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This plugin recently sold to price-gouging company (6 posts)

  1. phinx
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Beware: The company that has recently bought this plugin charges a $197 annual fee for the full version, forcing you to buy an array of unneeded plugins if you want the full version or just an update of this one.

    What happens to those who had paid subscriptions before this sale? Who knows but I wouldn't count on much generosity from people who would price gouge so outrageously as this.

  2. Delete Me
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Agreed, what's worse is that I never received notification as to what happened and how development would continue, and I was actually paying the yearly subscription to use this plugin too. Now the only way I can receive any updates to the plugin is to pay $197? No thanks.

  3. BesZain
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Hi everyone, I’m Bes Zain from PluginBuddy and iThemes [the new home of AEC] and wanted to share my replies with everyone here publicly.

    Phinx, thanks for bringing this up. Everyone who had a subscription before has been automatically switched over into the equivalent membership at no extra charge. So I’m guessing this is simply a misunderstanding. There is no price-gouging going on; if you had an AEC license before, you get the exact equivalent of it at the new home at no extra cost. Yearly plans were also renewed, again at no extra cost, to include an extra year of free support and upgrades. One membership plan also got extra premium plugins included at no extra cost.

    You should’ve gotten an email already – every existing member got converted automatically. If you didn’t get the email or if it somehow ended up in spam folder, go ahead and email sales @ ithemes .com and we’ll send you the new login details asap. You’ll be up and running in no time and will then have access to the forums too.

    The new prices reflect the extra plugins that come with the suite and at this time affect only new customers, and not the existing/old AEC customers for their current term. We are thinking of ways on making AEC pricing better for new customers and existing subscription customers too, so you can let us know in the AEC forums what ideas or price you had in mind.

    Lincoln, I see you active on the new AEC plugin forums for 2 days now, so I’m guessing you found the email, were able to log in correctly and do not have this issue anymore? Otherwise could you please explain your comment a little bit more as to what issues you are having?

    To everyone else: AEC now has a new home. All existing members got [ or "get" if you haven't received the info - just email sales ] the equivalent membership at no extra cost with an extra year of support and upgrades at no extra cost also. The developer membership even got extra premium plugins [again, at no extra cost] with their existing membership plan. And you now get a full dedicated support and development team working on AEC too. AEC was already a paid plugin before this move, by the way.

    For any support questions, you can open a thread on the AEC forums at anytime. If anyone has any pre-sales questions, please email sales @ ithemes .com anytime too. Thank you for using AEC!

  4. Delete Me
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Thanks for the explanation, since AEC was rolled into iThemes it was very confusing to figure out how current users could continue to benefit from the support. Since logging in though I can see the pricing details ($45 a year for two licenses) which is much more reasonable than $197, LOL

  5. phinx
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    BesZain: I appreciate your response but there are many like myself who either purchased memberships for a period of time then let them lapse or purchased the program under one of the limited agreements.

    In order for any of us to update AEC, you now require us to pay nearly $200 and buy software we may not need nor want.

    I originally purchased AEC for $5 for a single site with the understanding that I could periodically update when I chose to for $5.00. Now, you require $200 for me to do the same. That's outrageous and violates the trust and understanding there was when I originally purchased AEC.

    What if an update of WordPress makes my version of AEC unusable? That would then cost me $200 to have a working version? That is absurd, I have never seen a WordPress plugin with anywhere near this high of a price tag. In fact, it could cost around the same for a WordPress user to hire a developer to create a custom plugin that works similarly to AEC as it would be to purchase AEC from you. That just doesn't make sense.

    This is bad faith towards those who have supported this software, especially the many who purchased it without the annual support plan and though those who have an active plan have a temporary reprieve from your 4000% price increase and might not be concerned at this point in time, when their membership expires or lapses and they are faced with paying exorbitant fees, I doubt they will be silent or pleased.

    Killing the golden goose is not usually the best business plan. Ask Netflix about that, they just hiked their price by around 200% percent on their customers and are being hit hard financially, you've hiked the price of this for those of us not on an annual plan by 4000%, what reaction and word of mouth do you think that generates?

    I understand that you want to recoup the expense of purchasing AEC as soon as possible but creating a price barrier for new purchases and limited or lapsed memberships seems counter-intuitive. Why would you make new purchases and non-subscriber updates so prohibitively expensive? You're not interested in growing your user base or retaining users not on annual plans already?

    BTW, it also creates a huge path for a reasonably-priced competing plugin to carve away your usership which, though it's unintentional, in the long run may be better for WordPress users.

    I like AEC but I and many others will not pay $200 for a single WordPress plugin/update. If that is irrelevant to you, so be it.

  6. BesZain
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Hi Lincoln,

    Thanks for the reply. I'm glad the confusion is now gone and that you're happy with AEC and the new forums. :) Glad to see you there.

