Extremely Happy Customer. What!?

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Extremely Happy Customer. What!?

Postby sssw28 » Fri May 13, 2011 4:14 pm

.NET Reflector is an excellent product and I had no hesitation forking over $35 for it. I'm really pleased that it comes in 3 sizes (and prices)., and that I didn't have to pay for features I wasn't interested in.

I am extremely wary, and have been disappointed on a number of occasions, using "free" software. It's usually buggy, the so-called User Guide or Help typically isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and in some instances is little more than adware or malware.

I really do not understand all the hand wringing and anger about charging a very small fee for supported software.

I refuse to use the abundant "password hacked" software (including .NET Reflector) out there. It's called stealing. As a one-man ISV, and my ONLY source of income, I expect the users of my software products to pay to use them, not steal them.

Maybe the whiners here don't pay rent or eat or drive a car like most of us. Maybe they work for free. It sounds like they expect to be provided services and products (software, music) for free. That's called entitlement. Free lunch is what you got when you were in Elementary School. You're adults now. Pay your way. Don't steal.
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Re: Extremely Happy Customer. What!?

Postby RichardD » Fri May 13, 2011 4:43 pm

sssw28 wrote:I really do not understand all the hand wringing and anger about charging a very small fee for supported software.


I can't claim to speak for everyone, but my own anger was not that RedGate are charging for v7; it was that v6 was going to stop working and expire, forcing everyone to pay up or uninstall Reflector.

The recent announcement that existing users of v6 will get a non-expiring copy by the end of the month has gone some way to alleviating my concerns, but it took months of heated arguments and complaints from the "whiners" on this forum to get that concession.


sssw28 wrote:Maybe the whiners here don't pay rent or eat or drive a car like most of us.


I don't pay rent - I pay a mortgage. When I've finished paying it, I certainly don't expect the mortgage company to tell me that they've changed the rules for their newer mortgages, so now I've got to pay more!

I do drive a car, which I've paid for. I don't expect the manufacturer to try to take my car away from me to force me to pay for the latest model just because their profit-margin is looking anaemic!


sssw28 wrote:... they expect to be provided services and products for free.


No, but once I've paid the current rate for a product, even if that rate happens to be "free", I don't expect to be told that I've got to pay the new rate as well!

Homer: Uh, Milhouse saw the elephant twice and rode him once, right?
Mrs. Van Houten: Yes, but we paid you $4.
Homer: Well, that was under our old price structure. Under our new price structure, your bill comes to a total of $700. Now, you've already paid me $4, so that's just $696 more that you owe me.
Mr. Van Houten: Get off our property.
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Postby sssw28 » Tue May 17, 2011 7:01 pm

RichardD wrote:
No, but once I've paid the current rate for a product, even if that rate happens to be "free", I don't expect to be told that I've got to pay the new rate as well!

We call that belief "entitlement".

Food and beverages samples are occasionally distributed "free" in supermarkets. I don't know anyone who expects the distributor of said products to provide them with unlimited quantites indefinitely at no charge because at some point in the past it was "free".

Do you expect to pay last year's price for gas? Every time you fill the tank you pay more than the (one-time) price of .NET Reflector.
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Re:

Postby RichardD » Tue May 17, 2011 7:41 pm

sssw28 wrote:We call that belief "entitlement".

Call it what you want; you've completely missed my point. :roll:

sssw28 wrote:Food and beverages samples are occasionally distributed "free" in supermarkets.

If someone gave me a free sample, I would not expect that to entitle me to a lifetime supply of the product for free. However, having eaten the free sample and moved on, there is no way the vendor should be able to change their mind and force me to pay for the sample I've already had.

sssw28 wrote:Do you expect to pay last year's price for gas?

I expect to pay last year's price for last year's gas. They can put the price up as much as they want for any gas I haven't bought yet, but trying to retroactively apply that price increase to something I've already purchased is not acceptable.


This is quite simple; you don't need a degree in economics to understand it. When you provide a product at a particular price, even if that price happens to be "free", you cannot retroactively apply price increases to it. You can charge more for future versions; you can charge more for new copies; but you cannot charge more for the copy you've already provided.

If you can't understand that, then I pity your customers! :evil:
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Postby sssw28 » Tue May 17, 2011 8:10 pm

RichardD wrote:

you cannot charge more for the copy you've already provided

I'm not an attorney, but I'm pretty sure Red Gate is not violating any laws in wanting to charge for something that was previously "free".

It sounds like your real beef is that Red Gate failed to put a notice in their software to the effect: "This software is provided on a 30-day trial basis at no charge. We may, at our option, extend the trial period with or without notice. We may, at out option, begin charging for the use of this software at some point in the future." Free software developers take note.

Thank you for sharing your views, Richard. You've provided me with some useful insight into consumer thinking that I can use in my business.
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Re:

Postby RichardD » Tue May 17, 2011 8:30 pm

sssw28 wrote:Red Gate is not violating any laws in wanting to charge for something that was previously "free".


And once again, you've missed the point. :roll:

I do not have a problem with Red Gate charging for a new version of a product which was previously free.

I would not have a problem with Red Gate increasing the cost of an existing version for new users. (I can't say I'd be happy about it, and I'd imagine there would be outrage from some corners of the community, but it would be a perfectly understandable commercial decision.)

I do have a problem with Red Gate, or any other company, trying to impose a new price on existing users of the current version.


sssw28 wrote:This software is provided on a 30-day trial basis at no charge.


If that was how the software was originally provided, then there wouldn't be a problem. The simple fact is that, until v7, Reflector was provided as a free tool. Not a demo; not a trial; not a service; simply a free program.

Sure, Lutz added an expiry date to ensure he didn't have to support users with out-of-date versions, but the updates were always provided for free.

