An Important Update

August 5, 2013 in Blog, Team news.

The updates to our pricing and business model have received a significant amount of attention over the last few days from our customers, competitors and the general WordPress community.

Within the blog post’s comments, on social channels and internally at WooThemes we’ve discussed the repercussions of the decisions we’ve made. There are some things we have gotten wrong, and we’d like to address that.

Before we do though, we want to go into a bit more detail behind our reasoning.

First off, it’s important to understand that when we offered ‘lifetime’ support for a product; this referred to the lifetime of the product. As you’ve seen previously, we’ve retired products. That’s because these products, at some stage, become no longer viable or sustainable, and we can’t justify spending time on improving that product.

More importantly, WooThemes no longer simply provides a great design and layout structure for your blog. This was what the WordPress market catered for when we initially developed our business model.

With all the innovation that’s happened within the WordPress system; we’re now able to build functionality that allow businesses to exist online. We empower an incredible amount of businesses to generate revenue and build livelihoods. These businesses depend on us to be around for a very long time.

For some that might be a simple one pager, a brochure site, an online catalog, or even a fully fledged e-commerce site. In the digital era where we find ourselves today; your business needs an online presence.

With the pricing and licensing updates we announced, we want to make sure that your business will be able to thrive. In order for that to happen, WooThemes would need to have a sustainable business model and make sure that we were able to keep the promises we made.


It’s clear that most users agree that we’re well justified in increasing our prices and adapting our business model. We’re extremely happy about that.

(Thanks to everyone that has left a note of support on the blog, social media or sent us a private message. We really appreciate that! Although some feedback was difficult to swallow it was important for us to hear from you all.)

What many don’t seem to be happy about is that we’re changing the terms of a product you’ve already paid for. Specifically, that we’ve now capped support and updates for 2 years on any purchase before the 1st of August.

Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation. We wish we could have made you a more realistic promise.

Our decision in this regard was influenced entirely with our eyes on sustainability in being around for a long time. We assumed that this was in the whole WooCommunity’s best interest and that every one of our customers would want to support us in that goal. Even if that meant that you would have to compromise or sacrifice certain terms / conditions that were previously attached to your purchase.

We’re sorry for making that assumption.

We’re also sorry for the way we communicated this in our previous post. Reading & re-reading our words, we might’ve come across as being defensive. We would be telling you a lie if we said that we weren’t concerned about potential negative feedback; so we probably focused too much on justifying our decision. Instead we should’ve appealed to you.

To do right by you, we would now like to give you the option of whether you want to back our strategy for sustainability or whether you would want to stick to the previous terms & conditions that you signed into (which means we’ll grandfather all of your purchases). If you choose the latter, your purchases before 1 August 2013 (that were already unlimited or lifetime) will remain unlimited and lifetime forever.

We won’t value you as a customer any less if you want to be grandfathered, nor do we want to coerce you to adopt the changes if you fundamentally disagree in how we’ve gone about the re-structure. The decision is entirely yours.


Our Appeal For Support

As we have admitted, we have made a real mistake in pricing our products and the business that we built around it. We only realized this about 18 months ago, as the effects of those mistakes have silently been chipping away at our business. 18 months ago the cracks widened and we noticed them for the first time.

The new changes are designed to right our previous wrongs and ensure that we never have to worry about this again.

So we call on all of you to support us in this regard and adopt the new pricing plan. By doing so, you will ensure that WooThemes stays around for a very long time.

You will also support our vision to really invest in innovation, as well as building out our support offering to the extent that we can give you insanely awesome support every, single time.

How do I update my licenses?

Simply visit your licenses page once you’re logged in. From there, if you’re eligible to have your unlimited licenses grand-fathered in, you’ll be able to update all your unlimited licenses bought before the 1st August 2013.

Our license terms

We’ve updated the FAQs around our licensing system, you can view those here. Please feel free to contact us should anything be unclear.

The Theme Club has ended

We’ve ended our Theme Clubs. If you were previously an active, paying member you should have been grandfathered into the All Themes Package.

WooCommerce Bookings

176 Responses

  1. Noel Tock
    5 August 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    I already thought the first post made sense, but this is just icing on the cake. Congrats to being one of the most transparent companies out there, your customers are lucky to have you.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks, Noel :)

    • Cameron McCool
      5 August 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Agreed. I second Noel’s sentiments wholeheartedly. THANK YOU WooThemes for being transparent, upfront, honest, and human.

  2. Scott Webb
    5 August 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Interesting, I emailed support about honouring the lifetime updates or if that cant be done to see if you’d issue a refund. I was told that I should see my refund within 5 days.

    Glad that this will please some people. I’m finished with the games.

    • Michael Krapf
      5 August 2013 at 4:08 pm #

      The 5 days is banking not policy. Thank you for allowing us to clear that up.

  3. themaynedesign
    5 August 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Good call … and I’ll be happy to re-instate my licences **and** purchase new themes under the new pricing model.

    Please

  4. tschando
    5 August 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Woo, I’m so happy about this announcement!
    Reading your first post and all the comments made me feel like this was an unsolvable problem for you and your customers. Giving the choice to your customers is THE SOLUTION to it. Perfect!

    I hope this will help your company to regain your customers trust and friendliness.

  5. Mark
    5 August 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Warren,

    Thanks for coming back on the previous post in a very professional matter, to my opinion.

    Personally I really loved the WooThemes team and products until the last post where I got a shocker first class.

    However it is more then great to see that you guys really do listen to your customers and I think it’s more then awesome that now you give your clients the choice whether or not to support you with the new pricing models related to previous purchases or to honor the purchases earlier made.

    As I mentioned in the previous post I fully support the new pricing model and really do hope Woo too be around for a very long time indeed. However I fully disagreed with not honoring previous purchases and then mostly because of the way it was brought.

    However after this post I will think a while about if I will adopt the new pricing model for my previous purchases as well… with this post you really fully restored my trust in Woo plus a bit extra.

    Again, a big thanks and good luck with the changes!

    – Mark

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      Glad to hear that Mark :)

  6. Geoffrey
    5 August 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    I see you took a course in PR between these posts. Well done on that, but I have a feeling the damage is already done for many people. What started as a plan for you to be sustainable and last well into the future may end up leading to your early closure. Hopefully it won’t come to that (for the sake of current customers), but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Mark Forrester
      5 August 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      I’m confident it won’t Geoffrey, and data is already suggesting the changes will help push us to the next level.

  7. John Gillespie
    5 August 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    You can never build a business model around people who expect everything for nothing, and you can most certainly expect the same people to complain the loudest about everything you do.

    • petergriffyn
      5 August 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      @John Gillespie You mean the 100,000 customers?

    • thebastion
      5 August 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Sorry for the cynicism but can you confirm that there will be no future attacks on Lifetime / Unlimited licenses in the future?

      Creating the next ‘version’ of a product in lets say, 2 years, leaving us with products at their ‘end of life’ is the obvious manoeuvre to those of us left with a bitter taste in our mouths. I don’t believe the community would swallow it then either, but you will have had 2 years breathing space to rebuild your brand.

      Your statement in bold about ‘Lifetime of the Product’ gives me pause for thought. Can you categorically confirm this will not happen? If you can’t will you refund those of us who no longer trust Woo to do the right thing?

      • Syrehn
        5 August 2013 at 5:38 pm #

        I’m also left wondering along the same lines as thebastion. I hate to be wary but at this point it can’t be helped.

      • RoxyJ
        5 August 2013 at 6:40 pm #

        I agree, thank goodness I haven’t used woothemes on too many client sites.

        I built my pricing around what woothemes offered. Sure, it was a good deal, that’s why I bought it.

        I’m not adverse to the new pricing model, as a matter if fact I subscribe to more than a few products. What I am adverse to is changing the terms after I purchased the product. So, now I am expected to change the terms with my clients? Sorry, I don’t roll that way.

        I’m tired of being at the “mercy” of a company that thinks its ok to change their mind like they change thier underwear, and change thier terms to already purchased products. Who’s to say in 2 years time they don’t retire every theme that still has lifetime customers, or renames Canvas? (They’ve made it abundantly clear that its their prerogative to do so)

        It’s not the new pricing model that’s got me worried, it’s the ongoing changes, and ethics.

        • Magnus Jepson
          6 August 2013 at 9:58 am #

          Hi Roxy,

          Just to be clear, we don’t expect you to change your terms with your clients, which is why we’ve given you the option for lifetime support and updates.

          You can also see our timelines for themes and when we have retired them they have legitimately been very old and not selling any more.

  8. Syed Balkhi
    5 August 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Great job in giving your users an option. It shows the values of your company :) Proud of you guys.

  9. bettis
    5 August 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be a WooThemes patron. Thanks for the transparency.

    • Magnus Jepson
      5 August 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks for sticking with us!

  10. flowsimple
    5 August 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Just another thought/idea: What about offering yearly subscriptions at a discounted rate as well?

    • Magnus Jepson
      5 August 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      Hi,

      Wouldn’t that complicate the current model?

      The optional renewing of a license after 1 year is already discounted with 50%.

  11. SoVeryAPT
    5 August 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Wow, I’d missed the first post completely, but having read through and all that, I completely agree, there’s no point in running yourselves into the ground financially, as then you wouldn’t be of any use of any of us WooTheme users.

