Feedback wanted: simplifying our pricing page

our pricing is in need of an overhaul and we need your help.

in addition to simplifying, we also want to adopt a sustainable business model and our one-time pricing isn’t cutting it.

would love to hear ideas…

thanks!

1 Like

For starters, I would change the pricing page to display the different options in a horizontal table like Softmaker Office Free vs Paid. That makes it much easier to scan across and see what options you get at each price point.

For pricing specifics, you could have a Solo license being $10/yr and Personal $20/yr. If you go too high on the Personal/unlimited, this software becomes less desirable (imo). The hardest part is figuring out a price point that is attractive to users but doesn’t penalize power users.

Then again ExpanDrive is $50 for a perpetual license and you can keep receiving updates after a year for $25/yr. Maybe you can try something like that?

What’s going to happen to people that have previously purchased licenses? Are we grandfathered in?

2 Likes

You are not telling me that you are thinking about dumping my existing, lifetime developer license I paid for last October, do you? You have quite a strange definition of “lifetime”. Not even microsoft is that brazen.

You know that a license contract is legally binding for you too?

:face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

So the biggest challenge you guys have as a company is growing support costs.

Yes, grow your revenue, but also find efficiencies in that support model. As a customer I have seen many errors in your support where time is hugely wasted, due to not getting first call resolution.
Also fixing bugs means less support.
Intuitive app means less support.

Supporting a product on-going means you need revenue on-going.
lifetime product is about getting initial customers and getting traction in the market.
subscription for new comers makes sense, but remember if it doesn’t work they stop paying too.
You need to find those new customers. Referrals is your best option.
Especially now while Microsoft and Dropbox are dropping the ball.

Get your customers referring for you with good incentives.

New product enhancements(new features) can be sold as subscription to lifetimers also at the value of the enhancement.
you do not have to continue to sell enhancements as once off purchase too they can be subscription.

but remember you are not a cloud solution you are an installed software solution, and lifetimers will want to continue to use your software ongoing( without additional features), so at very worst you should support their authentication for life.

5 Likes

Hi,

Actually, this is a well timed post. As I’m starting to use InSync more and more, the need for manpower and the required sustainability support was starting to show itself.

On the pricing model, I like “subscribe, but don’t lose your access if you cancel” model. Many of the applications I use has this model, and I like it.

A detailed view can be seen here (scroll down to see the details). This allows a “purchase” price, a “yearly support” price, and advantages (cheaper renewal) for your fan base, continued users.

To summarize:

  • Pay for a “purchase” price to enter the ecosystem with one year of support.
  • Pay 50% of purchase price for early renewal (within one month of support expiration).
  • Pay 70% of purchase for normal renewal (between two months and twelve months of expiration).
  • Pay 100% of purchase price for late renewal (after 12 months of expiration).

The catch is user always has access to the software, even if doesn’t continue to get updates.

This means you might have to unlock all features when someone gets the license (considering built-in Google Drive client of KDE has support for shared drives, I think it’s sensible to add all in).

This requires you to develop new features and improve the application constantly, but with the backlog we (as users) created for you, I think this is the easy part :slight_smile: .

Cheers,

H.

4 Likes

no, your current license will be grandfathered if there are any pricing changes

Actually the founder of the company already told it, but as an older user of InSync who has gone through at least one licensing change, I can say that InSync is one of the most ethical (if not the mostest (sic)) companies around there.

When they’ve changed the license for the first time, we have only paid the difference in price to move to new license, even then it was not mandatory.

From my experience, they do it for fun firstly, and charge to earn a living while doing something they like.

3 Likes

Please clarify “grandfathered”. It may mean different things to you and me and clear statements make good friends.

If your definition of “grandfathered” includes

“may be used as is for unlimited times”

but not

“does get regular updates”

then the program will get useless the next time there is a system upgrade due. This essentially limits “lifetime” to “OS release cycle”. On Ubuntu that can be as “long” as 6 months.

