epounds

On Sync 2.0's Pricing Model

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Hello everyone,

 

I want to ensure that all those here understand that we’ve been following all your feedback; every post in the forum is read and discussed, so please know that we are listening. We want our teams to participate actively in the forum, but we also make the ask that discussion remains constructive and does not turn hostile.  

 

I’d like to provide some additional context around our thinking behind rolling out Sync 2.0’s new pricing model, which has been discussed here.

 

From the start, we did not want to pursue an ad-based model. And our mission is to not require the collection of user information to be used for financial benefit. Indirect monetization models may sometimes seem like a great deal on the surface, but it means you have to give up a part of your life. Unlike many internet companies, with Sync, you are fully in control and the required relationship you have to have with the company is minimal.

 

The free edition of Sync 2.0 does not monetize a user in any way. So the business model we chose was an annual subscription focused on Sync Pro.

 

We chose subscription pricing (over perpetual licenses) so that we can continuously improve the software and offer quicker releases; periodically rolling out new features that will be of value to users. So instead of high-cost entry price points and upgrade costs every 12 to 18 months, then the added cost of premium support agreements, we chose a simple, all-in, per user/per year price. For engaged users of Sync, this will result in significantly lower overall cost than with a pay-per-release model and when a new feature is developed, no matter if it’s free or premium, we will release it. No need to hold it so we can sell you an upgrade.

 

In the end, its up to you to decide if our offerings give you value. The dev team is always working hard to deliver an excellent product. We hope that it does provide unique value and functionality. We want you to be a part of our community and again hope that you stick with us so we can prove this over time. It does not matter if you are a free user of Sync or a customer of Sync Pro, we’re going to be working as hard as we can to give you the best possible private alternative to the public cloud.

 

-Erik

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This is disingenuous at best. Companies improved their software LONG before subscriptions models were a thing. I see what you have written as basically saying, "we don't think we can make a compelling enough version 3 for people to purchase it after version 2." 

 

So we've seen two communications from Sync today, one here and one in email. The email, in particular, was insulting because it proves that you were aware that the "trial" could not be opted out of and that this was your intent. For those of us who upgraded to version 2, the end of the trial means that we must delete (from Sync) any folders we don't want to be part of the 10, since it doesn't give us the option to rearrange or switch folders off. It's just the first 10 that we added since using the earliest version of Sync, in order of when they were added. So even if I wanted to use the free version, you've gone out of your way to make it a pain in the ass. How you've handled the trial is actually worse than the 10 folder issue, so far as I'm concerned. 

 

I'm going to leave the 10 folder limit / "we won't remove features" alone right now, since you're apparently not going to address it. Feel free to prove me wrong.

 

You've accomplished one thing with your new model. You've converted many of us who were die-hard advocates of Sync into people who will go out of our way to point people in other directions.

 

Congratulations.

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Thank you for your statement.

 

I assume most users in this community understand why you decided to use a subscription model. Of course you need constant income in order to work on the product and improve it. But I think that's not the central point of the discussion.

 

While you say that once you get regular subscription fees, the software continually will improve, there's also the other side (what users are afraid of - including me): the users may pay subscription "forever" without knowing if the software will improve at all (or even get worse). That's why a paid version (one time license purchase for a specific (major) version) makes sense. If the software gains new features that people like, they will buy the new version anyway.

 

For example the 2.0-style folder are not everyone's favorite. I know many persons (including me) that prefer the key-based-1.4-folders (for their simplicity: just a secret gives access to the content - either R/O or R/W). So many people might think now, they have to pay for developments that they simply do not like or support. These users probably would not buy a new major version (I know that 1.4-style folders are still there, but the community would like to see improvements to the core functionality instead of adding more and more "useless" (from the point of view of the user) functionality).

 

Another point why I think the subscription model is not appropriate: the software is ideal for typical unattended use: sync files among family members (with no computer knowledge), with remote servers somewhere else in the world, etc. Software that runs unattended should no be dependent on a subscription (that's what many users with technical background think probably), because then again you have to monitor all nodes if their subscriptions are still valid.

 

 

The interesting point is: many users seem to be willing to pay for the software (for a major version for example), but the majority clearly states that it is not willing to support a subscription model. And I personally think the same.

