If you use WooCommerce and haven’t read this post from WooThemes, go read it now and check out the comments. Back in 2013, WooThemes arbitrarily raised their prices on current and new customers, which resulted in some anger within the WordPress community. Don’t misinterpret, it is perfectly fine to raise your prices and it seems that the common frustration was not with the actual raising of the prices. However, WooThemes did more than just raise prices. They also cut off customers from benefits they had previously purchased, such as unlimited use of themes/plugins, stripped lifetime updates to customers that should have been grandfathered in, and completely eliminated their unlimited licenses. They radically changed their licensing terms and this decision led to many of their customers being put in difficult situations. On top of this, WooThemes uses as a basis for their price changes that they believe they are entitle to a “chunk” of what you earn as a result of using their products!
There are way too many comments to quote here but take a look at a few:
In response to Adii’s comment:
“The former group of customers are what I call loyal customers, because they are the one’s that are helping us correct our wrongs from the past.”
Adii, your entire response above and this line in particular makes me hope I never have to pay another penny to WooThemes. I am shocked and disappointed by the lack of respect that you and the WooThemes team have shown towards your customers in your arrogant and dismissive responses to genuine customer concerns. Most of your customers are not complaining about an increase in price, but are rather confused and upset by drastic changes to licensing. They purchased “unlimited” WooThemes products specifically because of the promises that came with those products, and to have all of those promises suddenly taken away feels like betrayal (particularly after the recent “sale” that encouraged many to proactively buy more WooThemes products). To then imply that customers who are questioning this change are somehow disloyal, even after some have paid you tens of thousands of dollars already, is a kick in the teeth. If you are unable to respond to customers in a courteous manner during this stressful time, perhaps you should hire someone to handle your PR and social media.
We thought long and hard before purchasing WooThemes products, mainly because we were unimpressed by the way the previous pricing change was handled and thought it raised questions about the stability of the company. We did finally decide to use WooCommerce for our website and purchased quite a few extensions. We later also purchased Canvas, with the intention of moving our website over to it and potentially building customer websites with it. To be completely frank, the Canvas purchase was a hesitant one too because we generally think that, visually-speaking, WooThemes are not particularly special on the front-end (and really, most clients want a website that looks good and is tidy). But we wanted a powerful framework on the back-end and were impressed by the WooFramework, and figured we could put enough hours into Canvas to create a visually appealing website. However, at this point we will shelve our plans to use Canvas and will begin shopping for a new framework. We are just so so so thankful that we did not recommend WooThemes to any clients yet. We would have been mortified to have to tell clients that the fixed cost website we created for them was suddenly going to be a recurring cost for them.
To be clear, I have NO problem with a price increase and would be willing to pay more for future purchases or for support on a per-use basis. However, what I do have a problem with is the sudden business model flip-flop and complete lack of professionalism that the WooThemes team has shown in this announcement, and the disrespectful and almost contemptuous attitude you have towards your customers. Contrary to what you seem to think, customers are not responsible for making up for your poor business planning. People are generally accepting of prices going up with time, but you shouldn’t be surprised or angry when customers question a complete rearrange of the products they purchased. From this announcement and the shocking way it was handled, we can no longer have any faith in any current or future promises made by WooThemes and we do not believe that this company has a well-thought-out business model. We will continue to use WooCommerce for now, because we feel it is a genuinely good product, but we will not be using it for customer websites and we also hope that a competitor will develop an equivalent product within the next 729 days.
I have a huge problem with the price increase, and with most of what you’ve said. But this is probably the worst/most arrogant statement of the lot:
“If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that, because Canvas has saved you a bucketload of time and effort.”
No, it doesn’t “make sense” for you to earn “a chunk” of what we charge our clients, because your themes are simply the platform on which many, many hours of development and customisation takes place.
And if your platform becomes too expensive to use, there are many alternatives to choose from.
It is absolutely infuriating the way that you quietly sweet the 30% discount for club subscribers under the rug and then basically double your prices and get rid of our purchased unlimited licenses a couple weeks later, especially after promising that club subscribers would be “grandfathered” in.
