Whoa, this sounds like hot stuff! Excited to play around with it in the future
If any Envato staff members are reading this, you guys should be sponsoring @dtbaker to help him with this. This is an amazing example of the type of support tool Envato should be coming up with and creating to actually help authors deal with support.
Thanks for reporting this. It looks like a deployment to our purchase backend (nothing to do with the API) made about 30mins ago, has somehow started displaying 6 month support messages on the shopping cart.We’re looking into this as we speak and will have it resolved asap.
I’ve also just seen this on my latest theme sale also…. I understand it shouldn’t be deployed yet, but what is this?
Theme Sale $29.00
Theme Sale (6 months bundled support) $17.40
That to me says you are planning to artificially reduce the cost of themes in order to “bundle” in 6 months of free support but keep the standard overall cost to buyers. You guys are crossing so many lines in order to implement this illogical new support system.
Are you planning on decreasing the price of themes that do not have Envato’s “support” option?
What we have today is a world where each author has a slightly different version of support, and where and how they describe their support offering varies greatly. Buyers are obviously confused by this lack of consistency and clarity at the time of purchase and take their expectations of previous purchases with them, often leading to bad author-buyer experiences. It is for these reasons that we’ve decided to standardise the definition of support and clearly communicate whether or not the item is supported at the time of purchase.
If a stock product is broken or does not work as advertised, then it is the author’s legal duty to fix it or get the item removed. This is the only “Standarised definition of support” that should be advertised. And this applies to all stock products, even ones that under your new rules are marked as “not supported”. In other words, every product is supported by law regardless of what you say.
And the reason this world you describe exists is because “support” has become a selling point, and in a capitalist world, this leads to a percentage of people (authors) racing to the bottom of the barrel. Which is why some authors have literally entire teams of workers doing “support” that goes well beyond the legally required bug-fixing for a stock product.
Your proposal will not change anyone’s behavior and buyers will still get different types of “support”. The difference is, whatever confusion buyers expressed before will now be a lot worse and they will be angrier, because they will literally have paid for something.
In short, we will have the same problems as ever, but with angrier buyers with an even bigger sense of entitlement.
@AndrewFreeman, I am yet to see a single big selling author agree with your proposal. You continue to justify all this by saying that authors have been “complaining” about support for a long time, which may be true, but your proposal and solution do nothing to improve the core root issues of the problem. Your solution is literally “Let’s charge buyers for support” and you somehow think this will automatically educate buyers and help authors deal with support.
I honestly feel like I am wasting my time typing this again, but there are so many simpler and smarter solutions to make authors happier by helping decrease support numbers and at the same time educate buyers:
Improvement example: Add radio/select fields to the comment and email form. So buyers have to select between “Bugs / installation / customization / etc” before leaving a comment. And when they for example click “bugs” option, they are then shown a link to FAQs/Documentation or shown common problems + solutions (i.e. missing stylesheet.css error). And if they select “Customization” option a big message appears and explains the rules/terms.
Heck, you could even plug in your Envato Studio links if they select “installation” there. In case you are so desperate to increase your profits.
This radio/select filter system is pretty much what you have on support.envato.com (and what every major support site on the internet has), and you implemented this because you knew this was an effective way to decrease overall ticket numbers effectively and reduce the strain on Envato support staff….
Why are you not approaching author support the same way you approached Envato support improvements? Which as far as I remember, were implemented not too long ago.
This is the type of improvements I would love to see happen. Not “paid support” for a stock digital product.
Do you guys even realize what mess it will cause? If user who didn’t buy a support package goes to item comments, he still can read all author replies to the questions what user who have bought support package asked. The only difference is he won’t have a badge that he purchased it. Where is the logic?
That’s a good thing though, the core idea is to reduce support requests. So in that respect, all good.
However, the reality is that with this proposed system where buyers can still leave comments even without a support badge, means buyers will 100% ask questions/report bugs/say the product is broken/etc without a support package. And it will be up to authors to either answer for free (it will happen) or waste minutes of their lives to explain/confront/tell buyers to pay up more money. And after that their question will be answered.
A lot of the time the answer to the buyer’s question will be something like “turns out the problem is a third party plugin, you need to contact plugin author”, and then the buyer will have to go to the plugin author having wasted his/her money and time (and the author’s time). Oh and if the plugin is from CodeCanyon, pay up more money for support again….... it’s such a ridiculous system for both authors and buyers, that will lead to huge frustration on all sides for insignificant extra income. Like I said before – completely out of touch with reality and how the marketplace works.
Apart from raising the point about Envato’s own “Envato Support system” in my previous comment, I should have also added:
@AndrewFreeman you are essentially doing a type of “support” on this very thread: To reduce the number of comments/repeated questions from authors, you yourself have manually amalgamated all your answers and edited your opening post here to include links to those “common questions”.
