Envato Support Expiration Destabilize Whole Market

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#1

Im amongs many of totally pissed of buyers who are really shocked from that so called Support Expiration. I invested my time and in detailed way explored all aspects and advantages or disadvantages. I asked many authors and also other buyers I know. Here is result of my comprehensive research:

MAIN ASPECTS I FOUND:

  • buyers who in past was buying more templates at once for later projects now dont do so, because most likely in many cases they start work on that project in time when support expires. So now buyers buy only theme they need actually ansd can start on them immediately so they can use full 6 month support period. This have impact on cashflow of sellers as people limit their shopping to only actual projects and dont buy more themes at once for later use. This cuase drop of sales for sellers.

  • buyers now very research and ask authors if they provide free support even after official support expire and tend to buy only from buyers who confirm that they continue with free support after 6 months. This cause that authors who strictly comply with envato support policy will loose their potential customers and big competition starts between authors who continue free support and not continue free support which make angry both types of authors

  • buyers look for alternate markets with no support expiration policy and many peoplke think about leaving envato even throught they are here for years.

  • some sellers thinking to change to not support option - as in that case they can actually continue support in envato item comments without problem if they dont advertise it ( as stated by envato)

  • some sellers thinking of switching from exclusive to non exclusive author so they can offer their items on alternative markets and on their website where they can offer continuous support or support where use get for same renewal price not 6 months but 12 months or continue with free support.

  • some sellers continue with free support regardless envato policy

  • I asked many buyers what they think. I didnt find even one buyer who would say that he like new support expiration regardless Envato opinon - which say its good move for buyers…I didnt find even one buyer who think its good move.

  • I asked many sellers what they think. I got about 50% positive they welcome it ( which is not surprising) and about 50% negative as they think it affect negatively their sales and destabilize whole market.

  • many sellers are afraid that users will give them low rating if they refuse them answer support related questions, and I think their fear is right as many buyers already do so.

  • many buyers will give 1 star rating even throught their support period is not expired as protest against new envato support policy so they can force this way authors to ask envato to change this support policy back to old system. Those debates already are present not only in here but on other forums aside Envato. In this way whole review system will be destroyed and good authors will loose their advantage earned by good work as their rating will drop big time.

  • what actually happen if buyer renew support and day after author cancel his account or item will be deleted from Envato by staff ?

  • some smaller questions raise from buyer side frequently, mainly in case of theme updates so this or that is unclear or something stop working very often. That means buyers will be now basicly forced to neverending renewals of support - especially with themes which are frequently updated. For example item cost 80 USD, support renewal will cost 44 USD for 6 months. Imagine that buyer bought and maintain 20 themes he uses on his project. Now such user is enforced to pay whopping 1760 USD every year for renewal of his 20 themes or 88 USD yearly for one theme . Such buyer entered Envato to invest 80 USD to have his site not pay 88 USD every year. This completely change whole market and prices here because buyer now have to think completely in different way than before. This of course will have impact to sellers because buyer will think triple times before he buy something as he will project his investment to several years and not see 80 USD for theme but 80 USD multiplied by many years of support renewal so he end up with huge sum.

  • Many people invested alot of money on Envato market. In time when they spent their money they didnt know policy changes in that way in future. Constant support might have been one of main motivations why many of buyers bought their items. Now has been that users forced accept Envato new policy and they are forced spent much more money on items they bought in past. I personally consider this as a big ripoff and totally unfair for older Envato customers who bought alot of stuff here with constant support as one of crucial things why they bought items. I feel totally cheated and ripped off.

  • Constant unlimited support was for many buyers main reason why they are here . For me either. I joined Envato market 7 or 8 years ago only from constant item support reasons. I bought items only from high rated authors with great support which I seen from comments. For many people was constant support here from authors with ngood history and support better option than use pirated versions of themes they could download free from some warez sites (aside of theme updates of course). Now when constant free support is in fact banned I think some people get back to pirate stuff.

  • many sellers are afraid than not so many buyers renew and whole new support system cause much more trubles, low ratings ands incidents that is not worth potentional income…

  • many buyers will now make press to authors to help them with much more things than belongs to classic support because they will feel if they pay nearly half of theme price for support renewal they should get help they want whatever it is. Buyers will also make more press to fast author reply. Envato support will be overloaded witgh buyers complaints.