    This new model makes perfect sense to me, however the one thing that isn’t totally clear is for the subscribers (such as myself). Does the limited licenses / support etc apply to subscribers as well? How is that going to work with things as we’re paying a monthly fee, regardless of how many sites we make up, and it doesn’t really say (or if it does, I missed it completely) in either of your blog posts how that would work for us?

    Does it mean that when we use a theme we need to purchase additional licenses on top of our subscription to make use of them etc?

    Many thanks
    Andy T :)

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Hey Andy

      There are no licenses with subscriptions, and there is no domain usage. If you have a Club Subscription you can use the themes on as many sites as you want.

      The only thing that changed with the club subscriptions was an increase in pricing, and that does not affect any current club subscribers; you stay on the same monthly fee :)

      • SoVeryAPT
        5 August 2013 at 5:18 pm #

        Cheers Warren. Reading it again, that does make sense, but I thought it better to ask.

        Like I say, the whole thing makes perfect sense to me. As you say, I get the themes, save hours of my time and get a better end result because of it.

        Thanks (as many others have said) for the transparency. Besides the great themes and plugins, it’s what makes you guys stand out from the crowd!

        Andy T :)

    • Magnus Jepson
      5 August 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      To add to Warren’s reply, please see our FAQ: http://www.woothemes.com/frequently-asked-questions/#license-8

      Please give us any feedback if you feel the FAQ doesn’t explain it properly. Thanks!

      • SoVeryAPT
        5 August 2013 at 5:20 pm #

        Cheers Magnus. Seems good to me. :)

        Andy T :)

  12. artofbackpacking
    5 August 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    I honestly don’t know of any company as transparent as you guys. Wonderful job!

  13. mtibesar
    5 August 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    WooThemes opted us out of the original licensing agreement and now want us to opt back in.

    Hmmmm…

    Once again this is a deceptive business practice on your part.

    I should not have to opt-in to my original licensing agreement (after all it still stands).

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Opting out of our new pricing / licensing only requires a couple of clicks and less than a minute. ;)

      • Marcus Tibesar
        5 August 2013 at 8:07 pm #

        Then YOU should spend the few minutes and update everyone’s accounts – we customers having to opt in to what was already agreed upon is disingenuous on your part.

        • Anu
          6 August 2013 at 1:31 pm #

          Couldn’t agree with this more. Why not existing customers opt-in to the 2 year deal, if it’s such a positive for all concerned?

  14. andykinsey
    5 August 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Hi Woo’s

    I too had some how missed the last post about this, but looking back it made sense you can’t just run yourself into the ground. It’s not often that any company will (in public) explain prices rises, but you have and that is great and the reasons make complete sense.

    I’m not sure what the hullabaloo is about really, you can’t expect any product to be supported forever – do people think that something you bought 10 years ago would still be supported today… does Microsoft do that? nope, they have a lifespan of a product and the support they offer. Does apple do it now, they have a product warranty. Do webdesigners and developers offer it, hell no!

    So why should Woo? there is no reason other than for a few developers to make a few more quid from each plugin or theme they use.

    I’ve logged in and said i support the new system, you guys are awesome please keep up the good work.

  15. juliankidd
    5 August 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    I think any purchase before Aug 1 needs to be honoured at the terms at the time of sale. That is just plain and simple business practice whether it is a drain on your business or not. You made those rule, you need to stick by them.

    Knowing I would need to pay yearly to keep my extensions alive would have probably kept me away from WooCommerce. Thankfully it’s only on 4 extensions but everything adds up for a small ecommerce home based business.

    • gmcray
      5 August 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      @juliankidd “…whether it is a drain on your business or not.”

      Are you serious? That’s a rather short-sighted thought, don’t you think? As someone who owns and operates a multi-million dollar company, I applaud Woo for making a tough call…one that they knew would be controversial and unpopular. Sometimes it is a matter of survival.

      I will never understand people who would rather see their vendors go out business than than to do what is necessary to continue to provide quality services and products to their customers. It would be one thing if Woo was screwing with people simply to pad their pockets, but that’s not the case. Just look at their old model. Any analytical examination shows they have no good option but to change their model to one that is sustainable.

      I also applaud them for giving prior customers a choice. I’m not sure I would have done that, frankly…but kudos to them for being so customer-centric.

  16. petergriffyn
    5 August 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    @WooThemes “… From there, if you’re eligible to have your unlimited licenses grand-fathered in, you’ll be able to update all your unlimited licenses bought before the 1st August 2013.”

    I’m reading from that quote and within my account that only “unlimited licenses” have the option of grandfather-ing. What of the Single and 5 Site licences?

    The issue customers have is related to all purchases, not just unlimited licenses.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 5:01 pm #

      All licenses will be updated, not just your unlimited licenses. I’ll fix the wording there to make it clear :)

  17. impress
    5 August 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    All of us who run online businesses can take notes from your handling of this. Thanks for being so open.

    I am going with your new business model, and won’t be claiming the lifetime update. I’m throwing my hat in with you guys because I recognise that the value you provide offers so much to my own future business growth…and so long as you continue to grow and improve your support, that is good news for all of us.

    Thanks Woo.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      Great news, we hope to impress :)

  18. Marcus Tibesar
    5 August 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      I think it’s important to note that we never intended or planned to deceive anyone. It wasn’t like we’ve been plotting this situation this for years, acquiring customers under terms we know to be false, just to eventually screw everyone.

      As we’ve communicated on countless occasions, the decisions we made were based on data that became aware to us about 18 months ago. The mistakes we made were unknown to ourselves for a very long time.

      So if you were actively deceived, then we also deceived ourselves. :)

      • Marcus Tibesar
        5 August 2013 at 8:23 pm #

        First, you decommission our themes and don’t offer replacement skins or alternate solutions.

        Then you shut down our Support Forums which were used heavily by us to avoid support tickets.

        Then you get hacked and nearly lose everything because of no backups.

        Finally, you try to alter our original licensing agreements. Opting-in is lame since WE never opted out.

        You have purposefully taken your customers on a roller-coaster ride and, I for one am not riding anymore.

        Yes, I’d say you HAVE indeed deceived yourselves.

        Read the well-written comments on WP Tavern and, perhaps you will understand why you have pissed your customers off.

        Good bye WooScrew; Hello StudioPress.

        • Magnus Jepson
          6 August 2013 at 10:07 am #

          Hi Marcus,

          We’ve only retired very old themes which were not selling any more, so they were not sustainable. There is less reason to retire themes with our new model if customers renew their license, showing that they support for the product. We always offer big discounts if we do retire themes, so you can buy a newer theme.

          We closed our old support forums when we moved to a ticket based system, but we opened them up again as a community-driven forum. You can still use them as they have all our old posts.

          I’m sorry if this all feels like a roller coaster ride, as this is never the intention, but I do have confidence we have put our business on the correct path to be sustainable for a long time.

          There are many well written blog posts about our price changes, and we’ve read all of them as we do appreciate any feedback we can get.

  19. Ryan Sullivan
    5 August 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    I really appreciate the transparency and the humility in this post. I would have loved to see it in the first post.

    As someone who has paid for Woo Products for 3+ years, I had no issue with you wanting to adjust pricing models to sustain your business. Those types of decisions are hard and necessary. As a consumer I understand that 100%.

    My biggest difficulty with any of it was the tone of the last post. It felt like we were being told since we have been getting such an amazing value all these years, you had every right to change pricing and we should thank you for it. The “you make x amount of dollars from things we build so this move is justified” just really rubbed me the wrong way as a long time supporter.

    Thanks for following up. And here’s to your long-term success!

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      I’m sorry about that Ryan, I hope you understand that wasn’t my intention at all.

    • Gaslight
      5 August 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Unfortunately I had that impression too. I mean, look at it the way round, if it was not for customers/early adopters of Woo products, where would be Woo now? Gratitude should be mutual, early adopters should be rewarded, not backstabbed. Early adopters and customers will reward the provider by continuing purchasing products, recommending it to friends/colleagues/other professionals etc. and contributing to the company growth. The previous post sounded too much like “oh we are delivering to you such great products and we’re making you rich, you should be thankful, and you should handle to us a share of your profits because of course we assume you are making a profit because of us”. I’m not quoting of course, but if you go through the comments here and elsewhere you’ll notice that’s what people perceived. Also, I’m not sure what’s the average Woo customer (and why should I know anyway?), but their new pricing policy will discourage categories likes students, no profit entities, amateurs who just want a theme for their blog, professionals from developing countries to buy their products. Even though I don’t have any data, I’m quite sure there must have been a lot of these categories among the early adopters and they won’t be too happy of course.

      • Magnus Jepson
        6 August 2013 at 10:12 am #

        It wasn’t our intention to come across the way it eventually did, and we’re sorry for that. We greatly value our early adopters, and really hope you value that we’ve given you lifetime support and updates, even though this will cost our business in the long run.

        We are aware that our new price changes will alienate some customers, and obviously that is a very negative thing with any price increase, but we need to make sure our business is profitable 5-10 years from now.

