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vasilios says
c) I have a life! :P
You have a life? Phew, you’re lucky.

As in what Jeffrey said about family/friends. ThemeForest is like a part-part-time job for me. :P

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JimmyP says
However, saying that the authors can’t be “expected” to offer support for something that costs $10 is a little on the crazy side if you ask me. I mean, I offer the plugin for free, and I SUPPORT it for free. I get over 100 emails EVERY WEEK asking me for help in getting the plugin to work with different themes that are coded poorly, or asking for help to find out why my plugin conflicts with countless other plugins out there.

I think you’re seriously confusing two very different things here. Something available for free cannot be compared to something that costs money; simple as that! You ask a lawyer to work on a case for $10 an hour and he’ll say no; you ask him to do it pro-bono (free) he might be happy to ablige! Free things are done for ego, everything else is done for a living. Once money is in the equation everything becomes a cost-benefit analysis – “is the cost of providing continual support worth the benefit?”.

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osigrandi says

My 2 cents….I think quality of support depends on :

1) how much time the designer has; they could very well have a full-time job, a family to take care of, be enrolled into college classes….it’s not that they don’t care about customers…but you know….they might have a life of their own as well besides this.

2) how many items they already have in their for-sale portfolio here. the more items, the more support requests.

3) how profitable they already are and if it’s worth their time

Given the fact that variability can be great, after all we have so many authors here, each with their own particular situation, I think introducing ratings for support could turn unfair in some cases.

I mean, even someone who used to provide great support can one day end up in a personal situation that would make them unable to be as quick to respond as before.

You end up having a serious case of the flu and bam, for 2,3 weeks you’re in a hospital bed, unable to check your emails and work.

Stuff like that…

I think we should be realistic…in the end, it’s all about turning a profit. I don’t think any of the authors are here because they’re looking for online buddies and $50 a month in pocket money.

Striving to code correctly and creating detailed documentation should be on everyone’s priority list. It would drop the number of support requests, leaving mostly requests for customization or, my personal favorite so far:

“How do I change the color of that thing? I tried from the admin panel but it does not work”

That ‘thing’ being a triangle, or circle and so on, obviously an image.

I may be mistaking but I think even Jeffrey said some while ago that it’s not our job to teach customers how to code or edit graphics.

I helped customers with things like these so far, but do it as a form of courtesy, not because I feel forced to. Plus I can be a pretty nice person as well :)

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Daan says
Honestly, if someone is selling a theme for $10 and has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of users who could potentially purchase their theme… As the original commentator said, IT’S JUST GOOD BUSINESS to offer at least BASIC support. If I can do it and not get ANYTHING in return…

It migth as well be a good thing that people who buy the things, learn a little themselves. I can understand you cannot be a fully fledged webdesigner/developer when you just want to buy a template for your website, but learning a little yourself, and doing a little research can never do some harm. Just a little googling can already do the trick sometimes.

I would argue that websites that come with PSD ’s should have sliced PSD ’s to make it easier for the user to edit things like the logo, banners etc. It may just seem a case of changing the text but in some sites the CSS fixes the size of the logo so to save time it’s easier just to change the text but keep the logo the same size. If it’s sliced that’s easy, if not then here we go messing around for ages.

That’s a complete waste of time. Most users don’t even use the slices in these photoshop files, and for us, they can be wasted time. Reminding you that we’re using our free time to create these templates, and we already make little to nothing from these files, this is why every time saver is welcome.

And afterall, we still have a life, and we are not here to teach these users how to create graphics or code as JimmyP said (good words in that post)

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Kriesi says
That’s a complete waste of time. Most users don’t even use the slices in these photoshop files, and for us, they can be wasted time. Reminding you that we’re using our free time to create these templates, and we already make little to nothing from these files, this is why every time saver is welcome.

I disagree on this one. I provided unsliced psds with the first few files I uploaded here and got quite a few support requests concerning these files. now I pre slice all psd files and split them appart into multiple files. this makes customization very easy since images already have the correct file name and size.

Good for you if you want to create multiple skins and good for the user if he wants to modify an existing skin. This usually takes only 10 minutes of my time and saves hours of support time.

And thats where I want to get. make my items so flexible and easy to use that I dont waste my time on support. Completly dropping support for a file will never be able I guess, but reducing incoming requests aint that hard.

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Eight7Teen says
You ask a lawyer to work on a case for $10 an hour and he’ll say no; you ask him to do it pro-bono (free) he might be happy to ablige! Free things are done for ego, everything else is done for a living.

See, personally, I think you’re seriously mistaken…

However, I suppose opinions are a dime a dozen.

