Featured Looks like some people are trying to be overnight millionaires selling Xenforo 2 mods!

Discussion in 'XenForo' started by Soulwatcher, Dec 5, 2017 at 1:26 AM.

  1. Steve

    Steve Administrator

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    You would be amazed...within minutes if someone can’t find their download or understand they have to input a domain to download it’s straight to PayPal.
     
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  2. Ummagumma

    Ummagumma Adherent

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    That's really disappointing to know.. That must be extremely disheartening and frustrating.
     
  3. Bionic Rooster

    Bionic Rooster Enthusiast

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    So it's not really that big an issue and there are extenuating issues that possibly cause this apparent conflict with your product or support?
     
  4. Belazor

    Belazor DragonByte Technologies Programming Director

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    I don't know about Steve but at least on our end, PayPal has gotten a LOT better with actually reading & investigating the claim before just saying "eff it, give them the money back".

    In the past, literally 100% of the time this would happen, PayPal would remove the money from our account and refund it, even if we had the proof that the customer was assisted. Not only that, but if the customer paid us by card, PayPal would also charge us the fee the card company charged them for the reversal, so we actually lost money. But in the past year, maybe year and a half, we started noticing a change. Now, more often than not the claim goes in our favour and if it doesn't, PayPal actually lets us keep the money while still refunding the customer.

    You can say whatever you want about PayPal, but at least they've been good to us lately. Maybe it's an account age / number of valid transactions that pushed us over some form of threshold where our claims now receive attention by a human, I don't know.

    Quite possibly. It's certainly not the kind of issue we had with stolen credit cards back when we first launched. We had to introduce a system where only users with verified emails could purchase, and downloads could only be accessed if the forum email matched the PayPal payer email. Once that system was in place, credit card fraud essentially vanished overnight.
    EDIT: Editing to add, if the emails differ, a verification link is sent to the PayPal payer email address. The user isn't just permanently locked out :D

    Like I said in my previous post, I do admit there's more we could do to alert users to the fact that their query has been answered. Since we rely on thread subscriptions, it's possible the user removed the subscription or opted out of all site mailings and thus didn't receive the email. That being said, that doesn't excuse not trying to find your own thread via your profile, but still, I can see how in some rare cases, the user wouldn't have received the email regarding the reply.
     
  5. Ryan Ashbrook

    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer

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    While any professional developer worth their time will have experience in many server configurations, and how they work, unfortunately this is simply not something that can be easily predicted 100% of the time.

    I've been in this field for over a decade and a half and I am still met with issues caused by various server configurations - the server configuration itself isn't wrong, though, and the software needs to accommodate. Such as in load balanced environments, Apache with Nginx as a reverse proxy, Apache alone, Nginx alone, Litespeed - then consider various versions of PHP (for me, 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, and now 7.2 must all now be supported) each with their own compatibility issues - particularly with PHP configuration when it boils down to things like max_input_vars - the default here is 1,000, so the software must support at least that while also allowing for an interface that is easy to use. The resolution, here, is not to increase the setting but to handle the saving of data differently so that any setting for this can be used (which, when the limit is hit, is actually quite obscure as PHP just drops the data rather than throw an error).

    Then consider (in my case) the various versions of MySQL - not only supporting 5.1, 5.6, and 5.7 of MySQL itself, but it's various drop-in forks such as MariaDB, Percona, and so forth.

    And then you have to also consider things like Amazon S3 for storage, Cloudfront / any other CDN that can be potentially used, Memcache, Redis, Xcache, and other extensions that can increase performance.

    Then there's cPanel, Plesk, and the other various control panels that do their own various oddities that may be right for the server itself, but the software needs to account for.

    Then there's client-side things that need considering too, which others have mentioned:

    • What browser is currently being used
    • What version of the browser is it, and where do you draw the line for support
    • What OS is currently being used
    • What resolution is currently being used - particularly important in the age of responsive design, and breakpoints can be triggered too early if it's a non-standard resolution
    • Is JavaScript enabled, and if not, how to graceful degrade the experience
    It's really quite difficult to get perfectly right, right out of the gate. Less so for full on production teams, but even more-so for add-on developers, because they are also confined to the software they are building the add-on for. Then you have to also consider bugs in the main software, the version of the software the add-on is installed on, when to cut off version support, etc. If time was spent testing and specifically looking for every scenario possible, then it would take ages to release anything. That isn't to say developers shouldn't test as much as possible, but there is a limit and not every developer will have the resources to set up test cases for every scenario imaginable pre-release. And that is one of the driving factors in charging for something - how much time and resources is this going to take, while still being able to make a profit off of my efforts.

    It really is.
     