 

And for the development I think it's even better if users have to pay for new versions, because than you have to listen to the users' needs (in order to get money from the users). With the subscription model the user has no influence on the development at all.

 

 

Meanwhile I also use Syncthing at the same time for 50% of my folders, and I will watch the development of both applications. Syncthing works quite stable, e.g. I never had problems that I had with BTSync (e.g. with sharing violations with Office files). But I still have to say that I prefer BTSync (actually only the 1.4-style folders).

 

I do not like the user-concept in BTSync 2.0 at all.

What I would have liked in s 2.0 Pro version: managing of remote nodes from one node (e.g. by knowing a special management-secret).

So for me personally the development goes in the wrong direction, therefore I'm simply not willing to pay a subscription that supports this "wrong" development. So there is nothing left to pay for (storage, traffic, etc.) on a regular basis.

 

 

You really should consider to change your license model.

 

 

Martin

 

 

... surface, but it means you have to give up a part of your life. Unlike many internet companies, with Sync, you are fully in control and the required relationship you have to have with the company is minimal ...

 

... So instead of high-cost entry price points and upgrade costs every 12 to 18 months, then the added cost of premium support agreements, we chose a simple, all-in, per user/per year price. For engaged users of Sync, this will result in significantly lower overall cost than with a pay-per-release model ...

 

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While I understand that income is key, future will tell whether the subscription model vs. quality of future releases will become a good relationship.

 

However, what saddens me is that a previous statement posited: "no features will be removed in 2.0." A 10-folder limit as opposed to not having this limit in version 1.4 is not "no features will be removed" in my understanding, regardless of how marketing-speak-rephrasing this gets.

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While the company should get some credits for not turning a deaf ear, and for staying tolerant when competitor products' names are mentioned here, your answer is incomplete and not exactly convincing. It's incomplete because you didn't address the 10-folder limit flip-flopping issue, but I'll leave it.
 

...

We chose subscription pricing (over perpetual licenses) so that we can continuously improve the software and offer quicker releases; periodically rolling out new features that will be of value to users.

...

 

This is really not logical. If you truely want to "continuously improve the software and offer quicker releases," you should use the regular software licensing model: charging for new purchases and major upgrades (preferably at a discount for the latter). With the subscription model, you get paid the same amount no matter how many improvements you make to the software in a year. The only incentive for "quicker releases" is to attract new subscribers. With the regular software licensing model, "quicker releases" will not only get you new users, but also new revenue from existing users. Which is more powerful should be apparent.

Software as subscription, when no substantial resources or other bona fide services are involved, is therefore an admission that one is not really planning major improvements down the road, but still wants to keep getting paid anyway. A company can do that when

1) it has a compelling product that has no peer in the market, or

2) it has a lot of current customers and it's costly for them to switch (in other words, they're trapped).

The second arguably applies to Microsoft (for Office 365), but probably not to btsync. So I guess you think you have a compelling, peerless product. Time will tell if you're right, but I guess the company is a little sheepish in taking this position, for otherwise you don't have to impose the 10-folder limit, which is there for no technical justification but to make the Pro version more "compelling".

One other thing: the traditional licensing model is better at reaching customers in new economies. US$40 might be nothing to some, but a lot for people in the 3rd world. The traditional licensing model makes it possible for many to buy software they need because they don't have to keep pace with every paid upgrades. I do that with operation systems and many other applications. With the subscription model, I must be sure I can afford it in the long run, and more often than not, I end up not subscribing in the first place.

But perhaps you just don't care, and it's certainly your freedom not to. There's very little I can do except to stay on the free version (for that I'm truely thankful) for as long as I can, to stop promoting btsync, and to keep looking for alternatives.
 

ps.: just saw several new posts and some of my points have been made, but since I've composed it, I'm still posting it.

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I have much weaker feelings on the pricing model than others I think.

You want to charge subscription, that's your prerogative I guess.  I see no need to insist that you offer a flat rate.

At the same time, your decision is costing you my money.  There are features in Sync Pro that I think are worth paying for, but I have decided to compromise and do without specifically because I dislike software subscriptions.  My company dumped Adobe when they moved to a SAAS model, and there is plenty of other software that we don't use because it is subscription-based.  So, I want your to know that the subscription model is specifically costing you my business.

