Totally agree - the support cost is way out of line with the product cost. We probably shouldn’t say that though - rather than reducing the support cost, they might increase the price of the products so support looks like a great deal!
There is absolutely nothing in the new version that should be considered a “major” upgrade. Most of the changes (other than bugfixes, which should be free) are things that should take a few hours to do. Added a color change when you drag and drop? Use the mouse wheel on sliders? A model that does no sharpening? New sample images? The list goes on and on of non-major features. Outside of bugfixes, I see 1 or possibly 2 items that might have taken a little while to implement.
@eric I have some feedback and marketing advice. I think your new pay-for upgrades strategy is going to fail. Here’s why.
I have Denoise v 2.2.11 and Sharpen v 2.1.7. Denoise in this version works pretty well. Sharpen is okay but the bug that I reported back in November '19 (#204655), that means using the GPU produces horrible vertical line artifacts, still hasn’t been fixed.
I’ve just had an email saying I can upgrade to v2.3 Denoise for free because it is less than one year since I bought it. But I don’t want to because there are lots of bug reports already in version 2.3 and what if I don’t like the results from the new version because the model has changed? So I daren’t risk upgrading.
My one year of Sharpen AI support runs out next week, so when a new version becomes available, I will have to pay for it. But why would I do that when my bug hasn’t been fixed and, without that fix, the software is too slow to use on a regular basis?
So currently, whether I have support cover or not, I don’t want ot upgrade, because all the bugs make it too risky. I could get stranded with a useless version when my support period expires.
So in short, you model of selling support to get upgrades doesn’t work because you have way too many bugs all the time. I have no assurance that I will ever get a working version. I would upgrade if it’s free because I know there will probably be a better version along later. But why would I pay when my problems might not be fixed before my next support period runs out?
I was just looking at a Denoise thread and two things are apparent:
People don’t read their emails. The thread has complaint after complaint because they were surprised about the new licensing model. Regardless of how I feel about it, it should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It does however underscore the fact that so many people believed the upgrade would be free either because it was still a 2.x version or because it was full of bugfixes and no real “meat”.
2.3 was not ready to be released. It is full of bugs.
The Denoise thread is comical. It mirrors exactly what we’ve been going through since February on this thread. I think it is ok that people don’t read all of their email. I’m sure we all get too much anyway. But the sudden spasm that is shown on the Denoise thread suggests that Topaz’ problem runs really deep.
I suspect there will be a large amount of people saying goodbye. I can’t fault them. I feel abandoned too. I’ve just had a lot more time to deal with it that they have…only because I read that one email in February. Still…through all that time, Topaz has shown its true colors…not a single comment, backtrack, clarification, or other in that period of time. Not even a “we hear you” or some other form of acknowledgement. A continued resolve to march onward with their new policy is really obvious.
I really don’t know many businesses out there that can survive without patrons. Shooting them when they come back through the door for help or looking for the next great thing is a sure fire recipe to end that business. Pretty soon, that door won’t open any more.
Good luck with your new business model. I can’t believe you haven’t seen the warning signs and exit signs yet. Truly incredible…
Received the notice of the renewal price for one year of Denoise AI. Have to say I think your pricing is way out of line. I don’t mind a subscription model, but there has to be real value in the price. Compare your pricing of $49 for one year of Denoise AI to the $120 per year I pay Adobe for Photoshop, LightRoom Classic, LightRoom and Bridge. To compare the capability of those products to Denoise AI is laughable at best. I’ll just keep my existing license for Denoise AI and use it until it quits working due to Photoshop upgrades, Mac OS upgrades, etc. It will be just like the Nik suite and it’s long awful saga. Then I’ll find another solution. And gee… your upgrade price is just so generous… $49… If I had never owned a license at all I could get it for $59. Woohoo… There are far too many solutions out there that compete with your product to bother with getting gouged for a one year “upgrade”.
