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Author Topic: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?  (Read 6374 times)

zridling

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Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« on: August 12, 2005, 01:31:56 AM »
I often wonder why some applications offer various versions when they should just offer customers their best product. I'm thinking off the top of my head about Registry apps, some compression apps, tweaking apps. Not saying there should never be a Pro or Lite version of a product, but video apps are notorious for this practice. I say just build one product and let the user decide whether they want the whether to install or turn off certain features.

mouser

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2005, 01:38:13 AM »
if only the lite version is available for download an evaluation, then its probably a matter of trying to protect themselves against crackers.

sometimes a company will offer two versions of a program and let you download a trial that asks you on each startup if you want to be limited by the lite version features, which is a kind of cool way of letting you see if you can live with the lite version..

zridling

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2005, 04:27:37 AM »
Never thought of it in that way. Makes sense if you're trying to get folks to get into the program.

Edvard

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2005, 10:53:29 AM »
One thing that sets Lite-version-ware apart from 30-day-trial-ware: The lite-version style apps at least let you have  some sense of 'ownership'. I downloaded it, installed it, used it and all the features given me are enough to get the given task done, I can save a product of my work and it will always be so until a better product comes down the pipe. With 30-day stuff, man that 29th day is a bummer. Did I figure out all I needed to? Am I going to REALLY need this on the 31st day or am I going to find a better, cheaper app 3 days after I break down and pay the tab? With Lite-version ware at least you ALWAYS have the choice. Some great examples of this: Xplorer2 (a great dual-pane file manager) which maintains 'Lite' and 'Pro' versions, although Nikos has snuck in some Pro version advertising in the new X2Lite; and Tuareg (a music app from before ReBirth ruled the world) which, with version 2, is both products in one. You are offered a choice at startup to continue with the Lite version, 'Try' the Pro version (IIRC that meant you had 10 minutes of full Pro functionality) or purchase a register key before continuing. After that, for your entire session, you are never nagged with popups or greyed out teasers in the pull-down menus, etc. Lite was Lite and you wouldn't know otherwise. There are others I could mention, but these are the best examples I could come up with. From a Developers standpoint, think of it like this: you either have 30 days to impress your customer or the entire life of their use of your product. To sum it up, there's almost no comparison. Lite versions 0wn$0rz!!

zridling

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2005, 02:49:42 AM »
The NoteTab text editor has a Lite, Standard, and Pro versions, and a pretty good delineation of each one. That's even rarer.

jpfx

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2005, 09:08:31 AM »
I'll bite!

The idea that lite/basic/pro versions are released as some form of benevolence I consider absurd.
Surely it's all market driven and based on what the target buyer can afford.
The seller knowing full well that given the choice, most want the 'pro' version (often offered overpriced). Rather than lose the sale, here's a 'basic' version which leaves out something that is useful to everyone, but is significantly cheaper:

The lite version being free, with all the useful features disabled.
The basic version being a fair price for the pro version.
The Pro version being overpriced.

(I have this battle with the price of wsw btw, though I would not apply this to fookes software notetab range).
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« Last Edit: August 13, 2005, 09:18:27 AM by jpfx »

mouser

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2005, 09:33:24 AM »
i definitely agree with you jpfx -
the absurdity is really that software has no cost to reproduce.

so the bizarre nature of capitalism means that it would cost them $0 to give you the pro version; but they sell you the lite version because they need to force you to pay the maximum you will pay.

in other words, if a company KNEW you would never buy the pro version then they should just give it to you for price of lite version (or in fact for whatever price you would be willing to pay for it, even if it was $1).  but because no one can trust each other to pay what they think something is worth, we are in a game of trying to figure out ways to extort the most money from people as possible, and as consumers we are in a game of trying to pay as little as possible, regardless of worth or our financial situation.  it's depressing.

Sentinel

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2005, 01:42:46 PM »
I have no problems with standard/pro/whatever versions.  You pay for what you need.  If you don't need the features you don't pay for them and the associated development time.  Choice can only benefit the end consumer.
Designated "proofreading free" zone.

Sentinel

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2005, 01:59:20 PM »
i definitely agree with you jpfx -
the absurdity is really that software has no cost to reproduce.

so the bizarre nature of capitalism means that it would cost them $0 to give you the pro version; but they sell you the lite version because they need to force you to pay the maximum you will pay.

in other words, if a company KNEW you would never buy the pro version then they should just give it to you for price of lite version (or in fact for whatever price you would be willing to pay for it, even if it was $1).  but because no one can trust each other to pay what they think something is worth, we are in a game of trying to figure out ways to extort the most money from people as possible, and as consumers we are in a game of trying to pay as little as possible, regardless of worth or our financial situation.  it's depressing.


Wait, wait, wait.  Although the reproduction cost is $0, the development cost can be rather high.  Offering a lite version to occasional users helps cut down piracy (better to make some money than no money), allows the developers to make money from selling bulk licenses to resellers (hardware manufacturers etc) without having to bear the associated distribution/bandwidth costs etc and offering a pro version ensures they get to eat and experienced and devout users get what they desire.  Where is the probelm with that? 

If software developers were to offer a pro version for a tiny margin above a lite version it would be a kick in the teeth for both lite and pro customers who have invested in a product to date.  I think as regards pro version are concerned 'reassuringly expensive' is the appropriate term.

