn’t do something about this :)” – You

        All that efficiency caught up to Woo’s waistline ;)

        Anyway, it’ll be really interesting to see how this plays out, especially in two years when everyone has a big fat bill they have to pay for projects they haven’t made money off of in years.

        I guess I can’t blame you guys for being defensive, a lot of customers are threatening to leave you.

        It’s amazing how much compassion you’re demanding from your customers for your own business and you’re illustrating such a callous regard for those of your customers.

        Also, after submitting comments Chrome takes you to a server error page, and why have a “notify of new posts by email” box if it doesn’t work? Such efficiency.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 9:38 am #

        I’m sorry but that felt like an incredibly rude response. It’s not about being “armchair” or “couch” critics as I’ve seen you respond throughout comments.

        These are viable concerns from your longstanding loyal users who have invested in their companies as well as Woo.

        It’s not about us not wanting Woo to be around in the future, or being unwilling to support your new pricing and structure.

        The majority understand and agree with the reason behind the new changes for purchases on products going forward. We accept that.

        We don’t agree with the stance that you (Woo) told us one thing, encouraged our purchases under that pretence and are now going back on your word. We don’t agree with being sold unlimited licenses/updates then being told “oh btw, we’re changing what you bought”. You essentially mislead your users and have caused distrust. If you do that once you can do it again.

        Additionally many of us invested thousands of dollars in Woo, under the assumption that those pretences would be honoured. Not only is that false but you’re telling us that we have to shell out those same types of fees yearly and our license are going to be reduced; again not what we bought.

        For the individuals that will end up with $5k – $14k renewal fees (and I mean let’s face it no one will want outdated plugins), that’s a huge hit to the pocket each year. Top that off with the “if the grace period lapses you have to pay full price” is just a swift kick while we’re already down.

        Adding to the pot, what about the users who bought all those plugins at unlimited that you want all these yearly fees from for support that don’t actually use the support. Again, we get punished.

        It seems much more viable than instead of angering the majority of the community with this type of change for established purchases to instead implement some sort of “support tier” since that seems to be what’s causing the most issues.

  71. hoodoofactory
    2 August 2013 at 2:09 am #

    This renewal model of licenses is also insane, and completely developer unfriendly. So you’re saying that if I created a website for an independent artist for $800 and they use three WooCommerce extensions on that, that I need to keep updating the license package I have on that every year forever – for that one $800 project? You’ve just created an ongoing overheard on the dev end for sites that are one offs! That’s insane. That will literally put small developers under water. Maybe that’s the point here, is to discourage us from providing the software to our clients and just make it so that they have to buy individual site licenses.

    • gbotica
      2 August 2013 at 2:19 am #

      I gotta say … I totally agree with you — this creates a lot of administration overhead — and that’s assuming that the Woo updates/licensing/activation system works smoothly and efficiently — which so far for me, it does not.

      • hoodoofactory
        2 August 2013 at 2:39 am #

        It never has. I just lost numerous hours two days ago on the stupid product updater not working.

  72. gbotica
    2 August 2013 at 2:36 am #

    It still bugs me that themes like WikiEasi, which I purchased and used to build a simple intranet-type site, has only had a few updates over a couple of years or so — and now I’m expected to hand over more money in two years if I want any more updates. And let’s face it, there’s been little or no new features, really just bug fixes. That is unfair.

    Also, I’ve purchased Listings for a project — I think I paid $199 for that. Again, not much going on in that changelog — some fixes, updates to support WP, not a lot else. And now I’m supposed to hand over another what $50 if I want any more bug fixes?

    The more I think some of scenarios through, the more annoyed I am.

    What about all the “bonus” themes I’ve received? Not so “bonus” now are they? On a few occasions I’ve used a bonus theme for a project for the simple reason that I already “owned” it, now I find out I have to pay more money for those sites too.

    I think you have over-stepped the mark with these kinds of changes to existing sales.

  73. Syrehn
    2 August 2013 at 3:12 am #

    I have approx. 75 plugins/extensions that purchased from Woo, ALL at UNLIMITED pricing over the years. Seriously, do the math, it’s not cheap. This was me, trusting Woo and investing in both them and my own business. Hell I also have a theme subscription but I barely use it.

    I also rarely use support and when I do it’s for things that are usually determined as actual bugs that get passed on to developers and get fixed. I always try to research the KB articles etc. before I even touch a ticket

    The first time prices were going to be increased we were told “hurry and get your licenses while you can” and “anyone who buys before the increase is grandfathered in” so many of us shelled out hundreds and thousands of dollars to invest in those unlimited site licenses… why… because Woo TOLD us we would be grandfathered in!

    So now let me get this straight… after investing in my own company, and Woo, and purchasing products prior to increases, and after being told repeatedly I would be grandfathered in at unlimited sites/updates… that’s all just out the window? You’re telling me that now I have to pay each year for those 75 plugins if I want updates.

    For god’s sake why can’t you just offer a “Support Structure” for clients with existing licenses. If we have unlimited we should still be able to use on unlimited sites/with updates but implement Support only tier of some kind. Slapping your loyal customers who’ve invested so much with a big F.U sign doesn’t make for a happy community. It doesn’t make us want to sing your praises or recommend your services going forward.

    Essentially if I understand this right, you’re telling me, the thousands of dollars I have spent on “unlimited” sites/updates isn’t going to be available and I basically through my money out the window since you won’t honour the fact that you already told clients prior that they would be grandfathered into unlimited licenses.

    I have 0 problems with a structure change going forward. I have 0 problems with paying for future products with that structure as needed.

    I have a thousand ton elephant size problem with being told that a product I purchased as unlimited and was repeatedly told would always be unlimited (sites and updates) will now not be.

    • gbotica
      2 August 2013 at 3:32 am #

      Syrehn is right here. I too spent something like USD$250 (that’s quite a bit of money where I come from) on WC extensions on the assurance that they were unlimited licenses. Now, they are not.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 3:48 am #

        For me it was something like $8000ish give or take. Additionally many of my purchases were done in mass quantities on when Woo was pushing “buy your unlimited quick and get grandfathered in”.

        So… that’s what I did; because Woo guaranteed me something and I trusted them. Clearly that was a mistake.

        Now I”ll have to pay what… %50 of the new fee each year on renewal for limited licenses. What about if the extensions that I bought as an investment (again you urged us to with the promise of being grandfathered in) aren’t being utilized yet?

        If the users who were investing in the unlimited were startups it’s not necessarily feasible to be able to pay $8000+ each year in a lump sum for products purchased as unlimited.

        If the renewal comes up and we don’t pay the $8000+ per year (say we can’t afford at the time to drop that down again) when we do want to renew them you want us to pay full price again. Are you freaking kidding me?

        This was a HUGE slap in the face to loyal developers who purchased the unlimited licenses and who rarely use support; bug reports for the most part.

        Like I said. The pricing structure seems sound going forward but to penalize the unlimited license buyers is not acceptable after your promoted over and over for us to pay for those license; I was shocked to read this article.

        Add to that the arrogance of “it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that, because Canvas has saved you a bucketload of time and effort” when you don’t know if you’re actually saving us a “bucketload of time and effort”.

        They keep saying Woo is increasing in revenue and is thriving. If that were the case then they would trust in this new model going forward, honour their loyal unlimited user licenses (maybe add a support only fee), and wouldn’t make comments like “we’re simply not in a position to grandfather past mistakes; it will literally take us down”.

        Their has to be a better way than this. I don’t like this Woo Scroo.

        • farrel
          2 August 2013 at 5:43 am #

          “If the renewal comes up and we don’t pay the $8000+ per year (say we can’t afford at the time to drop that down again) when we do want to renew them you want us to pay full price again. Are you freaking kidding me?”

          ——————————————–

          This has to be the most disturbing aspect of them all. If you have cash flow problems and can’t afford to renew your plugins in the correct time period then when you do decide to, you have to pay full price all over again.

          In other words, your loyal supporting of Woo when they were growing is meaningless to them.

          That’s one GIANT slap in the face to every long term customer of yours.

          • Syrehn
            2 August 2013 at 5:58 am #

            This. 100% This.

            Startups or business that might have a bad year that originally invested in unlimited are going to get a huge invoice if their original investment was large. And they’re getting less than what they originally purchased (limited license and yearly fee).

            Not every loyal investor can afford thousands upon thousands each year; it’s no small amount when you get a renewal of 5 – 14k. It honestly says to me they’re (Woo) not confident in their new model going forward so they are backstabbing users with licenses that they urged us to buy with promises of being grandfathered in if increases were to happen.

            I believe user lucifer666 was running into this problem and was going to end up with $14K renewal fees and he got blasted in the comments by Woo when all his points were 100% valid.

            It is a GIANT slap in the face followed by a swift kick to the junk for loyal supporters who invested in their own companies and Woo with promises they now refuse to honour.

          • farrel
            2 August 2013 at 6:51 am #

            To me there is zero justification for doing this from a business point of view. I’ve bought plugins that I am not using right now, and therefore, not getting any support on, which may result in me letting them lapse until I do need them.

            Another person may be using the same plugin, and putting in tons of tickets. This person is using a lot of Woo resources, while I am using none.

            Now if I let the plugin expire because I’m not using it, and then later decide to renew it I have to pay full price all over again. Whereas the other guy who used his and got lots of support pays the lower price because he renewed his during the correct time period.

            How does this make sense from the perspective of needing to increase prices because of the need for providing ongoing support?

            Why does the person who is not using his plugin and not getting any support, ie not consuming Woo support resources, end up having to pay more than the person who is using Woo resources, just because he never renewed before it expired?

          • Syrehn
            2 August 2013 at 7:01 am #

            I agree with everything that you’re saying farrel and I’m in the same boat. I have many extensions that I bought not being used atm, and I’m not using support on them.

            If I let them lapse then I have to pay double to reactivate despite not using resources and despite being told originally that I would never have to do this.

            It’s like a big F U straight from Woo.

          • Adii Pienaar
            2 August 2013 at 9:13 am #

            These things work on averages and on average we have started to earn less & less from customers due to that support & maintenance cost (from providing unlimited / lifetime support + updates). I fully understand that you – as an individual – might actually be a profitable customer, but business models don’t deal well with outliers or exceptions.