  20. visitonweb
    5 August 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi,
    As a website developer, I do not really need support.
    If I use it, it is more because I’ve discovered a bug and this one needs to be corrected fast.
    I’d love to get all the update ( for security and bugs) for all my previous licenses.
    I do not know what other developers think about it but I understood with the comments on your previous post that all developers would love to be able to keep their themes or extensions up to date for live but 50%/year of the original price is too expensive (100% of the price if not upgraded directly seems to be unacceptable).

    I would suggest, for those who do not really need support, to be able to choose to have it or not. By the way, you could charge maybe 10% a year for developers to get products updates without support.

    Updates cost you nothing and are very important for security and bugs.

    Dimitri

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

      Updates don’t cost us nothing. That work needs to be done by skilled developers, and some updates, aren’t just bug fixes or security updates. We’re constantly making improvements to our product, and refactoring any code we feel isn’t up to standard.

      • visitonweb
        5 August 2013 at 5:09 pm #

        Improvements needs to be done any way to get new customers. If you do not make improvement, your products will not be in the market and customers goes somewhere else.

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 7:22 pm #

          I’m 110% sure our success until now is testament of our product quality and the continuous improvement thereof. It’s in our DNA.

          So this isn’t something that I’m / we’re concerned about at all.

      • ShaunR
        5 August 2013 at 6:55 pm #

        As visitionweb said, improvements should be made to keep customers.

        I agree that there should be a separate cost for support, perhaps you pay 20% of the cost yearly if no support is required, and 50% if support is required.

        The problem with support is I rarely use it fix a problem that is my fault, it’s usually a bug I’ve found with the plugin and then the author fixes the bug. This is more like us doing beta testing for you, and paying you for the privilege!

      • Tevya
        5 August 2013 at 7:41 pm #

        I agree with @visitonweb. The major cost in the item you cited was the support tickets. How about an “updates only” option for 25% yearly, or a subscription that includes X number of Extensions/themes without support? This would pay for their continued development, but doesn’t have to pay for support we’re not using.

        • ShaunR
          6 August 2013 at 1:54 pm #

          +1 to this

  21. DianaHeuser
    5 August 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    The signs of an honourable business is the ability to admit when you make a mistake and then fix it. Warren I am delighted at this change in heart. I love WooThemes and I am so glad I do not have to find an alternative.

    I am more than happy to pay the new prices on new purchases going forward, but I am especially delighted that my existing purchase agreements will be honoured.

    Well done guys. You restored my faith.
    Di

  22. mzak
    5 August 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Well done Woo. Thank you for your transparency, for listening to your customers, and your willingness to find a compromise. I hope that this solution meets your needs as a business, and the needs of your customers. I know I’ll continue to be one for the foreseeable future.

  23. coursouvra
    5 August 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    I’m glad Woo are taking steps to ensure their business survives and I can understand how frustrating it must be seeing sites that are generating huge incomes using software you’re making a loss on, but as a non-commercial user (heck, I update my site so infrequently I’m not sure I could even be classified as using it) I know I wouldn’t have made my original theme purchases had I known about the licensing changes. Not because I don’t value the products or the work that goes into them by you guys, I just couldn’t justify spending that much money ($70/$99 is a huge chunk of change for some people, especially for a non-essential). While I do genuinely appreciate that the licenses have been grandfathered in, the wording of it did make me a little prickly, especially on the page where you click one button or the other; it is perfectly possible for a person to support Woo (wouldn’t that be why we’re customers in the first place?) but just not have the money to spend every year, especially on something we thought we’d only be buying once. Genuine gestures shouldn’t come with guilt trips guys.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Its not designed to be a guilt trip :)

      Some users may not see those blog posts at all, so we wanted to make sure that they were able to get to them. I also needed a way of allowing users save in our system that they were ok with the changes, so that the messages wouldn’t then come up for them.

  24. mhoefer
    5 August 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Seems like a good option, particularly for those folks that may have taken advantage of the recent promotion. Kudos for the adjustment.

    I don’t have to use support often but in many ways have built my business around WooThemes offerings. You long term viability is important to me and my clients.

    eCom is hard stuff, I can’t imagine the support resources it consumes! Hopefully the new model helps both paying for support, but also giving people pause before they take on a self-hosted ecom shop. For small places there are some good hosted models out there that work just fine. (I in fact have a little concept I’m planning on useing on big cartel because the overhead of a full ecom set up is likely to much for now.)

    Hope the more robust biz model allows more work on plugins. Testimonials and Feedback are a bit duplicative. Testimonials seems to be your path forward but is missing some nice options you have in “Feedback”. (I’m sure this is part of the transition of moving functions from themes and into plugins)

    I would love to see a robust “Section Navigation” solution along the lines of this seemingly abandoned project http://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-section-navigation/

    I’m not going anywhere, keep on rocking Woo!

  25. Jon
    5 August 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    The first post caused me a lot of worry over the last few days. After being made redundant I was looking at setting up my own ecommerce site. Having used canvas for some personal sites in the past the timing was right with the announcement of woocommerce.

    Looking at the pricing options etc at the time it made sense to me this was a good way to go (though I spent far more on extensions for added functionality that I hadn’t anticipated but I kept eating them up regardless). The announcement that I’d then have to pay a running cost was a big blow and had I known about them up front I’d have given serious thoughts to other ecommerce options out there. It was this turn around that was the biggest blow, suddenly an extra cost that I hadn’t factored into my business plan.

    Now hopefully the business turns into a success, for now I’m going to opt out but I certainly feel people should be paid for their time and work. I have been eyeing up other woocommerce extensions and knowing the cost up front I can make those purchases with my eyes open. This news has come as a great relief to me at this point and should things prosper in the future I wouldn’t be adverse to opting back into the new pricing model.

  26. Syrehn
    5 August 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    When I woke up this morning I will admit that I never expected the outcome to be in our (existing license holders) favour; even more so when I read the first bit of their article.

    I was wrong. Woo has allowed us to reclaim our original license terms. Thank you Woo Team for honouring our existing terms.

    I’d be lying if I said this experience hasn’t left me very wary going forward but I’m more likely to purchase new items now under the new model than I was over the last few days (prior to this article there was a 0% chance of that).

    I’d like to point out that even if we choose to “re-claim” (which I don’t think we should have to do it should have been a given) that doesn’t mean we’re not in support of your new model. The wording of this article made it sound like if we revert to our original purchases terms we are against the new Woo model of sustainability; and that just simply is not the case.

    Lastly I’d like to thank everyone who stepped up and spoke out against what was happening to existing license holders; you’re the reason that we’re seeing this follow up article.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      Just a note re: opting out of the new support model for past purchases.

      We understand that on future purchases all customers thus “support” the new pricing & support models. The support we’re talking about above though is different.

      We’re basically asking past customers with unlimited licenses to commit to the new support model. This means that we get to save some cost and those customers are thus taking on a new personal cost to themselves (renewal fees after the 2 years). This way we’re (WooThemes & past customers) are essentially sharing the expense related to our previous mistake(s) and inefficient pricing / support models.

      • Benjamin Favre
        5 August 2013 at 6:05 pm #

        I think you are still completely ignoring the people who have not used any of the support channels you offer, even once.

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 7:20 pm #

          Our data suggests this “type of customer” is an outlier.

          So whilst I understand where your comment comes from, our business / pricing model doesn’t have the ability to de-bundle product + support (and essentially “cater” for outliers.

      • Syrehn
        5 August 2013 at 6:09 pm #

        Definitely understand what you’re saying. I also understood it in the article as well; it just felt a bit like a “one or the other”. Even though I know that it wasn’t meant that way I wanted to re-affirm we support you going forward.

        Thank you for listening to our voices and giving myself and many others a pleasant Monday surprise.

      • Timmy
        5 August 2013 at 6:47 pm #

        It just blows my mind that you think we, paying customers, are responsible for your terrible mistakes.

        We PAY you for your services and products, and they’re great services and products, but this whole mentality that we need to share the expense for your problems is just crazy to me.

        I will never use a wootheme product ever again.

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 7:19 pm #

          That’s why we’re giving you the choice: support us or don’t support us. That remains your decision. :)

        • farrel
          5 August 2013 at 8:16 pm #

          I agree that it’s just bad business. You act as if we are all in this community together, but then you make major changes to pricing that affect your community of users without bothering to consult them or consider their needs, or even give them options.

          When you were first getting feedback you initially rejected everything people were saying as if they have no choice or say at all. It’s only because of the extreme outrage that you are now forced to make these changes. You are not making them because you want to, but because you have to.

          • Adii Pienaar
            5 August 2013 at 9:39 pm #

            I think Warren was spot-on in the post above for saying sorry for the defensive nature of our initial communication.

            The same goes for our comments subsequent to that. We had loads of individuals having a real go at us (for something that we believed in and something that had good intentions) and our natural response was to defend that. That’s obviously the wrong way to go about this and we should’ve been more objective from the very first comment.

            Sorry about that!

      • mfraase
        5 August 2013 at 7:57 pm #

        WooThemes’ existing customers, now operating from a context and frame of reference of distrust, will find little of value in this walk-back. WooThemes is still adamant about externalizing the costs of its previous business mistakes on its current customers.