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  6. Bionic Rooster

    Bionic Rooster Enthusiast

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    With the amount of feedback/information available on many support forums like this one which is removed from subjective production support sites, if a buyer doesn't do due diligence it can hardly be the fault of the producer of these products.
    And if there is an issue of functionality it again is the responsibility of the complainant to do proper follow up.
     
  7. Ryan Ashbrook

    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer

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    Unfortunately, in the case of PayPal, the buyer is almost always favored in the case of a digital product.
     
  8. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

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    Not only that, but there's also the issue of ignorance eating up support time for things outside of your control as coder. For example you make an addon to support a caching system such as Redis, and rather than people asking for support for how to setup configuration variables for Redis in XF, they take up your time with something along the lines of:

    Customer: I followed the configuration instructions but it doesn't work!
    Coder: Do you have Redis installed?
    Customer: How can I tell if it's installed?
    Coder: run redis-cli from the command prompt to see if it's there.
    Customer: How do I run something from the command prompt?
    and so on.

    Then there's the classic:
    Low price, service, quality. Pick any two, you cannot have all three unless the developer wants to give away their time for free. The iPhone comes to mind.
     
  9. Belazor

    Belazor DragonByte Technologies Programming Director

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    T.R.I.G.G.E.R.E.D.

    User: I received an error.
    Me: ...what error?
    User: An error message when I clicked that thing. Fix it.
    Me: Do you... do you have the error message?
    User: No. When is this going to be fixed?
    Me: *sobbing to myself and wondering how feasible it is to become a high functioning alcoholic*

    Sadniss Everteem :(
     
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  10. Maddox

    Maddox Moderator

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    It must be a living nightmare being a developer - what a poor choice of occupation has been made.

    I understand that the digital world is forever changing shape - being a website developer I see this all the time and I have to brush up, accept the changes and, perhaps, update my software or plugins to allow me to continue developing. I didn't foresee this when I first started out 20 years ago, but hey, that was my choice so I have to suck it up and get on with it; that was my choice and there is no one else to blame but me if it isn't working out. I don't moan to my clients when they call me on the phone at 8:00pm to ask for a change, I just do it. Keeps the client happy and it took all of ten minutes of my time, for which I did not make a charge. Happy client keeps coming back to me for changes or updates, or some graphic design and I make enough to keep the wolves from the door.

    I understand that developing in PHP is more demanding that developing in HTML (although I do have to use some PHP and JavaScript here and there to accommodate a function) but that's a choice developers make. If you were developing for a wide range of platforms I could understand more that there are a lot of hurdles to overcome, but when you are developing for one system only, well you either know what you're doing or you don't and relying on clients to be unpaid Beta testers for something they have paid for and trusted that you knew what you were doing, well that's not a good way to conduct business.

    Of course there will be some ignorant people out there (growing daily) who will push your buttons and sour the dish, but we all know they are out there and that we have to deal with them as best we can. I've had my share of them and have been burnt a few times, but that's life.

    I do respect that it isn't easy to foresee every single eventuality, but if there is an error in the code you produce or something needs tweaking to ensure one of those unforeseen problems never bothers you again, then you have a duty of responsibility to make it right, especially when you have charged for your wares.

    However, back to the topic of charging. Of course you can charge what you like, but if you want a large customer base from which you can sell upcoming wares, then price your wares at affordable rates. I've looked at several add-ons (and plugins for my own use as a website developer) and I've walked away because the price was overcooked. I'll give an example - one plugin developer who produces good plugins (I have several) created a new plugin that added a 'Go to top' feature priced at $95+VAT (that's another 20% on top), ludicrous! I asked why and was told that everything they produce is priced the same; crazy!

    If you want a good client base from which to make a living from then you need to really take a good hard look at your stock and see how many you are shifting and then consider how many more you could shift if the price was lower. OK, the more clients you have the chance of a greater number of customer service requests will grow - that's to be expected so you have to allocate a little more time to this - but, as I said previously, if you do your research correctly and test, test, test your wares (make your Beta's free with time limits built in) then the number of support requests should at least be manageable.

    No one said it would or will be easy, but as a developer you made the conscious choice to be in this business - it comes with all the glory, rewards and warts and all with it.

    ;)
     
  11. Belazor

    Belazor DragonByte Technologies Programming Director

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    Sorry, but this has invalidated a lot of the opinions you hold on this, in my eyes.

    If you want to include time limits in your betas, you have to use encoding software like Zend or IonCube. Not only can these encryption mechanisms be cracked, but it also severely limits your testing potential as you have to make sure these encoders are available (which they are not, by default).

    Also, you said you're not a developer in your own words (HTML is not a programming language so you would be more of a designer than a developer, but that may be semantics), so I can't say I fully understand what experience you have in the field of addon development for forum software? Do you have years of experience running a 3rd party addon development company, and you draw on that experience to make your claims and your statements?