  74. LidijaL
    2 August 2013 at 4:16 am #

    I’m wondering if puzzling on how to charge us more is the reason why I’m not getting any help from Woo support team for a week now??? Are you all that busy and overwhelmed by calculating your new income that you forgot to provide support?

    My support ticket for the product I paid for is waiting and rotting unsolved since July 26th while you’re figuring out new ways to charge us more. Work on my site has stopped, days are passing by, and still no help from you. My time also costs, you know. The time my web shop is offline also costs me money. The money you won’t be refunding, of course.

    BTW, couple of months ago I already had one unresolvable ticket here. None of your staff knew what to do and in the end I had to rebuild the site from the scratch. I’m sensing a second one coming.

    How about that? Did you calculate resolving tickets and responding to them in timely manner into the prices increase too or you’re way too busy by math?

    • thenbrent
      2 August 2013 at 8:24 am #

      How about that? Did you calculate resolving tickets and responding to them in timely manner into the prices increase too or you’re way too busy by math?

      Based on the post, support response times was a large part of the price increase calculations. An increase in prices should mean more staff to help improve support response times.

      • LidijaL
        2 August 2013 at 3:59 pm #

        Well I certainly hope so. But how long do I have to wait for them to consolidate their support staff?
        Because, so far, I’m not at all satisfied with the support. Trivial or usual issues are solved fast enough, but none of my tickets which were referring to something more complicated weren’t solved so far. First one was about broken permalinks. The whole thing would just fall apart once I’d activated Woocommerce plugin. 404 on all links throughout the site. Even with all back end access to my site they haven’t found the solution. I had to rebuild from the scratch.

        Current ticket is pending for a week now. Not a word. Functionality problem with a plugin they only resell but they are obligated to support it and they obviously don’t know how to do it. And now what? I would have bought the plugin from the developers if I knew this would happen.

        Am I happy about the price increase? Certainly not, but if it means I don’t have to wait a month for a support response, I’m willing to pay it.
        I’m just wondering when I’m going to see the difference…

  75. hoodoofactory
    2 August 2013 at 4:18 am #

    The whole reason I referred my clients to WooCommerce was because the cost was one time and up-front, which was far superior to closed systems with monthly overhead. Now, with Woo saying that a lot of sites that run on WC should expect to be paying $1,000 per year just to keep their software up to date, it doesn’t possess any of the benefits that were most important to me and my clients, who are all (very) small business owners.

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 4:26 am #

      Agree 100%

      Don’t forget that Woo encouraged us recently to make more purchases with specific repeated promises of being grandfathered in.

      All these were the reasons I made as many purchases as I did and referred my clients and colleagues.

  76. vikas
    2 August 2013 at 4:29 am #

    its time to leave woothemes becz 3 year ago u produce quality products but today ur products are not upto mark. always u tell about support and etc in last customer not getting anything good from u. u give example about canvas but what about 1 or 2 site creator ?

    i have to say u earn good money by this step but u lost ur loyal customers, who support and believe in u

    i purchase lot of things from u this year all gone to waste my money

    good luck for ur future

  77. mrsrjp
    2 August 2013 at 4:34 am #

    Yeah I think that you guys have a right to do things from here on for new customers, but not to current ones- that’s just bad business. I have clients that aren’t with me that will come back on me now making me look bad to them as I told them it was no charge to them with unlimited updates at n/c. Now I look like a liar. Eek. Great coders don’t equal great business decisions. Perhaps you might want to rethink how you structure this.

  78. supersohum12
    2 August 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Everything is cool. I’m not leaving either.

    But I really don’t like this part: “For each license you purchase, you will be able to download your product, get updates and receive support for an entire year.”

    It’s like everything I’ve ever bought from Woothemes suddenly has a time limit. I’ve got things installed across dozens of sites that I’ve had for years, they’ll all just stop getting updates now and break.

    • Adii Pienaar
      2 August 2013 at 9:10 am #

      It’s almost like our business that had a time limit if we didn’t do something about this. :)

      • supersohum12
        2 August 2013 at 9:42 am #

        That’s true actually. I do really like Woothemes and am in favour of whatever decisions which mean you guys will be sticking around for a while.

        I do have a question though, something I was wondering for you guys moving forward. Doesn’t this make Woothemes a bit expensive? Like in comparison to other software like Shopify, BigCommerce etc?

        Like the decision to use you guys is usually pay the fixed cost of Woothemes or pay the monthly / yearly recurring fees of Shopify, BigCommerce etc. In every scenario the fixed cost worked out way better than the yearly recurring one of other providers even if you had to pay more initially, you’d make it up long term.

        Also Woo products are awesome, but I’m just going to pretend all software is made equal for the sake of this point (which for people who haven’t tried either, it might be)

        For example one of the major reasons X years ago I started using Woo was because you could buy software and hold on to it forever. There was no yearly recurring fees for using Canvas for example, you could just kind of set and forget and know the site would work awesomely even if you never used the support. And then I liked the limitation being it was on a per site basis, so the more sites I use, the more I pay for stuff.

        But with this yearly renewal thing, I imagine it has suddenly got very expensive. Like I know there will probably be a discount come renewal but even with that, for a lot of people it’s a lot.

        So just wondering what you’ll do about that for new users?

        I’m not sure if I’m explaining this right but it kind of feels a bit like the whole way to even think about Woothemes software has just changed.

  79. Norsoft
    2 August 2013 at 4:58 am #

    Seems my comment is not accepted so ill try here again without links.

    What price you decide to put on you’re products is up to you. It will not work for our sme and non-profit customers but for some larger clients it might work.

    But change in terms for the products we already purchased is NOT ok. We bought them trusting the information given. To change the terms in this way after purchase is deceptive, unethical IF not illegal. (Its not all about what you write in the contract/license. If you say something else on you’re homepage or in other communication it is a matter of false marketing)

    I hope you will change you’re mind regarding the terms for products already purchased. If not I would like our money back so we can make an informed decision going forward.

    This is embarrassing and will cost us many times more the cost of the 50+ products in reimbursements, lost customers and goodwill.

    How could you have solved it in another way?

    The support token model of Soliloquy seems reasonable. We need and want lifetime updates not lifetime support. (have atm about 0.1 tickets/product)

    When it comes to updates (and development for some products) – higher initial price.

    Would we rather see Woothemes go belly up or retire products then the solution presented here? YES, I would rather see that they do everything they can to honor agreements before they do something this dishonest.

    Going forward IF we pay more we really need you to shape up in some areas like localization. When localization does not work the product is pretty much useless. Something like glotpress or translatewiki should be used and localization should be a part of plugin QA and support.

  80. farrel
    2 August 2013 at 5:13 am #

    I downloaded this ebook last night on branding. It had a good quote I thought might be useful and relevant here.

    “Remember, your audience will easily call “bullshit” on your brand and business if you don’t
    back up your words with actions. Your business deliverable should reflect your brand statements.
    (Deliverable pertains to your products, services or customer relations.)
    If what you say and what you do aren’t the same, your customers would feel that you’re
    just fooling with them.”

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 5:24 am #

      Thumbs up to this.

    • Adii Pienaar
      2 August 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Spot-on. :)

      Did you also read the chapter where I wrote that not all customers are equal?

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 9:54 am #

        “Did you also read the chapter where I wrote that not all customers are equal?”

        No, I just downloaded the preview and was going to buy it, but to be honest I no longer am willing to.

        I find your attitude towards your customers troubling. I want to be treated like an individual and rewarded for my good behavior, not punished for other people’s bad behavior.

        I’m actually learning more about how not to do things by observing you than I would by reading the rest of your book. :)

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 12:48 pm #

        Adi

        As someone who is pitching himself as a business and branding expert, how do you justify the act of encouraging your loyal and existing customer base to purchase something that you have already decided to alter in a fundamental way so that it no longer functions in the way that you advertised and sold it to them?

        How do you not see the inherent and blatant dishonesty in doing that?

        I’m puzzled, I really am.

  81. WhatACrock
    2 August 2013 at 6:56 am #

    You flat out lied about your licensing even though you knew you were going to do this. Why should anyone trust you now? Do you really think ripping people off leads to a sustainable business?

    What is your refund policy? I just purchased Canvas during your bogus sale under specific terms that you have now broken.

    I’ve seen some shit in my day, but this really takes the prize.

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 7:17 am #

      It sure seems that way. Prior to their last price increased they pushed us all to buy our licenses with the assurance that we’d be grandfathered in.

      Now we won’t be. Client’s who’ve invested thousands are not getting a royal boning.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 7:44 am #

        are now getting^

    • Adii Pienaar
      2 August 2013 at 9:09 am #

      We have a “no questions asked” refund policy. Just shoot us a mail and we’ll get that issued for you.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 9:23 am #

        So you’re willing to refund each user potentially thousands of dollars for something Woo has reneged on?

        Example:

        User 1 invested $8k for unlim
        User 2 invested $14k for unlim
        User 3 invested $3k for unlim

        If I just read that comment right you’re essentially saying you’re fully prepared to issue out a total of $25k in refunds to just 3 people…

        Wouldn’t those kinds of refund charges hurt Woo more than oh… I don’t know… honouring our unlimited license/updates and create a yearly “support tier” plan?

      • tuxen
        2 August 2013 at 4:13 pm #

        Hi Adii,

        I purchased some plugins during your sale in June – can I have a refund on some of the plugins?

  82. mfraase
    2 August 2013 at 6:59 am #

    I really like the WooThemes products I’ve licensed, and I hope to license more in the future. Right now, though, that doesn’t seem likely.

    And I’m truly grateful for my single support experience. I wanted Canvas to do something it wasn’t designed to do, and Magnus Jepson actually went out of his way to provide working code to do what I wanted. That’s unbelievably stellar support and far beyond anything I would have ever expected or dreamed of.

    I’ve written a (much too) long screed about this here:

    http://www.farces.com/woothemes-succumbs-to-business-model-du-jour-subscription-pricing/

    Here’s the short version:

    Changing the licensing terms for future purchases is one thing — and perfectly reasonable — but making the licensing terms unilaterally retroactive for past purchases is absurdly unreasonable, unethical, probably illegal, and I’d bet good money anything but sustainable.


    Michael Fraase, partner
    ARTS & FARCES LLC

    • hoodoofactory
      2 August 2013 at 7:10 am #

      Well said.

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 7:10 am #

      Thanks for posting that article. It perfectly sums up a lot of the tense feelings that are going on right now.