        Additionally, what appears to be a grandfathering of the original license terms for existing customers at first glance falls apart under closer examination as I parse here:

        http://www.farces.com/woothemes-walks-back-its-retroactive-license-terms-changes/

        • Geoffrey
          5 August 2013 at 8:27 pm #

          Well said (blog post). There really is no transparency or solution here. Just a bunch of PR bull that will unfortunately fool many of the Woo customers.

          • Joel Bronkowski
            5 August 2013 at 8:48 pm #

            Hi @Geoffrey we are legitimately trying our best as a company to do right by our customers. We are truly trying to ensure our business model is sustainable and feel that our latest response ensures we look after customers who made a purchase before August 1.

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 9:37 pm #

          You ask: “On what planet does it make sense for us to pay for your “previous mistake(s) and inefficient pricing/support models?”

          IMO there’s never a harm in asking. Heck, I think that’s the basis of any business: if you don’t ask, then you will never know.

          We’re not holding a gun to your head in supporting us in this regard; it’s your choice. Many WooThemes customers will (and have already) decided that it’s in their best interest to support us in this regard. So surely I can answer your initial question by saying that this happens “on their planet”!?

      • James Leonard
        5 August 2013 at 9:21 pm #

        Hi,

        Not to be too skeptical but it seems that requiring the ‘opt-in’ is simply a way of creating an ‘enemies list’ that will not really receive support anyways.

        I myself have used you support twice. The first time I was told ‘it works here’ and the ticket was closed. The second time I received a little more information and a workaround as the problem was a bug in the plugin I was using. I never did receive full information and I had to figure out the correct usage of the product myself and the documentation was woefully inadequate.

        The support was still pretty arrogant and unresponsive. I have been learning what I needed elsewhere. When I decided to go with Woo it was after a LOT of research and the ORIGINAL community forum played a big role. I have been a professional software developer since 1980 (C++) and what I really need is updates for the inevitable bug fixes and really good documentation. And yes, I DO NOT want to pay you for helping you fix your bugs, but that is what you are asking.

        So, I am going to go join the enemies list now…

        -James Leonard

        • Warren Holmes
          5 August 2013 at 9:38 pm #

          There is no enemy list, I guarantee you :) No customer will be treated will ever be treated differently.

    • Benjamin Favre
      5 August 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      What he said. 100%

  27. Syrehn
    5 August 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    On a side note, if it’s not being done already, it would be great if you sent out an email communication to all your users regarding this.

    Many might not know what is going on if they don’t read the blogs.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      I’ll be sending out a mail mid-week :)

      • Syrehn
        5 August 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        Excellent to hear. :)

  28. thebastion
    5 August 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I am sorry, but I just don’t share everyone’s joy at this announcement.

    Not until a Woo employee comes back and tells us that our Lifetime / Unlimited purchases are just that.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that in a year or two, when the dust settles, the subscriptions extension might be shut down as it’s ‘end of life’ and be replaced with ‘Easy Recurring Payments’ or some such title.

    Until there is a promise, in writing that all subsequent releases of extensions are part of the grandfathering scheme, and I mean that functionality isn’t just replaced by another extension, then my opinion of Woo remains the same as it did yesterday.

    The Woo apologist Chris Lema already stated as much in his comments on this post;

    http://chrislema.com/pricing-lies-we-tell-ourselves/

    • Syrehn
      5 August 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      I would honestly hope that your scenario isn’t the case. I think that would cause just as big an uproar.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      @thebastion:

      We’ve never been superficial in the way that we upgrade or label new product releases. And when we have retired extensions (twice I believe) in favour of something new, we’ve given all users of those extensions access to the new one’s for free.

      You can also see our timelines for themes and when we have retired them they have legitimately been very old. They also haven’t been replaced by the same thing, just with another name.

      Neither of these makes sense in our business or the new pricing / support model.

      Our biggest cost was related to providing active support (which relates to # of tickets generated & how many sites a product is used on). The new pricing model wasn’t designed to increase revenues by charging renewals; it was just designed to cover those ongoing support & maintenance costs.

      • thebastion
        5 August 2013 at 7:13 pm #

        Adii,

        On face value that is everything I want to hear. I hope that we don’t see a reversal in this approach.

        You have many customers who no doubt all have varying needs and budgets and I can see it is difficult to please everyone, but you took on that job when you started Woo. It appears you can appreciate why people were angry at Woo by your actions today, but please know that this was never about money for me and I am sure many others who felt let down in a massive way. No one like to be deceived and that’s how it felt.

        Lets hope that trust can be rebuilt over time, with some more amazing products and Woo sticking to the policy announced today. I’m not sure i’ll be rushing to spend more money with you just yet as i’m still getting my head round this, but I like the product enough to do so in the future when we see things play out.

        Thanks again for responding.

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 7:16 pm #

          I understand that once trust has been broken, it’ll take time to re-establish that. I trust in our team, our products and support though and I hope that we’ll have your (and the greater WooCommunity’s) trust back in no time. :)

          • farrel
            5 August 2013 at 9:02 pm #

            Time will tell for sure if that happens, but I doubt it. I remember on Friday giving you advice from your own book about backing up your words with actions.

            “If what you say and what you do aren’t the same, your customers would feel that you’re just fooling with them.”

            You laughed and asked me if I read the chapter about which customers make you the most money.

            “Did you also read the chapter where I wrote that not all customers are equal?”

            Here is some advice from me, it’s free. You should always value every customer of yours equally, because you never know when a small customer can turn into a much bigger one.

            A forward thinking businessman looks at the smaller guy and says how can I help him grow his business, which will then grow my business. The cowboy businessman just thinks about how to get rid of the smaller guys so they can make more money faster.

            Greed and ego are a deadly combination.

          • Adii Pienaar
            5 August 2013 at 9:31 pm #

            I totally agree and especially with this: “Here is some advice from me, it’s free. You should always value every customer of yours equally, because you never know when a small customer can turn into a much bigger one.”

            I however stick to saying that not all customers are equal, which at the core means that some customers (prospective or existing) just aren’t a good fit for a company (regardless of whether that is Woo or not).

            I also believe that it’s simply impossible to please all customers all the time. And I’ve personally seen some customers repeatedly act in a disrespectful way.

            Those – for me, as a business owner – are just the realities of playing this game.

          • farrel
            5 August 2013 at 10:49 pm #

            Umm… So you don’t think that telling half-truths to customers is disrespectful?

            Like telling them you are going to be increasing prices, “hurry up and go buy now”, but not telling them you are also changing “unlimited” licenses to 2 years?

            Ok, whatever…..

      • farrel
        5 August 2013 at 7:33 pm #

        “The new pricing model wasn’t designed to increase revenues by charging renewals; it was just designed to cover those ongoing support & maintenance costs.”

        But Adii, when people suggested this initially and said they had no problem with reduced or limited support but just want the updates, you guys refused to do that.

        That was mentioned over and over again as a solution. Why did you refuse to listen if this was always about your support costs?

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 9:29 pm #

          Umm, I’m not following you here. We’ve always said that our cost relate to maintenance & support (which includes updates). The latter might be the smallest driver of that expense, but a driver nonetheless.

          I’ll also point out that a handful of comments suggested that they were happy to forego lifetime support, but expected lifetime updates.

          Ultimately the overbearing message we got was that the grandfathering of past licenses was very important to some customers. So we’ve just addressed this by giving all customers the option of whether to grandfather their licenses or accept the new pricing.

  29. Bob Dunn
    5 August 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I supported you in your first decision, although I can understand frustrations from the current users. I applaud you in revisiting this change and I believe you have given us an option that is brave on your part. Cheers Woo!

    And we just have to all remember as business owners, sh*t happens ;)

  30. Luigi Nica
    5 August 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    It’s better, but still offending. Respecting a contract should not be optional. For me the proposal to change the terms from now on are understandable and I agree. But you can’t change the rules for your early adopters breaking the contract. Anyway, the way it is now (you never know what’s gonna be tomorrow with them), it’s very healthy for the WP community. Let’s hope that this episode will be buried soon. Still, it’s hard to swallow the promotion that they run just few days before they broke the contract.

  31. visitonweb
    5 August 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    To be clear:
    1) I want to keep products updates for life for my existing licenses (I don’t care about support).
    2) I found recurring prices in your new licenses system are too expensive (50% is too much and 100% if not renewed on time is not acceptable).
    As i do not need support, that mean that if recurring prices are too expensive, I will probably not buy any new products on Woothemes.com.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 7:14 pm #

      1) Just follow the prompts in your My Account dashboard and you can revert your licenses to have lifetime updates (where applicable to previous purchases that had them before last week’s changes).

      2) That’s your choice. Hopefully the quality of our products, support & updates will persuade you otherwise.

    • visitonweb
      5 August 2013 at 7:14 pm #

      For developers, you should really think about a system for UPDATES ONLY WITHOUT SUPPORT.
      In your first blog, you were complaining about your support costs.
      Support should be paid only by people who use it.
      If I need support, I would accept to pay a fix amount by ticket.
      Any ticket concerning a bug should be free.

      Thoughts?

      Dimitri

      • Adii Pienaar
        5 August 2013 at 7:30 pm #

        We’re not considering this at the moment. You can see my other response on this topic here.

