1. Oli Dale

    Thanks for the write-up Sarah,

    I think a lifetime plan or so-called “unlimited” plans are completely unsustainable for hosting companies ( like the example you linked) as their customers will continue to use resources long after they’ve been paid the initial amount.

    With our lifetime plan at $199, that’s essentially 4 years of access and support at our regular price – we find that some users will initially need some support but after that they are fine on their own. The only thing might be bug reports which we welcome anyway to improve our theme offerings.


  2. nphaskins

    Simple themes ABSOLUTELY = less support.

    I hired a support person and she’s barely clocking hours in our support forum. She’s clocking half of what I budgeted out. We get, on average, 1-2 support queries a week, at the same time as themes selling daily.


  3. Karen

    I’m a member of iThemes/Builder. This is my fourth year. I needed LOADS of support at the beginning. Virtually none in the last 2 years. But that yearly fee is worth it to me to know the first rate support is there when i need it from a team that knows it’s own themes and framework. So I wonder about a one time fee. Is it a death knell — or could it really work? I think it could work – and I’d think if they offer an upgrade to the 49. option, that would be a great way to put your toe in the water and upgrade when you need the higher support level. Best of luck to them. They do make very good-looking themes.


  4. David McCan

    I have paid the 3-5 year premium for lifetime membership for 4 product groups (2 themes and 2 plugin sets) and in the first year logged 1 support request. I have purchased the lifetime membership because who knows where they will be financially in a few years and this way the sites these products are used on are more future proofed. Yes, in every case the theme or plugin would continue working after the first year, but since updates for security and WordPress changes are required, that is only a short term reprieve.

    I can see the point that support costs might get out of balance. I wouldn’t have a problem with lifetime upgrades but a year of support. Make adding additional support terms affordable in case they are needed later on would assure me I could get help in an emergency and keep support from becoming a burden for the company. There really are lots of options for pricing and support. It does not have to be either or.

    For what its worth, I often find solutions in the forums from other users and previous posts. Good plugins and themes are often featured in blogs and how-tos. Building a community of happy users, good documentation, and making support forums and documentation easy to search also helps.

    I’m on my way to checkout ThemeFurnace.


  5. leokoo

    Thanks for sharing :) For one, most of the time we don’t use support on themes, rather, we help troubleshoot the error when there is a conflict.

    But yes, will check out ThemeFurnace :) Though some theme shops are saying it’s unsustainable, look at how StudioPress is doing. And even ElegantThemes has decided to go on board with lifetime licenses. There’s a fine balance between a well made theme (which sells well, and needs less support) and one which has tons of short codes on the home page, just because they want to be everything to everyone.

    Finally, subscription based theme shops are ok, if the prices are reasonable. However, those going at a few hundred and 50% renewal make it hard for small time users like us. And it prices WordPress out of the hands of the masses. Why not go for WiX or Shopify then, when we can get our hosting covered as well?

    I think there must be a balance between prices and renewal/subscription. Look at Magento’s extension. Some can be up to a few hundred bucks, with 90 days renewals. On the other hand, Open Cart’s extensions for the same feature can be as low as 20 bucks :)


  6. Bob Schecter

    ElegantThemes has set the bar pretty high. Those stepping into the market to compete with them, need to pay attention, and do better …. this is not better.


  7. Krystian Podemski (@podemski)

    Very optimistic approach but let’s be realistic – now he’ll catch many customers, and a year or two later when he see that there is no such growth he will begin to think of how to gain more dollars.


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