All of your policy changes f*** over your most loyal customers the most. The sad thing is that there aren’t a whole lot of options and many of us have already invested so much in WooCommerce, in terms of time and money. I guess now with all purchases basically having an expiration date customers will have many more moments where they can decide to leave or not.
You’ve made is so that our investments in your platform have an expiration now. You’re going to be getting a lot more customer turnover. Hope it’s worth it for you guys. I also hope that WooCommerce gets a serious contender so that the market checks you guys.
Sorry, I purchased for the lifetime updates. That was one of the key factors that led to my initial purchase. I purchased 22 WC extensions on this basis so that I do not have to worry updates costing when quoting for projects.
Now that has been changed unilaterally and retrospectively. I am pissed on the latter i.e. past purchases are affected!
I understand you can change your renewal pricing, that’s your right. But changing the original terms of the contract is NOT OK. The original term is lifetime updates (I am not even going after unlimited sites license which was also in the original contact).
So you knew you were going to do this, but you advertised a lifetime license anyway?
I just got done purchasing Canvas under the conditions that it was licensed for life and you change the terms a couple weeks later? What part of this do you think is good business? You blatantly & knowingly mislead people to fill your pockets.
What is your refund policy? I would like one now. This is outrageous and only proves that you cannot be trusted.
James, I do charge clients for them, in the sense that additional extensions provide additional functionality, which is chargeable. What I didn’t expect to have to do is go back to people I built sites for 1-2 years ago and tell them that they will now need to pay me $300/year to keep their WC extensions updated.
I have chosen Woo as a platform so any changes in availability, price, etc., to the components of that platform are my problems to shoulder. My clients could rightfully ask why this is their problem. I quoted a price, I created a site, they paid me my money. Now I go back and demand more money lest their plugins get outdated and potentially leave their site vulnerable to hacking.
This is very much like what Woo is doing to their customers right now and it will probably make me as popular with my clients as this move has made Woo with theirs.
“And, with the new licensing system you don’t have to renew your license. If you’re happy with the functionality of a plugin, there’s no need for you to renew your license”
Really, you’re going to recommend to people that they don’t need to keep their plugins up to date? What would Sucuri say about that?
Although I understand the need to update your pricing policy, you have treated your existing customers (those that got you to this point of success) with complete disdain and disregard.
You have also reneged on your “Lifetime” updates policy.
Thirdly, the fact that you ran a huge sale just a few weeks ago encouraging people to invest heavily in your extensions and plugins knowing full well that you would be implementing this change is completely unethical in my mind.
Your ‘2 years’ of continued support and updates will mean diddly squat in 2 year’s when those sites need to be updated to the next WordPress version to keep the sites safe and compliant.
This is disappointing from a company of your calibre. You guys really need to rethink about how you handle your existing customers – you know – the ones that bought all your software and recommended it to others (without any affiliate commission) and made WooThemes the success it is today.
Just a thought. Use it. Don’t use it.
“If you are earning $1000 from a Canvas installation, it makes sense for us to earn a chunk of that.”
By that logic, if I buy a truck and decide to create a delivery business, you suggest I should pay the manufacturer a ‘chunk’ of my earnings?
Just noticed Mark’s response above:
“…What I do after purchase of a plugin is my concern. So is how I price it and you do not deserve any of the “chunk” for that matter. I have paid already what the product / service is worth and that’s it.”
Yes, just got notice of a $14k per year increase, I should keep them around for a few more years on my pat malone.
I guess they did the math on their loyal customers and went Woooooooooooo
Whew! And that’s just a small fraction of those types of comments!
As a result of the crappy licensing terms and ever-increasing prices for WooCommerce plugins, we decided to create the UltimateWoo plugin, a comprehensive solution for WooCommerce users. This plugin for WooCommerce bundles dozens of the most popular WooCommerce extensions into one plugin that, once installed, allows customers to enable/disable any of the extensions with just two clicks. Some of our favorite features about UltimateWoo is that there’s a free version and an UNLIMITED version. If you purchase the unlimited license, you can use the plugin on as many WooCommerce websites as you wish (including client websites) and still enjoy automatic updates for all of them! Best of all, we will never change our licensing terms. Also, we are continuously updating and adding to UltimateWoo to deliver the most useful tools and highest quality to WooCommerce users.