When Red Gate acquired Reflector, many of us expressed concerns that their intention was to commercialize it. These concerns were met with scorn - "Of course we're not intending to use this to force people to pay! Don't be so paranoid!"


sssw28 wrote:Free software developers take note.


Indeed; if you provide something for free, and then want to charge for it, don't try to take the free copies away from existing users just to increase your profit margin!
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Re:

Postby AvonWyss » Thu May 19, 2011 2:10 am

sssw28 wrote:I'm not an attorney, but I'm pretty sure Red Gate is not violating any laws in wanting to charge for something that was previously "free".

By downloading and installing V6 one had to agree to a license agreement. This agreement is legally binding for both parties. This agreement does not set a time use limit on the use of the software, and even less allows them to have the software self-delete. They have no obligation to provide me with new versions, and there is no warranty for any fitness of the application either. That's fine, I don't expect anything like that from free software. However, that arguably doesn't include willful self-destruction or refusing to run because it "expired". I do have a copy of this agreement, so if you want to see it, let me know.

The problem is that sueing a company for a free product requires a lot of effort (financially and time) on the sueing party, to maybe get a perpetually working version from them. Reflector is not so unique, there are at least 3 other, really free tools on the market now which do the same or even more than Reflector. So even though it is very likely that Redgate is actually breaking their own license, they get away with it because there's nothing really you can get by sueing them. Apart from some satisfaction if the court decides in your favor, that is.

However - and that's the most amazing part - they don't seem to understand how much this all really pisses off people. If you get a one-time gift (agreed on by a legal agreement, mind you), you don't expect it to be taken from you or given the choice to pay for it afterwards. That's extortion. And it's really bad for the reputation. So while it may or may not be true that they didn't get new customers by providing Reflector for free in the past, they have certainly angered quite a few people which will not buy stuff from them anymore for this reason. It's not about 35$, but about being pushed around, robbed, not taken seriously, blackmailed... those feelings stop many people from trusting a company.
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Re:

Postby RichardD » Thu May 19, 2011 12:38 pm

AvonWyss wrote:... they don't seem to understand how much this all really pisses off people.


Well, they didn't until recently! :)
http://www.red-gate.com/MessageBoard/viewtopic.php?t=13307
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Re:

Postby AvonWyss » Thu May 19, 2011 12:50 pm

RichardD wrote:
AvonWyss wrote:... they don't seem to understand how much this all really pisses off people.

Well, they didn't until recently! :)

No, they still don't really get it. See why in my post I made right after their annoucement:
http://www.red-gate.com/MessageBoard/viewtopic.php?t=13327
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Arrogance and entitlement.

Postby cege7480 » Tue May 24, 2011 8:03 pm

Reflector is the greatest tool in any developers arsenal hands down. Red Gate makes a # of other products that are great as well, but since it's inception, this tool has saved me more hours, headaches, and taught me an insane amount of coding techniques than I can even count.

That said, how many of you are professional software developers? Don't you expect to get paid? Plus, in order to code .NET for the most part you need Visual Studio and an array of other tools that come at a *much* higher cost than reflector. My MSDN subscription is a couple grand a year. My telerik subscription comes in around 600 (early renewal!). I don't blink an eye paying that. Even buying Visual Studio on it's own will set you back ~700 for pro. Sure you can use the express versions as well, but doesn't work well for the size applications I work on.

Yes, Lutz had it free for the past 5+ years. RedGate has for the past several years as well. For that, Thank you.

I think a lot of people could say the same. But if I compare the # of years I've used reflector, the amount of cash I've pulled in and put that against the new cost, that's a few bucks a year and they keep improving it.

I could not be the developer I am today without this tool. So $100 bux, you've got it. It has paid for itself over and over again. (No, I don't need that many features, but I have respect for my fellow engineers. I've made good money, and now I'm sharing it. )


BTW, do you really think Lutz would have kept supporting it for free for perpetuity? Probably not, he's gotta eat too...
- Holla
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Re: Arrogance and entitlement.

Postby RichardD » Tue May 24, 2011 8:21 pm

cege7480 wrote:Don't you expect to get paid?


Did you bother to read the previous posts in this thread? :shock:

I do expect to get paid for my work, but I don't expect to get paid twice by the same person for the same work! If I sell something at a particular price, and then decide to increase the price, I can't go back to the people who've already paid and demand more money. That wouldn't be ethical, and it almost certainly wouldn't be legal.
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Postby cege7480 » Tue May 24, 2011 8:25 pm

get paid twice by the same person for the same work!


It's not the same work. It's new work. If reflector never changed a line of code and then asked you to upgrade, you would be correct. But as you can see from release notes, it changes a lot and continuously fields requests for new enhancements and fixes.
- Holla
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Re:

Postby RichardD » Tue May 24, 2011 8:28 pm

cege7480 wrote:It's not the same work. It's new work.


You've missed the point - I don't have a problem with Red Gate charging for Reflector v7.

What I did have a problem with was the announcement that all existing copies of v6 would expire, with the only option being to pay for an upgrade to v7.

Thankfully, that decision was at least partially revoked a few weeks ago.
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Postby bergfall » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:57 am

I missed out on the cataclysmic paradigm shift since I've been sabbatical for a year; and while orientating me in a new workplace (on my first boot I installed Reflector before even swapping in Opera for IE) the above discussion feels representative to issues far more wide-reaching than just Red Gate and Reflector....

When people feel snubbed in any way they seem to go very far in touting legal precedents, EULA's suddenly get scrutinized and suddenly a standard of practice is held to an absurd level, compared to reality (as in real life consequences).

To sum it up : Whine less, reflect more :-)
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