  • Many buyers here are from low income countries - they simply cant afford switch to recurring business model - they cant afford it. Sellers from same low income countries are afraid they loose customers so they will follow buyers to alternate markets. For example for person in germany is 44 USD nothing ( becasue avrg. income there is 3.700 EUR) but other person from country with avrg. monthky income 600 EUR is in reality 44 USD not same as for person from germany, but likely its something like 250 USD

WHAT EXACT PROBLEMS NOW HAVE BUYERS AFTER NEW SUPPORT EXP. APPLIED

  1. Many sellers not only dont reply buyer to any question which looks like support ( but what is support and what is not support is relative - so they dont answer buyer at all to anything what even looks like is close to support question)

  2. Many seller restrict buyer access to their support site at all. So buyer cant access anything. Cant access forums, faq, videotutorials, changelogs, future update roadmaps, main theme update instructions - buyer simply cant access anything. This cause that buyer is forced to renew support even in case he actually dont have any support question but only want to see videotutorial because he want reinstall theme or see theme update instructions which are on author support site and buyer cant access them - so he simply cant update theme without renewing support. This is really bad

  3. Some sellers who see buyer support period is close to expire slow down on purpose support ticket replies so buyer problem will be not most likely resolved before support expire. This way author simply force buyer to renew support.

  4. Because some authors dont reply any more than less techical question from buyers with expired support there arise situations like this one : Buyer update theme, but his site is not working properly now. Buyer ask author if he can have a look at it. Author say you have expired support i cant help you until you renew it. Buyer renew it and Author say soory we found there was problem with our update now its fixed. So buyer paid for support renewal totally needlessly which is totally unfair to him if problem was caused by theme update problem. Also there are other problematic scenarios. Theme for some reason stop work. Buyer cant ask author because expired support. So he pay for renewal. Author say sorry its issue with something else not with our theme, we cant help you. Buyer in that case paid suport only to find out author dont help him

  5. Because for non programmer is impossible to estimate in some serious way if some problem is more likely bug in theme or problem in something else how you solve this dillema ? Because author dont react to buyer as he thinks its support requests, buyer renew and than find out that was bug on author side. Or not renew and because he thinks its not support request but theme is not working correctly because of bug he gave author bad rating - either deservedly or non-deservedly.

  6. In past sellers was used to buy more templates for future projects. Now they cant do so because most likely support expires before they start work on it - so they dont use support at all. Current users who already boght are upset because many of them (incl. me) have themes they didnt installed yet but their support period alread expired, they bought theme because they didnt know envato switch to recurring bussiness model, now they feel cheated… Apoart of it buyer wull much more consider what to buy because now every buyer buy only theme he have time to work with immediately, buyers now dont gonna buy themes for future project which lower income for sellers and affect whole cashflow here

  7. Because nowhere is defined what is support and this is subjective term - many times will happen that buyer pay for support just to find out author will not help him because by his opinion it will be out of scale. This raise big time negatiove feedback rating and complains to envato. It was happenmning now already with “free” support, but now when user actually pay for - number of cimplaining users which say this is support and authors saying this is over our support drastically raise


So what is actually advantage of this new support system ? Partially maybe for envato and some sellers, but cant see any advantage for buyer - at buyer side I see only heaps of problems and frustration.


#2

Speaking as a buyer - while there are things that need attention, generally I think the changes are, from a buyer perspective at least, are an improvement.

If anything, while envato seem to be trying to improve the situation, it’s much easier to see the concerns of authors.

It appears that many people upset by the move (not aimed at you or anyone individually) feel this way because they do not fully understand the new policy and more importantly how the old policy worked.

With all due respect to your opinions and without going through all the points above (for a reference ‘updates’ are free to everyone with/without the extended support), there are a few things that may be worth considering:

  • It does not impact older purchases and the ‘lifetime support’ they came with.

  • Nothing has ‘changed’. All that has happened is that envato have created a NEW and SEPARATE service.

This is not forced on anyone - What you are paying to extend is not the same as what used to exist and is rightfully a premium feature.

  • The biggest one for me and what is most frustrating… this ‘Constant support’ or ‘lifetime support’ was and still is completely hypothetical.

Irrelevant of what an author put on their item page previously (which coincidentally was almost certainly a contributing factor in introducing the new policy), or what they tell you if you had/do contact them pre-purchase - if they want chose to stop supporting the file or even remove it as and when they wanted that was just tough and there was absolutely nothing to be done about it.

I know many authors did their best to uphold support as best as they could but that does not change the fact that there was no assurance.

At least now you get a minimum of 6 months free official support/protection - again I am not looking for an argument but how is this anything but an improvement?

I’m not saying that things couldn’t be improved for both buyers and authors, just that contrary to the negativity it has received, in actual fact the changes are not as bad as they are being made out to be.


