Ok here is some more detailed feedback:
In order to find a good balance between working regular jobs and doing ThemeForest we started to develop smaller templates with unique designs but less features. The problem is that many users ask for feature implementation they find “standard” in themes these days. That is in our experience:
-theme is WooCommerce compatible - translation ready - works with gravity form - new: has custom visual composer styling even though the plugin is not included (someone gave us a one star rating yesterday because of that)
These customers ask us to “fix” these “problems” even though we never advertised our themes to include these features.
I would also suggest a wording that makes very clear what customization means and where to get help. For example: “If you want design changes or make the theme work with a plugin not advertised on the items description page please consult a coder at envato studio for help.”
Also I would suggest to implement a notice for buyers when rating an item that the rating should not include support experience beyond the guidelines.
Finally I would like to know if envato plans somehow to enforce these rules on authors. Because if topsellers continue giving premium support with dedicated support staff and all that nothing will really change bc customers will continue expecting this kind of support for all items they buy on the marketplace.
Last but not least: as far as I understand the laws in my country / EU the things that you include under support are mandatory for sellers anyways. I would think that in Australia as well consumer protection laws guarantee buyers support if an item they bought doesn’t work as advertised or has bugs etc. having that said: a tricky customer would argue that he doesn’t have to pay for that support anyways right? Or does this consumer right only lasts 6 months in Australia?
I don’t get “Answering questions about the item’s included features and functionality”. I think that’s pre-sale support anyway, right? At least from the wording it isn’t clear to me what else it would include.
“Fixes for bugs and reported issues with the item” – of course we do that. What do buyers buy support for then? I mean you will also get bugs fixed etc. when the author uploads an update right? As a buyer I would just screw the author by telling in the comments how bad the item is because it has bug A, B and C so the author will know about the bug and fix it.
Again “Updates to ensure ongoing compatibility and patch security vulnerabilities” doesn’t make sense for me from a buyers perspective. Why pay for support when you get the update for this anyways after purchasing the item?
What is not included in support “There can be a fine line between support and customisation, but support does not include any services that modify or extend the item beyond the original features, style and functionality advertised on the item page.”
Well, this is actually the only support worth paying for, right?
The guidelines are a good read when you first see them but think about it for a minute: The “What is expected from author of supported themes” section includes no real support questions. So when someone in my comments say there is a bug in a theme I answer I will not fix it because he didn’t buy a support package haha
There is such a thing as too cheap and you’re pricing model does not incentive theme providers to support and develop their theme, instead they’re incentivised to develop a new theme and abandon the old theme.
This seems off thread, but is true. The current model (at least in Themeforest) is develop many items, even when we (as authors) take care of old items providing key updates, the cheap prices and low sales make authors to develop new stuff instead of improve as much as possible the templates/themes we already have.Themeforest seems is focused in quantity of themes, not in quality. That is a problem we should tackle as community at some point in near future.
I have the same problem! When a buyer asks for a years old item to add this or that or make it work with this and that I can only respond that we cannot do it if the item doesn’t sell anymore. I’d rather have less items and use the time to give better support and and create more updates.
digitalscience said12 months support and updates with chance to renew for a cheaper than original item price fee.
Envato is proposing:
6 month support Unlimited free updates
Some of us are proposing:
12 month support 12 month free updates
Which sounds better for authors?
With chance some potential buyers and also more advised (professional) buyers should take a look at some of your themes comments… Releases dates and…... updates dates / changelog!
I always do that just in case before buying a theme and not only search the sales, ratings, I also search “key words” in the comments… and see the all portfolio…The more this discussion goes on, the more this makes no sense…
Thanks for the constructive feedback
I had some more thoughts on your original answer to my post regarding paid updates (page 3 http://themeforest.net/forums/thread/item-support-a-new-proposal/146143?page=3)
I understand the issues that come up with paid support and sellers offering different kind of support. I think you guys have valid points there but we might be able to discuss it a bit further:
1. Argument: Authors update items in many different ways…some only do basic updates and security patches. Others try to continuously add value through new features. Some do both and everything in between.
Opinion: Giving authors the chance to cash in on items again after the first year would actually increase the incentive for bigger updates. Also: 60 Dollars for 6-12 months support and updates (even small ones) is a very good deal.
2. Argument: Buyers are fearful of having to pay for a basic updates/security patches in the future and some have said they would not buy that item if they had to meaning the author may not get the sale in the first place.
Opinion: They don’t have to be afraid to get security updates and bugfixes for over 12 months. That’s pretty good! You wouldn’t buy any product and expect free updates for the rest of your life. Other marketplaces offer updates only for 12 months as well and Envato is the biggest player.
Also: How are you planning to educate buyers about the fact that they don’t receive support for an update that breaks their site? It will lead to much confusion and bad ratings because of it. I personally rather support 12 months and give updates 12 months. It’s much clearer and easier for all sides…
@Bebel – thanks for the question.
We have thought about updates a lot…following on from what I meant above.
Hope that helps.
- Authors update items in many different ways…some only do basic updates and security patches. Others try to continuously add value through new features. Some do both and everything in between.
- Buyers are fearful of having to pay for a basic updates/security patches in the future and some have said they would not buy that item if they had to meaning the author may not get the sale in the first place.
- To get around this, we’d need a major/minor versioning system – major for value-add updates (possibly paid) and minor for basic/security patch updates (possibly unpaid) – this would add a lot of complexity and considering that authors update in very different ways would be hard to manage.
- We consistently hear support is a significant ongoing cost for authors that is mounting with time so we want to address this as a priority but not rule out addressing updates at some point in the future.
Thanks for the detailed answer – it makes more sense to me know. Hope you guys find some sort of solution for this in the future
The new proposal sounds far more reasonable – it basically means the same in the end like the first proposal but at least this time you communicated way smarter
the question has been asked a lot if we could align the item updates one gets with the support time one is eligible to. I think it is unfair that I sell an item for 60 Dollars and the user gets free updates for his whole life. Did you guys discuss this at envato and if so would you be able to give us some insights why you think it’s not a good idea?
That sucks. But if it was soft rejected at first it must be close to good enough to get accepted, Go back to the drawing board, improve design a bit more, submit again and add in the comments that this theme was soft rejected first. That’s how I would do it I guess.
one more thought regarding the idea to offer no support at all: At least in the EU I can’t sell anything without support. If I sell something and it doesn’t work as advertised or has errors I need to fix that. This does not apply if two private persons engage with each other but if you sell continuously on a marketplace like envato you have to make sure your product works as advertised (fix bugs for clients etc.)
That’s a big issue eBay had to deal with in the past 10 years because most sellers over there sell more than just once every other time (making them professionals), meaning they need to offer certain kind of support for their product. I would guess the U.S. and Australia have something similar…