Clients demanding lifetime updates - Wierd

I am the author of a plugin that is dependant on one theme - Avada. Sometimes when the theme is updated my plugin stops working and requires update as well.
Since my plugin is quite simple customers do not buy the support contract but once the theme update breaks the plugin, they start demanding the free update of the plugin because they think they have bought the lifetime update service as claimed by Envato.

Is it not ridiculous? Should I now support the clients to my last days just because they payed me 15 dollars 4 year ago?
I now openly refuse to do it for my customers, because it is a bit too much. They are angry and I am also angry as I do not want to work for free.

I advise Envato to stop doing promises like this.

If you are selling the plugin on CodeCanyon you must update the plugin and the customer have a lifetime free updates - you should know that before you have start to sell here - that is a part of “contract” on which you have agreed.

If you don’t update the plugin and customer report that to Envato, there is a chance that your plugin will be disabled (actually it will be disabled).

So, in short, any theme from ThemeForest and any plugin from CodeCanyon comes with “lifetime” free updates.

I see but that is stupid. If this plugin is disabled it will make much more pain for the customers than for me. As they will get their customer sites broken and their customers angry and I will only lose a couple of hundredths dollars per month. No software company ever makes a living with the new sales only.

And then I will move to WooCommerce and start selling myself as I already have a big customer base collected during 5 years.

I agree that it would be much better that the updates are limited on 1-2 years but that is not a case. Actually, the customers are limited to use 1 license on 1 website (but is that really a case?). So, if some customer likes your plugin and he want to use it on 5 websites, he should buy 5 license but on other side ha has a lifetime updates.

That would be the case in the ideal world. But since there is no real technical way to limit a licence per a site customers do not buy multiple licences.

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If the plugin is dependant on Avada then it should work with the latest version of Avada. Your choices are to make sure that it does work, or stop selling it.


There is another choice to move from Envato. There is no alternatives to my plugin so I have a choice not to work for free. Envato choice is to adjust to the world best practice to provide paid updates


All the items you buy are quality checked by Envato. Any future update made available by the author is included with every purchase.

In your case this is difficult because you created plugins which work with another theme, and just as with the authors who designed the Avada Theme, then they are likewise governed by the number of updates that Wordpress put out so they too have to make tweaks and changes to their own theme.

It would seem a shame after being with Envato 5 years plus you then get upset at having to make sure your plugin works with the latest versions. Remember you are always getting NEW CUSTOMERS so you could maybe increase the charge for the plugin to somewhat offset your existing clients needing these updates.

No, I am no longer getting the new customers. Otherwise I would not post here. My sales dropped 3 times in the last year. Most likely due to the same customers that buy just one license instead of 5 and now demanding the free updates. So I do not have any income of the new customers to support the old ones.
This Envato business model is not sustainable. It is like the financial pyramid that pays to old investors from the money coming from the new one. But sooner or later any financial pyramid collapses like my business with Envato at the moment.


Yeah, that would come under the ‘stop selling it’ part.

If you want to sell it somewhere else then feel free… you can then have the choice to not provide any updates and essentially sell a useless piece of software after the next update, or charge for updates for a plug in that accompanies a theme that doesn’t charge for updates. I can see both of those options being super popular for your buyers.

The business model of Envato is not used anywhere in the world. That is why all the best plugins are NOT sold at Envato like e.g. [link removed]
All the plugins that are not sold at Envato offer free updates for a first year ONLY. This allows the developers to develop great things.
Instead of being so blind it would be much more beneficial to motivate Envato to change its weird business model. I do not care if my plugin becomes blocked as I no longer get any revenue I may care about.

There are other factors here that contribute to why the model is different and the one adopted by other sources would not work.

  • Envato do not own/develop the plugins in the same way that ACF, WP Bakery etc. do

  • This model is how Envato are able to offer the balance of quality and quantity which has made them the biggest marketplace in the world

  • However, as a result, authors have the right to stop supporting updating items as and when they choose and there is very little that Envato can do to prevent it

  • To offer the annual subscription model that this used elsewhere would require Envato to be able to ensure that support and updates continue or else face potentially mass refunds. Because they do not own the items, they cannot do this.

  • Yes, they could change the author agreement to try and enforce this but that would be a huge change, with knock-on impact, and even then would be very difficult to enforce

  • As things are the lifetime support is for as long as the item is active/supported/for sale. It clearly states that Envato cannot guarantee the lifespan of an item or that they may not be removed, so even the 6 months free support and potential refunds if sn item is removed is above what they need to provide.

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But you feel that your revenue would increase to a level that you would care about if your items if people had to pay for updates? It’s possible, but they’re just as likely to not want to buy it knowing that they’re going to have to keep shelling out every year. You could always just increase the price to copensate for not getting an annual payment for updates? Or just sell it somewhere else, I mean, you’ve known how it works at Envato for over five years… what’s changed?

The fact that I know how something work does not mean that I accept it for the lifetime. When it works for both me and Envato it is OK. But now it is clear that sooner or later the market becomes saturated. All people who wanted to buy my plugin have already did so. The flow of the new WordPress/Avada customers is slowing down and there is no reason it should get better.
That is why I keep on saying that this model is not sustainable for both Author and Users.


There are options -

  1. Develop a new plugin for Wordpress Themes like Avada;

  2. Increase the price of the plugin you currently sell or

  3. Stop selling or supporting the existing plugins.

The 4th option I am not so sure about the ethics of it, but you could in theory start a new user account, rebrand the plugins you currently sell and stop selling the original plugins. But I say that tentatively as that may be frowned upon by Envato and their policies.

It’s not that much different to Windows 7, free updates to 8, 10 and now 11. So in a way they are not making any more money from the original software.

You definitely cannot do this.


Same observation we’ve been having lately. But this year has been disastrous for small businesses especially on Wordpress. At post status a study was conducted and almost everyone reported a huge decline in sales. Partly the reason why many acquisitions happened in 2020-21. Wordpress market share increases but purchasing users decreased.
So moving to your own might not be a fruitful idea although we are also contemplating this for quite sometime. At envato there are other disadvantages as well like we have had to do refunds after years of purchase, unlicensed downloads from nobuna still happen and we are forced to develop and maintain product for ppl who use license multiple times or not at all.

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@charlie4282 thanks for making this clear. Happy Festive Season wishes to you :slight_smile:

Really interesting - thanks. Sounds like they are not treating you well.

Funny thing that a lot of these themes get hacked and even though you try to keep track of all types of activity, the same types of things keep happening, especially to independent artists and freelancers,

Then often the advice is to change the whole theme, it’s broken - you owe us hundreds or THOUSANDS of dollars. Internet scams have been well reserched but it’s so hard to keep track of all the complications that arise when no one seems to care about kindness and wellness or ethics in business.

Especially of concern is that this often occurs when internet or Tech companies are acquired by large corporations that have spawned generations that never seem to be able understand the value of humanitarian efforts for social and environmental justice regardless of how hard you try to explain in many different languages.