      • Gaslight
        5 August 2013 at 11:01 pm #

        I sort of agree with Dimitri, although it might be not sustainable. For example I do have a dev license for Gravity Forms and it’s a plugin I use in most of my installations (not every of course). I do pay a yearly subscription for it, but it’s acceptable because the support is stellar (they do assist you if you have some customisations questions and they’re fast – heck I had reading them custom code from my SFTP which involved some WooCommerce product as well and they didn’t say “no”). Also the price for their only product is lower than some WooCommerce extension which by comparison dot not have the same level of complexity. Comparison is unavoidable when thinking about “costs” and “money”. I might have done more examples with Envato or other platforms, but Gravity Forms is the closest to Woo which I’m a customer of. If Woo could be a bit similar to Gravity Forms in terms of pricing and support offered I wouldn’t mind paying subscriptions probably. Alternatively, since unlike Gravity Forms, Woo does have a lot more products, I wouldn’t mind opting out of support if I could since it’s something I don’t use if it only covers basic usage.

  32. palihapiz
    5 August 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Well.., i see in my licence page is updated.. :) when i see notification in fb, Im just thinking you guy update woocommece plugin with the new feature or maby security update coz the title is look very2 important.. hahaha..

    Anyway 50% discount sound good or maby you guy up the discount to 70%.. hehehe..

    Ok anyway im just connected with woo about 2 month and create a simple e-commerce shop for our product home based, this is after im trying other e-commerce platform and hook with you guy..

    Good Luck! and Well done! to make it easy for me and Hopefully you guy can upgrade support system also thank you.. ;)

  33. mclanecreative
    5 August 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    I think you guys are doing a swell job. People don’t like change, competitors sense blood in the waters, just be flattered that so many people took notice.

  34. geodgeod
    5 August 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Makes sense but I do hope you improve your support and even put a bit more effort into the members forum – seeing so many unanswered questions there is just depressing…

    I worry this will be prohibitive for me when buying new extensions because the costs involved will keep adding up making alternative solutions more practical.

    It is interesting though to see how the finances work behind the scenes. I wonder how StudioPress / Genesis themes stay profitable?

    Will stick with you as long as it makes financial sense to (it’s about money for us too). Good luck and thanks for keeping us informed.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      I wouldn’t want to comment on other companies’ (much less if they are competitors) financial models. That’s not my / our place.

      RE: the community forum. It’s community for a reason; the community is supposed to help each other out. :)

  35. nlcluigi
    5 August 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I have a question please: for those who have lifetime licenses (grandfathered) for a single site or for 5 sites (grandfathered). How the upgrade is gonna work? We pay the difference between 1 to 5 sites or between 5 to 25 sites right? Then the licence will still be for lifetime?

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Yes, the lifetime updates will be grandfathered even if you were to upgrade those licenses (by just paying the difference).

  36. Tevya
    5 August 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Guys, I’m really on the fence about how to proceed. I’d really appreciate feedback, thoughts, or answers from any Woo employees/owners.

    I’m a small business owner myself. I know how it is to be in your situation where you realized your current model can’t continue and things will have to change in a way that won’t be easy for customers to adapt to. But knowing that if you don’t, your company will fail and they’ll be left with nothing. So on that side I completely support you in what you’re doing.

    On the other hand, I’ve made decisions and promises in my business based on the promises you guys made. For example I bought unlimited licenses of Stripe, Subscriptions, and some other WC extensions, even though I only currently use both of those on 1 site. I thought it was an investment. In other cases, I didn’t increase our normal monthly pricing for clients who use one of your themes and/or extensions, because I thought a single purchase of that theme/extension was for the life of the product. Based on what you’d advertised, I had an expectation that those costs had been covered. So when I found out otherwise in your last post
    I did feel betrayed to a certain extent.

    So here’s my conundrum: I want to support your new model. I want to pay for what I get. And going forward I can include those costs in the recurring pricing I charge my clients. However, I’m not excited about going through this same process of raising prices on existing clients that you just went through. Especially because I didn’t make the mistake in pricing.

    So I’m wondering if there’s a way I can both support you, and still honor the pricing I’ve given my existing clients? I feel like this is too complicated for you to provide all your customers, but it’s the only thing that comes to mind for me right now: Could you provide me in-store credit for the difference between some of my unlimited, lifetime licenses, and the 5-site license, so I can grandfather just the 5-site, instead of the current, unlimited? I feel like this is a fair trade-off that lets me support existing, but also allows me to support your new business model going forward, if I need more licenses than I’m currently using.

    However, at least 1 issue would need to be resolved for this to work: you’ve GOT to support 1 and 5 site licenses on Multisite in the updater plugin. I think this is essential regardless of whether the above is feasible. With your new pricing, I need to be able to buy 1 or 5 site licenses and activate it on the 1 or up to 5 sites I need it on.

    • Tevya
      5 August 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      When I wrote the previous, I hadn’t looked at it. Looks like I have to choose between grandfathering everything, or nothing.

      I’d happily let many licenses where the project fell through, expire in 2 years. If I need them again, I’ll happily purchase because I can include that in the cost to the client. But on a few, I’d like to grandfather for the reasons explained above, but need far less than “unlimited” licenses in most cases. Is there any other options than “all or nothing”?

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Hey Tevya

      It’s up to you which way you want to have your products licensed :)

      It looks like there is a bug in the API right now, you should be able to register any license with NetWork sites. I’ll get that fixed ASAP.

      • Tevya
        5 August 2013 at 8:46 pm #

        So if I open a ticket, we can work something like this out?

        Awesome. That’s great to hear. I know previously only Unlimited licenses worked on Multisite Networks.

        • Warren Holmes
          5 August 2013 at 9:19 pm #

          Sure, you can send in a ticket :)

  37. Nancc
    5 August 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Thank you for the option to keep my lifetime support. I built one e-commerce site for a local business and did not include in the bid any information about re-purchasing their theme and extensions in 2 years. I have already turned the site over to them. For this one company I need to keep to what I promised.

    I think your new prices are reasonable. When I build another e-commerce site I will include 2-year renewal fees in the bid.

  38. Jonathan Wagner
    5 August 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    I am not sure why you guys would even bother giving the option you should just leave previous licenses alone. The only reason to change current licenses would be if your customer base has stopped growing. This only leaves two scenarios.

    1. You have stopped growing a customer base and require an increase in cost to previous customers to survive. This means that woothemes is not sustainable because if customer growth has stopped, it can only decline despite your cost increase.

    2. You have a growing customer base and are doing a money grab. You feel some how cheated of money and you look at all your current customers and say, man we could be making all this cash! but they should not be blamed for your bad pricing decision nor should you solicit their support for your bad pricing decision.

    So what happens if despite these changes you still cannot pay the bills, will you do another retroactive price change?

    It is very normal to increase prices for future customers, everyone respects this. It is not respectful as a business to change your price or even request that people start paying more.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      I think it’s risky to take a big paint brush and take a few big swipes at any canvas, as some of the finer details will be lost.

      I’ll validate some of your assumptions:

      * We have a growing customer base, which correlates well with growing top-line revenues.

      * The front-loading of that revenue with no cap on the support cost, means we are sacrificing bigger and bigger parts of those profits (from new revenues). This is where we’ve been saying new customers are paying for old customers.

      * Not having those profits / profit margins, means we’ve had to be very lean in terms of what we spend time developing (experimentation & innovation has a concrete and decreasing budget) and how big we can grow our support team (the profits could pay for more support staff which would improve the overall experience).

      i think you’re right in saying it’s normal to increase prices for future customers only. Whilst that seems to be the average / generic business response, we’ve decided to take steps and ask our customers to help us out. There’s nothing wrong or disrespectful about that.

      • Phill
        5 August 2013 at 9:57 pm #

        “i think you’re right in saying it’s normal to increase prices for future customers only. Whilst that seems to be the average / generic business response, we’ve decided to take steps and ask our customers to help us out. There’s nothing wrong or disrespectful about that.”

        You didn’t ask your customers to help you out.

        You simply took away everything you had previously promised and made existing customers identical to new customers with the exception of the monthly club subscription fee.

        That IS wrong and completely disrespectful.

        It’s only **now** that you are asking customers to “help you out” by giving them a choice on their lifetime licenses. That’s still not asking – it’s simply a concession you’ve made based on extensive negative feedback.

        • Adii Pienaar
          5 August 2013 at 10:09 pm #

          As we’ve said above, we’re sorry about the previous post and the comments defending it. We took the wrong angle and communicated our intentions / goals incorrectly.

          We stated above that we believe we should’ve called / asked for your support in the first place (which we have now done). It’s our bad though for not having done that.

  39. Henrik
    5 August 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    The worst part for me as a customer to Woo is that I will suddenly have to pay 29US more when I´m just a ordinary customer. I don´t have a webshop, I don´t design for others and buy WooThemes as the ground and then change stuff from the ground up with child themes.

    I´m just a normal person that wanted my website to look nice. Therefore I grabbed a couple of themes from WooThemes – loved the support and everything but now if it´s going to cost me more money, have a 1 or 2 year limit to getting support then the theme itself needs to be the best I´ve ever seen every single time for me to spend 99US or more on a theme.

    So sure, for you as a busniess it might be a good change. For me as a normal user that have no own firm and am just starting to try and be somewhat of a freelancer looking for work then this is way to expensive to buy or have a subscription to.