 

------

 

Separate to that, I'm all in favour of new features, but my impression is that these new features have come at the cost of stability and reliability.  I upgraded to 2.0 from v1.3.109 when it came out of beta because I assumed that dropping the beta tag meant you had eliminated all the problems introduced in v1.4.  This does NOT make me want to pay for the software.

Since upgrading, I've had more headaches with Sync than I ever had with 1.3.x.  There are so many small, counterintuitive bugs that simply weren't there before.  This isn't a place for bug reports, but, if you are trying to convince me that a subscription model makes for more production-ready software, your current record isn't convincing me.

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I've been using BitTorrent Sync for a long time now, but the decision to limit the number of folders to 10 has meant I've just spent a few hours migrating everything to one of your competitors (I won't mention names here - that's not really fair).

 

I do rather wish I hadn't upgraded to 2.0 in the first place (I didn't do enough research / pay attention to the cripple-ware 10 folder limit, unfortunately).  On the other hand, without much focus given to the 1.4 client, it's probably better I moved away now.

 

You guys had a great piece of software, and I thank you for all the years of use I got out of it.  It's a shame that the new limitations have been put in place - I understand your reasoning behind them - but personally it makes BitTorrent Sync a piece of software that no longer meets my needs (nor can I continue to recommend it).

 

Good luck, and thank you!

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Another point why I think the subscription model is not appropriate: the software is ideal for typical unattended use: sync files among family members (with no computer knowledge), with remote servers somewhere else in the world, etc. Software that runs unattended should no be dependent on a subscription (that's what many users with technical background think probably), because then again you have to monitor all nodes if their subscriptions are still valid.

 

The interesting point is: many users seem to be willing to pay for the software (for a major version for example), but the majority clearly states that it is not willing to support a subscription model. And I personally think the same.

 

I'd just like to pop in and reiterate Bob's point. I was a huge fan of BT Sync originally because it was easy to manage and sync numerous folders with family members machines, but now that I'd have to buy a perpetual license for each family member. The entire thing falls apart. I'm willing to pay a reasonable amount upfront to purchase a license for a specific version of the software to be reused in several locations. However, as it stands if I can only share 10 folders with people who don't have a license. Then BT Sync 2.0 is useless to me. So for now I'll continue to use the 1.4 version of the software and hope a better pricing model materializes.

 

Edit to add:

A thought just occurred to me that maybe a solution is to have two versions of the Bittorrent Sync client? The pay version of the client would have the full ability to do read-write sharing and update material. The free version of the client would have read-only access with 10 writeable user-specified folders and only be able to mirror data for the rest. That might be a good trade-off.

Edited by xtraeme

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The discussion about pricing model can't be separated from that on price level. The option to buy a $20000 new car with 4 yearly payments of $5000 is called an installment plan and is usually welcome. The option to buy a $20000 new car with 4 yearly payments of $20000 is called insanity.

 

The same applies to btsync. While some might object a subscription model on principle, most will probably consider it acceptable, I suspect, if the price is set at, e.g., $10 a year. The problem is, $40 is pretty much a price many consider to be about the right price, as a one-off payment, for such software.

 

But btsync is not a car; it's in a much younger and much less well-defined market. Its closest competitor feature wise is an open-source freeware. How do we decide the "right price" for btsync? Behavioral science suggests most people compare it to the market leader in the same or an adjacent market. In this case, it's probably Dropbox. Then people deduct the perceived extra cost associated with Dropbox's extra service (the online storage) to get the answer.

 

That may or may not be fair, and certainly btsync is entitled to test the market with a price it considers to be fair.

 

 

Offer a lifetime option. Extract 3x the revenue up front. This is pretty standard in the enterprise software world. If a customer will pay 3x to 5x up front, make it perpetual.

 

This will work only for people who consider the current price level is fair (acceptable), and only when "perpetual" means free supply of "all future updates". It would be more attractive if the "future" is better defined, and if people can be assured that the company won't come out with BTSync Advanced (e.g.) and say it's a new product that requires new payment/subscription. Not an easy task I must say, given the company's current image.

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Let me just echo some key points above:

 

1) You never addressed the 10 folder limit, which seems to be an even bigger issue to most people than the price.

