Something that does not make sense to me. How can plugins offer lifetime licenses ?

I am a huge consumer of plugins. Over the last couple of years, I must have purchased probably close to 80 plugins for projects I have worked on.

What I noticed, sometimes, even Premium quality plugins that are “Leaders” in their field, sometimes they over lifetime licenses.

My question is, how is it possible to offer lifetime licenses ?
Where year in and year out, you need to update it, maintain it, build new features (which they do), secure it, SUPPORT IT.

How can they offer such a deal? Because anyone that works in software knows, things are not cheap, especially when you have dedicated resources helping people with their problems ?

For the good quality plugins, of course I have taken advantage of those lifetime licenses, but my biggest fear, is maybe eventually, the quality is going to drop ?

I am looking at it from a person that builds websites for people, municipalities, organizations, If build a website, there is no way in the world, I can offer no cost support for the life of the website. I will be on the street in no time.

I would love to hear from people In The know about such things. ???
Thank You.

7 Comments
  1. The lifetime plans will often only include 6 months support so people still have to pay more if they have any issues

  2. I recently started monetizing my personal blog and offer both annual and lifetime memberships. Here was my reasoning for offering a lifetime option:

    – Reward early supporters. I can always remove the lifetime option in the future, while still honouring existing members that signed up for it of course.

    – Cover all my bases in terms of demand. People are getting sick of recurring fees and subscriptions, so I didn’t want to lose a potential member by only offering recurring options. Offering both recurring and one-time fee options would make sure I capture as many potential members as possible. As a brand new model, it will help me determine where demand lies for each option, and I can always adjust the pricing and overall model in future years

    – Better cashflow and time value of money. Money in-hand today is more valuable than the same amount of money collected over a period of time

    – The lifetime option is based on the anticipated lifetime value of the customer anyways. This ties in to the previous point. If something is priced at $100/lifetime or $25/year, it means the developer anticipates the average customer to only have a membership for approximately 4-5 years (when accounting for the time value of money, $100 today is roughly the asme as $25/year for 5 years)

    More plugins are moving away from Lifetime options, but some still do offer it. The reasons I mentioned above are a few examples why a company might *start* with Lifetime, and then move away from it as the business progresses.

  3. Over long term, lifetime plans don’t scale. I have purchased many plugin’s lifetime license only to see the project be abandoned. The worst are the ones that are offered through the LTD groups and marketplaces because those promoters charge hefty commissions leaving the developer with very little.

  4. >*My question is, how is it possible to offer lifetime licenses ? Where year in and year out, you need to update it, maintain it, build new features (which they do), secure it, SUPPORT IT.*

    That’s why the large majority of developers don’t have a lifetime license – because it doesn’t make sense financially.

  5. One word: churn

    Once you get into the numbers one of the best numbers to understand is life time value (LTV).
    Because most subscribers eventually churn out, you start being able to put an average LTV on each customer. Any sale that is higher than LTV is well worth it.

  6. I see LTD as a marketing strategy. Offer it very expensively just to say “we offer life time deals” or offer it reasonably for a small window of time to get butts in the seats. 

    Plugins that have ONLY a LTD I’m iffy about, for the reasons others have mentioned. Lack of support and eventual abandonment. Even Oxygen Builder had to step up with Breakdance and convert Oxygen away from a single price. It’s not sustainable. 

 

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