Designated "proofreading free" zone.

mouser

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2005, 02:25:05 PM »
yes there are development costs for sure,
and on one hand i agree that offering different versions is a way to make the software available to everyone and get more money from serious users while letting casual users off easier.

but what i am reacting to is the core peversity of the system.
the reason that the lite version has less features is because the author has no other way to force people to buy the pro version.
it doesnt cost more to sell the parts of the pro version.

the reason the lite version has less features is to insure that people who can afford to will pay more for the pro version.
ideally youd like to offere a lite and pro version with same exact features and say, those of you who can/would pay more for pro version send me a bigger payment please.  no one would.  so we have this game of trying to figure out the right number of features to remove in order to nudge the most lite users who can afford to to buy pro version.

or imagine you get a call from a poor doctor in some third world country who wants to use your $10,000 medical program; his hospital has no money to pay for medicine let alone this luxury software.  now what do you lose by giving him a free copy? nothing, he wasn't gonig to buy it anyway so you've lost nothing, and quite possibly gained much in the way of good will.

thats why im loving the new trends to offering the same program with multiple licenses, ie if you are using this for business then you pay this amount, if for personal non-profit use than a lesser amount.

i know its a pipe dream, but part of why i want to do donation software is to get around such games.  if both sellers and consumers could come to a mutual agreement of paying what its worth to the person then there would be no point to play these games.


Sentinel

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2005, 02:53:20 PM »
I understand your sentiment and can also confirm that many software companies do indeed have a conscience and would (do) provide software for free if/when they feel it is a just cause (I know of cases where software has been provided to the UN and humanitarian agencies for exactly this reason - think tsunami).  At the same time, software companies will make pennies from the lite versions of their product and can only hope to spread it so widely as to make enough overall to be worth bothering at all, or to attract enough new customers to the pro version because of the additional features it offers over the lite version they no doubt have only recently discovered, via bundling etc.  I do agree that there are many disparities in current software licenses which I can only hope are ironed out over time, yet I strongly believe that a good product is always worth its price to an interested party.

Think about CD burning software here.  With every $40 DVD burner sold a software writing solution is bundled with it.  For most end users (think your parents here) who just want to burn the occasional documents or digital camera pictures the bundled solution is perfect.  The software company get an almost incalculably small sum from each sale but hope to make it up on the bulk of sales.  For techies who want to make their own Boot DVDs, Video DVDs, AAC/MPEG4/MP3Pro/Ogg DVDs etc. etc. the bundled solution is not suitable and the pro version is worth every penny for these additional features and perhaps a small discount to trade up from one license to another benefits everyone.
Designated "proofreading free" zone.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2005, 02:55:50 PM by Sentinel »

mouser

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2005, 03:38:27 PM »
i should make something else clear -
i have been very pleasently surprised by how many companies have given me very reduced prices or even free licenses for programming components that i have used in my software - without such discounts and free licenses i would not have been able to produce some of the programs i have.  to those companies i have great respect and appreciation.

also i need to make clear the problem is not just with the company - it is a combined problem with company and consumers.
there is no solution unless consumers would be willing to pay fair amount for software and pay according to what ehy could afford.  if consumers are always trying to find ways to avoid paying anything, then there is no solution.

so i'm not blaming the companies as much as a i am saddened by the system as a whole.
i'd just like to find a better way, but it requires a reasonable sized base of producers and consumers willing to support each other, and it requires a change in goals - if the goal is to make the most money possible - if greed runs the show, then it won't work.  if the object is to make a reasonable living doing something you love, then there is a better way.

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2005, 04:24:06 PM »
It seems we both agree completely.
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mouser

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2005, 05:17:34 PM »
a word of advice to people who do not have an abundance of money: write to the companies/authors selling the program you like.
explain your situation whatever it may be.  tell them you love their program, you want to pay for it, but you can't afford the full price, etc. be honest, be real, be friendly.  tell them what you want to use it for and why, etc.  especially if you want to use it for a good purpose.

you'd be surprised at how many companies have real people working for them that are supportive of such things.
and you'll probably also find yourself being able to identify companies that are good vs. bad in terms of responding to users, caring about their users, etc. and you'll get at the minimum some idea of whether there are real humans that answer emails at the company.

jpfx

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2005, 06:49:00 PM »
Although my thoughts were a little bit 'tongue in cheek' I would like to add that I feel there are a lot of software companies that are not the least bit interested in providing fair value for money.
Although off-topic I would also say that the companies that are moving towards subscription based pricing models are on the top of my shit-list too.
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mouser

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2005, 06:58:01 PM »
subscription based pricing is evil, except in the rare case where the very nature of the software makes it require constant content.
(ie i think you might be able to make a case for antivirus programs being subscription based, since the program cannot stand still and must be adding antivirus patterns every day).

zridling

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2005, 05:20:06 PM »
I agree. I went bat-crap crazy when Nick Bradbury sold FeedDemon (and TopStyle) to NewsGator and NewsGator promptly said "Pay up, suckers, and keep paying every year." I had purchased both and felt my investment (both purchase costs and time learning and supporting/feedback his beta software for years) was just flushed down the toilet. NewsGator has not one, but several subscription plans. I kept asking — and never got an answer — Why the hell would I PAY for something (an RSS feed) that is free everywhere? That's like paying for NewsGator's special brand of air, or less so, for bottled water.

I never received an answer from either Nick or the head honcho of NewsGator after writing each personally, but have since ditched both apps. I will never, ever, support a subscription-based model for software. I'll buy a BIC pen and write on scratch paper first.

Edvard

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Re: Deluxe/Pro versions: Good or Bad?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2005, 01:16:21 PM »
Hey...
Quote
I'll buy a BIC pen and write on scratch paper first.
was that a jab?
http://www.donationc...ndex.php?topic=661.0