Not only has Michael Torbert taken some heat with the commercial version of All In One SEO Pro but I’ve also taken some myself thanks to the podcast advertisement and the banner in the sidebar. The biggest argument I hear from everyone is that it does exactly the same thing the free version does except it has no ads. So where is the value? Why is it worth paying for? The answer is easy. To remove the ads and donate link, the support is only part of the package. But I’ve been thinking, what is the difference between software that is ad-supported which provides an option to pay to have the ads removed and AIOSEP Pro? I did this with FeedDemon and the program is exactly the same before I paid to have the ads removed. I don’t see anyone lining up with pitchforks to go after them. If what FeedDemon does is acceptable, why is a WordPress plugin so different?
I think that the switch from being free to commercial is what has people in a fit but that’s just the nature of plugins this year. It’s his choice to make as it is for all plugin authors. There are two easy ways of solving this problem. Pay to have the ads removed or use the ad-supported version.
The other complaint I’ve heard is that the $39.00 (sale price) is a monthly fee. I can not verify if this is true but if it is, I would complain as well. I think that has to do with the system WPPlugins.com has setup and hopefully, they build in a way for plugin authors to be more flexible with the types of models/payments that can be received.
Well, there’s a slight difference, in that, with FeedDemon, you see ads (albeit, small ads) on the front end when using the program. Now, I use AISEO on my blog (we use one of the similar plugins at Mashable but not AISEO), but because I compose my blog entries in Mars Edit, I’m not sure if the ads are only on the AISEO settings page or if they are also on posts. If it’s just on the settings page — well, eh, it’s honestly not a huge thing to ignore. So paying $39 to simply remove that and also get higher level support doesn’t necessarily add-up in terms of the value equation.
Also, actually, the pitchforks were quite strongly aimed at NewsGator, both when they went free the first time (two years ago) and non-ad supported (which pissed people who had just paid for the software off — I was pissed as I had JUST paid $35 or whatever it was for NetNewsWire and then they went free like literally 4 days later, and I had to wait two months for a refund or something) and when they moved back to having the pay to remove ad options (and you had people mad at both ends — the people who didn’t like having to pay to remove the ads and the people who were pissed that buying the program before it went free and ad-free still meant that they had to buy it again to get rid of ads — even if they had paid for like multi-years in the past). In my experience, people will ALWAYS bitch about any change or option to a premium model. Always.
In AISEO’s case, Michael isn’t doing a good job to a) clarify the payment terms (is it monthly, yearly, optional, what) or to create more perceived value above and beyond ads in the dashboard. I think if he did that, the criticisms would be fewer and the confusion would be much, much lower.
Regardless, people will always bitch about something have a free ad-supported and a non-ad free version. It’s just how it is.