You may call me paranoid, but we already had a bumpy start when you forced me an unrequested trial period counted down. So it is no wonder that there is an alarm going off when I read you are going to “simplyfy” your license model, asking how “creative” one could get in draining my purse by silently obsoleting my purchase.

  • Keep the annual price as low as you can to keep it from feeling expensive. To pick an arbitrary number, $20 a year gets you more revenue after 2 years than the prices you offer during your regular deals for the lifetime product.
  • Combine desktop and “desktop” server pricing. My linux desktop serves dual duty – but it would be nice not to have to rely on the desktop version of insync.

In the past it has meant that you continue to get updates, but new features will not be available to you on your current license. I imagine it’ll be the same in this case.

Thanks for being open about this. That is really challenging to do, because it is not surprising to see negative feedback about possible outcomes you never suggested.

Your pricing is pretty expensive for a utility product, if i was expecting to pay that amount on an annual basis, I probably would have experimented with other software solutions longer before settling on InSync.

If I am going to spend this much, I would expect the software to continue to work at least on the version of the OS I initially installed it on. And I would also expect to be able to reinstall new versions.

I would also be able to get security/bug fixes for free for as long as that version of the software was receiving bug fixes. Which I would expect to be 3-5 years.

Paying for a new version that is on newer OS would be consistent with how software is often sold.
Having new features only in new versions of the software that I would have to pay to upgrade to also seems reasonable.

Having an annual subscription that gave access to all new releases seems reasonable. But the price needs to make sense. I would expect that an annual subscription price to be attractive enough to me that I would not just buy a new version once every three years.

Some examples of this. Wine/CrossOver is the only software that I pay for a subscription to. It gets regular enough updates and it is priced reasonably enough that it makes sense to me.

The only Windows Software I buy is NitroPDF. I do not have a subscription. I do not use the vast majority of its features, and the newest version does not have any features I want. The version I have now, works fine on the Windows machine I use it on.

Having clearer explanation of pricing would be nice too. I find the current model pretty confusing. and I think I finally understand it, but it took me a while to understand why my current license only allowed one Google Account. I did get the right edition, but the way the features are divided up, is confusing.

I understand that finding substantiable revenue is important. And that selling software for a one time fee, can be limiting. But you might want to consider some kind of incentive for folks to trade in our lifetime support licenses to move to a new reoccurring cost model. I can see myself trading in my lifetime license for an annual subscription, if I got some kind of preferential rate (i.e. meaningfully large discount (well above 5% or 10%; I would not be attracted to discounts that small) and an update to a feature I don’t have yet. For example multiple accounts, or headless mode, or machine backup are three features, I don’t have now, that I have considered paying for in the past. They might tempt me to switching licensing models.

I would also check the forums to see what people asked for on a reoccurring basis. For instance the Ubuntu 22.04 I think showed a fair number of people who felt entitled/valued getting solid support of InSync even when 22.04 was in beta. So having early release/support for some platforms, might be an attractive reason for people to pay a reoccurring price. Or to buy repeatedly buy new versions every 1-3 years.

Please dont get stuck in the mindset that you have to keep adding features for the sake of adding features though. This might be obvious, but I do not value features that I do not use. And in fact sometimes the new features, just make it more confusing/harder for me to keep using the software the way I always wanted to.

You might want to create a “classic” version of the software as well, as a way to continue to support legacy one time pricing customers. Not sure how well that would work with your code basis. But I have seen other companies do that. Where the classic version had a feature freeze, and a focus on keeping the original deal in place, but not going beyond that, even as the tech world and your company evolves.

1 Like

You should keep in mind though that Ubuntu’s OS development cycle is primarily focused on supporting its LTS versions which are supported for 10 years.

If you are using the non-LTS versions, then you expecting to encounter problems with third party software, and have experiments be run. Just like there has been some flipflopping around Wayland and Gnome with Ubuntu releases in the past. The LTS releases are meant to be more stable. The intervening releases are working towards finding out what they can expect to be stable the next time they do an LTS.