I received a free copy of Adjust AI because I own the original Adjust. I also bought enough Studio 1 pro adjustments to qualify for a free copy of Studio 2. However -
I had to get a new computer and while Studio 2 installed and works as normal I’d lost all my favourite looks from Studio 1. I found them again in Studio 1, marked them as favourites and then discovered that the migrate function is broken. Going by this post in another topic it’s going to stay broken
Will there be a future upgrade to Studio 2 which we’ll have to pay for? If so I don’t fancy spending money on a product with a permanently broken feature.
Adjust AI is annoying to use because it doesn’t have masking and an HSL colour tuner. If I end up with pink concrete and purple tarmac I have to take the result into Studio 2 to change the colours. Will these features be added in a future upgrade we have to pay for? If so I’ll pass because I think these features should have been included in the first place.
Like many other Topaz users I have been using virtually all their product for years. The fact is that I only use a couple on a regular basis. I am a software developer myself but there is a difference between a sensible upgrade price for a PLUG-IN and a frankly laughable get rich quick policy price. The plugins do what they do very well but over the years can you honestly say the core has improved that much? Can it really get any better just to make things look prettier simply to claw in more money for upgrades.
But there is a simple answer “DON’T UPGRADE”… I know I won’t because I have principles unlike Topazlabs. They will certainly go down the tubes as they DO NOT LISTEN TO THEIR USERBASE…
Another photo editing software company recently got rid of one of their licensing models. But do you know what they did? They grandfathered in EVERYONE who currently had that model.
Eric had to know that he would alienate many people with his announcement. But when he became aware of the extent of it, he seems to have ghosted us, curled up in his office and put on his noise-cancelling headphones hoping we would go away. As you said - be careful what you wish for, because many customers HAVE gone away.
I personally do not want Topaz to fail. I simply want them to listen to and have some consideration for the customers who have made them successful to this point.
“Today Mr. Morris has even more and links to purchase Topaz in his blog.”
And I suspect that is why it was removed. He wants you to buy the products through his affiliate programs, which generate revenue for him. Although unintentional, linking to his blog is free advertising for him.
I certainly understand where you are coming from but those of us who bought your plugins from the beginning (with the promise of free lifetime upgrades) made you money, kept you in business and let you expand… This is unexceptable.
“Make no mistake about it: this situation was 100% our fault.”
So why punish your customers who got you going and kept you going?
As far as refunding by sending our receipts… Those may not be available anymore as they where quite a few years back, can’t you just look at our accounts?
For me personally I used to use airmail (Mac email client) but they failed to tell you while you could backup your mail there was no way to restore it. I’ve already gone thru this with you guys after I bought clarity but never received a license.
This is why I’m not helping startups anymore. This is a bad, bad look Eric.
I just looked up Affinity’s history because of your post. Serif began developing Affinity Photo in 2009, and worked on it for over 5 years before bringing out the first version for Mac’s in July, 2015. The Window’s version was released in October, 2016. They are still on version 1.X.X five years later, despite having added many major upgrades to the product, not just bug fixes.
So in addition to being a great product, we are all still getting new features added for years now, for only our initial investment of $50 or $36.99 - their on-sale price. Frankly, I am still learning things that AP can do that I had no idea it even did! I am looking forward to when they do finally launch version 2.0 (sometime in 2021, probably) because I imagine it will be wonderful with true major upgrades to the program - and I will be glad to pay to update because Serif has proven it gives value to it’s customers, instead of nickle and diming them to death.
And throughout the pandemic, Serif’s emails have kept in mind that times are hard, by both offering frequent sales and help to students to get their products and upping the number of their tutorials and advice from working professionals to help both users and the industry going during these trying times. Topaz Labs could learn a few lessons from them.
This is disgraceful behaviour by Topaz. Topaz offered free upgrades and people, myself included, paid hard earned cash on that understanding. I believe that is a contract and Topaz has broken it. Topaz should honour their contract to those who have bought software prior to this change in company policy. If the company wishes to change its policy for new products that is a different matter, but imposing new policies, on existing customers who have bought into existing products with ongoing upgrades, in my view, demonstrates a total lack of any moral backbone. As to the pricing structure, it’s laughable - for a small amount more than $99 a year, I can get Lightroom AND Photoshop. Before I sign off permanently, may I say to the software development team - Good Job! The software rocks but the managment decision making has lost this customer - c ya!