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gcarpenter says

I’m a buyer. I have bought many Envato files. I (and I am sure many others) have discovered a significant drawback to using TF files, even though there are some incredible files here. And that is, many times, some very wonderful files are effectively abandoned by their creators after some period of time. This is particularly bad in the case of WordPress and similar files, which require updates as WordPress changes occur. That means these files become unusable or somewhat broken at some unknown point in time.

As you might imagine, this makes buyers reluctant to buy a file which may or may not be supported or usable in the future.

I can understand why this might happen from an author’s point of view. The author creates a file, it sells well, then sales decline. The author must still earn a living and of course will concentrate on other projects that produce income. So, old files naturally do not get as much (or in some cases, any) attention.

The solution I believe will require a fundamental change to TF. I think that the purchaser should have some limited amount of time to access the current file. Say, 6-12 months for example.

The result will be that the author will have a much better CONTINUING revenue stream for the file (because updates will encourage users to either purchase an extended access option, perhaps at a modest discount, or simply repurchase the file, whichever is more practical). This will then encourage all authors to look after and improve their older work, because it will still be profitable.

As a buyer, of course I would prefer to pay one time and never again. However, I also know that if there is no incentive for the author, I will have limited future support. For this reason, I would like there to be an incentive for authors, even if it means I pay a bit more.

I think such an enhancement will insure that many of the FANTASTIC files that we all really like here on TF will be supported and improved for us.

What do others think? What does Envato think?

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JeffreyWay says

You definitely make excellent points, and this is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Thanks for your thoughts! I’ll definitely pass them on to the Envato directors! :)

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webdesigndeluxe says

I’m not sure I fully understand your solution. Could you please explain it more broad? Some example maybe? Do you mean when the buyer purchases the file, it includes a 6-12 month customer support kinda thing? I’d love to hear an example :)

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EireStudio says
I’m a buyer. I have bought many Envato files. I (and I am sure many others) have discovered a significant drawback to using TF files, even though there are some incredible files here. And that is, many times, some very wonderful files are effectively abandoned by their creators after some period of time. This is particularly bad in the case of WordPress and similar files, which require updates as WordPress changes occur. That means these files become unusable or somewhat broken at some unknown point in time.

As you might imagine, this makes buyers reluctant to buy a file which may or may not be supported or usable in the future.

I can understand why this might happen from an author’s point of view. The author creates a file, it sells well, then sales decline. The author must still earn a living and of course will concentrate on other projects that produce income. So, old files naturally do not get as much (or in some cases, any) attention.

The solution I believe will require a fundamental change to TF. I think that the purchaser should have some limited amount of time to access the current file. Say, 6-12 months for example.

The result will be that the author will have a much better CONTINUING revenue stream for the file (because updates will encourage users to either purchase an extended access option, perhaps at a modest discount, or simply repurchase the file, whichever is more practical). This will then encourage all authors to look after and improve their older work, because it will still be profitable.

As a buyer, of course I would prefer to pay one time and never again. However, I also know that if there is no incentive for the author, I will have limited future support. For this reason, I would like there to be an incentive for authors, even if it means I pay a bit more.

I think such an enhancement will insure that many of the FANTASTIC files that we all really like here on TF will be supported and improved for us.

What do others think? What does Envato think?

Fantastic insight!

+1

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gcarpenter says

webdesigndeluxe:

Actually, I am saying that buyers would simply have a LIMITED period of access to the file, instead of the “forever” access as it stands now. It could be 6-12 months from purchase, or whatever is determined most viable. Envato could test this and adjust it later with proper notice for new purchasers.

Once that period is up, buyers can either purchase a period of extended access (perhaps for a discount), OR simply repurchase the file and gain another period of access that way. (Whichever is determined more practical by Envato.)

End result:

1. Authors WILL make more money, and their revenues are likely to become more steady (assuming they regularly update and improve their files). They are also likely to sell more in general because this will make buyers more comfortable.

2. Buyers are happier because they know that their blogs, websites, etc., will continue to function when changes to wordpress, php, html versions, occur. Please note this is a VERY important consideration for buyers. They do not want to adopt a new format (that is, buy a particular file) and invest effort in using it without reassurance that it will be continue to be functional. I GUARANTEE that sales would increase if buyers had this type of reassurance. This is exactly why independent wordpress theme shops, for example, can stay in business…they are offering this ongoing assurance (basically a subscription, for a price). And many buyers are willing to pay for this.