      This line rung incredibly true for me “Instead, you’re demanding trust from a customer base you’ve just betrayed.”

      I’ll be sure to be sharing all the info I can on this with all my colleagues and clients and also forward your article for future reading.

  83. Lauren
    2 August 2013 at 7:09 am #

    Just yesterday I gave a website proposal to a client who needs an online store on a tight budget. I could have recommended several e-commerce solutions. I recommended WooCommerce because the extensions had fairly reasonable, one-time prices.

    It’s a very good thing the client didn’t accept the proposal yet, because I would have had to eat any future renewal costs. And, in a couple of years, they would have added up to more than the project will bring me.

  84. Maire
    2 August 2013 at 7:21 am #

    About to increase prices myself on our business for identical reasons, so will use this blog post as inspiration when we notify our customers!

  85. Maire
    2 August 2013 at 7:37 am #

    On another note – I think a yearly renewal is a business decision.

    Now, everyone is going to go and look for an alternative to woo that has a once-off cost. That’s how people work. Nobody wants to base their website on a plugin with a yearly renewal.

    I have dozens of woo plugins, so you’re going to cost me thousands a year in the future for renewals.

    I won’t renew them without a good search for a once-off alternative.

    This process is going to be repeated for every one of your 100,000 customers.

    If you’re going to do this, you should work out a way to bundle things together, reward people who have lots of plugins, make the cost so low that it doesnt hurt, etc.

    I totally understand your reasons for what you’re doing – ie you cant provide support to a growing number of users for unlimited amount of time – it’s not sustainable.

    I’m paying a monthly developer fee, I feel that updates & support) should be included in this (even at a higher rate)This would be psychologically more appealing to people who rely on your plugins for their livelihood.

    i just don’t feel comfortable basing my livelihood on woo at the moment, so I’m going to take a look at alternatives. I’m worried that I am going to be hit with thousands of dollars per year just to run my site.

    Obviously, it will be more logical to me now not to buy new woo plugins, to see if my developer can come up with an alternative, or to look for a free or once-off alternative.

    I guess lots of people will be checking the code out on your plugins now so they can rip them off, too.

  86. Syrehn
    2 August 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Seriously,

    Read through all the comments, I have, and the general message from your community is this:

    – Price increase/structure change for NEW purchases is fine and understood/supported. We accept this.

    – Price/structure change on EXISTING purchases where they were bought under a separate set of conditions is NOT ok. Especially for users who bought unlimited licenses/updates where we were told over and over we would be grandfathered in and now poof. We’re getting a royal Woo FU. We don’t want to pay $5 – 14k per year just to get updates on limited licenses. That’s NOT what we bought and NOT what you repeatedly told us.

    Enter the distrust now felt among many loyal users towards Woo, if you can clearly go back on your word once you’ll do it again, how can we trust anything that you say going forward… the line from mfraase article sums this up perfectly…“you’re demanding trust from a customer base you’ve just betrayed.”

    • Daniluz
      2 August 2013 at 9:24 am #

      100% with Syrehn.

      I understand the reasons, but … why not only make the changes for new licences???

      Changing licenses of previous sales is… Unethical !!!

      No more trust in Woo’s words :(

      Good luck for Woo the next 2 years… time enough for us to look for an alternative.

  87. davel
    2 August 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Hello Woo;

    Damn this is an interactive blog article. ;-)
    I still love Woo and their themes; i’m a subscriber for now almost a year.

    I got 2 questions:
    – We don’t have to renew the license, so my client don’t have to pay €1000 / year. It’s of course better they do; but let’s be honest; some clients can’t pay that. Think also the annual costs of hosting, my support, SSL, fixed IP-adres. My question: how will you communicate the message in the adminpanel of WordPress when the license is expired. And can we check it off as an administrator.
    Yes, Sound like a strange question, but i want to know.

    – Aren’t you afraid for the lesser contribution of the Woo-commuty on premium plugins and extension. In your way of thinking (Canvas-wise) you ask a ‘chunk’ on what the desginer earns; and ‘annualy’ of the designer’s client side.
    Let’s think this further with the same mindset.
    Example: As a contributor in dutch translation for the Sensei plugin i help your product winning places on the dutch market. From now on i want money too because of my contribution; more so i want an annual fee. What’s your opinion about this ? Is Woo becoming a one-way fabric ?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • Mark Forrester
      2 August 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Hey Davel,

      The exact wording of the expired product in the WP admin panel is yet to be decided. We hadn’t thought about making this message optional, and not sure it’s the best idea, but we’ll have a think about it.

      We certainly hope we’re not perceived as a one-way fabric. We wholeheartedly believe in the ethos of WordPress as is evident in our wide catalog of free products, but we still need to cover operational costs and ensure we’re not only profitable, but sustainable. We hugely value code contributions, but will never be able to pay for them. Instead we courage contributors to monetize their time committed by building a name for yourself within our community and then offering client services, building your own extensions / themes for our products or SaaS offerings. There’s plenty of opportunity, but only guaranteed if we around in the next 5/10 years.

      • davel
        2 August 2013 at 12:15 pm #

        Hey Mark, thanks for your clear answer.

      • thebastion
        2 August 2013 at 1:03 pm #

        Like you sent me an e-mail to tell me about these changes…

        Oh wait, you didn’t. I had to find out by logging into my account today.

  88. firebubble
    2 August 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Really do not like that after 60 days of a product / extension expiring the full 100% price has to be paid to renew the license. Surely the discount should remain in place for anybody that has previously bought a product for longer than 60 days?

    I have to agree with some of the comments above that this is not the best way to thank people that have supported WOO but I do understand that making the company stable is essential. Just think there would have been better ways to do this.

    • Mark Forrester
      2 August 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Trust us, we explored every way possible.

      60 days is plenty of time to decide on whether you’ll require a new license key for support and updates. We’ll make sure you are reminded via email and all appropriate mediums.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 9:47 am #

        It’s not necessarily enough time if those “limited” licenses come due all at once and we get a 60 day grace period to shell out anywhere between $5k – $14k renewal fees annually that we were originally under the assumption we’d never have to pay.

      • smehero
        2 August 2013 at 10:45 am #

        I bought 22 WC extensions earlier this year, and I have not even used any of the extensions in client projects (no ecommerce projects this year). I bought with the understanding of lifetime updates, so that if subsequently there were ecommerce projects, I would have locked in the price and bought myself some insurance.

        Since you are changing the terms of the contract (i.e. from lifetime updates to 1 yr updates), can I request for a full refund?

        Put it this way, I would not have purchased in the first place if I had know that there is an expiry date to the updates.

        Its different if when I purchased I was fully aware that updates were only limited for one year.

      • thebastion
        2 August 2013 at 1:00 pm #

        Like you sent me an e-mail to tell me about these changes…

        Oh wait, you didn’t. I had to find out by logging into my account today.

      • firebubble
        2 August 2013 at 1:34 pm #

        Thanks for your reply Mark but it does seem a bit expensive to have to pay the full price again just to update which might be a very minor fix that provides no benefits what so ever. The problem is for security reasons people will have to upgrade and if you do miss the 60 days this would be very expensive.

        I am just providing my feedback on the changes. I do not think increasing the cost of individual themes or charging new members a little more is a problem. I also do not have any issues with limiting the unlimited use of the products but paying for updates when you have already paid is something I do not agree with.

        Increasing prices a little is not a problem. Limiting unlimited use is fair. Making people pay for updates that are essential for keeping a site secure when they were originally told future upgrades would be made available just seems a little greedy.

  89. Johnny
    2 August 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Hello WooThemes,

    First of all, I would like to stress out that I completely understand why you are concerned about the sustainability of your business and I’m glad you want to ensure Woo is around in the future. I always liked your products and the quility of your software. I’m not a web studio – I use several of your themes for my private projects. I was also planning to implement WooCommerce for a small webshop. Over the last 3 years or so, I used your support 5 times.

    Here are some of my thoughts:
    – You say you had “prices subject to change” in your T&C. That’s fine, if you change prices of, let’s say, your club subscriptions. But you’re actually changing licence terms (unlimited sites vs 25 sites, lifetime support/updates vs 2 years) and that was NOT mentioned in your T&C. I honestly suggest you consult this with a lawyer before someone decide to sue you for a breach of contract.
    – This is even more annoying taking into account you were running a sale for your 5th birthday, offering unlimited site licences for WooCommerce. At the same time you were already announcing price and terms change. I think people you had bought any WooCommerce extensions with the unlimited licences during that sale have a full right to feel cheated.
    – In the past you were saying that we need unlimited licences for WooCommerce sites running on a WP Multisite because you can’t determine on how many sites the plugin will be activated. Here in the comments you say that one site in a multisite requires one licence. Could you please clarify that?

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 10:11 am #

      “You say you had “prices subject to change” in your T&C. That’s fine, if you change prices of, let’s say, your club subscriptions. But you’re actually changing licence terms (unlimited sites vs 25 sites, lifetime support/updates vs 2 years) and that was NOT mentioned in your T&C. I honestly suggest you consult this with a lawyer before someone decide to sue you for a breach of contract.”

      ————————-

      Reading through this post and all the comments I’ve actually been wondering about this little nugget myself. Changing prices is one thing (you have it mentioned in TOS). But retroactively changing license terms is not something that was mentioned; ever.

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 10:17 am #

        Changing the terms of a contract after the fact and after money has changed hands is known as “bait and switch” and is illegal.

        • Syrehn
          2 August 2013 at 10:27 am #

          I wasn’t sure if that’s what this would be classified as due to the digital nature of the product. Going to be looking into it a bit more.

          However, you’re correct, that tactic is illegal. It can lead to fines, prosecution and even jail time (depending on the country).

    • dannyp45
      2 August 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Hi WooThemes,

      From what i saw,
      You’re unethical to your old customer base.

      Price increase is ok with me.

      But what you did you break the promise.
      You have lied to us.

      Unlimited site licenses to 25 site licenses?
      Lifetime updates to 2 years updates?

      Then i need to renew afterwards?

      You made a contract with us then
      you changed it.

      You need to listen to your customer
      who told you why it’s unethical.

      If a lot of your loyal customers
      told you why it’s a bad thing,
      you might want to rethink your decision.

      If this doesn’t change a thing,
      that’s your choice & decision.
      But that also means you don’t listen to us.

      Thanks

  90. tinygiantstudios
    2 August 2013 at 10:04 am #

    What about only offering support to club members?

