Preview Of Ajax Edit Comments 4.0

I’ve finally had the chance to upgrade Ajax Edit Comments to 4.0 beta. This new version offers two new cool features. The first is that After The Deadline support is built right into the plugin. So regardless of whether site visitors are using the AtD FireFox extension, commenters will have the chance to spell and grammar check their comments before publishing. The other feature is the ability to pop open the commenting text area into a lightbox which has big text and provides ample space for writing the comment. This is especially useful for those that have a hard time reading the smaller text in the normal sized comment box. The only thing I’m not liking right now are the two icons that represent the features I discussed earlier. Here is how they make the comment form look which in my opinion, is a bit ugly.

This might me one of those things where the display of the icons and where they show up is dependent on the theme. I wonder if the icons can look like the QuickTag buttons which are pretty much the same as the buttons in the HTML editor. ABC could be replaced with Proofread and the expander could be replaced with expand or some other piece of text that signifies increasing the size of the comment box.

One of the other cool features of 4.0 is the drag and drop interface to configure how editing links are displayed. You can also quickly disable the links you won’t use to keep the list tidy.

You can find more information about 4.0 in this sneak peek post published on the AEC blog. 4.0 Beta is running on this website so please, feel free to edit your comments and play around with the options. If something breaks, notify me and I’ll pass it along to Ronald.

I think Ronald is undercharging for this plugin but if you want the same comment editing experience on your website, you can purchase it for only $10.00 a year for a single site. This gives you access to upgrades, automatic upgrading, and the support forums. Also, if you purchase the plugin through that link, I’ll receive a 50% kickback.

If you’d like to get a taste of what Ajax Edit comments has to offer, try version 3.1 which is available on the plugin repository although it probably won’t be for long. AEC 4.0 is expected to be released sometime in March pending a good beta cycle.

9 Comments


  1. Thanks Jeff for the write up. I’ll see about updating the buttons on the front end to look more like quicktag buttons.

    I hope your readers enjoy the new features.

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  2. I don’t agree that the icons are ugly, they need to stand out clearly because, as site owners, we want our users to be aware of and to use these features, resulting in better comments. The standard AtD icon is a little too small and too easily ignored. I guess there should be an option to change them to alternate icons that stand out less if a site owner is willing to have less users notice them, but these are good defaults.

    I do agree that AEC is tremendous value – I have been critical of the manner in which some have approached paid plugins but AEC is a good example of how to do it right. Having caught glimpses of how much work Ronald and Ajay are doing behind the scenes, I am impressed at the level of thought they are putting into even the smallest details. This talented pair are determined to continuously improve and refine their product; each purchase funds their pursuit of that ambition.

    The pricing at $10 for one year is reasonable and the developer license is a one-time fee of only $100, no further annual charges, for as many sites as you can crank out – that’s the license I bought. I am sure that if you buy the $10 license, try it out and later decide to upgrade, you could get the $10 discounted off the cost of the developer license – Ronald can correct me if I’m wrong about that.

    GravityForms is another admirable project but, personally, I think they have priced their developer license too high – $199 is no doubt worth it for some but, on balance, the numbers didn’t work out for me and I’m probably not the only person in that boat. Pricing is tricky but I suspect GravityForms would more than double their sales if they adopted something closer to AEC’s.

    So, yeah, I definitely recommend purchasing AEC and, of course, using Jeffro’s affiliate link will allow you to support all the hard work that goes into this website and the podcast, it would be win for all of us if he could afford to devote more time to WordPress.

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  3. @donnacha | WordSkill

    Thank you Donnacha for your kind words. I’m glad you think we’re doing things right on our side.

    We’re striving to have our subscribers involved in the development process. So instead of building the plugin the way we want it, we listen to the users. As a result, I feel the users have as much invested in the success of the plugin as we do.

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  4. @donnacha | WordSkill – I think the icons are ugly the way they are presented on my specific comment form. I’d rather just add a button that says Proofread to the existing buttons. I don’t think this would detract from people using the checker. As for the other icon, I’m not sure how to represent that in a different way. Preferably, I’d like to put it in the lower right hand corner of the comment text area but that may be too much work.

    The pricing is extremely reasonable. However, I’d be willing to pay $25.00 a year for something like Ajax Edit Comments. I think Ronald is doing himself a disservice by charging so low. But, if the model is working for him, he shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken.

