In the past I’ve been openly against “unlimited” and “lifetime” options, particularly in WordPress. (Don’t get me started on hosting.) You can check out my previous post on Sustainable Business Models in WordPress here for background.
This week though, we launched BackupBuddy Gold … which grants customers lifetime updates to all current and future features of BackupBuddy, our extremely popular WordPress backup, restore and migration plugin that is now 4 years old.
So you might be thinking, “Did you change your mind?”
And I’ll unpack that below.
I’m sure there will be plenty of discussion, debate, and [gasp] criticism, so I thought I’d do a post sharing some thoughts about why we’re rolling this out. (I’m sure there will be comments that I don’t address here, so I’ll try to answer in the comments or by updating the post.)
First things first — we did NOT roll this offer this new package for BackupBuddy because sales were slow, declining or even plateaued. iThemes is financially healthy and strong, BackupBuddy is doing great, and our team of 20+ people is looking toward our next 6 years in business!
OK, so here are some answers to the question you probably are wondering about, “Why open the box?”
1. The real issue with unlimited is ….
Support is extremely expensive.
Particularly with what we’ve seen supporting commercial WordPress themes and plugins. That’s what I said about “compounding debt” in my previous post. (I use the word “support” about 15 times in that post.)
For instance, if someone buys the first BackupBuddy tier (2 site updates and support) and has to post in our forum, we’ve likely lost money. Compound that loss if Dustin, our lead dev, has to weigh in on the issue, which he does regularly.
That’s why we capped support at one year for BackupBuddy Gold.
For this conversation (one particularly debated within WordPress), it’s all about support.
Thus, BackupBuddy Gold does not give unlimited, forever, or lifetime support. We capped it at one year.
2. Renewal rates
We have some very loyal customers (who renewed every year and who we also offered generous discounts to for this offer — THANK YOU!). But the majority of people did not renew over the last four years of BackupBuddy.
Now we’re getting paid upfront for the equivalent of what we would have gotten paid over several years of renewals.
As the veteran and leader in the backup and restore space for WordPress, now those loyal customers will get a great deal to keep using BackupBuddy to back up their sites.
3. It’s a much higher price point.
We didn’t roll this out at $80 … we rolled it out at an introductory price of $297. That can and will probably change.
At $80, we wouldn’t offer one year of support plus lifetime updates. We think we’re giving it away now … so I couldn’t imagine doing it at a lower price point.
BackupBuddy has grown so much over the years and become such a more awesome product. Offering Gold at this higher price is more than justified because BackupBuddy is going to get even better and even more valuable over the years our customers will have access to it in the future.
4. We can always shut Gold offer down.
(… and of course grandfather in customers who bought it.)
We could be wrong. This could be a flop and a failure. And I’m ok with that.
That’s the thing with learning. But if we don’t try, how will we know if it’s good or bad? Without action, it’s purely an academic pursuit.
And I’m about action.
I’m tired of getting hung up in what ifs. We did plenty of that before launching this. We evaluated and debated this for several weeks and decided it was worth the potential risk to offer.
But I’m not afraid to fail. To step into the light and see if our thoughts and ideas have merit.
That’s why I reserve the right to be wrong about all the above and change my mind about any and all of this.