  91. Oliver Friit
    2 August 2013 at 10:35 am #

    No matter how Adii and co try to spin this, we were LIED to when they urged us to purchase licenses with the assurance that we would be grandfathered in.

    They are LYING when they say that the LICENSE change is covered by their T&Cs. It is not and never has been.

    As somoe metioned above, you CANNOT change the terms of a contract after the fact. As a SUBSTANTIAL purchaser of Woocommerce plugins we will be discussing this with our lawyer. In the USA you are in for a world of hurt if you are (ALMOST CERTAINLY) found to be in the wrong.

    Trust me, this is more about the PRINCIPLE than the money you’re trying to screw us out of. You cannot sell a license for UNLIMITED sites and then change your mind to your clients’ detriment.

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 10:43 am #

      I would be interested to know where we stand if buyers choose to pursue this since we are all in different parts of the world.

      It’s illegal here in Canada as well and I’ll also definitely be looking into it further with the appropriate channels.

    • Daniluz
      2 August 2013 at 10:49 am #

      We will ask our lawyer (european) too.

      Unilateral changes in the terms of a contract is probably illegal in every country.

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 11:08 am #

        I like the guys from Woo, I really do, but I can’t believe they think they can operate like this.

        Some countries might even consider this fraud because they appear to have sold unlimited site lifetime licenses at a time when they had already decided to change their licensing terms.

        • Johnny
          2 August 2013 at 11:27 am #

          Yes, and rush people to buy it announcing both an anniversary sale and imminent price/terms increases.

          • farrel
            2 August 2013 at 11:39 am #

            Actually the more I think about it, the more unbelievable it becomes.

            We were encouraged to go and buy during the sale to avoid the price increases/licensing changes and what was then sold as an unlimited site license with no annual fee suddenly got converted into a 25-site license with an annual fee, all in a matter of weeks.

            How could you possibly justify doing that to your customers? I can understand raising prices for new purchases moving forward, but how can you deliberately mislead people into buying something that you never intended to offer for more than a few weeks?

          • Syrehn
            2 August 2013 at 11:43 am #

            @farrel I feel the exact same way. It’s mind blowing for me to watch Woo be so deliberately deceitful during this most recent sale; knowing what was in the pipeline.

            That in addition to repeated promises of grandfathering in just grinds my gears in the worst way.

      • Daniluz
        2 August 2013 at 11:39 am #

        First answer of our lawyer:

        They can change their licensing system, including all the terms and conditions, for future purchases, but IN NO WAY THEY ARE ALOWED TO UNILATERALY MODIFY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FROM PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED LICENSES.

        … To be continued …

        • Syrehn
          2 August 2013 at 11:45 am #

          Thank you for posting this. Look forward to seeing any more information regarding this as it comes through. Screenshotting this in the even your comment suddenly goes missing. >_>

          • Daniluz
            2 August 2013 at 11:50 am #

            Good observation…

            I’ve made screenshots not only from my own comments, but from some other too … you never know ;)

        • hoodoofactory
          2 August 2013 at 1:05 pm #

          If this is a road people are wanting to go down, they should probably start a Google Doc or some other 3rd party place to congregate – just saying. If someone wants to post a link to something like that, I’m sure a lot of people would follow up.

    • Johnny
      2 August 2013 at 11:16 am #

      Trust me, this is more about the PRINCIPLE than the money you’re trying to screw us out of. You cannot sell a license for UNLIMITED sites and then change your mind to your clients’ detriment.

      ————

      I think so too. I was about to buy a WooCommerce plugin during the 5 years anniversary sale and I was going to choose for the unlimited license. I’m glad that I resisted. Not only because now I’d find out it’s changed into 25 sites but also because of the recurring cost added.

      Suddenly running a webshop on WooCommerce is not that cheap anymore (gosh, having invoices in WC require a plugin!) due to the recurring cost which, as pointed above can easily be around $1000/year.

      But the worst thing is that the licence terms are changed after the purchase and that is something else than changing the price (which was mentioned in the T&C). With this practice, we cannot be sure of the future. I can go and buy 10 WooCommerce plugins for, let’s say, 5 sites but maybe in a month this will get reduced to 1 site (sic!).

      Once again – WooThemes, please check it with a layer and react if needed because the last thing I’d like to see is someone suing you for the breach of contract!

  92. Piet
    2 August 2013 at 10:39 am #

    All very understandable and reasonable for people who actually would want a WooThemes theme.

    As far as I am concerned, as long as you guys keep using query_posts() in your themes, they’re not worth a penny.

  93. Sandie
    2 August 2013 at 10:58 am #

    If like me you’re interested in what the terms were when you purchased, don’t forget the Wayback machine – http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://woothemes.com

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks for posting that. It’s good to be able to see the old TOS and print it out as needed.

  94. webjump
    2 August 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I have no problem with the new licensing and pricing as I’ve done very well from Woothemes Canvas and Woo Commerce. These are BY FAR your crown jewels.

    However, you ARE NOT capitalizing on Canvas and it’s abilities. By now we should have a full-width slider, more typography options AND CHILD THEMES to build upon Canvas’ framework.

    I like most would pay for those features (and pay for premium support too).

    Woothemes has made it possible for us little guys to compete with much bigger firms and I’m not moving away EVER!!

    VIVA WOO THEMES :)

  95. Johnny
    2 August 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Oh, and one more thought. While it’s fine to provide product updates for an extra fee (because it’s an enhanced product, not the same that was originally purchased), security updates should be free of charge, in my opinion. Especially when anyone is talking that software (including WP, plugins and themes) should be kept up-to-date to avoid security issues. Even Microsoft, Adobe, etc. provide security updates for free.

    I can leave without getting new feature updates for your plugins/themes but asking me to pay to update to stay secured is a big no.

    • smehero
      2 August 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      One way is to provide lifetime updates for the version of plugins/themes you paid (e.g. version 1.x) esp those related to securities.

      All major versions (e.g. 2.x, 3.x) are enhanced products and need to be paid again (or paying a renewal fee).

      However managing the different versions will be complicated, requires a more sophisticated updating platform and adds to extra cost. This is the reasonable way out, but its costly.

      The easy way out is to charge for updates on annual basis across the board, and that is what Woo is pursuing.

      The right thing to do, especially if you don’t want to incur the complexity (and costs) of managing different versioning, is to grandfather all previous purchases on their original terms.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 12:26 pm #

        “The right thing to do, especially if you don’t want to incur the complexity (and costs) of managing different versioning, is to grandfather all previous purchases on their original terms.”

        ——–
        @smehero

        Pretty sure that it’s the only legal thing to do. Several of us are in the midst of looking into the existing license holder unilateral changes.

        • smehero
          2 August 2013 at 1:06 pm #

          @Syrehn

          This episode will become an epic case study of pricing, no doubt.

          I like the Woo team and would want them to do well. However peeving off their existing customer base is not a exactly smart business move.

          I think most of us are reasonable, and understand unlimited and perpetual support is not sustainable. Many of the more successful plugin developers are moving away from this model recently. Following are 2 examples (I owned developer license for both), but they either retain lifetime updates or grandfather previous purchases:
          1. Soliloquy Slider
          2. Formidable Pro

          Some do not offer lifetime updates and support right from the start e.g. Backupbuddy from iTheme (which I also own a license), which is fine because those who are purchasing are fully aware of it at the point of purchase.

          I want Woo to be successful and around for the longest possible time, but they should be looking at remodeling their support structure and hence cost, instead of changing the terms of the original contract. They should be growing through acquiring new customers, instead of milking existing customers, especially those who are already somewhat “locked-in” to their products i.e. having existing client sites using their products.

          • Syrehn
            2 August 2013 at 1:17 pm #

            I 100% agree with you.

            I just want to re-affirm that I’m not anti-woo. I love woo and their products. I am by no means against the new structure/pricing for future sales. It makes complete sense for sustainability. I would even venture to say that I would have continued purchase the higher end license in that new tier knowing the new structure.

            I want to see them grow off of their new structure and new customers but agree that milking the old ones is not a solution. Especially if you have unlimited site license owners who are barely using the support portion of our licenses.

            At this point, even if I were to do that (purchase at the new rates), the precedence has been set that they can just change license terms any time they please; despite the fact that we’re unsure that it’s legal to do so after we’ve purchased that license at that term.

            As mentioned before what’s to stop them a year from now from saying this new structure doesn’t work and then downgrading everyone with a 5 site license to a 1 site license.

            The seeds of doubt have been planted.

          • David Peralty
            2 August 2013 at 3:34 pm #

            Formidable didn’t grandfather people when they added support costs to the mix…

          • smehero
            2 August 2013 at 3:38 pm #

            @David,

            At least they are keeping the lifetime updates :)

  96. Sandie
    2 August 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    I was already shying away from using anything but Canvas because of the short notice on other theme retirements. It now makes sense for me to re-evaluate it against options from elsewhere. It would be helpful to know as much as WooThemes is prepared to publish regarding the Canvas roadmap (including time frames, and any expected additional costs).
    1. When is responsive portfolio functionality due?
    2. Will you be making a full width slide available?
    3. Is there any commitment to regular feature additions, and if so, what type of frequency?
    4. Please confirm whether security updates will always be free whilst you’re still actively selling Canvas to new users, or whether in your new pricing model security updates require a valid subscription/theme licence.

  97. thebastion
    2 August 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    So I spent $1200 dollars in the last 6 months on Unlimited domain extensions which I thought were for life and now you tell me in 2 years I gotta renew them? And what if I installed them on 30 sites, do I have to buy a 25 domain and then 5 domain licence?

    Did you even think this through?

    Will I also be charged the new fee for the template club in 2 years or from now or from now?

    Can I have a refund on everything I have purchased? I am extremely unhappy about this. Is it even legal to change the contract on a purchase once it is made?

    And why no e-mail about this change? You stuck a message on my admin page ON YOUR SITE, surely this should have been communicated a little better?

    I am utterly disgusted…

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Several users have stated that a unilateral change to existing licenses is likely not legal and are looking into it and future options.

      One user (Daniluz) posted an initial response they said was from their lawyer regarding the issue confirming this change for existing licenses.

      I’d absolutely encourage you to look into it as well.

