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ThemeFusion says

Most buyers, including myself, will not pay monthly/annually for this. Just my opinion.

You will when the business stops supporting the project due to inability to pay for or invest time in support/updates for free every year which is no longer making money. If the original business stops supporting the project and you come across a bug, you will have to pay a freelancer who will potentially charge you double or triple the amount however if the original business could sustain his business, he could have helped you numerous times for a small yearly fee.

- M Haris

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WebSmacker says

^ no, I’ll just fix it myself. :) There are many us that buy themes that are close to what we are looking for and modify them to fit our needs. I agree this would be helpful for non-developers and if this is added, there needs to be an option to buy without updates.

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GravityDept says

^ no, I’ll just fix it myself. :) There are many us that buy themes that are close to what we are looking for and modify them to fit our needs. I agree this would be helpful for non-developers and if this is added, there needs to be an option to buy without updates.

There are tons of buyers who operate like that, and it’s totally cool.

The default should be a one-off purchase with 6 or 12 months of updates included. Then you have the option to buy another term worth of updates. What changes is the buyer has a choice, instead of the author forcing one upon them because they don’t.

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WebSmacker says

^ good idea. I think this would work well for both authors and buyers. Hopefully something comes of this.

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ChapterThemes says


^ no, I’ll just fix it myself. :) There are many us that buy themes that are close to what we are looking for and modify them to fit our needs. I agree this would be helpful for non-developers and if this is added, there needs to be an option to buy without updates.

There are tons of buyers who operate like that, and it’s totally cool.

The default should be a one-off purchase with 6 or 12 months of updates included. Then you have the option to buy another term worth of updates. What changes is the buyer has a choice, instead of the author forcing one upon them because they don’t.

Indeed, like i said: http://themeforest.net/forums/thread/lifetime-free-theme-updates/104160?page=7#868221

This could work.

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Bovelett says

Ok, here’s another buyer’s 2 cents:

First things first…

To me you authors on all Envato marketplaces are heroes, whether you update your themes or not.
  1. You have the guts to put in tons of time, skill and creative talent to create amazing templates, plugins, etc. without knowing if you will ever sell enough to get the compensation for the time and effort. I admire that.
  2. You make it possible for me to make clients on a tight(er) budget really happy. They only pay for the theme at Envato, paid plugins, and my time setting a site up for them with that theme and instructing them how to put information and images on their website.
  3. You just rock… really, you do.

Show me the payment button, I wanna click it!

I will ALWAYS be willing to pay for the ongoing support (i.e. updates) of a theme. Or better said: I make my customers very eager to pay for ongoing updates. I make them understand that support is not an “option”, it is a part of the deal they make with me to set up their web site. None of them want to have their sites hacked due to outdated WP versions. I make sure they understand that. So to me it’s useless to have a theme for them that is not updated when WP has another major release.

When I look for a theme for a new customer I will try to find out if it is made by an author who updates his/her themes in general. If not, I will not buy (or advise my customer against buying) the theme. That’s the harsh truth. I am sure I am not the only one. Neither I or my customers can afford to get stuck with a theme that is not updated by the author. I’m not proficient in Wordpress coding at all.

$10 a year for support – that’s not nearly enough

Upon purchasing a theme I would gladly tick a box that says: additional support and updates per year: $80. Yes. $80. Heck, I would even tick it if it were $100. It’s peanuts. If a customer had to pay me for a full unique dedicated design (without ANY frontend development yet whatsoever) he’d pay at least $1500. If it then had to be developed into a fully functional Wordpress (or any CMS for that matter) website, he would have to pay at least the same amount on top of the design price. At the least… That is a price for a simple a-b-c brochure site. And the price would rocket up with every extra feature the customer would ask for. Stuff like responsiveness and retina readiness would additionally be charged for. Why? Because it takes time to create that, lots of time. And lots of skill. I know, I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m just stating it for the non developer and non designer who would come across this post.

In my bookmarks at Envato I have a large number of themes that customers pointed me to as their “wannahave” template. The majority is set in my private bookmarks folder. They all have one thing in common. Once put out there o Themeforest, they were never updated. Great Wordpress themes with flexible layouts that would have made many of my blogging-eager customers happy for at least 3 years in a row. And all of them willing to pay for support.

Why a market place can’t guarantee support

I’m a member of the CMS Made Simple™ development team (for the marketing part, not the coding) and we’ve had (and still have) our share of internal discussions about a marketplace, paid modules, paid anything. We do not (yet) have this marketplace. But the whole process makes me believe that I can put myself in the shoes of Envato on this topic.

Expectation Management

It’s about managing expectations. Just ask yourself: would you be able (and willing) to promise professional support in some freelancer’s name? Would you vouch for their ability to keep up that promise? I wouldn’t.

If Envato starts facilitating extra payments for support they raise an expectation. A vast number of buyers belong in the category of cheapskates with no or very little business sense at all. It can’t be avoided. Templates generally facilitate technical noobs and Frontpage refugees. And they consider themselves an Envato Customer. Not YOUR customer. They won’t differentiate thus getting mad at Envato if an author they bought additional support from does not live up to their expectation, with all kinds of consequences.

Do you want to be on Envato’s payroll as an employee and move to their office?

IMHO that would be the only way for Envato to be able to support paid support. I don’t think I need to explain the impossibility of that here, from neither side… do I?

It would be awesome if Envato and you authors could come to an agreement for paid upgrades that benefits all parties involved. The day it happens I’ll open up the Champagne! Until then, I will continue to recommend my customers to pick a template from authors who regularly update, at least with every new WP version.

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ait says

The issue is that it’s impossible for individual authors to implement any kind of recurring yearly payments for theme updates. Firstly it’s forbidden in license terms and even if it wasn’t forbidden you need to create your own billing system, system for updates and so on.

I’m quite surprised that authors are happy with the currently lifetime free updates strategy.

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StrictThemes says

^ You can do that (without violation TF license) via recommended plugin e.g. convert your framework into a plugin and drop some activation options into that. Sell license keys via third-party ways.

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Bovelett says

If what StrictThemes is saying is correct, I’m getting hopeful! Like I said, I would gladly pay to make sure everything is up to date.

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formateins says

Hi,

I’ve not read each post, but you’re talking about an SLA.

It could be considered as opt-in to the authors having an option for a (discounted) renewal, so if someone buys an item he’ll get 1 year of free support. After that, download will be replaced by a renewal subscription. Could (!) be handled easily (and discussed heavily).

On the other hand most auf the authors are developing their items further adding new features and stuff. So if the item reaches a new major version (let’s say 1.9.2 > 2.0) this could be the point where the author decides “yeah, the item advanced a lot so I’d like to have a (rather) small fee for my efforts”. This could be also done as opt-in for the author by selecting a percentage of the selling item price (defined by envato).

There are many pro’s and also many con’s to be considered.

2 bucks…

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