I’m a new customer of yours who has not seen the entire thread, and have (I think reasonably) not seen your past reasoning as to the way you want to do business, since that would require reading an entire 627 post thread going back more than a year, so please allow me to share some observations:
The Terms of Service are in no way obvious on your store page. Terms of service are usually called out at checkout time. Until you said that they were on the store page, I had never noticed them. I honestly had no reason to think that the
(*)next to every item was meant to point to some other text because it’s next to every item. ToS applying to everything would usually be called out at the top of the page, not the bottom, if it can’t be integrated into the checkout workflow.
I’ve been trying to think of another ISV or commercial software vendor with the same update policy. I can’t. Updates usually fall into three categories: (1) buy an app and get updates forever, as is the case with most mobile apps; (2) buy an app and get updates for some period of time, potentially with an ongoing subscription for maintenance (which is not actually your method); (3) buy an app and get free updates until some major change (e.g. all 2.x updates, but pay an upgrade fee for the 3.x code), which is by far the most common approach for ISVs. You do not fit the model of (2) because you are asking people to pay for ongoing maintenance at a cost that is double the actual purchase (e.g. a 12 month maintenance contract would run $40 a year when the original software was $20, making the original purchase actually $60 in order to get support on it). The closest thing I can think of that fits your model is free-to-play mobile games with in-app microtransactions, where there is some kind of in-game currency that can either be gotten by grinding or paying. All of those will pop up some kind of “like us on facebook/rate us on the app store to get free gold/space dust/laser batteries/whatever!”
Some people don’t want updates as they are happy with the original code (as it’s reliable).is demonstrably false by your own words. From the latest update email:
Summary of Changes - Made some changes in MyEcobee device (v5.9.9n) for better temp handling under Samsung accounts (datatypes correction for temp attributes). - Corrected setParentAuthTokens() in MyEcobeeInit (v3.3.2) for even more resilience in auth tokens logic.
I’m in software development too, and all software devs know that all software has bugs. But it feels dishonest for you to claim that it’s reliable at the same time that you’re also claiming that more resiliency is needed. I don’t blame your software for having issues/bugs – it’s normal! But don’t paper over it, own it.
I get that this is how you want to do business, but many parts of how you do business fall outside of industry norms. As a result, new customers (like me) come up against a set of requirements of which there are no reasonable expectations, and discoverability is poor (hard-to-find text on the store page, policies stated in random posts in a long thread), so they are certainly requirements that I was unaware of when I purchased the product. An attitude of “you should have known” when discoverability is so difficult does you no favors. An attitude of “I’ve spent X hours developing this so your money should only go so far” when this commonly known as the normal course of product development also does you no favors.
Compounding all this is the fact that there’s no limited version available to try out, so anyone jumping in on the product is taking a leap of faith that it works – and if it doesn’t work, actually getting it to work could end up costing between zero and some unknown but high amount of additional money.
If you want to continue to operate outside of norms, go for it! Be your own person, and do what works for you and your time and your family. But I think you will be more successful over time by trending towards industry norms and being more customer-focused, because – and I am brand new to both the Ecobee and SmartThings ecosystems and had no knowledge of you or your work before seeing it on the wiki and purchasing it and no prior skin in the game – the whole experience as a new user has left a really bad taste in my mouth, and most of that is not from the software itself, but from the experience around it. That’s not good for word of mouth; trust me on this as a new user who could potentially have recommended it to others.
Instead I’m left feeling rather hoodwinked about support/update terms and just today was lied to about the state of the software. Far from word of mouth, that’s potentially not good for your bottom line. Remember, credit card companies tend to favor their users in disputes.