#3

I truly hope that this is not true and strongly encourage anyone considering this to not do it, as it would be a disgusting and immoral way of punishing the author not envato


#4

Hi Charlie, thank you for your response. Your reply is logic but not follow reality how it is. I give you real examples from my and my friends experience which happened basicly just nowdays.

real example 1) I have theme I bought several years ago - any question to author regarding some troubles with theme update and misconfiguratiuons was replied by author without any problems - perfect help. That was with that author until now. Now he says - your support expired you need to renew it so I can help you. Can you see that diference before and after ? What is positive on this for me ?

real example 2) Author restricted my access to his support site ( which I had access for more than 13 months without any problem) Now he suspended my account on his support site saying my support license expired and if I want gain access again I have to renew it. ON his support site I cant access anything - forums, faq, videotutorials, chengelogs, roadmap, theme update instructions …simply nothing. Im not even able to reinstall theme coz its not such easy in case of that theme and videotutorial make it much more easier. While in old support system I had permanent access to support site and no problem at all, now cant access it. Can you see difference before and after new support expiration takes place ? Cant you see its clearly negative for me ?

real example 3) In one item (its not theme) I time to time asked author via item comments to help me with some elementar stuff. He always helped me without any problem in that 3 years I have that item. Now he say he help me only if I renew support. Can you see difference before and after ?

Ps. all that examples are with items I boiught long time before support policy take place. You say old items dont apply to support expiration. How is that possible than ? Also i have support expired note on all that years old themes and items. How is that possible if you say it dont apply to old items I bought before ?

If you see my real life examples how it is now and how it was and really think about it, you have to end up logically with same conclusion like me - that support expiration is total draw back for me as buyer and nobody can be surprised Im totally pissed off from that and even think about leaving envato because of that. So whats improvement for me ? Before I got access to support sites with all info for several years, all that authors helped me every time I needed. Now they dont help me at all and access to support sites is suspended on some authors because of support expired. So whats the advantage for me ? Only what is new for me is to pay and pay every 6 months so I have all that what I had before new support policy and which was the reason why actually I joined Envato.


#5

Well you are right of course but for some frustrated buyers that can be only way how demonstrate they strongly disagree with envato policy and get sellers involved against it.


#6

I agree with the support sites issues and that this should not be restricted (assuming there is a sensible way to manage it for both buyer and author).

As far as the other examples go - I can completely understand your frustration with these scenarios but I fear we’d be discussing it forever…

on the one hand you have a point that (while hopefully these cases are limited) some authors are giving up on free support of older items - maybe because their workload under the new guarantee has increased?

But on the other had this free support was never guaranteed or entitled, irrelevant of the “lifetime” messaging and both you and I just were lucky with compassionate authors.

There is also a bigger picture consideration - almost everything envato does is (contrary to popular belief) thought through and unfortunately they will never be able to please everyone. For example with support:

Some authors will give up on free support as in your examples but…

  • what % is that? How many will continue with it?

  • Does this out weigh the benefits of 6 months free guaranteed support moving forward?

  • Is it not a sacrifice worth making if it eradicates the uncontrolled “lifetime support” offers? I would imagine that more buyers were upset, confused, sending complaints due to authors not supporting these files or removing them completely than anything.

  • maybe there is even a more official angle about preventing those claims when not enforceable that meant envato need to make moves to prevent it?

Either way (those are hypothetical questions) - i do see your points - I’m just adding a different perspective and sympathise to a degree with envato being stuck between a rock and a hard place.


#7

Thanks for reaction. Well I choosed authors with top rating, always explored item comments to see author support quality and also choosed authors who are there for longer time. I can say I was at 95% satisfied and never had any problems with support as I bought only from reliable authors who simplly have good support for all. So for me old support system was perfect and functional. Now new support system is exact opposite - I think about new system as about neverending endless money sucking machine that actually never ends. From my perspective it dont have even single positive.
OLd support system was actually reason why I joined Envato market - because of constatant support from reliable sellers with hisotry. NOw that support system why Im actually here (provided by reliable authors) dont exist anymore.

As a business person I have to count. Imagine what can do buyer who bought and actively use for example 25 themes. If i say that he bought most expensive themes now such buyer have to pay 2.200 USD yearly to renew support on his all sites. This investment raise is such drastical that most of buyers cant simply afford it. It is unreal 11.000 USD in 5 years !!! 80% of buyers here will not have that much money to invest but because with more complicated themes they will be not even able to update site without access for example to update videotutorials or important update notes ( which are part of support sites) they simply give up and leave. As I see in comments on items many buyers already leaving and looking for alternative markets or different themes somewhere else. Support expiration is so drastical and changing move against buyers that it completely change how is envato taken from buyers view.