Even with the non-LTS releases, the lifetime of it is not 6 months. You can choose to upgrade after 6 months, but rushing to upgrade the day software is released, or to upgrade to the beta weeks before the release, does not mean the lifetime is only 6 months. The non-LTS releases are supported for 9 months. Is that much longer? No (unless you count 50% longer as much longer). Does that change your point? No, probably not. But one is an accurate description of the Ubuntu non-LTS release lifetime and one is not.

But if you are running 22.04 today, you can run that as a supported OS for 10 years without having to upgrade to a new version of the OS. Granted that is 10 years of security fixes, but you even get mainline support for 5 years. 6 months is not the lifetime for any Ubuntu release; 6 months is a choice that many people (including myself) make about when we swap out our OS version.

It would be interesting to know why the one time pricing not cutting it? Once the Sync feature was developed, what are the extra costs are you incurring and relative %? I can think of

a) FIXING old

  1. bug fixes
  2. Some changes in Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox api that are beyond your control and needs changes from your side.

b) Support
c) NEW features
d) Server and maintenance

Is there anything else?

For a1) I find that Insync has a lots of bugs in its CORE functionality, I have to be extremely careful when moving files. Extremely careful that no upload is happening before renaming or moving files and folders. There are instances when files are showing in multiple folder; files showing in the Insync GUI but missing in filesystem and vice-versa. It has come to a point where I only use insync for long term storage and files I don’t need to change regularly. Sometimes I have even lost files, although was able to recover from cloud bin. Sometimes you are breaking your own code, i think a recent release that you had to undo. Then there is persistent memory leakage as I see in the forum. Now compare this to dropbox linux client, not once it has done anything unexpected. No matter what actions I do, renaming, moving etc or how fast I do it, it maintains the integrity of the filesystem. Sorry to say this, but for me, Insync = terrible user experience; dropbox client = peace of mind; and I stick with Insync only because of lack of alternatives and the amount of features it provide. But those features shouldnt be at the cost of broken software. Solely from my experience, i would assume fixing bugs is causing high costs for you. So fixing these core issue will reduce dev and support time I think

For a2) Point (a1) might be difficult when the apis are out of your hand;

For b) more bugs => more support => more cost; You can have a separate subscription addons for people who need support via chat or email.

For c) new features as addons or upgrades! Just like i am on developer sync; you provide an option to upgrade to backup.

For d) For the company sync, you need to provide a dashboard, so certainly doesnt makes sense for one-time payment; can have recurring pricing like server pricing.

I personally think would not be willing to pay a recurring cost for core sync function for reason (a1) + as @Jamie_Browning mentioned that it is not a cloud solution.

It would actually be more helpful if we know what are the reasons for high cost for you.

2 Likes

You do know that this does not reflect reality, so why argue that way. “10 years support for LTS” is what might be a target for a Linux server in a confined and dedicated environment like regulating a power station without human intervention. This is not the scenario for an average InSync installation. Most hardware will crumble away in half the time nowadays.

And if you hope using an installation for more than 2 years you better don’t skip the update to the next LTS as otherwise you can essentially throw away the entire installation at the end of the support cycle and start with a fresh installation of everything.

Even in Windows you have to fear every patch-day and look what it will break now. On the other hand, you cannot simply deny updates and patches as this is even more dangerous.

I’ve been tricked several times by “lifetime” promises in the past, just to quickly get noted that “we already used up your money so we redefinded the meaning of the terms ‘lifetime’ and ‘support’”.

I do see the same pattern emerge here: How to force a customer out of a valid contract that is unfavorable for us.

Btw. “If in the past” it was meant that one still gets updates, then I don’t want to “imagine” that it might be the same here. The developers are pretty shy making a clear statement about this. Doesn’t convince me.

I have a lifetime license but, because I want Insync to survive and continue innovating, if you changed the pricing to a yearly subscription, I would ask you to “ungrandfather” my license, and I’d happily pay the yearly amount. I don’t know how many others would do the same. It would be quite the problem for me if Insync discontinued because it was no longer a profitable business. I upgraded to the Developer license, not because I really needed it, but because I felt I paid too little for what I was already using.