 

2) The only good thing about a subscription model is that YOU no longer have to produce meaningful updates to get paid a yearly fee. Software should be paid for, fine. But it shouldn't be paid for in-advance. This isn't kickstarter. You're not a contractor that we pay to create a solution to our specifications. You create a product, we buy that product, you use the money raised from that product to create a new product. And so on.

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Erik,

 

Thank you for responding to the many calls for a non-subscription based model, its disappointing obviously that you see this in different terms to the many users, myself included, asking for a non subscription model.

 

BTSync has made a wonderful product in 1.4 and perhaps a slight misstep in the move to 2.0, personally I prefer the more simplistic key model in 1.4 but thats just me, also I would really love the individual folder sync in 2.0 but this is more a subjective discussion than an objective one and we all have slightly differing views.

 

As a programmer myself I'm happy to pay BTSync as it has helped me greatly and like many people here we'd like to give some payback for what BTSync has given us, after all you folks continue to work hard on this. An endless tab is not what most of us see as the solution. 

 

However, you are the guy with decision and only you know how well the new licensing model is working and time will tell if corporates are happy to shell out for your SAAS model as you have must realised it really doesn't appeal to those that have worked with you thus far. If it doesn't work you probably wont share that with us (understandably), it does seem that you are wasting an opportunity and goodwill with your licensing concept but its your choice. Personally I will stay with 1.4, it works well enough for the moment and who knows what the future will bring.

 

Sad & Disappointed

 

Kate

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Thank you for not going the user tracking/advertising route! So much software now seems to feel that it needs to be free, and it does that by selling private user information. I'm willing to pay for software I like, so I hope my upgrade is helping keep it this way!

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It really doesnt make it cheaper in the long term. if a user paid for a perpetual license for 2.0. There's a good chance a user may be using hat same version for a few years. At which point the cost for that user would be $40 for 3 years use of software. Where as a subscription plan that 3 years would costbthat user $120. Which ultimately means it costs the customers more money not less.

In that time though there may be several new versions or updates added features thats cool but its likely none of those new features or updates are of any interest to many of your customers.

In a way it's like windows. Windows 8 had all these new features and functions but for the most part none of them were wanted. And thus given the choice most people are still using windows xp or 7.

Sync could be the very same. Version 3 may have new functions or features but users won't be interested and thus continue to use Version 2.

like many I'd pay for a perpetual license for 2.0 pro. but I'm unwilling to pay for a subscription model. Where if next year version 3s new features dont appeal to me and thus I dont pay. Then version 2 stops working.

The subscription fee is the one thing thats stops me paying for sync. And thus I'm still using 1.4 and will continue to do so. Which equals lost revenue for the developers of sync

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In the end, its up to you to decide if our offerings give you value. The dev team is always working hard to deliver an excellent product. We hope that it does provide unique value and functionality. We want you to be a part of our community and again hope that you stick with us so we can prove this over time. It does not matter if you are a free user of Sync or a customer of Sync Pro, we’re going to be working as hard as we can to give you the best possible private alternative to the public cloud.

 

-Erik

 

This road I like, continue the search for a perfect product. I will, again, your customer.

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I have 25 folders... "we won't remove features" That's not correct.

I do not really like the user-concept of 2.0.

I am looking for alternatives.

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I have the feeling that much of the frustration might also be due to a misalignment between the BTS team goal and who is actually present in the forums/using BTS. For me it seems that BTS tries to move towards business/commercial customers, whereas most people in the forums are 'hobbyists'. For larger corporations it might be really nice to revoke access and such, but for private use....not so much.

 

I feel most of us in here would have been happy with a stable, reliable, simple version that uses keys to exchange folders and define access. That should have been the basis for a commercial product. Unfortunately, more features were added before a reliably working state was achieved. At this point I lost my trust in the core functionality of BTS. 

 

And at this point I do not really see why anyone would pay the $40 a year. Google and Dropbox have one terabyte for about $100 a year, but that included off-site storage, a nice web interface and most importantly - a reliable synching. I would have loved to remove my main data from the cloud, but not going to happen too soon.

 

I hope you will prove the critics wrong!

 

 

 

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Count me among those who where were singing the praises of BTSync prior to version 2. I do believe in paying for good software especially if connected with a high privacy business model. However, I'm not a fan of subscription pricing and as an example have left new subscription only Adobe products.

