(reply to Dormouse)
I think that is entirely fair.... I thought I might make extensive use of it; given the indications of v4 being quite different to v3, I didn't want to get too hooked on the v3 system when v4 was imminent.
Thanks for letting me know that. ... Version 4 will mostly add onto version 3 rather than revamping how it works. I have added a number of options onto existing functionality, but the major part of the functionality I've concentrated into a different more advanced mode, formerly known as the Pro Quick Edit Mode, as well as added on functions like a rendition of the CLAHE algorithm. I wanted to make sure I upgraded the ability to work with RAW files and ended up with something quite extensive. The basic Quick Edit interface is the same, except that you can enter values, use the mouse scroll, and save/load profiles, things like that in addition to some algorithm improvements.
Lifetime for now may be good. Offers are probably also good. You need high numbers of evangelistic users generating publicity for you all over the net. Your blog is very good. Wasn't so good that your recent public downtime immediately followed what appears to have been a very successful (in terms of publicity & numbers) offer
I think between your comments and a couple others, I really have an idea of what to do now with the lifetime licenses, so thanks for the input. I have an idea I that I will put below.
In terms of my downtime. I'm afraid that was more due to internal issues than it was anything else. I continued to work on 4.0 at a slower pace, but that's all the time I really had. Iy would have been done with the next version by now. But, I've taken care of the issue, which unfortunately put a lot more work onto my plate. So, that's why I am now back because I am looking at starting anew in many ways, but I didn't want the software to suffer, so that's where I put the emphasis, as I didn't want to finally come to a solution and have nothing that's been developed. I'm speaking a little bit between the lines, since I'm not the only person involved.
For most end-user software, it really is a numbers game. Ten users at $10 are worth more than one user at $100, especially if they think that the proper price of the software is $50
My initial thought (which was wrong) was that... Ok, if I put out something that I could charge more for at, say, $5, this will be seen as a cool (and not greedy) marketing idea and I'd make more than I would anyway. More people would get the software, it would be cheap, and I'd make as much or more... It's a win-win! But, I found out very quickly that unless you have the know-how (or money... really it's about money) to market it that way, putting a $5 price tag ends up devaluing the software. People tend to take it as a statement of worth by the producer/author. For example, I had a free version (which I'd like to return to one day) and another version at $19.95. One of my main laments about the software (and still is, to some degree) is that the technology that I think (and sometimes verfiably) works better than, say, Elements or even Lightroom did not get noticed by too many people.
When I raised the price to $39.95, basically doubling it, suddenly a lot of the new technology I put in there started getting noticed accordingly. People who did reviews saw it, and I started receiving many more letters about it -- things like the Smart Light, and the raw speed, etc. I think the higher price was my statement that it was worth looking at in a deeper way. That's just what I got out of it, but the experience with raising the price seems to bear that out.
That's why I tried the Pay What You Want -- I wanted to try to find a way to get it out there cheaper without devaluing it. I think it was a mixed success, but I am not sure I want to do it again.
So, that's been the hard part -- if I could give it away for the $10 without devaluing it, that would be great!
(reply to Curt):
for a small company like Sagelight, I will warn against lifetime licenses
Thanks for the advice!
(reply to Cyberdiva)
Yes, that seems fair. So since I paid $20 for the Pay What You Want gizmo version, I could get a lifetime license for $19.95? How would I go about doing that? Wait for version 4? Do something now? I doubt that your ordering form has provision for this arrangement.
Yes, that's the idea. I am expecting to raise the price with the new version, or realistically split the software, but I will keep the price differential at the current pricing. And, I'd really like to support the people who already bought it, because I feel like they've supported Sagelight (and me) by doing so in its younger stages. I will put the details below, because I want to consolidate the proposal I have below. But, in terms of the Pay What You Want, just send me an e-mail and I will send back a link that will set up a way to do it. You can wait for version 4. I will be ending the lifetime version promotion when I release it, but I won't just cut people off, either.
(reply to cranioscopical)
I'm in the same position.
The idea of paying the balance between the two amounts seems fair to me.
Personally, however, I have no idea what I did pay. Rob, would you have any record of that?
I've not used the program more than two or three times, but I'm all for supporting someone with a fair-minded attitude.
I would just need either the e-mail address you gave paypal or the name you used, then I can look it up and send a link. I appreciate the support, very much. If you wouldn't mind, I'd be very interested in what I can do to make Sagelight more interesting for you (perhaps I'm covering some of it with this next version). I'm at email@example.com
(reply to Darwin)
One *possible* (pie in the sky?) solution to a dwindling income when dealing with lifetime licenses would be to provide a "donate to author" link on the website. Keep it low key and see what happens
I thought about that. I always felt odd about it since I charge for it, too. I have been thinking about the idea of asking for donations so that I can re-introduce the free version. This new version just has so much, I would feel comfortable taking the last version (with a couple minor subtractions) and making it free if I could get a certain threshold of donations. That is, if I could get a donation fund to a certain level. I'm probably going to split the software in a few months anyway, and it would my pleasure to make a new free version that has most of the features of the current version (plus whatever the engine and general UI inherits from the new version). My proposal
I really appreciate all of the comments. Since I'm a developer and not a salesman, I really got a great feeling about how people feel about lifetime licenses, and I do want to make sure that I let everyone know that I stand corrected about not being around for the last few months. Even though I was going to some god-awful internal things, I really am touched by the support and should have realized it was there all along.
Here is what I'm thinking. I am heading towards splitting the software and then raising the price of the new version. The old version would remain at the same relative price, and the new version, I expect to be compared more directly to Lightroom. The new version is called Kayak, and it has a number of features, including the standard Clarity, Vibrance, and host more, but also the ability to work in C*I*E lab mode as well as HSL mode, in addition to some particular advancements on the color theory regarding HSL that can really help images. It features a multi-layer system, with a controllable mask on every layer, as well as a large amount of new developments that would take a while to list.
So, after getting your advice, I've decided to end the lifetime offer when I get 4.0 out the door. Until then, anyone who buys it I will continue to give a lifetime license (for both versions), and anyone who upgrades from the Pay What You Want version by paying the difference, I will also upgrade to the lifetime license. This is with current pricing, so whatever I raise it to, you will never have to pay more than it is right now (if you've already bought it at the retail price, then it's already been upgraded).
I hope this is a way to say thanks, and possibly get some development funds in at the same time.
Let me know how that sounds. I am happy to post a link later with same samples of the version that's in development.
The pest control people are here, so I have to go.