    I'm not trying to be hostile, everyone has the right to their opinions, but I think it's important to highlight whether someone speaks from any level of experience in the industry, or whether they are posting conjecture based on their experience in a related industry. No-one who runs a 3rd party addon development company has ultimate authority on the facts, there are plenty of business models that work for other companies, but as far as I can tell, you're not among said companies.

    I also think it's very misleading that you keep saying "if developers just test, it's fine" (paraphrased), when your job of testing is infinitesimally easier than ours. If we do some quick napkin maths, you would need to test your work on Chrome (Win/Mac/Linux/Android), Firefox (Win/Mac/Linux), IE8, IE9, IE10, IE11, Edge, Safari (Mac/iOS), Opera (Win/Mac), Android built-in browser (is that still a thing or has that been replaced by Chrome now?).
    That's roughly 17 combinations of browsers, perhaps 20-25 if we add some of the 3rd party browsers for Android, some legacy versions here and there. Let's double that amount of combinations to account for minimum resolution and mobile (responsive) view tests.

    So with roughly 50 combinations, you've achieved 100% test coverage and you know for a store cold fact that unless the client messes with the HTML/CSS, or a new browser version is released that radically changes the rendering engine, what they have paid for will work. Am I wrong in any of these calculations, have I grossly underestimated the amount of testing you're having to do? If I have, then congratulations, now you know how you sound when you say "oh you're only developing for one system, if you can't even test that..." :)

    Perhaps, and this is just a theory, perhaps our industries are similar, but different enough that you should consider deferring to people with extensive experience in the industry such as Ryan when it comes to highlighting the flaws in your "if developers just test, it's fine" argument :)
     
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  12. Maddox

    Maddox Moderator

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    I never said it was simple or easy, but this is the choice developers have made and therefore you ought to know what is expected in terms of hurdles. Sure there is a lot to take in and be considered, but again, this is your choice and if you know your trade then you should know what is expected.

    Yes, I do go on about testing, it's (IMHO) the route that ought to be taken; you explain yourself what is needed to be taken into consideration so you know what is standing in front of you. Of course changes occur, browsers make changes and you have to adapt to those changes. It's not easy, but if you have done your homework and tested on all that needs to be tested and it works, then what happens after is down to end user intervention; that is something that has to be taken into consideration too and that is where customer service comes into play - if you can't allocate time for customer service then you shouldn't be in the business of supplying paid for wares to clients; and this isn't aimed at anyone personally, this is a global effect.

    I don't presume to know what it is to be an add-on developer, I look at this from a client perspective. When I buy something I expect it to work, that is has been tested and tried in various environments and it is safe to use. If it isn't, then I expect the developer/company to put it right. Product recalls are a frequent happening of every day life, companies make mistakes or they don't do enough research and so a product is recalled; that is a failing on the part of the company and not the client (Samsung and their exploding batteries is a case). So, when anyone develops something for XF or IPS or any of the other software iterations out there, they should know the minefield that they have to plough through to ensure that a product is fit for purpose.

    As to the time limit issue, that was just something off the top of my head. But even if Betas had no time limit, clients would want the finished and polished product that was as bug free as it could be (nothing in this world is perfect). So instead of picking at minor points and ignoring the major points, from a client's perspective, then perhaps some progress could be made.

    Yes, my industry is different, but it still needs to crafted with care, which is why I always give my clients (and their clients) the opportunity to play with what is being developed (there is a distinct difference between a website designer and a website developer) so that they are 100% satisfied with the results before going live. Perhaps this is something that could be considered - a try before you buy - such as the trials that XF, IPS and Woltlab give so you get an insight as to what you're buying; that doesn't imply that it will work with whatever configuration a client is using, but when you give requirements that is your base line.

    I'm not getting at developers per-se, rather that often prices deflect would be clients and so does a lack of customer service; both play an important role and with the release of XF2, people are already beefing about the costs they will incur because many updated add-ons need to be purchased again, and I believe that was the point of this topic.

    ;)
     
  13. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated ass-hat

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    Frequently referred to as perceived value. ;)
     
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  14. Belazor

    Belazor DragonByte Technologies Programming Director

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    Thanks, I wasn’t quite sure about the correct term for it :)
     
  15. Anton Chigurh

    Anton Chigurh Ultimate Badass

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    A word that's thrown around carelessly way too much, so that its actual meaning is blunted. If someone can price a product or service according to the demands by the market for that product or service, that's not greed.

    So I ask you - who's gonna appoint him/herself the arbiter of what is "more than they need?" Who's gonna set that criteria, and apparently that concept is preferable to you instead? That's despotisim.
    If they can do that, more power to them! How does that harm YOU, or anyone else?
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Administrator

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    Millionaires from a forum software add-on is so far reaching it's pathetic. If you can't justify it for your own site then obviously it isn't for you. Developers will price things out of reach for the norm simply because the functions require advanced setups and configurations that a majority don't understand or can't use. A huge client base isn't always the target, so lets get that out there. Some things are just not meant to be a feature for all.