Why are you and Envato not approaching improving support with this type of mentality? The first thing you should have ever looked at and done was to implement and improve the comments/email form systems to naturally and effectively reduce overall numbers, whilst making buyers happy for giving them quicker solutions. I honestly just don’t get it. Well, 30% of me does get it a bit.
My themes have sold almost 10,000 licenses on this marketplace in my 2 years here, and I have received over 7,000 tickets/emails/comments and have spoken to many buyers in-depth over support. Therefore, I can confidently say I know what I am talking about and your proposal is 100% out of touch with how the marketplace works and should work. You are making the experience for both authors and buyers extra frustrating and problematic.
On a very superficial and basic level, paid support sounds like the right solution. But it really, really will not fix any of the core problems with support, and you either simply don’t understand the core issues, or you are ignoring them for whatever reason.
Core issue #1: Buyers don’t understand what “support” actually is.
Envato solution: Charge buyers extra for “support”, i.e. “Questions to ensure product works as advertised”.
True outcome: Buyers will now feel more entitled as they are now paying for something extra. They will be even more demanding than ever, and simply getting money out of them will not suddenly make them understand what support actually is. Which will lead to the same number of comments and a lot of authors continue to bend over backwards for every buyer, including not-so-simple customizations to keep them happy. In other words, nothing has improved or changed. It’s only worsened buyer’s sense of entitlement and perception of support.
A better solution: Implement multiple systems to lessen support naturally and educate buyers. For instance:
Example solution 1: In the “Comment” and “Email author” form, there should be a dropdown menu/radio options that users have to choose between “Bug / Pre-sale / Customization / etc”. And whatever they select should show a small line explaining the rules and include links to relevant FAQs/Documentation that likely already have the answer, before they are able to submit a comment/email.
You already do this to reduce your own support at Envato Support. Why are you not considering doing the same for author’s support?
Example solution 2: Something similar to how StackOverflow does it – Ajax live search as you write a new comment. So as you type keywords they are picked up and show buyers potentially related comments that were already answered before they even submit a new comment.
It took me less than 10 minutes to think of those two potential solutions that would 100% at the very least reduce support numbers and make buyers happier by solving their issues quickly. But of course, it would require Envato staff to implement the solutions, and it is clear you’d rather throw problems at author’s laps instead, as you said “Authors are entitled to tell buyers to buy support package”. That makes no sense, buyers should be told by Envato automatically they need to buy it, why should authors have to waste minutes of their lives and be the perceived bad guys by responding to buyers that they need to buy support before being able to ask, even though they already asked their question….......
It goes without saying how frustrated and disappointed I am with Envato over this. I would appreciate if you could give me some sort of response or opinion over my point of view, Andrew.
So, so, so many potential issues with this implementation. It’s going to be painful.
I want to be clear that I am all for clarifying buyer’s expectations, as that has been an issue, but paid support was never the correct/best solution.
And the “retiring of themes” response by Andrew is particularly disturbing. In other words you are saying authors are now under some sort of contract with buyers for potentially 12 months to “support and help buyers” even after they remove their stock products from the marketplace. This is ludicrous!
Many items are removed by Envato for various reasons, DMCA’d or simply removed by authors because they don’t want the products in their portfolio any more for whatever reason.
The support agreement should be:
“For as long as the item is being sold on Themforest…. Blah blah”
And if the item is removed for any reason, support stops. It is nonsensical to even fathom providing support for an item that has been removed. You honestly think it makes sense to expect authors to update retired themes to work with the latest version of WooCommerce and then send them privately to buyers over email?
In short, Envato want their cake and to devour it too. Lock buyers and authors in some, weird out of touch, contract and all the potential problems will fall on the author’s laps, yet Envato still got their cut for doing absolutely nothing. Insane. Simply insane.
@Kailoon, thanks for starting this thread. It’s been a while since many themes are now comfortably and openly advertising “multiple designs in one theme with 100 premium plugins bundled in”, which Themeforest claims is strictly not allowed. At least the multiple designs (themes) in one part. Most authors understand how damaging and ridiculous this trend is to not only the marketplace, but to the WordPress world in general. The main issue is that Themeforest is allowing and encouraging this trend to continue and it will only get worse.
What really confuses and worries me though, is that you, Kailoon, and other experienced reviewers, have spoken out in the past on how against you guys are to this ridiculous trend, but if you guys, who have been reviewers for such a long time here, don’t have the power to change the rules and stop it. Then who does?
I spoke to Collis about this, and he put me in contact with Stephen Cronin about it, who said they would look into it internally and told me to chase him up on it, but I decided not to follow it up, as it is clear to me that no one with the power at Envato has the desire to change it, either through being out-of-touch with the WordPress world or through sheer fear of dealing with such a big pink elephant. Which is very deflating. I have the skills and capability to create one of those monster “multi-design/20 themes in one”, but I don’t want to contribute to the problem. And that leads to the other annoying fact about Themeforest – which is that in a few years from now, or sooner, authors who want to stay competitive and continue creating themes may have no other choice to but do it.