637 posts Magento Elite & Gravity Maker
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GravityDept says

@ Bovelett — Thanks for the opinions from a buyer.


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…

Read the license. Selling updates is not forbidden or even mentioned anywhere in the license. The license has no jurisdiction over services rendered beyond the initial sale. By Envato’s own definition support is the domain of the author, and Envato doesn’t enforce or specify what that involves.

Authors just have to implement such a payment, verification, and delivery system by themselves. Yes, that’s a big undertaking.


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

That’s because you only make WordPress themes and HTML templates. If you worked on a bigger platform like Magento you might see things differently. WordPress is a tiny platform in comparison. 16,334 vs 1,168 files. That makes compatibility updates a big deal.

@ zeusmedia — Not necessarily an SLA. That would bind the author to provide fixes within a specified interval and be significantly more complex to contract. Ex: what defines a bug? It would be up to the author to define what level of support they want to provide.

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SkinGen says

If they don’t sell, why don’t you just remove them from the marketplace?

just search smartstart to be inspired… :)
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ait 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…

Yea that’s exactly what I had in mind. Large theme updates and support are currently being done free of charge. What’s even worse that customers expect you to implement all changes from your newer themes to your older ones and yes – for free :)

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horizonq8 says

I’m a buyer here, not a dev – but I agree. I do expect excellent support during theme setup and dealing with any potential bugs, but it is unrealistic to expect theme authors to go on forever for free. We all have families, we all need to eat, and we all like to get paid for our work.

Some sort of solution is definitely needed. 2 types of Envato memberships, one with access as it is now, and just basic support for a period of time – one with a monthly/yearly fee to access updates.

Doubt Envato will be willing to do that though, as it may take a while before people readjust, and during that time, you risk loosing profits.

Authors can, and some do, only update the theme with bugfixes and essential CMS related stuff, and offer functionality improvements in other forms, be it plugins/scripts via their own forums, with the ability to charge for their work.

In order for that to work, a template would need to be designed with that in mind.

Really think there are options out there that could make both sides happy and disregarding the problem won’t make it go away. Yes there are plenty of authors out there to compete against, however that is only true for generic templates. The moment we’re talking about industry targeted stuff, the possibilities are much better and the potential costs then often target businesses not Joe the Blogger, as such, those costs are not much of an issues – website devs pass it onto their clients, businesses doing their own, simply pop it in the cost basket which is often welcomed for tax purposes.

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aribann says

And… Theme spinners still seem to rule the day here Give us some support we will pay

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CrunchPress says

1. There should be a limit to free updates. 1 year.

2. Obsolete items should be removed from Envato marketplaces, there are too many products those fall in this category.

3. If paid updates are not the way to go, then there should be paid support after 6 months or a year.

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ait says

I’m very happy that you guys “re-opened” the old thread. Hope somebody from Envato will join us ;)

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GravityDept says

Summary: charge for value.

Authors can’t (no sustained revenue). Buyers suffer (abandoned item). Envato wins (flooding new items).

If you’re not making moves to fix this for yourself and your customers, you’re part of somebody else’s strategy.

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ait says

Summary: charge for value.

Authors can’t (no sustained revenue). Buyers suffer (abandoned item). Envato wins (flooding new items).

If you’re not making moves to fix this for yourself and your customers, you’re part of somebody else’s strategy.

Nicely said, but how can we charge for Wordpress 3.9 updates now ;)

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familychoice says

Yea that’s exactly what I had in mind. Large theme updates and support are currently being done free of charge. What’s even worse that customers expect you to implement all changes from your newer themes to your older ones and yes – for free :)

I’d be happy to pay a subscription (or larger ‘lifetime’ one-off fee) for themes that are regularly updated with new frameworks/features/functionality. It’s a lot of extra work for authors and I expect to pay for that, and it’d give me peace of mind when using it for client work.

For general small compatibility fixes, if the author is advertising ‘free lifetime updates’ then I’d expect these to be free, as advertised. Obviously if this isn’t offered at the point of sale then I have no right to expect it.


Yea, that’s one option, but removing them from the marketplace will make:
  • Existing customer unhappy
  • Author unhappy as there will be many complaints
  • Envato unhappy as customer and author are unhappy
Introducing small fees will allow:
  • Customer to use their existing website longer
  • Author to cover maintenance and support costs
  • Envato profit from recurring payments

+1

We have a number of themes in our account that have been removed as the authors have decided to abandon them in favour of new themes. As a customer, we’re left in the lurch as they’re no longer fully compatible, and we have no option but to replace them. We now only buy themes that have a long history of updates.


Here’s a secret: they’re not the kind of customer you want anyway. They don’t grow your business because their lifetime customer value is likely capped by the initial sale. If they never buy another product from you, every interaction they make with you decreases their value as a customer. Just how much support and goodwill does a $45 WordPress theme buy?

It can buy multiple sales from agencies looking for reliable, regularly updated themes for their clients. We spent over $1000 dollars last year on one particular theme.

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