 

I don't have a lot of experience gauging value for monthly price except for one system which I do use... LastPass @ $12/year. Their basic service is free and only charge if you want mobile access and a couple of advanced features (e.g. 2 factor via YubiKeys). I use LastPass probably 30+ times a day auto-filling logon credentials across multiple systems, and although not perfect it has made me use long random passwords which are all different and overall it works really well. I'm much less thrilled with their mobile phone experience and actually export my LastPass data to Keepass and much prefer using Keepass2Android on mobile. I signed up for LastPass because I felt guilty getting so much daily value that a $12/year “donation” was the honorable action.

I value BTSync 1.4.x in a similar way, but don’t feel I get nearly as much daily value from its use as LastPass. In a comparative way, I’d say a paid “home user” version of BTSync would be worth about ¼ to ½ of what I’m paying for LastPass or in the $3 - $6/year range. If pushed, I might go as high as $8/year. For me, I will continue to use v1.4.x while I’m evaluating other choices.

FWIW, the free version 10 folder limit (and the rollback of promises) doesn’t bother me as much as the high yearly price for my needs as a casual user. I understand the reason for subscription for something like LastPass which has to maintain very secure servers with high availability and continue to write new software for pretty much every client in existence. I believe Adobe did it because their core software had matured to such a high level that customers weren’t seeing enough new value to justify continuous paid upgrades. Many of the new features Adobe has added are better served by dedicated specialty programs anyways. I see BT’s situation much closer to LastPass, however the pricing is just way too high.

Edited by lnh

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I value BTSync 1.4.x in a similar way, but don’t feel I get nearly as much daily value from its use as LastPass. In a comparative way, I’d say a paid “home user” version of BTSync would be worth about ¼ to ½ of what I’m paying for LastPass or in the $3 - $6/year range. If pushed, I might go as high as $8/year. For me, I will continue to use v1.4.x while I’m evaluating other choices.

 

I think that you have to factor in that Sync is much higher bandwidth. You mention $8 per year as an upper bound, that's 67 cents per month. While Sync is peer to peer, I assume that it will hit the relay servers fairly often (e.g. at work for me it does, because all incoming traffic is blocked). Bandwidth costs money, e.g. average Google Cloud egress (outgoing traffic) is roughly $.15 per gigabyte. I take Google egress costs just as an example, their rates are very competitive. This means for $.67 per month that if a customer pushes more than 4.4 GB through a relay (which doesn't seem outrageous), they are already operating at a loss. This excludes the server maintenance costs, software development costs, etc. In other words, I don't think it would be sustainable to operate BTSync at such prices.

 

Another problem of a home user subscription might be that the average cost of a home user is probably higher than a business user. Business users will primarily sync documents, while consumers sync photo and movie collections.

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I think that you have to factor in that Sync is much higher bandwidth. You mention $8 per year as an upper bound, that's 67 cents per month. While Sync is peer to peer, I assume that it will hit the relay servers fairly often (e.g. at work for me it does, because all incoming traffic is blocked). Bandwidth costs money, e.g. average Google Cloud egress (outgoing traffic) is roughly $.15 per gigabyte. I take Google egress costs just as an example, their rates are very competitive. This means for $.67 per month that if a customer pushes more than 4.4 GB through a relay (which doesn't seem outrageous), they are already operating at a loss. This excludes the server maintenance costs, software development costs, etc. In other words, I don't think it would be sustainable to operate BTSync at such prices.

 

Another problem of a home user subscription might be that the average cost of a home user is probably higher than a business user. Business users will primarily sync documents, while consumers sync photo and movie collections.

 

That isn't how it works, though. Sync doesn't send your data through Bittorrent Inc servers. All they do is relay where your end devices are, and in the case of 2.0 handle identities.You could potentially even run your own tracker and cut out BT entirely (I know of at least one project, but haven't tried it)  They don't host your data. Your data never goes through their servers. 

 

I haven't used Lastpass, but I'm guessing it stores a copy of your various site passwords and periodically checks for changes on any of your connected end devices. This is also a fairly small amount of data, but it's more than BT would have. On top of that, they have to keep those passwords VERY secure, and that adds a whole different dimension. If they slip up on their security, it's a huge problem. If customer passwords are actually stolen and used, I doubt they (Lastpass) would survive. I believe they had one issue in 2011, but to the best of my knowledge it didn't end up being that big of a deal long term. 