Authors saying that they cant simply continue support for free because they will be punished by envato by doing so. Some say “complain to envato, its their idea, we just follow their rules” Some say “buy theme from our site and not on envato, we give you 12 months of support instead 6 on envato” etc… Some say " no problem I will continue free support, no worry" some say “I will help you but you have to write me email I cant help you officially” etc… So its not that some authors give up free support - most of them saying they cant provide free support even if they want as they are forced to do so by envato. SO what and where is actually true ? Can they continue officially to provide free support or not ? Most of them think they officially cant.

Your fear is right its probably neverending discussion :slight_smile: I already decided to try first buy staff I need on alternate markets and choose envato only as a " last station" if item or similar item I need will be not available anywhere else or cant buy somewhere else something similar. Its kinda sad I have to say this after being envato member from its beginning, but what can I do…have no other choice…


#8

Well part of the reason that I buy themes from “ENVATO” is the rating status of a theme the suitability for my
purpose and of course the support factor some good and some bad my view is the fact that we got support freely
as part of the package which for me was a motivating factor favouring “ENVATO” as my first call.
Now that “ENVATO” has decided to compoud the price over time of the initial cost for me if I choose to accept this new
support impost not likely!As a motivating factor it really has nothing to do other than generating additional revenue
for “ENVATO"
As a matter of fact had been considering purchasing one of “ENVATO” authors job board themes for a client of mine prior
to the new support.I recently got the go ahead from my client to proceed anyways after some discussion which I won’t go into detail
here they decided that that particular theme was not really suitable (my gentle persuasion)You see I’m not going to subscribe to
"ENVATO” support impost.I persuaded my client to use another job board theme which I sourced from another site cost me an extra $20 US
to do so This is what I got

100% satisfaction guaranteed! 30 day money back
Free Access to Child Themes
Free Theme Support
Free Theme Updates
PSD File Access
So I’m sorry “ENVATO” just lost a sale


#9

Out of interest @brechin87 (please don’t share the name of the marketplace) does that site you used own, create and manage the themes themselves or does it simply sell 3rd party authors’ work? Does it have many themes for sale there?

Thanks


#10

Support is a running service, therefore it has a running cost. Like I wrote elsewhere, it’s the same thing as paying hosting, electricity and rent. It’s not possible to provide unlimited support for a single fee, no business can survive that.

If you bought 25 themes, then you have 25 clients that are supposedly generating revenue. In such case, the revenue should be enough to cover the costs of support (especially because it’s so cheap, on Envato. Our rates would several times higher). If the revenue is insufficient, then you should increase the fees you charge your clients or, if the sites are yours, you could review the business strategy to increase the revenue.

In any case, unlimited support for a once off fee is an unreasonable expectation. Any serious business owner will be able to confirm that.


#11

If you have for example 20 themes in your portfolio, you have a dedicated staff that handles all support questions. That staff has a monthly salary. You need to pay this people for the work they are doing, right?

Every marketplace in the world functions in a way that you have 1 year of free support and updates, only one year! Here you get 6 months of free support plus unlimited time of updates, so you don’t need to extend your support after six months, just download the update. So you get a lot in my opinion for the amount of work every author here needs to handle.


#12

The current business model with time limited support period doesn’t give extra money for authors, just angry buyers. If Envato has a balls, then they must accept such fail and try to shift to new business model e.g. business model which implemented by successful theme providers like WooThemes. Nothing better has been created for software market. Such model protects interests of all players on the market: authors, buyers and Envato.


#13

@StrictThemes do you mean their subscription model?

I agree it does work well but would it resolve the issues causing buyers to become frustrated? Is it notnjust the same as what envato are doing e.g pay to “subscribe” (or in envato’s words “extend”) just without the free initial 6 months?

I am not that familiar with their themes so interested if I am missing something with how they do it.