  98. xue
    2 August 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Just to improve your data a little bit, you have at least 1 customer who does not make $48,000 by buying your themes. I’m a college student making unpaid art and culture websites. I love it. I’m not complaining. But the massive profit you want a bigger piece of doesn’t exist for me at all. When I buy a Woo Theme I spend money I could have spent on food. As for support, not to be snippy, but the answer to most of my questions is, “we don’t support that.”

    • hoodoofactory
      2 August 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      According to one of the founders, “Did you also read the chapter (in his eBook) where I wrote that not all customers are equal?”

      Apparently people who can’t give them a chunk of 48K aren’t worth serving.

      Good comment, by the way :)

  99. Moonworks
    2 August 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I started to read the replies, but just so many of them I thought I’d just reply.

    I think that for what you get, this is a very good deal, however, I’m not sure I like being told that extensions I have purchased are for unlimited sites with lifetime updates, but then told that this is no longer the case. In the UK, the office of fair trading would pounce on this in no time.

    I’m not going to be giving comments like some I’ve seen. I’ll not be leaving Woo at all, the themes are great, particularly Canvas, and WooCommerce/extensions do a great job. However, I cannot see myself continuing with the theme club as a rise from $25-$39 is a lot, especially as I do not charge for the work I do on websites.

  100. toni.claren@gmail.com
    2 August 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Wuuhaa! You just raised all your fees by 25-50 %. Removed something (unlimited) why I (and many others) have even bought them from you. Well done!

    I would have understood your price upgrade but that and the unlimited removal this is something where I have not crossed EVER on my days at web business.

    And if thats not enough you are saying that you want a “chunk” from our fees too…

    PS. What happens to those licenses what we have already bought? You do understand that if you change them – I want a refund from everything.

  101. firebubble
    2 August 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    After reading all of the comments on this page it sounds like there are a lot of unhappy Woo followers. Perhaps Woo might reconsider some of their changes to help preserve the loyalty of their customers who have all helped WooThemes become what it is today with their support and purchases.

    I think dropping the charges for updates would not only be a wise move but a fair one too.

  102. Pastie
    2 August 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Despite all the argument raging above, Woo’s Pre Sale FAQ’s currently include the following in relation to Plugins and Extensions:

    How Does Tiered Licensing Work?

    When buying a plugin or WooCommerce extension, you have to choose how many WordPress installations you wish to receive support and updates for the product. Each installation will require a license key. You have a choice of single, five or unlimited licenses upon purchase of your plugin. If you choose the unlimited license you will be given one license key that can be used on an unlimited number of sites.

    Your plugin or extension will work without the license key, but you will not be able to receive updates and support for it until you have activated the license key with the plugin. Upon activating your license key, the domain you are using it on will be mapped to your WooThemes user account.

    Any plugin or extension purchased before 1st October, 2012 includes unlimited license..

    Is Buying A Plugin Or WooCommerce Extension A One Time Charge?

    Yes, as mentioned before, plugins and extensions aren’t included in any of our club subscriptions currently. Our club subscriptions are our only product with recurring charges. Purchasing a plugin or an extension from us is a one time charge.

  103. Roy
    2 August 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    I buy mainly WooCommerce extensions. I think some people forget that a extension which costs just $49 or $99 is good value for money.

    If you was to get this made by a developer it would cost 10-20-30 times that for just a simple extension. Plus, it will most likely not get updated or improved. An, then it would cost you more again. Plus the time, it would take weeks to create.

    Maybe people are also forgetting WooCommerce is open source and improved every day. Many man hours go into this product and its open source and free.

    If you have a problem with a extension or even WooCommerce, and ask WooThemes for help, if they can, they will always help, but they always response to every support ticket.

    Same with themes, they create themes and they just work, all we need to do for changes is create a child theme which a few changes and we are ready to go.

    Most of the time, you can charge a client for all of this as: expenses anyway!

    If you was going to make a client than eCommerce site and use WooCommerce, maybe you might require three or four extensions say at $99 each.

    WooCommerce: FREE
    Extensions: $396
    Support for Extensions: FREE
    Theme: now $99

    Cost: $495 for a fully function eCommerce website powerful enough for any online store and ready to go. (Ready to go – i mean works out of the box).

    Compared to what you are going to charge a client this is very small. Considering the hard work is pretty much done!

    If you want decent platforms to use, the company behind it needs to cover their costs and make a profit. As long as they dont go crazy with their pricing, I feel its a bonus.

    If they make more money they going to work harder to give us more and better their products and support! They cant do this is they are a losing company.

    How many hours would it take you to create a eCommerce plugin for WordPress. How many hours would it take you to create four extensions for it. How many hours would it take you to create a decent theme to work with it? cold you even do it?. Oh yeah, don’t forget the bug fixes, improvements and updates.

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      @Roy

      For the most part we’re not against the cost of the product. We’re not against a price increase/structure change.

      We’re against the way Woo is handling existing license terms that were purchased (many at great expense) prior to these changes taking place.

      • Roy
        2 August 2013 at 2:18 pm #

        How do you expect a company to provide updates and support for a product constantly if, they do not charge for it.

        I think WooThemes have just figured out they cant they will lose money.

        I understand what your saying for the license terms. You cannot really change for unlimited to 25 sites. Unless they had something in their terms currently.

        I think they should allow people with unlimited to stay unlimited because that’s what they paid for, WooThemes made a mistake there and now they have to pay for it.

        It should only be new customers which the licenses apply too.

        • Moonworks
          2 August 2013 at 2:48 pm #

          I purchased the Gravity Forms developer license a week before they changed it from lifetime to annual payment. I still have that license, as they just changed it for those who bought it after the changes came into effect.

        • Syrehn
          2 August 2013 at 8:20 pm #

          We don’t expect they’d be able to support anything if they don’t charge for it. Which is fine and perfectly justifiable going forward. No issues there. Makes complete and total sense

          We do expect all existing license terms to be honoured. Unlimited is unlimited (licenses and updates) with guarantees of no additional fees (was on their pre-sale faq) and no info in their TOS regarding changing established license terms.

          I agree with your last sentense – “It should only be new customers which the license apply too.”

    • smehero
      2 August 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      @Roy,

      You forgot to mention that with the revised pricing and using your illustration there is now the on-going cost of $247.50/year from year 2 onwards to keep your ecommerce solution updated and secure.

      And the cost could easily double as it is not uncommon for a more commercial grade solution to require 10 or more extensions (I personally bought 22 extensions as I though these 22 extension would cover at least 80% of eccomerce requirements).

      And you will need respectable hosting and even SSL for enhanced security, the cost quickly adds up.

      What are the alternatives?

      There is hybrid solution from Cart66 Cloud which cost $199/year and provides the SSL and ecommerce hosting, but you host your own wordpress.

      There is also the 100% SaaS solution from Shopify which cost you $348/year (hosting and SSL inbcluded)

      Indeed from what I am seeming the revised pricing is making the WooCommerce solution less competitive and LESS ACCESSIBLE.

  104. Scott
    2 August 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    All sounds interesting. Essentially, us with products already seem to be set up with new products as of this change.

    The products no longer exist as they once did. We aren’t simply seeing a price change but product changes with incurr new ongoing costs if we do want the products to continue to be updated. Understand that we can choose not to renew because the plugin works fine but that’s not the original product sold to us. Prior to the change, our updates were included in the price we paid. I could still choose not to update.

    Since our products are brand new, I’d like to know if you’re offering refunds within the 30 day mark (30 days of this post).

    Hopefully answered here so we don’t create an expensive ticket.

    • Scott
      2 August 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Oh never mind! Just saw Adii’s comment about refund. I’ll send in an email ticket.

  105. themaynedesign
    2 August 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Woo is registered in South Africa and South Africa Laws follow English Law.

    Therefore South African, law is very clear on breaking contracts – eg you’re not allowed to do it.

    In summary, Woo have broken the legislation of their own registered country by trying to retrospectively change the terms.

    Woo … take a slice of humble pie, sort out this mess you’ve made, say sorry, reinstate those lifetime licences before this goes viral.

    • James
      2 August 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      And South Africa has a *whopper* of a Consumer Protection Act (law protecting consumers) which I am willing to approach a lawyer about.

    • farrel
      3 August 2013 at 12:04 am #

      @Adii,

      Something has gone wrong with your thinking lately. You seem to have completely lost the plot line here.

      You never made a mistake with your pricing. Your fair and reasonable pricing was what helped you to create a business that now employees 30 people, and has over 100,000 customers.

      What you have failed to do is innovate by creating more revenue streams, and therefore more company revenues.

      What that has resulted in is you feeling resentment towards the very people who helped you get to this point. Now in your mind they (we) are moochers, not paying you what you rightly deserve.

      In a way you are similar to the politicians whose only means of creating revenues it to tax and tax the very people they are supposed to represent. And the more they tax the less they give. They don’t have any plans to grow the economy, just to do the easiest thing and that is to keep taxing people.

      You have the means and the platform to create a lot more revenue if you really want to, without destroying the very relationships that helped you get to this point. But you lack the interest or desire to innovate, to come up with other ways of increasing revenues without undermining your foundation.

      I really used to admire your success and attitude in the past, but now I don’t, Something has changed in you and it’s not for the better.

      Once you start seeing your customers as the “enemy” you have completely lost your way.

  106. WooUnlimited - Angry Customer
    2 August 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I still can’t belive this post… Is it a joke?

    WOO SAYS: “If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that…”

    What does that means? If I only set up charity websites at no charge… can I have all your stuff for free? Surely not.

    And… if I’ve installed 10 extensions on 100 websites… ¿do I have to pay 40 x 25 site licences a year to mantain those extensions updated??? (40*299=11960$)

    I was so happy with my unlimited lifetime licences.. and now so angry!!!

    WE ALL CAN ACCEPT CHANGES IN YOUR BUSINESS AND UNDERSTAND THE NEED OF AN OTHER BUSINESS MODEL, BUT WHAT WE CAN’T ACCEPT IS THAT YOU ARE BREAKING CONTRACTS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    Contacting some international experienced lawyers is a good idea.

    Are you an angry “woo unlimited” customer like me?

    LET’S GO AND TAKE LEGAL ACTIONS !

    Email me at: woothemes.unlimited@gmail.com

    All ideas and comments are welcome.