    Alfa1Alfa1 could easily price his add-ons that have been built from scratch that cost $2k+ for $150 per license and still garner a decent income from that. $150 might seem like he's being "greedy" but what it does is eliminate the ones that do not actually need that feature. Lets face it, (going to fib a bit probably but) 60% of forum admins could do just fine with zero add-ons to start. What makes a site it's own thing is being unique with CONTENT and not throw a crap ton of stuff in front of a new visitor. Alfa's site is long standing well & established and most likely has 1k+ daily user base so keeping that userbase interested is going to cost, you guessed it MONEY....

    I've seen people say Bob's add-ons (AMS, RMS, Showcase...) are priced high. Well I have to say I know for a fact that his prices are really low compared to the feature set you get with said add-ons. I've seen and used his add-ons for years now, clients sites as well as my own playgrounds, and the power behind them are truly awesome.

    I've limited my postings here recently because there seems to be this thing against developers that if you don't agree with the 1% the pitch forks are coming out.

    XF taking to long to release the 2.0 version, to developers not giving free updates to 2.0 add-ons and now people being greedy for making a dime. Yeah...Have a good day. :cautious:
     
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  17. Soulwatcher

    Soulwatcher Devotee

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    To each their own if your happy selling $150 add-ons to a few people great. But if you price it at a reasonable price and sell it to thousands of people (I really don't know how many forums are out there) then you're going to make 10x the money. And when I started this thread I never said I wanted free add-ons, I am willing to pay. What I said was the price of some of the add-ons is insane for what they do. And if your a person where money is no object they might seem like chump change. But as for me, I value my money and I am not going to spend it on an overpriced add-on!

    P.S. People are not giving away free add-ons with Xenforo 2.0 because they are looking to make a quick buck. And as time goes on a lot of these paid add-ons will be free or reduced to a reasonable price!
     
  18. Maddox

    Maddox Moderator

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    I have to agree with SoulwatcherSoulwatcher. This isn't a really a witch hunt against developers; many people (including myself) appreciate what developers do to provide the missing features that we need. I've spent an absolute fortune on add-ons and I have great respect for many developers in both the XF and the IPS camps. I've had exceptional customer service and abysmal customer service and that's something that happens in any line of business; I've had both the fortune and misfortune to be associated with such businesses.

    If a developer is in business and that's their only line of business to earn an income then I would suggest a review of their prices in comparison to their sales and income. If they're happy with their lot, then it's up to the developer to charge whatever they want and if someone wants their wares then they have the choice to buy or walk away. I'm in the camp that will walk away, because I too, like a developer, have to ensure that I am comfortable with what I can afford to splash out in relation to what I take in, in order to live. The way things are today, I cannot afford the relatively high prices I would have pay again in order to use XF2. It's the same with any company I would like to buy from, if I really want it then I have to sacrifice something else that is desired or needed.

    The way that forums are performing nowadays is, perhaps, one of the reasons why prices are on the rise and more people are thinking hard whether it is worth the time and the outlay for very little, if anything, in return. I am, of course, speaking of new forums, not ones that have been around for ages and have a large user base or following. Not every forum rakes in revenue - in fact I would presume them to be in the minority.

    Developers are never going to become overnight (or forever more) millionaires by selling their add-ons, but if they want more clients then I really do believe that they should take a long hard look at their pricing policies. But, at the end of the day, it's up to them.

    I, for one, will not be spending any more of my hard earned money on add-ons - so there is one less client out there now; I wonder how many more there are?

    ;)
     
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  19. PoetJC

    PoetJC ❤ Jacq Owns The Beanstalk ❤

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    Hmmmm... I can definitely appreciate the amount of time, creativity and energy that goes into making premium functionality for any forum platform. So I'm not mad at the developers. I do see the original point of contention and have to everso slightly agree with SoulwatcherSoulwatcher. Back in the day - the same functionality would be actually shared with the community for free. I miss those days. Welcome to capitalism I suppose and more pointedly welcome to the Xenforo marketplace. Millions is quite the stretch though. Thousands? Perhaps not so much.

    As a lover of dollars though, all I can say to the premium developers is kudos: Make that money! While I may not be shelling out the dough for the add-ons - obviously others will if they appreciate the functionality. Nothing wrong with that IMO. Although feel free to send yours truly ON-THE-HOUSE, complimentary licenses if you so please and I'll promise to extol the virtues of your genius as a thanks. :D

    J.
     
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  20. doubt

    doubt Tazmanian

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    It's not against you, Steve.
    I certainly agree with PoetJCPoetJC :
    $25 for a good theme is a bargain, I like them and happily pay it.

    pixex.PNG
     
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