For explanation on ‘Lifetime while viable’ vs Yearly subscription, just read my previous posts
Have to agree with you for the points, same time, both side have their pros and cons- The hard part is when you think of every author/buyer and try to come up with something to cover them all- while few author will try to create less item with better quality for more sales, other try the opposite- more items with limited features, either because they can’t generate more sales on one item or try to increase their items to take advantage of new sales from a new item.
While TF/CC in-general contain many different tech/CMS items, it’s even harder to justify simpler to complex item with lifetime updates vs supports.
Clearly gathering enough data to analysis the mindset of the buyer/authors and getting a larger picture of the practices which currently working or not working- might brings some interesting solutions at the end-Hoping for the best!
Thanks Splendous. Majority of us, who have been using Wordpress for years, usually don’t need support, other than some occasional bug reporting and feature suggestion (up to the author if they’re keen to implement)
The issue has always been about the minority that make excessive requests and then badly rate the authors. If the prices go up, the expectation of more support will come, and then Authors will feel that the prices are too low again, and would want another price hike.
But then, when the prices go up, customers might then go to theme shops with club membership/lifetime membership instead. I mean, why pay so much for a few themes, when we can get the entire set for 249/lifetime@Collis – Please take a look at my points too I’m sure I’ve raised some fair ones as well. Just that most customers don’t participate in this forum.
Hey Leo – it’s great to have a buyer here chatting – especially one whose quite active. And nice to see you’re from Petaling Jaya! We had one of our main Envato staff meetups just nearby in KL
It’s true that I think there is a majority of very savvy buyers, and a minority who tip the scales a little on support. As we gather more data, I’m pretty sure we’ll continue to see that pattern show up.
You’re also right about the importance of the broader market and their sometimes quite competitive offerings – in particular the subscription + 24/7 dedicated support is quite attractive for a buyer.
Anyhow great to have you on the forums!
Hey @Collis, great news so far, the timeout is perfect at this moment and i’m really excited to see what’s coming.
I tried yesterday to pack all my concerns in a post and i don’t honestly know what to ask so i won’tThanks for all your efforts!
Thanks Marius, appreciate that – I saw that post and it set them out really well!
Please, please take this into consideration: http://themeforest.net/forums/thread/important-changes-to-item-support/140218?page=73#1106721
In my opinion – splitting updates and support as 2 separate things is just a really bad idea. Either we charge for both updates and renewed support at the same time, or don’t charge extra at all. Splitting them is going to result in lot of anger and confusion. Ask GravityForms or WooThemes why they don’t charge for “support”.
Thanks for the feedback, I know this is something the team looked at quite deeply, but I’m sure there will be more research we can do around updates. My recollection is that the main issue was a buyer’s expectation of how much support vs how much updates are included in a base price will be quite different. We’ll keep looking at it though.
It is good that the buzz made enough of a wave to make you take a step back and try to look at this issue in a different light.
All that I am hoping for now is that this whole break to listen will turn into an action that will not endanger authors.
I do have a huge issue with something you’ve mentioned in an earlier comment: You are not considering a support tool as priority because some authors already have their own and they are pretty happy with them. Well:
1. Some authors got to implement their own support systems because you offered not to begin with, nor made support mandatory. That’s just how it is and not a justification for not having your own great functioning support tool.
2. If you put off the support tool or push it down the priority list, then by all means, push off the 70/30% commission plan too. I’m sorry but it would simply be pimping authors out. You’d be selling services that authors are pretty vocal against being forced into, and more, you wouldn’t be giving them the proper resources to offer those services. So what exactly would you be taking 30% for?!
Simpler put: I don’t want YOU to decide to sell MY support services and time while I pay for support resources: time, hosting, personnel and you still take 30% of my money.
I sincerely hope that you gather your data properly, cause I came to know that some of the authors surveyed privately happened to work for Envato and are so established that have 1 year on the market and over +10k in sales. Don’t make this new data look like it’s a family business. Now’s the time to exercise transparency.
Also, hope you’ve given this letter a decent read, quite a few authors seem to agree with the issues I presented there and has gathered 1500 reads as off now.
Sorry I think I may have miscommunicated, it’s that we aren’t considering a support tool – just that we have prioritized the business rules and model for how buyers will interact. Secondly to that, there is the important consideration with respect to a support tool that there will be authors opposed to one. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen – it’s just an extra complication. It would likely be an opt-in tool for example.
I understand the concern about fees, and that is always something authors need to consider when selecting whether to sell via Envato Market or any other marketplace.
We charge fees for providing authors with a range of services. Chief among these is access to a huge market of a million and a half active buyers, and the marketing and SEO that drives those buyers here. Secondly we handle ecommerce services including legal and licensing work, processing payments, hosting and delivering files, creating invoices and receipts, and so on. And finally we offer authors a platform to connect to other authors, get feedback from reviewers, and be part of a community.
I agree that a support tool would be a logical addition to the ecommerce services – and is something we are considering – but that’s not the sole basis for Envato’s fees!
Finally, gathering good data is essential I agree. When we poll authors prior to a release we always get a mix. When we say we’ve spoken to authors we’re not referring to people who actually work at Envato. To be clear some people who work at Envato are authors, and in fact one of the developers ON the item support project is an elite author from CodeCanyon! But that’s not who we’re talking about when I said we’d spoken to authors for research purposes.
Thanks for the link to the letter, I appreciate the time you’ve taken to set out the views and concerns.