    — SCREENSHOT —

  107. Avenger
    2 August 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    The good news is that South Africa has comprehensive legislation in place to protect the consumer. Here is quick guide to lodging and resolving consumer complaints in SA.

    http://www.labourguide.co.za/consumer-protection-act/consumer-complaints-complaint-procedures-useful-consumer-contact-details

  108. Freddie
    2 August 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    All,

    I am not affiliated with Woo but I am a customer, just like many of you.

    You need to think twice before going down the route of ‘legal action’.

    Why?

    Well, let’s say you all take WooThemes to court, you win (probably) – they payout but that leaves the company in a bad state and therefore with no working capital to keep the company running…

    30 WooStaff lose their jobs, and you (The Customer) lose everything that you are campaigning for.

    I think Woo needs to rethink their strategy about what they have released here but i don’t think that legal action is the way forward.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Freddie

    • smehero
      2 August 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      I agree, I am not for the legal route, the 300 WooStaffs do not deserve this.

      I would prefer to be offered the option of full refund for my past purchases, since they just changed the terms of the original purchase contracts.

      For me, I’ll walk away to explore alternative solutions for my customers.

    • delerium
      2 August 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      Definitely agree with @Freddie, though I seriously doubt any legal action would win in court, as that could open the flood gates for almost every business on the planet, no matter what size.

      • farrel
        2 August 2013 at 11:24 pm #

        Stick to your day job, your know as much about the law as you do about flying to mars.

        • delerium
          3 August 2013 at 1:03 am #

          You are right: I don’t know the laws myself, which is why I retain a lawyer for that exact purpose. I’ve been advised that terms and conditions can be changed as long as they are spelled out in said terms & conditions. For crying out loud, check out the t&c’s of large companies such as telecommunications companies (phone, cable, satellite services), software companies, credit card companies, banks, etc – don’t think they ever change their terms & conditions (especially cc companies)? Where’s all the lawsuits against those companies, who do this on a regular basis?

          • farrel
            3 August 2013 at 1:22 am #

            Terms and conditions CAN be changed. There is no issue about that.

            But this is something different. A license was sold for a piece of software that entitled the user to use it on unlimited sites, and to receive a lifetime of updates at no charge.

            That was the product offered and once it was purchased then it becomes a legally binding contract.

            You can’t sign a contract with a company to redo your kitchen for a set price, and then halfway through the job they tell you that the price no longer includes the dishwasher they stated they were including at the time you paid them. It’s illegal, it’s called breach of contract.

            How can you be this ignorant to think that a person who sold you something can just wake up one morning and decide to alter what they said they would be providing you AFTER you paid them in full?

          • farrel
            3 August 2013 at 1:39 am #

            Another example for you. A monthly membership can be altered at any time according to the T@C. That’s because you are paying by the month, therefore, once that month is up, the obligation to you has been fulfilled according to what you paid. You paid for the month and you got the month at the price you were offered.

            But, if you bought an annual membership upfront then the company cannot increase the price, even if the monthly prices increase. That is because you have already paid them until the end of the year and they cannot alter the contract after it has been paid. Once you offer something and the person pays you, you are legally obligated to provide what the deal was, at the price agreed upon. You can’t go back and alter that just because you feel it was not enough money for you.

    • farrel
      2 August 2013 at 11:16 pm #

      Legal action is only needed if people refuse to abide by the terms of the contracts they had entered into.

      That’s why people seek legal action, to get people to comply with the law. Not because they want to destroy a company and people’s jobs.

      • Syrehn
        3 August 2013 at 12:28 am #

        + Infinity

  109. Ross Wintle
    2 August 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Hmm…I see why you need to do this but it is a bit of a shock announcement.

    First thing, if you’re becoming more dependant on the updated plugin, can you make it a bit more visible and easy to get hold of. Currently the only way seems to be to follow a link that’s in a comment on a WooThemes blog post. This is gonna be a key plugin for you. Give it a page and do some SEO on it so people can find it please!

    Secondly, this is my own more general take on your new pricing and support model.

    I don’t make $1000 on a job. I use the fact that WooThemes have been extraordinary good value to make developing websites cheaper for my clients. So an increase in price and a decrease in service hits me hard.

    On support, I don’t raise many support requests – I’m pretty self-sufficient – but when I do it’s important stuff.

    It strikes me that you’re still offering something “unlimited”: the number of support requests I can raise in a year. That probably costs you more than updates.

    I’d expect unlimited updates and site-usage for themes because updates are important and I would guess that you have some idea of what it costs to keep a theme up-to-date over its lifespan.

    But I’d like to see a cheaper support model with limited support requests. If I could buy a pack of, say, 10 support requests. That would be a much better model for me. You’d also create a “supply and demand” market for support requests. People with simple queries would post on forums or look harder for solutions before asking you direct.

    I don’t see why I – a low-volume support ticket raiser – should be paying into a pool of resources that a high-volume ticket-raiser can draw from.

    I’d like to continue to use WooThemes to help my clients get good value. I’m not convinced that this model helps me going forward.

    Ross

    • Ross Wintle
      2 August 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      I should also add that I operate on a bit of a “Robin Hood” model. I generally get businesses or people with specific budgets to pay to buy themes, and then, as I own them anyway, I deploy them for local charities, community groups, and other small business, to help them keep costs low.

      So it’s not $1000 per site, say. It’s $100 for the first site and sometimes, $0 for subsequent sites. Yes, I sell other services on the back of that, but I keep costs low and object to you suddenly “taking a chunk”.

      Ross

      • firebubble
        2 August 2013 at 4:20 pm #

        I think that Ross has a good idea with the paid for support packages of say 10 support questions to make it fair for the people that hardly use support.

        I don’t think I have submitted a single support question in the last year so would be a better solution for the people that do not need much support and would mean that the people who submit lots of support tickets would then be paying for all the assistance they need which is fair as this support needs to be paid for somehow.

        • Ross Wintle
          2 August 2013 at 4:39 pm #

          Just to extend this idea. Some people will probably complaing that it shouldn’t cost them to raise a bug report to get something in the product fixed.

          There are two types of support then:

          1) “Help-me” support, where a user asks how to do something or requires bespoke support for their own site or implementation of a given theme.
          2) “It’s broken” support, where a user reports an error in a theme that results in a bug fix.

          The latter should not be deducted from a user’s support quota. This should probably be credited back to the user once the bug has been identified.

          Just thoughts.

          Ross

  110. Foo
    2 August 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    On average, WooThemes is increasing it’s pricing every 9 months and additionally pruning it’s catalog. Additional products are increasingly focused on WooCommerce and the monetization through it’s extensions.

    If this was an honest appeal, then we could expect true transparency of WooTheme’s Costs.

    Just an example of price increases or services cut:
    August 2013 – Price Increase and License Revocation
    April 2013 – Pruning of Themes Catalog
    October 2012 – Tiered Licensing
    January 2012 – Price Increase

    This is a classic money grab and bait and switch.

    • Lauren
      2 August 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Don’t forget:

      June 2012 – Switched guaranteed themes per month from two to one, while keeping club price the same…essentially doubling the price of the club.

      • Lauren
        2 August 2013 at 8:02 pm #

        I mean essentially doubling the effective price per theme by giving you approximately half as many themes for the same price.

  111. firebubble
    2 August 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Is the Woo team still responding to this post as there has been no response from the Woo team in over 7 hours?

    • Mark Forrester
      2 August 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      We’re still closely monitoring this thread and will soon by closing the comments. Following it up with a blog post after in-depth discussions today.

      • firebubble
        2 August 2013 at 5:19 pm #

        Thanks for your reply Mark, look forward to the new post!

  112. delerium
    2 August 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Wow – amazing talk here about legal action. Really? So you’re unhappy that Woo is changing the terms and conditions on you and taking them to court is the best action? It is perfectly legal to change terms and conditions, INCLUDING for existing customers. Don’t believe me? Everyone probably has a credit card or debit (bank) card, right? The terms and conditions that were in place when you signed up for that credit card or opened a bank account will definitely have changed in the past few years. Do you think their existing customers are grandfathered in? If you think that is the case, you are seriously misguided!! This is just one example, but it happens everywhere.

    This is the eleventh year for my business and I have myself changed terms and conditions for my clients, sometimes to their benefit and sometimes not. I’ve never had anyone threaten legal action, quite simply because any normal terms and conditions will state they can be changed at any time. By default this applies to all current customers as well. This isn’t to say I haven’t had a complaint about it (I have had several), but I’ve stood my ground and some stayed, others left and that’s the price of doing business and STAYING VIABLE. Without some of these changes, I wouldn’t be here today, still running a profitable business that still sees increases every year, as modest as they may be. My clients depend on me to be here in the long run, just as I expect Woo to be here for the long haul as well.

    BTW, the lawyer that stated these changes were not legal is clueless; they are just relishing the idea of making money off some frivolous lawsuit, since they’ll make money no matter who wins the court case!

    • James
      2 August 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      You’re confused. They’re not changing the terms and conditions. What they’re doing is not giving us a product (plugin with unlimited installs) for which we’ve paid. Instead, they’re switching it to a plugin with only 25 installs.

      • James Koster
        2 August 2013 at 5:29 pm #

        There’s no limit on the amount of installs, just support and updates.

        • James
          2 August 2013 at 5:33 pm #

          Wrong. Did you even read the blog post above?

          “No More Unlimited Licenses

          In the past, we had 3 pricing tiers for plugins & extensions: single site, 5-site & unlimited. We’ve decided not to make the unlimited pricing tier available anymore and have instead replaced this with a 25-site license / tier.”

          • Hugh Lashbrooke
            2 August 2013 at 6:12 pm #

            That simply means that you will only receive support for the 25 sites on which the plugin is installed and licensed. The code is under GPL so we cannot limit how many times you use it – we’ll just be limiting the amount of support and updates we offer for the plugin.

          • James Koster
            2 August 2013 at 10:05 pm #

            There is really no need to be so rude.

            As Hugh confirmed, you can install and use the extensions on as many sites as you like, but if you have a 25 site license you will only receive support and automatic updates for 25 sites.

          • Syrehn
            3 August 2013 at 12:26 am #

            @James Koster

            Which is fine. Going forward. Again, most people don’t seem to have an issue with that. HOWEVER, that set of rules should NOT be applicable in anyway to users who purchased licenses under different terms.

            If we purchased unlimited (sites/updates) then in no way, shape or form should we now be told that those license terms are being unilaterally changed to a 25 limit. This also applies to any renewals fees as we purchased with the specific term that there would be none.

