badger

Hi, just wondering if Spine goes on discount during events/holidays like Black Friday etc. If there are upcoming discounts I'll wait but if there aren't any then I'll just upgrade now, thanks
badger
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Nate

Sorry, we don't ever do sales/discounts. It may not be the most popular view, but I am not personally a fan of sales. They are are a psychological manipulation where a vendor lists their prices too high, then periodically lowers them to where they should really be. This encourages impulse buys and some customers feel like they got a "deal", but it's really not fair to the customers that paid the higher price. Instead of playing pricing games, I think it's better to just set a fair price based on the value provided. :)
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Nate

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trifolia

Nate さんが書きました:Sorry, we don't ever do sales/discounts. It may not be the most popular view, but I am not personally a fan of sales. They are are a psychological manipulation where a vendor lists their prices too high, then periodically lowers them to where they should really be. This encourages impulse buys and some customers feel like they got a "deal", but it's really not fair to the customers that paid the higher price. Instead of playing pricing games, I think it's better to just set a fair price based on the value provided. :)
This is not a popular opinion either, but you absolutely nailed it and earned my immense respect. I am more likely to take you more seriously as a software developer when you subscribe to a view like that. In fact I registered for this forum just to say that.


A tirade incoming, reader beware. Tl;dr: I am displeased with software discounts.

As a software "consumer" I absolutely hate the marketing mindgames based on artificial price fluctuations, the main function of which is to induce stress in potential buyers so that they waste energy on actively keeping track of periodical sales which go in cycles and are predictable enough to motivate conscious effort to keep tracking them, but unpredictable enough to maintain the constant state of stress caused by the psychological need of maximizing the return of investment, i.e. buying cheap. It's a form of psychological manipulation, just as you say.

The point about catering to impulse -buyers is a bullseye as well. It's kind of a sad state of affairs that it's become the norm to depend your business on selling to customers who don't need your product. Artificial pricing fluctuations are just a way to broaden the demographic to include as many people with some money on bank account as possible, which in turn is akin to treating your customers as cows. I also suspect it won't benefit the quality of support when you get 100 requests/complaints from dabblers, as opposed to 10 from serious users who are more likely to give useful information and help in resolving the problem and home in on bugs.

Because time-limited software discounts have become such a mundane event, there are huge mass sales held by vendors/retailers, often synchronized with other sellers, that climbing your product up the ladder of visibility to be discovered by the binge-buying software hoarders has become a race to the bottom. Not only is the behavior stupid from both parties (producers, and users, of the software), it also devalues the work of software developers and the time of software users, which beings me to the next - I think most important - point...

People generally seem to be blind to the fact that this phenomenon has personal costs. All the money you think you're saving by actively tracking product discounts and hunting flash sales, is costing you a lot of your mental resources and time which you'll never get back, unlike that petty money you think you saved buying something you didn't need in the first place. You've also become a marketing tool for the software companies and resellers, generating activity and discussion around the products and promoting the same irrational behavior in others by turning deal-hunting into a meta-game and source of reward in and by itself. It is the same consumerist endorphin doping behavior that the contemporary Christmas season craze symbolizes, just now evenly spread out through the entire year, sequenced by all kinds of secondary or even pseudo-holidays that can be invented and introduced on demand to satisfy the increasing need of software developers' decreasingly valued work to reach the decreasingly valued customer. The pace must be stepped up and prices driven lower to increase per-head sales. Worst of all, the stress is no longer restricted to the Christmas season, and returning the market behavior to some sane levels of normal is an uphill battle after the consumerist mindset and manipulation thereof has become the standard mode of operation, because the consumer will resist giving up the benefits they (think they) have.

When the dabbling impulse-buyer buys $800 "worth of" (MSRP) software at $200, they proudly proclaim "I just saved $600!" and the dopamine system in their brain learns to enforce the behavior leading to the release of endorphins induced by "securing resources" by such successful acts of maximizing profits. No - you dork - you just parted with $200. Maybe you shouldn't teach your brain to reward spending money on a whim.
trifolia
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Nate

Haha, awesome rant. I agree 100%!

Related, we also don't do subscriptions. I won't ever buy subscription software and so I won't sell my software that way. $20/month may sound low and so easy to get into, until you realize in 3 years you've spent $720 and have to keep spending to continue using the software. There's a reason almost all software sales have switched to a subscription model -- they can make more money. It's certainly not because it's better for the customer.

That said, some subscription models are more reasonable, for example when they allow you to continue using the older version of the software. However from the perspective of a relatively small software company, I don't really want a portion of my users on old versions. They will suffer bugs and I will suffer their problems and bug reports.

It also is at odds with how a small company has to do testing. We test as much as we can, but it pales in comparison to the testing our users can do in a much shorter amount of time. Our approach is to release often and fix bugs rapidly. This means a user may have a higher chance of encountering a bug, but it is fixed so fast that fewer users suffer from any given bug. That approach benefits from having everyone on the latest version.

A lot of other software, mostly that from massive companies, has very long release cycles. That means a bug won't be fixed any time soon, so it is likely to be experienced by many or even most users. You'd think the huge teams they have developing and testing would be better, but actually the long release cycles are not good. They inevitably let a bug through and a lot of suffering ensues.

The problem with providing all updates for life is how do we pay for continued development? That's why we have a higher and recurring cost for big companies. It's a "Robin Hood" approach, where individuals pay a fair amount once but large corporations who can easily absorb a higher cost without even noticing have to pay more. All of this is not quite perfect, but it does avoid a lot of the problems with other approaches.
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Nate

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