    As for GravityForms, the people purchasing the dev licenses generally have nothing but astounding things to say and when you think about it. $199.00 for a dev license that gives you unlimited site usage, support, and upgrades with the cherry on top being the current and future add-ons, GravityForms provides all the means necessary to pay for itself in a couple of projects. Probably only one project depending on how much you charge clients. I think their price is acceptable. Also, since it’s not too low, it gives them a little bit of advantage of scaling things at the pace of popularity/growth of the plugin instead of charging so low, too many people grab on and turn their support system into trash.

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  5. @Jeffro – like I say, pricing is tricky, it’s impossible to guess how things will turn out exactly but there are some patterns that generally apply. One is that lower pricing tends to increase the number of people who will go ahead and buy a product. Dropping your price by 20% might increases unit sales by 30%.

    As we all know, in the case of physical goods there are material, transport and labor costs etc associated with each unit produced, so, there’s a hard limit to how far you can discount and that 30% increase might not actually result in a profit when you take into account the 20% increase in costs.

    In the case of downloadable software, however, the per unit cost above your initial investment is almost zero, so, the 30% increase would definitely translate into higher profits. There is also the momentum effect as more sites use your software and word spreads virally.

    You, Jeff, would pay $25 per year for AEC but, don’t forget, you are a longtime user who was introduced to it as a free plugin, you were already familiar with it, it was already a feature of your site. Your busy site has lots of comments, it is a commercial enterprise and you are a rich Westerner for whom there is not all that much difference between $10 and $25 – I have heard that the average American spends that much on potato chips everyday. The vast majority of WP users have never installed AEC, cannot be as certain of its value, do not make money from their sites and are not as rich as you.

    So, dramatically more people would pay $10 than would pay $25, and each use of AEC raises its profile and causes a ripple effect. For AEC, momentum and making more money overall are more important than squeezing as much as they can out of one specific user.

    You say that the people who have paid $199 for GravityForms are happy with their purchase but, if you think about it, that statement is misleading: you cannot deduce that something is priced correctly simply because the customers who have decided to buy it are happy with the price they paid because, obviously, each one of them weighed up the pros and cons before buying and, in each case, came to the conclusion, beforehand, that it was worth $199. That is not a valid sample group, what about all the people went through the same decision process and concluded that it would NOT worth $199 to them?

    Again, I would argue that the potential market for paid WordPress plugins extends well beyond rich Westerners and professional designers. The newly emergent paid plugins market should take a clue from the blockbuster success of the Apple’s Appstore and price at the impulse level of $10 or lower for individual licenses and $100 or lower for dev licenses, and substantially less for less substantial plugins.

    I may be wrong, none of us will know until it is tried, but if these companies want to unlock the greater market and convert users who are accustomed to free plugins to the idea of paying for them, they need to think big and price small.

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  6. @donnacha,

    Interesting point about us “rich” westerners :)

    Most of the people who have purchased AEC have been from outside the U.S.

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  7. @Ronald – the phrase “Westerners”, believe it or not, doesn’t mean just the US, “the West” is a generic term referring to the Western world, or Western culture or civilization, comprising of of Europe, the Americas (North and South America), Israel, Australia, New Zealand and, perhaps surprisingly, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea.

    So, unless AEC has been a massive hit in Africa, China, Russia, India and South East Asia, it is probably fair to say that it’s market, like that of most paid software, is overwhelming centered on the Western world.

    Even if you take a US-centric view (and, having lived in the US, I understand how unaware Americans can be of the rest of the world), I believe that pricing downwards disproportionately expands the number of potential customers, even within America, who decide to go ahead and click Buy.

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  8. … but, of course, I think that AEC is already priced very effectively for what it does, $10 per year is a price that travels.

    I am talking more about developers who base their prices on what their good friends and most enthusiastic customers tell them that their product is worth. This is a mistake because of course your friends are going to praise you to the skies, and their sense of money is based on their own relatively high wages.

    Unfortunately, they aren’t the people a paid plugin seller should be trying to address, he should be trying to connect with the far larger number of people who don’t know him, don’t know much about his product and whose attention he will get for only a few brief minutes before they surf on to the next website, never to return. AEC’s low entry price is certainly attractive enough to make most potential customer’s investigate it a little deeper and you are smart to emphasis that price on your main page.

    Some developers let their pride get in the way and would rather make less money selling a more expensive plugin to far fewer people, unaware of how big the potential market could be.

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