    It´s sad but true. But I do appreciate you writing multiple posts on the subject explaining and being honest about this all.

  40. jemmyell
    5 August 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi,

    Am I paranoid? Where did my previous post about the ‘enemies list’ go?

    -James

    • jemmyell
      5 August 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      ahh, found it. Yes I am paranoid sometimes.

      • Adii Pienaar
        5 August 2013 at 9:50 pm #

        Thought you were on the enemies list already? :)

  41. Justin
    5 August 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    With regard to plugins for WooCommerce, I think it’d be absolutely absurd to offer lifetime updates and support. People using WooCommerce are probably generating income and it usually takes money to make money. This is normal in the physical world: You rent a space, sell your stuff, your lease expires and your site owner increases the rent. If you don’t like it, you move on. Simple. If your costs of doing business exceed your income from the business then you obviously made a bad decision to operate that business and it should either be changed, or closed. Common sense stuff.

    I think there’s a lesson here for anyone doing business: Never, ever, sell anyone something with the notion that you will support it and update it for free forever. Anyone out there making such a claim should be put under great suspicion.

  42. Phill
    5 August 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Hi Woo,

    Thanks for the update and working with your customers on the lifetime licenses.

    I have to admit though that I’m still very skeptical.

    In the 3+ years I’ve been a Woo customer we’ve seen bait and switch used (whether intentionally or unintentionally) multiple times to placate angry customers for a short period of time after a major pricing change.

    The very first major point you’ve made in this blog makes a clear statement regarding product lifetime.

    Product lifetimes are a policy I fully agree with. It is completely unsustainable to continue supporting outdated products. Products need to be retired and new versions released that require a major rewrite or add significant functionality.

    However, seeing this stated as the very first point (even highlighted in bold) does make me suspicious.

    If in 2-6 months time every major WooCommerce plugin suddenly gets retired in order to release a new version with only minor changes then Woo customers are going to feel they’ve been suckered again.

    Please continue to create great new products. Please retire products to make way for newer versions that offer significant new improvements.

    I look forward to buying both.

    Please don’t use product end of life as a strategy to wipe out lifetime licenses by slapping Version 2.0 labels on plugins with very minor changes.

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      Version 2.0 labels isn’t part of our future strategy. Never say never & all of those things (I won’t make that mistake again), but this isn’t something we’re considering. The annual renewals also mitigates the need to even do this.

      A note about past price increases… We were too soft about this and should’ve taken a firmer stance ages ago. All of those increases tried to find a balance between not pissing off customers (hence the “placating”) and also making more sense of our finances. For the latter, we got some immediate relief and we didn’t piss customers off too much.

      I think however if we had bitten the bullet years ago and done a better job of “fixing” up our model, we could’ve very well avoided this situation.

      We’re really sorry about that. But we live, we make mistakes and we hope to learn from them.

      • Phill
        5 August 2013 at 11:25 pm #

        Hi Adii,

        Finally, a post I can agree with.

        I’m glad to hear that here won’t be a sudden rush of plugins being retired i the near future to be replaced by V2.0’s or similar.

        Yes in some ways Woothemes has been too soft regarding needed price increases.

        With that said the far greater issue has not been the need to increase prices but how you’ve gone about communicating and implementing these changes.

  43. Johnny
    5 August 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Could you please clarify how WooCommerce licences work for multisite? In the past you said that due to the technical limitations, an unlimited licence is needed for multisite, regardless of how many sites used the plugin. Now I’m reading that also single site licences work on multisite, so I’m completely confused.

    Thanks in advance for the clarification!

    • Adii Pienaar
      5 August 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      Every instance on Multisite counts as a “site” and requires a license.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      There is no limit to which license you buy, but if your NetWork is running 5 sites which a use a plugin you’ll need to get a 5 site license. If you’re using the plugin on 50 sites you’ll need to get 2 x 25 Site Licenses.

      Hope that makes sense :)

      • Johnny
        5 August 2013 at 10:18 pm #

        Thanks Adii and Warren for your quick answers. Unfortunately it’s still unclear to me (sorry!).

        I have one instance of the WP Multisite installation on a server, with 4 sites in it (so in the network admin -> sites you can see four sites: a, b, c and d). Let’s say I want to use a WooCommerce plugin on two sites: a and b. Then if I understood Adii correctly, I’d need one licence. From what I understood from Warren, I’d need four licences. Or only two?

        So in summary, do I need 1, 2 or 4 licences?

        • Warren Holmes
          5 August 2013 at 10:25 pm #

          In your example, if 2 sites are running the plugin then you can buy 2 x Single Site License or 1 x 5 Site License. The 5 Site License will work out cheaper for you ;)

          • Johnny
            6 August 2013 at 12:02 am #

            Ok, clear now, thanks Warren! :)

          • petergriffyn
            6 August 2013 at 5:06 am #

            It isn’t possible to install 2 identical plugins on multisite. Can you even buy 2 identical plugins and have the Woo Web App list them?

          • Jennifer
            6 August 2013 at 7:12 am #

            If I understand correctly, you are saying that we need a license for each “sub site” on the network… is this for functionality sake, or is this just for support and updates?

            Why not offer some sort of multisite/developer plan? Per site licensing for multisite doesn’t really work.

            See, in Multisite, there is only one installation of the plugin/theme files on the server which all the sub-sites run on. Each sub-site does not have their own copy. All sites run off of the single copy that is on the primary site and managed by me. So, technically, a single site license for the primary site is all we need to update the whole network, since each site doesn’t require updates individually. I can understand the support aspect though… But If I am providing support to my clients on my network, then they don’t need a support license either.

            I do however always buy the “unlimited” plans, or “developer plans” for use on my multisite because I want to support the plugin/theme developer. For example, I have a “developer license” with a few other companies which allow me to install on my multisite (and individual client sites) Some of these licenses are lifetime, but others are just renewed every year. My clients know that they are not able to get support through the developer of course because they do not own a license. I support my clients instead and if they require support from the developer, they can purchase their own single license.

            We do want to do the right thing, and support the developers, however running a small business and buying a license for each sub-site (for multiple premium plugins) even though there is only one copy of the plugin on the server and I am supporting my clients, is not a sustainable solution for our business model either. That’s why a developer/unlimited plan was a fair middle ground… For both multisite people and people doing client sites. After all it is licensed under GPL.

            I could just kick myself for not buying the WooCommerce extensions that I needed before Aug 1st so I could be grandfathered in on the unlimited plan. I was out of the loop until now, and had I known this was coming, I totally would have. Darn it. :(

      • Syrehn
        6 August 2013 at 9:56 am #

        Hi Warren,

        The updater has been changed in a fairly unfriendly multisite way recently.

        For example:

        Say I have a multisite network with 10 sites on it. Say I only want 5 of those sites to run Woocommerce + Extensions so I purchase a 5 seat license.

        I don’t want to network activate Woocommerce + Extensions as there is no need for those other sites to load those extra plugin files.

        In order to add my 5 licenses however I HAVE to “network activate the updater + woocommerce + extensions; it’s now on all sites (not ideal).

        I now go to my WooThemese Licenses but I can only enter the 1 license code per product (i.e WooCommerce Subscriptions). Because there are no longer unlimited licenses (which was your previous pre-req for multisite) when a user needs support how are you able to differentiate between the sites (again it’s now on all 10 instead of just 5) that should/shouldn’t get support?

        Additionally if we don’t want to network activate in a multisite environment and choose to enable woocommerce + extensions only on the specific 5 sites in that environment that we need them on, with no way to add the licenses in that scenario, how can a user then claim support for those sites?

  44. Manning
    5 August 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    Hello Guys,

    I really like woo themes but I need clarity on just a few more points. I support you in revising your pricing structure, I believe in being sustainable. Here is what I need clarity on: If I bought 10 or more extensions for woocommerce, and I elect to be grandfathered in, these plugins will be updated and supported until a successor product is released (i,e, Apple 10. 7 > 10.8) at which time I can elect to “upgrade” and adopt the new pricing / support plan?

    Until the products / extensions are retired, I will receive full support and updates? Will notices be given of when the products will be retired (i.e. 3, 6, 9 months out) so that we can prepare ourselves, and our clients?

    I have built my entire e-commerce website around woocommerce and I am heavily invested as it integrates very well into my WP theme thanks to the developer who built a separate plugin for its integration. All my licenses are SINGLE SITE. I very rarely use your support but it is absolutely that I receive all UPDATES.

    If you don’t mind taking the time to clarify and answer my specific questions, I will have much more comfort about continued support of your goal of increased profit and sustainability. And, as you grow in profit, remember its not just numbers in data, but interacting with your consumer base. I am sure many of us would have been more than glad to offer suggestions before this communication fiasco.

    Again, I like Woo, just a bit hesitant right now.

    Best,
    Manning

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      Hey Manning

      If you elect to be grand-fathered in then you’ll receive updates and support for the lifetime of the product :)

      • Manning
        5 August 2013 at 10:30 pm #

        Then I will grandfather in my products. Still, how can I have the assurance that if I grandfather in, that a new release is not going to come out tomorrow that invalidates me grandfathering in? Will there be a publicly available schedule for the retiring of products?