Honestly, Unless you’re referring to a public appointed “lawyer” in your hypothetical example, you’re not likely to find one (not reputable anyway) who’s going to offer his/her services for free. They couldn’t give two hoots about “ego”.

I don’t maintain and support my plugin for ego, nor did I create it for that reason. I made it because I personally thought that surely if a plugin like Sociable, which uses tiny little microscopic “icons” for bookmarking could get so popular that it’s downloaded over 500,000 times… Surely I could create one a little more “aesthetic” that would become that popular.

I have full intentions of possibly someday reaching a point where I might be able to do as Joost did with Sociable and sell it for an undisclosed amount of money… (since that seems to be the only feasible way to make a monetary gain from plugins anymore) However, do you think that it will ever get popular enough for me to even attempt that if I don’t offer support and keep up appearances? No.

Simply telling someone how to make small adjustments to a PSD can’t possibly be that hard. I have a family. I have a “day job”. Most of you people do this type of work for a living, and thus, you’re more proficient at it. I drive a truck for a living and do WP development as a side hobby.

Nevertheless, I digress. There’s no sense in me attempting to argue my personal opinion when it seems that my opinion is matched up against the opinions of seemingly everyone here. haha

Have a great day everyone.

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RobbyDesigns says
3) how profitable they already are and if it’s worth their time

That little gem just about sums it up.

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musicformedia says

Hmm…I thought I’d chime in here – I think this pretty much applies to all the marketplaces really.

I get a number of support requests for my music, and I answer every single one of them, because I enjoy answering them, and because I sometimes make a new contact through it aswell.

However, I completely agree that people who sell on here, have the option to not provide any support whatsoever. When you buy the product, it is assumed that you know how to use it. When it is uploaded, it is completely bug free, and in “perfect condition” so to speak. I think people need to take a step back and look at the exact price that someone is getting for their work.

Lets say you buy a flash module for $10. You want to incorporate it into a project, but you’re having problems doing so. You ask for help, and it takes about an hr (total time over however many days) of back and forth emails to solve the issue. That is an hour of this person’s working week spent to help you.

Multiply that by 4 or 5 people per week for example, and thats a possible 4 or 5 hours a week spent on support if you are a popular author. I can absolutely understand authors who want to upload here for some extra cash, and just let the sales flow in. I think in an ideal world, it would be great to have perfect support from everyone, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

At the end of the day, if you need help with a file, ask on the forums, and someone will be more than willing to help you out, either for free, or for a small fee. Don’t forget, that you might have bought the item for $10, but in reality, the author is only getting anywhere from $2.50 to $7 for it. I really don’t think that you can expect people to provide support for something that cheap. I mean, you’re basically saying that a designers hourly wage is $7 or less, as that is how much time they could spend helping you out for free.

I don’t mean to come across as harsh – not at all. I’m just saying, I can understand exactly where people are coming from if they provide little or no support. At the end of the day, everyone on here runs a business, and in every business time = money :)

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JimmyP says
I don’t maintain and support my plugin for ego, nor did I create it for that reason. I made it because I personally thought that surely if a plugin like Sociable, which uses tiny little microscopic “icons” for bookmarking could get so popular that it’s downloaded over 500,000 times… Surely I could create one a little more “aesthetic” that would become that popular.

I understand where you’re coming from but as far as I’m concerned, if you do something for free it’s only a means to a personal ends. If a member of my family asked me to create a site I’d obviously do it for free; but this isn’t out of some sort of instinctive will to do the right thing, I’d do it so as to comply to the widely held social norm of helping out the family, additionally it might be for my own self-satisfaction. This is really a question of altruism and whether it exists at all. Are you saying that you did it with the sole intention of benefiting other people? Sorry to go off at a tangent…

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MDNW says
And thats where I want to get. make my items so flexible and easy to use that I dont waste my time on support. Completly dropping support for a file will never be able I guess, but reducing incoming requests aint that hard.

+1000 – I’m on the exact same page. I’ll always offer support for my products, but the real Holy Grail here is products that are so easy to use (and well documented) that an author doesn’t need to carve out 4 hours a day to answer support requests. Kriesi is totally right, it takes a little extra time, but it’s not hard to launch a preemptive attack on support-emails with a few extra steps.

I just released the third version of my documentation (now including an extensive FAQ section), and the number of emails went down by 90%... the remaining emails are either requests for custom freelance work or people who didn’t realize there was an update (this would be a great feature in the future, not everyone uses Twitter or RSS ). Moral of the store – code it right the first time around – release updates for known issues that users bring up early in a product’s life cycle – and DOCUMENT your products like crazy.

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