As both a buyer and long-time marketer, I speak from experience when I say this would without a doubt be the best single improvement Envato could possibly make to improve TF and (substantially) increase revenue for this marketplace. I would literally “drop everything” and put this on the front burner.

All you very talented authors can thank me later when you start making a lot more money. :)

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Mastergreed says

Quite interesting indeed – at first I didn’t really understood your point of view but after reading it again, yep – I see it clearly. Such “semi-subscription” would be a great idea for both sides!

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gcarpenter says

Jeffrey:

I am sure you realize the delicate nature of such a change, and the risk that previous buyers could be alienated by it.

However, If you position this properly, it will seem like a positive thing, as opposed to a service reduction. That’s key to acceptance.

I would advise buyers:

1. As Envato/TF has noted all along, the ability to re-download files has been provided as an added convenience, and not guaranteed beyond the initial download.

2. It is no longer possible for Envato/TF to continue to offer repeated downloads indefinitely. However, the good news is that all current and future buyers will receive [6/12 months, etc.—whatever is determined] of download access from date of purchase. For all of your existing purchases, you will receive [x months] of extended download access from today’s date at no cost.

3. For purchasers who desire it, Envato/TF will offer an optional extended download option [at a discount] that will not only allow you extended access, but will give you access to any NEW versions of the file that might occur during that time as well.

So basically, using this positioning, you’ve effectively transitioned into a subscription option, and it doesn’t sound particularly negative in the way that it’s been conveyed. “Extended download option” simply works out to ‘subscription’ in a more pleasant way.

You might even establish a system of sequential “reminder” emails and so forth to encourage people to purchase extended download options as the renewal approaches. In fact, for users who allow it to lapse, you could even have your system send them an email later when an author updates the file, letting them know of the updated file, and encouraging them to re-purchase the extended download option to access it. Lots of possibilities there to trigger repurchases.

One other point that I should note is that such a transition will absolutely necessitate that authors have the ability to (and must) post new version numbers and/or change logs when they update their files. This will motivate buyers to continue to renew extended download access to those files.

Also, it should be heavily emphasized to all authors that bug fixing, updating, and otherwise improving existing files now has the ability to substantially increase their ongoing revenue, and it will be important that they focus regular attention on this. In fact, especially for those with very popular existing files, they could see significant ongoing revenue from doing so.

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kailoon Envato team says

I think this is a good idea to improve the marketplace.

As an author, I will still get revenue from my old files when I continue providing updates and supports, which is the most important part for the buyer – service.

As a buyer, I will pay a lower rate to get my access extended. I will feel safe because I have a “contracted” freelancer out there taking care of my site.

I think this is a win win situation where every business need it :)

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collis Envato team says

Very interesting suggestion, I know I’m very guilty of never supporting the themes I have here – sometimes i think I should really remove them since I’m so bad at support :-)

Anyhow Jeffrey, myself and the team will have a discussion on this to figure out how viable it is!

Thanks for the suggestions gcarpenter!

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gcarpenter says

Jeffrey, Collis:

You might want to also pass this along for potential implementation in your other marketplaces as well. It actually has across-the-board ramifications.

For example, I also purchase from your other marketplaces, including VideoHive. There are a great many nice older files of lower video resolution there. I would love to purchase them but can’t use the lower res format. In some cases, the authors may be able to re-render their files and upgrade them to HD resolution, and even add multiple variations (alternate color versions, etc.). However, they currently have little incentive to do so – previous purchasers would just get them for free. Imagine the impact of revitalized files on sales over there.

Of course, if you are able to implement this suggestion, there will be some “gap” (the initial download buffer you should give to all existing purchasers), so authors will need some patience and ongoing encouragement until they see the fruits of this change, which will only begin to pay off after the initial download period has passed.

One thing I know from experience is that your best (and easiest) return on marketing efforts will always be through maximizing revenue with existing customers. I think your management (and certainly, authors) will be astounded at the revenue improvement. Just remember to send me some stock when you guys go public. :)

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