    Hi Phinx,

    Thanks for explaining more. Hmmmm, unless I'm misunderstanding something, I explained everything you are saying in my previous reply. To eliminate any confusion, let me summarize it again more clearly [let me know if I'm misunderstanding or missing anything please]:

    1. Current AEC Subscription Members and Equivalent new AEC Licenses: You are not required to pay $200 to get the equivalent license for AEC if you have a previous active AEC license subscription and want to switch over to the equivalent license. Follow step # 3 below to switch over for free, if you didn't get the switching-over-email already. Only in the future [next year] do you have to pay renewal fees [just like you did before, and they will be less than "$200", see point 4 below] to get your active license renewed. Which page or email [let me know the link or info] tells you that if you already have an active AEC license you have to pay $200 right now to get the equivalent membership?

      Whoever or whatever gave you that info or impression, that as an active pre-iThemes AEC member you have to pay $200 to get the equivalent membership option at the new AEC this year, is incorrect.

    2. Single download AEC users: Whichever version of AEC you have that has no recurring subscription, you can keep using it just like you could before. No AEC member who has the $5 single download option or the old free version is required to pay "$200" or any price to keep using AEC the way they already are/were. You can follow step # 3 to see what your options are to switch over and how to switch over.
    3. Switch over to the new AEC: To be a current AEC plan member by switching over, you have to email sales @ ithemes .com to get moved over to the equivalent status membership status. You have to follow this step to be part of the new AEC membership, if you have not gotten the email already. That will give you access to the new forums where you can specify exactly what prices you would like for the future and any other suggestions or comments to direct and help plan the future of AEC.
    4. New Pricing Structure: We are experimenting with a new pricing structure as I mentioned before, so that takes [or soon, will take] care of the expensive price question completely. That will bring the price range for NEW or for future [next year] subscription members to probably around the same price levels as before. To participate in that on our forums and let us know exactly what price range and structure you had in mind, follow step # 3 above. Please do that, so that you can directly influence our decisions on the pricing by letting us know the exact price range and any related info.
    5. Every plan gets what they paid for: There is absolutely no bad faith in anything, since even with the old pricing of $5, it was part of that licensing structure that the prices could change anytime, and by buying the $5 option, you agreed to get the single version download of the stable release and no future updates. For example: Every single one-time one-use purchase on any item in the world, online or offline, does not guarantee nor imply in any manner that any future purchases of the same item will always have the same price. That is why subscriptions are there, to also ensure the price doesn't go up or to ensure that more benefits are had. Same was and is the case with AEC.

      One of the main reasons there were subscription plans before was that in the future, if anything changed like AEC being integrated into PluginBuddy, the current subscriptions will carry over without price increases for the current terms of those subscriptions. As I mentioned before, we went way beyond that and in real good faith actually [all our previous and new AEC members on our forums love us for this and are happy, including Lincoln who is satisfied now] gave extra several months to upto a year to everyone by giving everyone 1 full year of their subscription term renewal, from their previous agreement, at no extra cost. That means every current AEC subscription member got 1 year of extra free renewal from the date AEC got integrated. Developer versions got extra plugins for free too.

      That is why anyone who got the subscription plan knew they will be set for the life of their term no matter what happened, and that is also why everyone who went with the more affordable $5 option knew things could change anytime and that they are getting that $5 option. Nothing else was promised or guaranteed. Please share the url or the info where you saw anything to the contrary or where anything got misunderstood or confusing.

    6. Cheaper AEC Plans: From your posts, I gather that you are simply dissatisfied that instead of the previous $5 single one-time download [whose price even then was confirmed could change any time, since it was not a subscription plan in any manner] option that you purchased, now if you want to purchase and download any future upgrades, you have to pay the new pricing plan and more than $5. So basically you do not want to pay more than $5. That is a valid concern, and if you follow step # 3 above, you can immediately let us know on our forums what price range you think would be good for any equivalent single download option. We are close to figuring out and setting the price for AEC for new and future AEC subscriptions and plans [again, existing active AEC members get everything for this year for free and additional stuff and months at no extra charge], so your input will help us decide better and make sure that you can afford the new price too since it will most probably still be over $5 for the cheapest plan and way below the misunderstood price of "$200."
    7. Regarding your last comment, "I like AEC but I and many others will not pay $200 for a single WordPress plugin/update. If that is irrelevant to you, so be it." I'm not sure why you would say that or where that came from. If it was irrelevant to me or iThemes, we would simply be ignoring your post completely or saying "No, we cannot do what you want and we will stick to $200 for everyone." Your concern that you do not want to pay more than $5 for one-time single AEC download is relevant and very important to us, which is why we want you to work with us on this [via step # 3]. For example, we setup Lincoln with his AEC account too [by working with him to solve his other concerns he was having] and he's again a happy AEC'er now. We want you to be happy and to be able to afford AEC too.

    I hope that clarifies and addresses everything. Follow step # 3 please, as that's the most important.

    Regards,

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