Thanks


#14

Yes I agree but thats not point. You probably dont consider the fact that envato market was good place mainly for people who are not rich. For people who cant afford pay programmer and spent 10-15k on designing his site. For most of buyers part of motivation to join this market was the continuous support from author withour recurring fees. Im kind of power buyer and bought here alot of staff. Free continuous support was my first motivation to join envato and buy from here. Now this first motivation is gone and IM not about pay thousands dollars every year - I cant simply afford it. Yes Im amongs ones who run many sites - but revenue is not such thzat I can afford to pay thousands dollars every year just for renewals of my themes - I will go bancrupt. Im from eastern Europe where we have like 1/3 income in comparsion with countries like germany or UK. I would accept support renewal if that cost will be max 10 USD for 6 months not 44 USD like with most of my themes. Even throught I will be from UK and than 44 USD is not such big money for me if I count it in several years perspective - all items here will be for me 5x more expensive than was ( and more and more expoensive every other year) and this factical investment rais is so big that even if I will be from coutry with good income I will probably search for different ways to buy themes than is here now. I understand that part of sellers welcome support renewal as they think they can earn on that even more money that on item itself but simply envato market wasnt build on that and most of buyers will not accept this eventhrought they understand that authors have their expoenses on paying support staff etc… Simply envato wasnt build on this was build on different model and most pof buyers are here because of that model. Now that model changed to total advantage of envato itself ( most money on this support expiration earn envato) and sellers and put buyer to position - you gonna pay now every 6 year hundreds ot thousands dollars or go away. Many buyers decide to go away. Good author with good item and good update rate and good support - so with good rating ans satisfied clients was making pretty good money even in old support system. I know personally guys who sell here and their business is pretty good - selling on envatio is their main job - if not they will not be here for sure. I think this way - IM used to buy butter in market for 3 USD, now market want charge me several times more, I simply looking for other market where I can pay 3 USD as I was used to, because simply cant afford pay more for butter. Its just very simple example - I know you say its not paying for item but for support and that its extra service etc -…but for me it doesnt matter. For me matter that Im forced pay much more than before and cant afford it so have to look somewhere else…


#15

Yes the marketplace I purchased the theme from do own, create and manage the themes’ their focus is primarly business related and yes they do have quite a
few themes for sale.However, their are other marketplaces out there that do sell 3rd party authors work covering quite a diversity of themes & yes they
do provide free support.
My view is that this support debacle has been created without much thought as to the consequences and angst
of authors and customers alike.
I think a better proposition would have been an overall proportional increase in the price of each theme’ pretty straight forward I would have thought
and much more acceptable.


#16

I dont think there was anything wrong with old model. Old model simply worked well. I as a buyer was happy and most of sellers was happy too. Unhappy was only sellers who made poor items, had poor support and simply cant organize their work and buyers from such a authors. Successfull authors was happy as they made money and are here for years and they generated happya buyers. Now with current model there are only angry buyers leaving place and looking to alternative places to buy and this generate angry sellers who loose customers and have deal with angry support demanding people. Yes Envatto mve was a terrible mistake which destabilize whole envato market big way… I better leave place than be forced to pay hundreds or thousands dollars yearly for support to ask author one simple question …


#17

Again with respect to your opinions that is exactly why the new policy needed to be introduced. This continuous or lifetime support never existed.

The misleading claims and lack of clearly defined support boundaries led to a huge % of buyers misunderstanding this and subsequently causing more frustration for buyers, issues for authors and complaints for envato.


#18

I disagree. If buyer paid attention who is he buying from and bough only from top rated seller which level of support was simply reviewable from comments, with some history - than such buyer always got good continuous support. Im here from beginning of Envato - 7-8 years and had never problem with support and it was continuous support. If I saw many negative comments in seller comments and 2 stars - I simply dont buy from such a seller. If somebody buy from author with 200 negative comments and not answering any question - thats fault of buyer to buy from somebody like that…


#19

In the interests of diplomacy I do think it is important to consider the differences from business models and support expectations between a smaller outfit of owned themes .v. the biggest marketplace in the world hosting work form thousands of different provides all of whom are responsible for individual support.

I would be very interested @freakpower and @brechin87 (or anyone else) if you could send me an example of a marketplace (preferably a big one) which sells third party items and requires the author to support them and which offers free support for anything over a year?

Again I am not looking for an argument and completely open to everyone’s view. I am not saying it does not exist but if it is that obvious then it must be easy to provide examples right? Then we examine and learn form how they do it.

Thanks


#20

That is credit to you for choosing good files and authors - it does not mean anyone was entitled to the support nor that it could not be refused at any point.

The new policy was designed to avoid confusion and better manage buyer and author expectation. It’s only right that by adding expectations on authors and officially enforced requirements that they can no longer just abandon when they choose, that they should be compensated right?

It’s not that I don’t see where you are coming from (after all I have bought more than most here) I just feel that we need to look at it in context in the interests of fairness.