      • delerium
        2 August 2013 at 5:37 pm #

        Not confused at all – that falls under terms and conditions as well. Guess what, when I signed up with my (previous) Internet provider, it was unlimited bandwidth. That was changed and they added a cap on bandwidth, so now the service I initially paid for has changed – same thing. My option was to leave for another company, which does have unlimited. Will that stay in place forever – maybe, maybe not, but the language in the terms and conditions applies to all customers, all products, all services and if they are written properly will always have the catch-all provision of allowing changes to said terms and conditions. You don’t have terms and conditions for each product or service you sell, you have a blanket t&c that covers everything.

        • Evan
          2 August 2013 at 6:38 pm #

          Delerium, did you pay a flat fee for your Internet access up front, for life? I doubt it. You probably paid for unlimited bandwidth with your Internet provider each month, deciding whether what was offered at the time was worth it. You got what you paid for at the time – unlimited bandwidth for that period of time. When your provider changed away from unlimited bandwidth, you had the choice to pay or go elswehere. You knew full well what you were getting if you decided to continue with them, and pay the bill. You can see the difference, can’t you?

          A better analogy would be if your Internet provider had offered you the choice of buying unlimited Internet bandwidth for one flat price now, that would give you unlimited access for 20 years. You choose them over another provider for that reason, and then after you paid them for that, they turned around and said, “sorry, now that we have your money, we’re only giving you unlimited bandwidth for the next 2 years.”

          • delerium
            2 August 2013 at 6:57 pm #

            @Evan – actually, something I failed to mentioned originally: while not paying a flat fee (for Internet, who gives you that option?), there was a term commitment of one year and it was during that period the bandwidth allotment changed. You can argue all you want about the legality of it, but here in Canada it happens on a regular basis, especially when dealing with Internet providers and phone providers (which up here are basically the same companies). The analogy remains the same: customers signed up for a one year term, provider changed the terms during that term which applied to everyone.

        • smehero
          3 August 2013 at 3:01 am #

          @delerium:

          You have grounds against your internet provider if you can prove that:
          1. The clause in the T&C is unfair and you have been significantly affected financially

          or

          2. You have been misrepresented into signing the agreement

    • farrel
      2 August 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      “It is perfectly legal to change terms and conditions, INCLUDING for existing customers. ”

      I think you are confused friend. It’s perfectly legal if people are paying a monthly fee for services. It’s also perfectly legal to raise prices at any time.

      But if you sold something tangible, like a license to use something for an unlimited time period, you cannot turn around and then say “sorry, lifetime is now 2 years”. That would be breach of contract. In that case you have offered something to a person and they have paid you in full according to the terms of the original contract.

      That is one issue. A totally separate legal issue, which is also illegal, is to encourage people to buy licenses for unlimited use, and then a few weeks later tell them, well lifetime is actually now 2 years.

      That’s an act of fraud, where you are intentionally mislead someone into buying something that you don’t intend to honor.

      To call a lawyer clueless when you are clueless is a little ironic.

  113. Rdoolfo
    2 August 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Friends, take your money to opoiar other developers, if they were able to develop, others also can, with your support.

    Now the station break promises of the past, the future vain do the same.

  114. Karl Andersson
    2 August 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    I’m an entrepreneur myself and have raised prices on several occasions without any real complains – it’s part of doing business. But every time I’ve raised the prices, I’ve also given something back to the customers. For downloads I increased the resolution. For shipping I bought extra sturdy envelopes. Small investments but which left my customers with a feeling of the price increase making sense. That they were paying for something *more* than what they got before.

    As I was reading your blog post, I kept waiting for that “more” to come. But it never came. I think that causes a lot of people to react (except from the discussed changes in terms for already purchased products). As for me, I’m a minor customer (1 theme, 1 plugin), so I’m more surprised than pissed off. I don’t think this is good business.

  115. boldwater
    2 August 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    All I have to say is PEACE OUT WOOTHEMES!

    Unless you do a 180 on your plugin update policy, I have built my last site using your products. I see ‘woocommerce alternative’ trending on google today.

    Enjoy your ‘increased profitability’ – oh yah and I’ll make a smiley face at the end of my post so it seems like good news :)

  116. Brendan Falkowski
    2 August 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    I’m not a WooThemes customer, but I fully support this change. It’s one that I’ve been trying to convince Envato to make on their marketplaces for years. A smart business is sustainable, not aiming for the bargain bin. I really hope this kicks Envato into gear.

    More thoughts: http://themeforest.net/forums/thread/is-wordpress-market-underpriced-/104991?page=1#858014

    • Timmy
      2 August 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      If you’re not a customer then keep your mouth shut!

      • Brendan Falkowski
        2 August 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        Deal with it. WooThemes deserves to hear that people appreciate businesses that make investments for their future. If I ever had a need to become a WooThemes customer, the company will still be there — and in better form. Buying any theme is still a radically economical way to kickstart a website, even if they were 10x more expensive.

        • hoodoofactory
          2 August 2013 at 11:39 pm #

          That’s assuming most themes don’t also need to come with heavy modification if people are hiring developers. I often put tens of hours into putting a website together and theme modifications for clients. Paying hundreds and hundreds or thousands of dollars for the theme or one piece of software you need to make a site run isn’t sustainable for the entire economic ecosystem. These price increases Woo has implemented will put many small developers under.

          Theme developers make money from selling a shitload of them, designers make money off of far less projects.

    • Daniel Espinoza
      2 August 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Brendan. Big fan of GravityDept!

  117. Sergio Redondo
    2 August 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi, friends!

    I’m a WooThemes customer and I can tell you that Canvas gave me life in the Internet. I couldn’t build my website without your help.
    Now, I can build websites for my clients and some months ago I made a spanish translation for Canvas too.
    I understand your decision: your customers must realize that if we want more awesome themes, plugins and extensions, we have to leave you grow as a strong company.
    Best luck for your dreams!

  118. Tevya
    2 August 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    I strongly agree with @Karl Andersson above. You should really do something to make us long-time customers feel like we’re getting something in return. I think the smart among us all appreciate it means Woo will be around a lot longer and we can continue to use themes, plugins, etc for the long term. But it still feels like we’re getting the shaft to an extent.

    I purchased some unlimited Extensions with the expectation that I’d utilize more licenses in the future, and that it was an investment, because I would get updates forever. I can see now that you shouldn’t have been offering that, but I took your word for it that unlimited was unlimited, and lifetime updates meant lifetime updates. So, for example, I paid for an unlimited Stripe gateway, but only use it on 1 site currently. I feel betrayed. Previously when you raised your prices, I kept my unlimited licenses. Now, they expire in 2 years.

    I’m a loyal customer and probably will continue to use your products, but I can’t help but feel lied to and betrayed to an extent. You’re saying essentially “I know we told you this before, but we changed our minds.” And no matter how much we support the changes, it still sucks because the terms we made purchase decisions based on, are no longer true. It also makes it a little hard to trust you, because if you won’t deliver on those 2 promises, who knows what else might change in the future?

    So I really think you REALLY need to address 3 things:

    1. Give us loyal customers something back. Something more than the support and continuity you’d already promised (even if you didn’t have a revenue model capable of supporting that promise).

    2. You’ve GOT to support 1 and 5 site licenses on Multisite in the updater. I don’t care about the technical issues involved. You just have to figure out a way to do it.

    3. You need to offer (at the very least) downgrade pricing options when it comes time to update our 5 site and unlimited licenses in 2 years (if not an in-store credit refund downgrade option now).

    • farrel
      2 August 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      ” You should really do something to make us long-time customers feel like we’re getting something in return.”

      I’m a long term customer but I have an even lesser request. I don’t want special treatment because I no longer believe in “Woo” so it doesn’t matter to me . What I do want is for you to honor the contracts you have already made.

      If we were sold licenses for unlimited site use, and lifetime upgrades, then provide that. There is no way I can believe that doing so will result in you going out of business.

      It’s not only the right thing to do. It is your legal obligation to do so.

      • Syrehn
        2 August 2013 at 11:42 pm #

        @farrel

        I 200% agree with everything you just said in this comment.

        We’re not out for special treatment. We want what we originally purchased honoured. Plain and simple.

  119. johnrobbfl
    2 August 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    I’ve been using WordPress and WooThemes for about a year, after being a Joomla developer for almost 4 years. I have many sites running WooCommerce, have purchased a few WooCommerce extensions and also purchased Canvas to test as the foundation for my custom sites.

    First – I like WooThemes, find the support adequate (but not great) and think the quality of Canvas is very good. If you gave 3 ratings (poor, average, great) after a support request I think you would get a more accurate rating of your service.

    That being said, my experience with the products and responsiveness/quality of service does not warrant this new price increase.

    If WooThemes is/are saying that they need to raise prices to keep service at the level it is currently at, that won’t be acceptable. However if WooThemes is/are saying that by increasing prices, new service requests will be answered within hours, not days, then it’s a viable reason to increase pricing and might be justifiable.

    I would much rather see an improved knowledge base where other developers simply assist each other (like with YooTheme or RocketTheme) and then some type of pay-per-support or separate support options that include Direct WooSupport.

    That’s just my 2-cents.

  120. Robert
    2 August 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    There is a big problem – Woo products are not as awesome to be priced so high. “You don’t need to prolong your subscription”. But having considered your strategy (ship first, then fix the product in many, many later updates)… You’re locking a person into the subscription prolonging purposely!

    Check out, this is a chunk of dynamic pricing changelog:

    *** Dynamic Pricing Changelog ***
    2013.07.24 – version 2.3.6
    * Update ( 1 ) : Added the woocommerce_dynamic_pricing_process_product_discounts filter to simple membership module.
    * Update ( 2 ) : Added Free price text for simple modules that have a discounted price that equals 0

    2013.07.15 – version 2.3.5
    * Fix: Advanced Category pricing was not correctly calculating prices for some more advanced quantity configurations.

    2013.06.29 – version 2.3.4
    * Update: Re-enable discount price display throughout the store on all products when rules apply.

    2013.06.23 – version 2.3.3
    * Update: Show discounts on variation price HTML when specific variations are targeted.
    * Fix: Show correct product price in cart with strike through.

    2013.06.13 – version 2.3.2
    * Fix: Update for special offer advanced category pricing to process various edge case combinations correctly.