        • James Koster
          6 August 2013 at 10:35 am #

          There is no public retirement schedule. We decide to retire themes based on decreased sales and support volume (design by nature goes out of fashion and people move on to newer, more in-vogue themes).

          Plugins are different as there’s not really any design element. As Adii mentioned previously, on the rare occasions where we’ve retired plugins, owners of the retired products have been given free upgrades to the new one.

  45. Gaslight
    5 August 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Appreciate the gesture, but unfortunately came late. If you had offered this opportunity at the same time you announced the price change probably there would have been less heated discussions and complaints.

    I think what people are really concerned about is ethics and business organisation. By buying your products, customers they are not just making a purchase, but plenty of them are committing themselves to a platform (WooThemes/WooCommerce) to run their own business (at least partially to be fair). If the management has to announce price changes every year or so or making embarrassing/arrogant statements (sorry, but they were) like in the previous blog post, I think people will start wondering if there are wrong guesses in other compartments of your business, which ultimately could impact the stability or effectiveness of your products in future.

    Perhaps you’re wasting your resources or you should review your support management, since you mention it as one of your main reasons why these price changes are deemed necessary. Many of us do not really need support in the first place. I do have raised a few tickets in the last year but 9 out of 10 the answer (received after several, several hours if not days) was “sorry we don’t support that”. Since then I stopped issuing tickets because support was of no use to me.

    To reduce the amount of tickets, why you don’t use a better public forum? Anything is better than what you have now after you have ditched the old forums. I have a feeling – just my guess – that many of your tickets are produced by questions that could be answered with a better documentation (kb is not bad but could improve), a better/accessible public forum and perhaps some screencasts/video tutorials. Hey you could make access to these paid with a basic support subscription plan. You could also have a priority/professional support for developers willing to pay a higher price if you manage to assist them accordingly. At the same time, customers who don’t use support much or use it at all but only want to have access to extensions or themes, they shouldn’t pay as much as the customer that raises several tickets per month.

    • Warren Holmes
      5 August 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      You can read up here and here on why decided not to keep the public forums in favor of a private ticket system.

      We’re always trying to improve our documentation, we recently made Maria our head of documentation and I think she’s done a fantastic job and continues to improve.

      As for the idea of premium support; we’ve (at this stage) abandoned the idea as we don’t want to complicate our pricing offerings anymore. There is no such thing as a one size fits all offering, but we’d like to offer each customer the same product and awesome service :)

      • Gaslight
        5 August 2013 at 10:51 pm #

        Well, you have your reasons behind your choices and is not my business to run your business :) but of course I was just throwing ideas at you. I still believe that private tickets create a lot of duplicate answers to common questions that could otherwise answered with a single link to the original answer or with a search by the user himself. In a ideal situation you should be able to reduce the waste of time to answer identical questions. Whether this can be achieved with a private/public forum or by other means is up to you to figure out in a way or another. Gravity Forms has recently abandoned their forum system (they were just using bbPress by the way and they have used it for very long to provide basic support – still efficently!). Perhaps they are also running into similar issues and they want to replace the forums with something else.

  46. Alejandro Carrillo
    5 August 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Hi, Guys… it’s great to read this post… and it’s great to work with a company who can correct their errors quickly, very quickly, and apologies!

    Looking forward to see lots of awesome stuff!

    • Scott Basgaard
      5 August 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      Thanks Alejandro! Great to work with you as well :)

  47. Samuel
    5 August 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    As a customer, I’m glad to see WooThemes making this decision, and I’m sure this will make me buy new stuff (with new license terms).

    For me, best support consists in listening to your customers, and you did it.

    THANK YOU!

    • Dan Johnson
      6 August 2013 at 10:09 am #

      Thanks Samuel. We appreciate your support :)

  48. theblogmaven
    5 August 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    I’ll echo all the *positive* statements above. Great work, Woo.

    Here’s what you can do to sweeten this pill that’s so bitter for some folks: perhaps your customers can’t afford the new policies because they have flawed pricing structures in their own service businesses? If you went the extra mile and helped your customers understand what kind of business model would work to pass the costs onto our clients, while still building the value of our own work, you’d solve our biggest problem. Chris Lema has a webinar on pricing tomorrow, and I, for one, am putting down the $$ to attend. Could you partner with him to offer a webinar for all your customers that would help them understand how to run a profitable business while using Woo’s products under your new terms of service?

    • fiddlerstudios
      6 August 2013 at 12:27 am #

      Wow! Now there’s an awesome idea.

    • Mark Forrester
      6 August 2013 at 8:44 am #

      We’ve got lots of ideas for upcoming blog posts that will prove useful to our customers in running profitable businesses on top of WooThemes. A webinar’s not a bad idea that we’ll definitely consider.

  49. Maire
    6 August 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Feels like emotional blackmail tbh

    Looking at the plugins – i’ve bought dozens, but only using an average 3-4 on each of my sites. This is because the majority dont work how i wanted them to.

    I’m now paying my developer to fix an issue with the followup emails plugin because woo support cant fix it / dont know how.

    It’s really frustrating. I’d rather pay for licences + updates and forget support because honestly the support is just a waste of everyone’s time.

    • Mark Forrester
      6 August 2013 at 8:49 am #

      Sorry to hear that. We’re not intending to emotional blackmail.

      Is the Followup Emails plugin issue a bug causing an aspect of it not to work or a customization for a more tailored implementation? Please provide a ticket no.

      Unfortunately we completely disagree on the value of our support for “everyone”. It might not prove useful to you, but data shows that a large percentage of our customers find huge value in it.

  50. Tyler
    6 August 2013 at 2:32 am #

    Guys, you do what you need to do to keep the business going. I am really shocked about the poor response you have gotten. You all have every right to do what you want. All of you who are angry, remember, you get what you pay for!

  51. SmashBrando
    6 August 2013 at 2:47 am #

    Thanks for the update and for giving us the decision to keep our current licensing.

    In the future, if you adjust pricing/licensing or whatever, it should only affect new customers / new purchases. For example all the extensions I bought would be grandfathered in, but new purchases would not. Obviously we have been given the option to do this, but it should be by default in the future.

    Change your new business without harming the old.

    Cheers

    • Mark Forrester
      6 August 2013 at 8:54 am #

      We’ve certainly learnt a lot from the last few days, but hopefully you now have an better idea of the problems we face with compound debt and new customers having to help afford grandfathered users.

      Our current solution helps eliminate this problem and we won’t be changing terms for existing license holders again.

  52. KevinC
    6 August 2013 at 2:58 am #

    I must admit I’m a little in the dark. Never rec’d any updates/etc. regarding the potential pricing changes, etc., and I was planning on purchasing a $99 plugin which is now $199. I am using Woo based on past issues w/other cart programs-all I can say is that maybe it would have been good business practice to allow current customers to purchase plugins, etc. before the astronomical price increases, similar to a “pre-increase” sale at the regular prices before the increase. New customers won’t know what’s going on, and now I’m considering going back to a different system as I have most of the plugins I need.
    I’ve aready spend some money on “needed” plugins and would have purchased the aforementioned plugin if I knew it was going to double in price. Not really fair. Period.
    Kevin

    • KevinC
      6 August 2013 at 3:03 am #

      I also don’t have a clue as to what this means:
      “How do I update my licenses?

      Simply visit your licenses page once you’re logged in. From there, if you’re eligible to have your unlimited licenses grand-fathered in, you’ll be able to update all your unlimited licenses bought before the 1st August 2013.”
      Did an email go out? Was anyone notified of this? Would you be so kind to explain (in plain English, not code :-) ) what this all means…?
      Thanks, Kevin

      • Syrehn
        6 August 2013 at 6:34 am #

        No email was sent out (yet). All changes were made and then users were notified after the fact via the original blog post.

        Warren did mention in a comment that they will be sending out an email communication this week at some point.

        • Mark Forrester
          6 August 2013 at 9:01 am #

          @Syrehn We certainly plan to email all users about the price changes and grandfathering option this week. We’re just making some final tweaks to the system.

    • Mark Forrester
      6 August 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Hi Kevin, sorry if you feel we’ve been unfair.

      We ran a 5 year birthday promo on July 9th for a couple days, and emailed our entire userbase about it. We specifically mentioned we would be increasing prices.

      Regarding the new price points, we feel well justified to charge the prices we do, and can promise good support and future updates. We’ve got a 30 day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the product which you are welcome to use.

  53. blogjunkie
    6 August 2013 at 3:25 am #

    Hi! Like others, I’m happy that I have the opportunity to re-claim my lifetime support. I immediately jumped at it and here’s why: I have always opted to buy WooThemes themes individually instead of the club subscription. The main factor in this decision was the unlimited support. And when Woo took the unlimited support away that felt like breaking a promise. That’s like me saying I’ll buy 1 theme but 2 years later saying that I should get extras with it. So I’m really glad that I have my lifetime support – I really appreciate Woo holding up your end of the promise.

    That being said, I also echo the others in their support of your new business model decisions. I want Woo to be successful and grow, and will be “upgrading” some of my WooCommerce extensions from their 1-site unlimited support license to a yearly 5-site license because your WooCommerce platform is just so great. Keep up the awesome work and I hope that you solve your scaling issues. Thanks!

