WP All Import Is Moving Away from Lifetime Licenses

WP All Import announced it will soon change its business model to annual licenses. The product, which includes free and commercial versions, allows users to import/export XML, CSV, or Excel data and integrates with more than a dozen popular plugins. Since its founding in 2011, WP All Import has been sold with unlimited, lifetime licenses. The product has more than 12,000 customers.

In a statement published this week, WP All Import explained that the company went with lifetime licenses from the beginning because most commercial plugins were sold this way when they started in 2011 and customers began to expect it.

Some companies have had a rocky transition out of providing lifetime licenses, as the community saw with Delicious Brains’ acquisition of ACF in June 2021. Although they assured existing customers that they would honor their lifetime licenses, a few months later on Black Friday, Delicious Brains began urging them to purchase annual subscriptions. For many companies transitioning away from old pricing strategies, lifetime license holders become dead weight, requiring support without putting revenue back into the company. WP All Import has found success with offering lifetime licenses for 11 years, but the company is making sure its new customers will be paying every year:

We are not making this change because because lifetime licenses are inherently unsustainable or support costs are spiraling out of control.

WP All Import is a profitable business, support costs generally follow revenue up and down, and lifetime licenses for WordPress plugins are absolutely a sustainable business model.

We are moving to annual licenses simply because we will make more money.

“While lifetime licenses work, annual licenses are absolutely more profitable over the long term. This is why you see almost every piece of software on earth now being sold with one.”

WP All Import is one of the few remaining companies that is still using a lifetime license pricing strategy. The company noted that over the past ten years, the budgets for WordPress projects have grown along with the quality of their software.

Generally, the response to the news has been positive. Some are considering purchasing lifetime licenses before they are no longer offered. One customer said he appreciated the honest communication but bristled at the notion that “people just expect to have to renew their software licenses.”

“No,” developer Patrick van Kouteren said. “It is being forced upon consumers because it generates more revenue for the business selling it.”

WP All Import assured existing customers that it will continue to honor their lifetime licenses and offer the same level of support. If the company releases new products in the future, lifetime license holders will be eligible to purchase annual licenses for these products at discounted rates. WP All Import said the company will be making these changes “sometime later this year or next year.”

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9 responses to “WP All Import Is Moving Away from Lifetime Licenses”

  1. Glad that I don’t have to worry about this; will not be moving anything from lifetime to subscription if I can help it. I would rather pay for new major versions/upgrades as I need them, not as a constant drip on my income. I dropped InDesign when Adobe switched to subscription (after CS4), and survived with an older dedicated laptop until switching to Affinity Publisher for a one-time fee.

    Maybe I’m just a dinosaur; as my work is for grassroots advocacy groups with limited budgets, I am not constrained by having to keep up with big commercial entities.

  2. Good move and one that’s long overdue. If WordPress and the products surrounding it want to be sustainable for the long run then shifting away from “lifetime” licenses is a must.

    Remember back when manual renewals and 20-35% renewal rates were the norm? Anything above that renewal rate was a dream. That was a la ~2014-15. Fast-forward 7-years and look at how much the ecosystem has grown!

    That’s not due to lifetime or manual renewed licenses. It’s due to annual automatic renewals.

    Sustainable businesses build better software, support customers better, and bring more benefit to the wider marketplace.

  3. Annual subscriptions should come with an “update only, no support” plan that’s cheaper than the regular subscription. Dealing with so many subscriptions is an expensive affair. Most of the time I use good quality, well documented software that doesn’t need much support. I will be happy to pay a lower fee just for the updates.

    • In theory not a bad idea, but creates a bad experience. If you pay for updates only, and get an update that causes an issue (because in WP, that’s going to be a given at some point), then you need support. And now you’re mad because you have to give more money to get support. And some folks will think that the business does this “on purpose” to get them to pay for higher plans, etc. etc.

      Best to keep it simple. Support & updates.

  4. lifetime plans never work out at the end.

    Support plans wouldn’t really work for me. As the expression goes “I know my stuff”.

    For the most part, Installation/integration, at the beginning. Reading the documentation helps me out. I rarely ever use the support of a plugin/theme.

    I do not think annual licensing would work for me. There has to be something better for me.
    I have a theme from themeforest. I haven’t used it in 2-3 years. I have not renewed it. I still get updates for it.

    Think of it as your local public transit. I would get a monthly pass for unlimited usage. July and August would be questionable as I would tend to go on summer vacation. So the July and/or August monthly passes would not be worth it for me. I wouldn’t get a July and August monthly passes and just pay the $3 something to ride the few rides each of those months, if any.

  5. I think twice about every subscription based purchase I do. Rates usually go up every year as well. Let the market decide if this is the way to go forward in WP. I thought about changing my pricing to a subscription model as well. The feedback from my customers was not positive. I am still undecided if I might offer both options with the lifetime price slightly higher than the subscription.

  6. Good move and one that’s long overdue. If WordPress and the products surrounding it want to be sustainable for the long run then shifting away from “lifetime” licenses is a must.

  7. I try to buy lifetime licenses if I can, with the exception of some that I need and can’t find the replacement for. Like Elementor and SearchWP.

    However, instead of AutomateWoo, I bought WooFunnels (now known as FunnelKit) as we can essentially do the same thing, if not more with WooFunnels :)

    I previously bought a lifetime license for WP All Import. I’m hoping the cash influx from yearly licenses will help them improve the plugin

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