    What if my “new 2 year” subscription ends before you fix some critical bug like “* Fix: Update for special offer advanced category pricing to process various edge case combinations correctly.” or “* Fix: Advanced Category pricing was not correctly calculating prices for some more advanced quantity configurations.“?

    You know there is a humongous amount of issues with woocommerce plugins and this crazy new policy of yours is not good, rly. If you start to enhance on some Quality Assurance, then maybe.

    But for now, you should re-consider your change of previous contracts before someone will sue you and call you swindlers.

    • Piotr
      2 August 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Good question: What are the critical bugs!
      This is not adding new features and fix bugs only.

      At this point, Jigoshop is a viable alternative. Although I would not want to.

  121. bjornsennbrink
    2 August 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I am a bit annoyed that you are changing the contract we had when I first purschased your products. I receive two years of updates now “for free” and you should imo elaborate on what part of our contract that states that you have the sole right to change it (our contract)?

    I have no problems to pay money for good products and services. What I do have problems with is grasping how a contract ( I gave you money, you gave me software + future updates for the price I payed) can be changed, by you alone without consult me/us as paying customers first?

    I am a bit frustrated now, yes. And I think that this will come down on you in a bad way (someone will sue or take it to the court, you know what I mean). Especially if that individual has put a lot of money into buying your products and now face unforseen costs in order to stay up to date (and secure).

    Or perhaps this can be what you need.:Clean out the poor whiners that does not appriciate your work, now and in the future?

  122. Alejandro Carrillo
    2 August 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi, Guys!

    About the terms I do think that you have managed it very wrong: Sure, you got that little paragraph when you say that you can change everything when you want… it may be legal, but that’s not ethic… all those little lines intended to not be read by the customer… you are acting like the typical capitalist greedy company who write long terms and hide (or not make clear) the small letters in the contracts(like Rumpelstiltskin). I know it’s not your fault that the customers don’t read the small letter but, a really ethic company can asure that their clientes REALLY understand, in a clear way, what are they signing for…. just take a look a what 500px have made for their costumers. I think is one of the few companies who goes this way. I now you are humans and you have made mistakes on your business model… so if you make a clear state an announce a refunding to everyone who has been cheated by this trick way of doing business will be great…

    The new price structure it’s ok too. I offer my clients one year free of hosting, updates, support and domain when I make a site for them. After that I charge them with a 30 dls monthly fee (some clients are willing to pay for it a some other don’t – mainly because I haven’t explain them correctly the pros of have a site updated or to have someone to restore it when hacked). I think this is a model it’s better them and for us. And paying a monthly fee for all the themes and support of woothemes is worth it… you maybe can encourage the rest of woo customers to be a in the club, instead of buying individual themes.

    I’m along time club subscriber customer… I understand the changes in the price structure, and it’s a great choice to let us keep our first rate! great for that!

    A part form that, just thanking you for have gave me great tools to work with my clients!

    • Alejandro Carrillo
      2 August 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      here you have the terms page of 500px: http://500px.com/terms

    • Syrehn
      2 August 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      “About the terms I do think that you have managed it very wrong: Sure, you got that little paragraph when you say that you can change everything when you want… it may be legal, but that’s not ethic…”
      ——–

      @Alejandro
      Their terms actually state that they are free to change prices for products at any given time; which would mean pricing going forward. No where does it say anything about changing license structure/terms for existing purchases which is why so many are so upset.

      The majority of us that are wound up about this (with justification) support Woo’s new prices/structure going forward for new purchases.

      • Alejandro Carrillo
        2 August 2013 at 10:22 pm #

        @Syrehn

        Hi, yes… I must admit that not even now i took the time to read the terms… I was just trying to say they could be more clear in managing that

        Cheers!

  123. firebubble
    2 August 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    I think it is time Woo posted the new announcement mentioned previously. The Woo team must have worked very hard to build a strong reputation so it is a shame to see that hard work being thrown away.

    I think Woo should admit they got greedy, provide the updates as promised and inform people that you can no longer offer unlimited usage but they are entitled to a refund.

    I can see why providing unlimited usage and support does not work but not providing the updates and asking people to repurchase is a terrible idea.

    How many people would really require any support for an upgrade to a Woocommerce extension. Once it was setup all you would need to do is upgrade to fix bugs and security issues. That’s it.

    I can see why products like Canvas generate a huge amount of support tickets but many of us are not using Canvas.

    The support should be charged on the products that require a lot of support to cover the support costs for that product rather than making others pay for your support service even if they do not use it.

  124. farrel
    2 August 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    I’ve done some napkin maths and something doesn’t add up to me. Woo says they have 100,000 paying customers.

    Let’s say the average customer nets Woo about $100 per year. I would assume it would probably be closer to $250, but let’s be conservative.

    That would be an annual revenue generated of $10,000,000.

    If there are 30 people on staff let’s say the average salary is $100,000 per year. Again, it’s conservative, it’s probably lower.

    That’s an annual cost of $3,000,000. Add to this $2 million for various expenses like office space, travel etc.

    That would bring the expenses to 5 million a year vs revenues of 10 million a year. And that’s being conservative with the income.

    That leaves $5 million left over. Now we are told that is not enough to keep the company afloat in 2 years from now, even taking into account the change of licensing today which will immediately raise income on all future customers.

    Furthermore, Woothemes increases in sales volume each year which should more than compensate the cost of hiring a few more support staff.

    I’m finding it difficult to accept the reasoning here, but feel free to correct me on these numbers.

  125. Johnny
    2 August 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    I hope WooThemes will get things straigten out in a proper way because I would like to see WooThemes stay afloat. I like to use your products (although I only use three themes from you and just started experimenting with WooCommerce) because of the high coding standard which makes any modification easy. The themes are aslo visually appealing, however I always have the feeling that they are a copy of each other. Maybe you can take a look at the Elegant Themes for some design inspiration? Ideally, I’d like to see the ET design with your framework and coding standard (personally I consider working with ET themes a nightmare…).

    Anyhow, another thing to consider is the WP Multisite. I run one installation and have 4 sites there. I’d like to start a shop on one of them but getting all the WooCommerce extensions with the unlimited (or now 25 sites) licence is just an overkill. Sure, I could always make a separate WP install for just this site but there is a reason I’ve chosen multisite for… I don’t want to maintain two copies of WP, themes, plugins, etc.

    Last but not least, here’s a bussiness idea that I had few days ago – offer a hosted eCommerce platform (like Shopify or so), where for a (reasonable) monthly fee you offer a hosted WP site (with the possibility to map a custom domain) with the WooCommerce plugins and themes available. You can even make several plans, e.g. for starters with a small fee and only the most crucial set of WC plugins, then more expensive ones with more plugins for more advanced businesses that have profit already. That’s just an idea, maybe you’ll like it :)

    Cheers,

  126. Abid Omar
    3 August 2013 at 1:42 am #

    People who complain about upgrades being expensive, there is an alternative: Build your own products.

    wooCommerce is free, and will probably stay free. The alternative is to build your own extensions. You’ll obviously find out that you need to regularly update them. Are you going to charge that to your client? How much is that going to cost? Will the quality be comparable to what Woo offers?

    I’m glad woo is making this move, and teaching their customers more about what they should charge.

    • Syrehn
      3 August 2013 at 2:03 am #

      @Abid

      If you read through the comments more closely you’ll see that people in general are NOT complaining about the new prices/structure (paying for support/upgrades) for FUTURE purchases.

      People are worked up, and rightly so, when LICENSES (not pricing) have been unilaterally changed from our original purchase term. Keep in mind that we did NOT purchase those licenses in a subscription and were repeatedly told that we would have unlimited upgrades etc. in addition to being urged over and over before each price hike to buy those licenses to lock ourselves in.

      This angers people who were urged just weeks ago to purchase those licenses on the most recent sale at those exact (unlimited) terms because Woo trumpeted to “get it now” as there would be a price increase announcement forthcoming. All the while they know that they were planning to change the terms of those sales.

      Adding fuel to the fire users who purchased under 1 time only fee (this was in several documents on the Woo website) are now being told that they will be required to pay renewal fees each year. Again, not what we originally purchased and not part of the original license terms. For individuals who have spent hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars on WooCommerce extensions this would force them to look at potentially having to pay an additional $5k – $14k per year; all coming due at the same time. If we don’t pay we don’t get updates and if the grace period lapses we would be forced to renew at full price.

      The entire model for existing license holders is a complete and utter fiasco and has several individuals looking into the legality behind a license term change where the product was already bought and different terms.

    • farrel
      3 August 2013 at 2:58 am #

      “You’ll obviously find out that you need to regularly update them. Are you going to charge that to your client? ”

      You already do charge clients for doing that. Every time you sell software to someone new part of that payment goes towards support, and the rest towards developing and so it goes on.

      You keep getting more funds to develop and maintain because you keep selling the same thing. Over time you keep making more profit because your original cost to develop has been recovered and the amount needed to make small changes is not that significant. You also should be able to be more efficient in support because over time you get more info on what problems exist so next time you know the solution to a problem because you have already encountered that issue before.

      Why do developers make it sound like they never get paid for updating their software even though they keep selling the same thing and each time to new people?

      You are not producing individual items by hand, like a craftsman does. You are producing one batch of files and allowing many people to access them.

  127. smehero
    3 August 2013 at 2:57 am #

    From Chris Lema’s blog:

    WOO just emailed me and said they would be happy to extend my “lifetime” license for 5 years if that feels fair to me but that they are reevaluating what to do with existing clients and will send out a post regarding that next week so I should wait.

    • Syrehn
      3 August 2013 at 3:14 am #

      i am not appeased by this. extending a mini olive branch in an attempt to calm the masses is not going to fly. feels like another bait and switch tactic to me.

      3 words. honour. existing. licenses.

  128. Lauren
    3 August 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Another concern…I assume that these changes are already in effect, however the product pages for the extensions do not say anything about licenses being for a year only. They still look as if you’re simply buying a license, presumably lifetime. Not everyone reads the blog, so I wonder how many people are still buying with no idea that they’re going to have to pay every year?

  129. Magnus Jepson
    3 August 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Thank you for all comments!

    We have read all your feedback, and will have a new blog post next week where we will try to address any concerns.

    We’ve also updated our FAQ on licensing: http://www.woothemes.com/frequently-asked-questions/#license-1

    If you have any questions which can’t wait, feel free to contact us via our contact page.

    The comments on this post have now been closed.