For pricing, $25/year would be fine by me. $20/year might seem better.

3 Likes

I agree with Jerry; if a couple of new features were added to the Linux client (flatpak version and selective sync), I would be willing to pay the $20-25 annual fee to help the company while allowing me to get upgrades and support for newer versions of Linux distros.

1 Like

The pricing page needs to be open in its disclosure of the limitations in the 1-way sync functionality. Simply stating 1-way sync is supported leaves out a lot of important detail. As a new/trial customer, it feels like a bait & switch.

While I’m at it, I’ll add that not being able to remove files from being managed by Insync without them being deleted locally is very difficult to understand. Others have raised this here in the forum, and I’ve not seen a single reasonable response to it from the company. It suggests that either you don’t understand your users or you do but you’re keeping it as-is because it creates a strong incentive against moving off Insync. Either way, not good.

+1 I can’t agree enough with JB’s recommendation to make the app more intuitive and reliable. This would both reduce support costs and increase conversion & retention of trial users like myself.

I’m about 5 days into a trial, and between the several non-trivial bugs I’ve encountered and the significant limitations of some of the functionality promised in the feature list, I’m ~95% sure I’m going to find a different solution. The only reason I haven’t abandoned already is the considerable amount of time already sunk into trying to make it work.

I’ve had a poor experience with support. Requests for assistance have received slow, unhelpful replies. I was clear that I’ve done my homework reading the documentation and forums, yet my inquiries still get copy-paste replies that don’t shed any light or help me resolve my issues. I have also reported a couple clear bugs, taking the time to repro and provide screenshots, and these were met with either denial & rationalizations or completely ignored. When it takes ~1 day for a reply, and then they’re not helpful or comprehensive, it’s deeply frustrating. Finally, Support seems to automatically ask for the logs.db file, which suggests a troubling lack of concern for customers’ privacy, given the very sensitive information they can contain.

As I see it, Insync has two paths to choose from:
Path 1: Continue to be unresponsive to clear customer feedback, build new apps instead of making the core app tight and compelling, leave new user onboarding arduous and confusing -> high support costs, prospective customers walk away, customer base growth stalls, you resort to milking existing users for more revenue to make up for lack of growth -> customer base and revenue shrink, operating costs are flat or increase, fewer resources for development -> downward spiral.

Path 2: Focus dev exclusively on making the core app intuitive and robust, internalize and act on feedback, invest in making the onboarding process easy and smooth, ensure you have enough support capacity for reps to read problem reports in detail -> more trial conversions, happy customer base, more referrals, fewer & shorter support cases -> customer base and revenue growth, reduced operating costs -> virtuous cycle.

2 Likes

I personally agree about making InSync better, more robust and advanced.

I love InSync, I like it’s capabilities, but its lead is eroding, esp. on Linux. KDE provides a native Google Drive layer now. There are already tools to backup some of the major cloud providers. rclone provides most of the functionality, and a knowledgeable person can assemble such a system, sans a catchy GUI.

I’d love to properly support InSync, its development and build a dependable workflow around it, but it’s getting harder from my perspective. Due to some circumstances, my primary workstation is going to be MacBook. This means macOS, and this means memory leaks, which needs continuous tending. I’ll still have Linux machines, but the usage of InSync will reduce if the memory leaks won’t be fixed.

Bobby can be integrated into InSync, and can be another subscription. We have been teased about Google Photos sync, Smart Sync-like functionality. Instead we’re getting new apps.

I understand the need for a sustained revenue, and we want to provide this to you, but we can provide you through InSync, because this is what we need and use.

Seeing other apps and radio silence on the problems we report is really heartbreaking sometimes.

I don’t know whether I can continue recommending InSync to people I know anymore.

3 Likes

sorry for delay in reply.

grandfathered means that you will get regular updates and you get to keep using, thanks.

let me know if you need more clarification.