Anps saidI knew Collis would do this because I remember him saying he always uses the “throw a big change then eventually refine that big change so everyone is semi-ok with that new refined big change” technique.
Now you really pleasantly surprised me. Once the pricing model is established or suggested it will be much easier to provide more input for the system. Overall I am happy you took a step back and listen to your “providers” GJ
Oh no, I promise it wasn’t done purposely. We were definitely ready to roll with the announcement from Monday until the response seemed to say to stop.
But I’m glad you had faith in me
Thanks VF, it is our responsibility to solve issues through UX and interface design and that is something we work hard on. I think it’s also important to understand there are practical and pragmatic limitations on everything – You spend time and energy on one thing, and another suffers. So I agree there is an ideal, and that’s what we work towards. But the practical reality is also that having opt-in/outs make’s additional UX issues to work through. Not impossible, just more!
I mean this way: We not even made the first step of allowing buyers to search / filter based on Extended License. Currently this is in production and not even implemented. In such case, how can you point this as an example of “opt In / opt Out” not being a solution?
When it comes to Extended License, neither authors allowed to pick their choice per item, nor buyers allowed to search based on that. The system is responsible for creating a bad trend.
In the same way when it comes to item support, all the 8 marketplaces including PhotoDune had same comment section as a support channel, neither easy for buyer nor author. So without making this area fit for hardcore item support as 1st step, making it mandatory is an unfortunate proposal. Even as a proposal this is false.So my complaint/suggestion is simple: Make changes in gradual steps, take some breathing without putting unnecessary deadlines.
Ah I see! Got it this time!
Yes for a long time we were doing generic experiences everywhere (e.g. same comments on PhotoDune as ThemeForest). This year is actually the first year where we’ve started trying to deliberately differentiate experiences. It will take a couple years to really build up steam, but I think if you fast forward Envato Market into the future you’ll look back and see much more targetted user experience!
@collis also, please consider giving authors the ability to provide an instant refund for the support package! I don’t mean to be the pessimist here, but we should be allowed to refuse service to anyone who is pushing the limits, without having to send them to support, don’t you agree?
Thanks Enabled, we have an announcement coming next week which touches on author driven refunds, so should have more updates on this soon!
Glad to see the update.
I had originally written a much longer post with some arguments in it, but I’ve cut most of it out… There are still a few things that I think would be very beneficial to the community concerning this whole support debacle.
1. Envato needs to spend the time and money to build and host a complete and functional support system for all of us to use. Something that integrates completely with our products, with buyer licenses, and any other pertinent info that makes managing a support system for Envato products easier to maintain. As a whole, the author community has wasted millions of hours, each of us coming up with our own support systems. Just setting up a support system alone is a huge task… and if you want to integrate it with the API and sales data that a whole other huge undertaking. Envato could have a single, centralized support system will all the bells and whistles that we can just “use”. How nice would that be!
2. Envato should employ a support staff to answer basic HTML, CSS, WordPress, etc. support questions (and give authors a quick button in “Envato’s new wonderful support system” to push these questions off to) so authors don’t need to support questions that are “general” questions… We should only need to answer questions that pertain to our specific files.
3. There should be a full set of FAQs on Envato for all the major project categories that we can link to for general question as well… Even if it’s an author populated archive. Just something that we can all use without each author having to create their own on their own support system.There’s probably a whole slew of other things that Envato could do “for the authors” to help us optimize our time, create better files, create better customer relationships, and generate more money for everyone. But it seems all the burden and expectations gets put on authors, with limited resources and time, trying to figure these things out flying by the seat of our pants.
Thanks for the suggestions Joe!
Offering support tooling makes a lot of sense, though there are a lot of authors who also quite like having their own custom set up and actively against a uniform tool. For that reason we’ve put that as not the most urgent part of the problem to solve.
With Envato support handling certain types of item support questions, but not others, I think that would be extremely difficult to not get tangled up on. The border would probably be quite hazy. I do think our support team can provide a bigger and better service though, and we’re certainly working towards that!
That’s an interesting FAQs idea for major project categories – especially on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. I’ll reflect on that!
Broadly I agree about helping make authors (and buyers for that matter) more productive!
@collis, these three questions are on each of our minds, and basically the entire 700+ thread before revolved around these questions, if you could answer them that would be amazing!
1. Will you guys reconsider the 72 hour deadline, meaning, let the support deadline be at the authors decision ( of course, authors shouldn’t be absurd and have 400 day deadlines )
2. Will you guys allow us to set our own prices for providing support. I’m sure an author from the top 10 author list won’t agree with a 20$ / hour fee, when maybe a newbie author would find that more than enough.
3. Will there be an opt-out choice? For authors who want things to be the same as they are at the moment?If you could please shed some light on these, we’d be extremely grateful! Regarding the usage of data, let me know who I should mail, or send me a message, and I will gladly help!
Sorry to cut in- but my experiences dictates “opt-in/out” most of the time leads more problems. So 1, 2, 3 won’t be viable to have many choices- rather having something that works for every parties involved is the answer to pick as solutions.
Gathering more data, and more analysis should bring viable solutions to these.My 2 cents.
Agreed – more choice creates a more challenging design problem. It’s one of the reasons that companies like Apple put a lot of effort to reduce options. There’s probably some substantial UX philosophy in these things that goes over my head.
In any case, as you say more data and analysis should at least paint a clearer picture.