  54. smehero
    6 August 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Thanks for honouring your past contractual obligations, which is right thing to do legally and most importantly, ethically. Otherwise your business might not be sustainable, which is the very thing you started in the first post to want to save.

    I did research before I purchased your products, based on the customer segment I am going after, and the overall price points (i.e. including updates for years to come), which I thought made WooCommerce a pretty ACCESSIBLE ecommerce platform to the small medium businesses in the country where I operate in.

    However the announcement would have come across as more sincere and authentic if we do not have to explicitly opt in (we never opted out in the first place), and it will definitely generate a ton of support tickets (since the message of opt-in might be quite confusing) when you mass email to your base of 100,0000 customers mid-week (which you repeatedly state is the root cause of your unsustainable business) .

    It would certainly be more efficient to run one-time query to opt-in all past purchase. I would not want to speculate your real intention of doing so (btw it sounded like emotional blackmail to me) but would offer a suggestion to you: You could provide a button for customers to opt out anytime instead. This would give a true metric of the number of customers who believe in your sustainable story and support you, which you have the next few months or years to earn it.

    I have no issue with the new price increases and support/updates structure, I will continue to purchase if it make sense for my particular situation. But I do want to get back the terms which I made my original purchases, because those were the very terms and promises that shaped my decision at the point in time, and shaped my pricing at that point in time. Doing otherwise will ironically make my small business unsustainable, which I do not expect my customers to pay for my honest mistake for believing that my cost of business is a one-time fee. I have no problem of the price increases with new customers, but I do have problems with old customers..

    I know I had stated before and I will state again, you gotta fix your support model. The early adopters are unlikely, based on my experience and anecdotal evidence, cost much to support. In fact, through their word of mouth and usage of your products, they strengthened your brand equity, which now enables you to charge a brand premium (which you did in your recent price increase, and quite substantial in fact as I calculated that my portfolio of extensions are now 50% higher).

    In fact, I am willing to donate a license of the excellent XenForo forum to restart your community help forum again (which I thought its a proven model to scale support and possible fix to your support model), and offer to run it too at my own expenses. Let me know if you are keen to take it up.

    • Mark Forrester
      6 August 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Thanks for the extensive feedback. We appreciate it. Some of your questions have already been responded to in previous comments above.

      RE: Community forums we already have these facilities and unfortunately it was not the fix to our support model.

      The early adopters are unlikely, based on my experience and anecdotal evidence, cost much to support.

      We very much beg to differ based on all our data, and we would not have made the choices we have if it suggested otherwise.

      Our support numbers are vastly improving as we hope our next customer happiness report will show.

      • smehero
        6 August 2013 at 11:01 am #

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks for taking your time to reply.

        “The early adopters are unlikely, based on my experience and anecdotal evidence, cost much to support.”

        We very much beg to differ based on all our data, and we would not have made the choices we have if it suggested otherwise.

        Based on the above comment, the more Woo should device a way to limit the number of support tickets per license say 10 tickets for those with 5-site license. And allow customers the option to purchase more support tickets.

        Its like heath care, once its unlimited it will lead to over consumption. Once it cost money, more will try to find an answer in the knowledge base or community forum.

        Because it sounds to me that if this is not fixed, the next price increase is coming real soon. There’s no way to keep transferring the cost to your customers, and at some point your products will become uncompetitive, and you will have to face the sustainability issue again.

        Just my 2 cents.

  55. kaszeta
    6 August 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Like a few others, I’ve gone in and re-claimed my lifetime support. I shouldn’t have to have done this, but hey, I did, and it’s done. I shouldn’t, and won’t, feel bad, for claiming something that was once offered to me and taken back.

    This won’t completely sour me on Woothemes: I do like the work you do (I use Woothemes on a rather large number of my sites), but it’s something that will make me hestitate and doublecheck before using Woothemes on my next project. I haven’t needed much support, indeed, that was a major attraction to Woothemes, in that the themes have generally been robust (go check your records, despite my several theme purchases, I’ve had exactly one ticket support, and that was for a bug I could trivially fix myself… but thought that others would appreciate the fix as well).

    Good luck with your new model. I support it for the same reasons you did. I think you botched the transition, however.

    • Mark Forrester
      6 August 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Like mentioned in the post:

      We won’t value you as a customer any less if you want to be grandfathered, nor do we want to coerce you to adopt the changes if you fundamentally disagree in how we’ve gone about the re-structure. The decision is entirely yours.

      So we really don’t want you to feel bad about your decision.

      We understand we’ve broken some people’s trust and will try our damnedest to regain it through our service delivery.

  56. Wynne
    6 August 2013 at 3:54 am #

    I missed all previous posts for this new pricing discussion as well (must be ’cause South Africans are typing away whilst Californians are sleeping).

    What do I have to do to get my previous products grandfathered in? Going forward, I understand that a new pricing model is needed and if support is extra, then so be it. It’s worth it.

  57. hoodoofactory
    6 August 2013 at 3:57 am #

    Thank you, WooThemes, for hearing our concerns and addressing them. This must have been a hard few days for you guys, as it was for the many of us who were so upset. You have created a huge sense of relief for at least one of your customers with this, and I am grateful that you’re the type of company that can hear feedback and isn’t afraid to admit and change course when you know it’s the right thing.

    I will be choosing to have my purchases grandfathered, BUT I will also continue to support WooThemes as a club member and use WooCommerce for any client that can afford the new overhead, and buy extensions for those projects. I understand and support the needs of your business, AND I do the same for my own, and the businesses of my clients.

    The reason I’m choosing to be grandfathered and was such a vocal element against the August 1st policy change is thus: to ensure the sustainability of my own clients’ businesses, and my sense of integrity in advocating for them. I used WooCommerce for many clients because it was the most cost effective solution for their small businesses. Going back to them and telling them about these policy changes would have been going back on my word, and it would have greatly impacted their bottom lines. Additionally, changing systems would have meant needing to pay me to transition them to a more affordable system at some point. It would have been a huge waste of time and money and headaches for everyone, and it would have meant that I felt betrayed by WooThemes and took my money to a competitor in anger and retaliation.

    I am grateful that none of that needs to be the case, and that I can support you guys moving forward and honor the terms of my past clients at the same time. Thank you for giving us the option to do both.

  58. davel
    6 August 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Good choice about the redecision.
    Everybody knows that a lifetime update is not sustainable; but i’m sure the market is still big enough for attracting new customers. And reading between the lines: it’s about the lifetime of the product. ;-). Anyway; i’m sucked that i only just bought 3 plugins/extensions instead of them all.:-)

    I hope Woo has learned from this; in the way how you communicate and the timing of promotions.

  59. krisolin
    6 August 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Good move guys! Rock On!

  60. om4web
    6 August 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to explain the thinking behind the changes. I think the approach you have adopted is fair, and hope it underpins continued investment in support and development.

    • Joel Bronkowski
      6 August 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Thanks! Happy you are happy. We will keep rocking on, most definitely!

  61. George
    6 August 2013 at 10:14 am #

    I’m Happy to stick with the new plan.

    George

  62. wotacharlie
    6 August 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    One of the big problems with ecommerce is that there can be such a huge range of clients using the product. For some they might be running a tiny store selling 1 copy of their self published book a month, while they work an average 9-5 job to pay the mortgage.

    For others ecommerce is their business and they depend on their shop to be working and online 24/7 to keep their business alive.

    Woocommerce being free initially attracted a lot of people looking for a really low cost alternative to Magento or other similar solution. These people are more likely to have been running stores as a side project. For these people it really doesn’t matter if support is a bit slow and a ticket doesn’t get answered for a few days.(They might not like it, but really they know they haven’t paid enough for instant support)

    As Woocommerce has matured it has been used by more people to run their businesses. For these people I actually don’t think the current state of support is good enough, but equally I don’t think you are charging enough for it.

    The main software we use in my company (approx 35 users) costs us around $20,000 a year in support from the company that provide the software and an additional amount for the salary of one person in house. This for us makes sense because the software helps us generate lots of money. In return when we have an issue I will get a reply in a couple of hrs for any issues that I might have.
    As Woocommerce has matured and it has become a genuine option for a reasonable sized ecommerce business there has developed a market for faster support. I think it is about time you looked at adding tiers to the current support model, so that those people that are prepared to pay for enterprise level support can get it.

    There was a degree of outrage amongst your users because so many of them are hobbyists or working on tiny margins for small businesses. However, in amongst these tens of thousands of users there are some grown-ups working for grown up businesses. You should look at how you can identify these people and how you can provide them with priority service for an appropriate fee.

    • Magnus Jepson
      6 August 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback! We’ll definitely keep an eye on the enterprise users as WC continues to grow, and if there is a real need a package that covers such a user.

      Our main goal is to get our support to be answered a lot faster, so an enterprise solution might not even be needed then.

  63. firebubble
    6 August 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I was very pleased to see that WOO listened to their customers and honoured the original terms which is only fair.

    I would have preferred a paid for support system rather than the charge for updates as I still think most people would not require any support when updating a woocommerce extension but it is good to see the original terms on the licenses be provided.

  64. Warren Holmes
    6 August 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for all your feedback, we’re incredibly delighted with the positive response from our customers and the community :)

    If there is anything which is unclear, please feel free to contact us.