 

Either way, one shouldn't confused these two things. One is user hosted file synchronization, the other is your personal keys to the kingdom. 

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This one post per day limit is really annoying (and apparently, doesn't really help shutting out spammers).

 

That isn't how it works, though. Sync doesn't send your data through Bittorrent Inc servers.

 

That is how it works. Say you have two nodes that are associated to your identity, but are behind (different) firewalls doing NAT where:

 

- There is no port forwarding set up.

- uPnP is not possible.

 

there is no way for the nodes to contact each other directly (there are other situations, such as some VPNs and DS-Lite, where relaying can kick in). Also, a thing such as:

 

 

 

All they do is relay where your end devices are

 

would not solve such problems. Most firewalls are set up to use connection tracking and will only allow incoming packets from associated with connection that was established from the inside to the outside. Behind such a firewall, it is by definition *not* possible for the nodes to contact each other directly. Also, if NAT is used, the node is not addressable from the outside (which is exactly the reason you needed port forwarding in the first place).

 

The relay servers are provided for such cases. Both nodes contact the relay server (a connection initiated explicitly by the BTSync client). Say that node A contains new changes compared to node B, then node A will send the (encrypted) data to the relay server, the relay server will send the encrypted data to node B. But all packets physically go through the relay server, and this incurs bandwidth costs.

 

This situation is pretty common. E.g. in Germany, many household connections use IPv6, and IPv4 is tunneled using DS-Lite (meaning that many consumers share one IPv4 address, ergo no port forwarding for IPv4). I have such a connection at home. At the same time, my employer blocks all incoming connections (except those permitted through session tracking). This means that when I am at work, I use a relay server (I can see this by the icon in the list of peers). Everything that is synced when I am at work, goes through Bittorrent Sync's relay servers.

 

If you don't believe me and want it from the horse's mouth, here you have it:

 

http://forum.bittorrent.com/topic/34509-use-over-internet-without-relay-server/?p=101168

 

(Of course, this does not apply when direct peer to peer connections can be established, such as on a local network or when port forwarding can be set up on one of the two ends.)

Edited by isalsowrong

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This one post per day limit is really annoying (and apparently, doesn't really help shutting out spammers).

 

...

 

If you don't believe me and want it from the horse's mouth, here you have it:

 

http://forum.bittorrent.com/topic/34509-use-over-internet-without-relay-server/?p=101168

 

(Of course, this does not apply when direct peer to peer connections can be established, such as on a local network or when port forwarding can be set up on one of the two ends.)

 

Well, I've learned a few new things today. I have no argument with any of your particulars and am now irritated with myself for not understanding the technology as well as I thought. It'll be interesting to see what happens as I uncheck the relay server options under advanced settings. Since most of my use is local, probably not much. 

 

At least I still have the security of lastpass leg to stand on still. 

 

Also didn't know about the one post per day. 

 

How about they have a version that doesn't communicate with the relay server for a one time flat price? I don't want it anyway.

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I've been evaluating Sync an alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud storage services.  As part of a public sector organization, we are not supposed to use public cloud services without going through an extensive contract evaluation process.  It's a lot easier for us to implement our own private services that are under our own control.

 

The first post in this thread seems to be written without any regard for the customer's perspective.  A subscription model means customers must pay regardless of wether the software improves or not.  My organization has plenty of experience with software vendors that get bought out, decide to take their software in an entirely different direction, or suddenly and dramatically increase their support fees.  With subscription pricing we would have to continue to pay, even if we gave up running later versions of the software long ago.  If we suddenly couldn't afford to pay, we would simply be stuck.

 

My organization is much more comfortable paying an initial license fee and then paying an annual support fee that includes updates.  As long as we pay for support, we can continue to upgrade.  When we stop paying for support, the software still works, but we can't upgrade past our last supported version.  If we have to change products, this model allows us to use funds for a new product, while we transition off of the old one.

 

From my perspective as long as Sync relies on subscription pricing, it is not a viable alternative to the public cloud.

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How about they have a version that doesn't communicate with the relay server for a one time flat price? I don't want it anyway.

 

That's an interesting idea... Though, with many product, the resource-light users also pay the resource-heavy users. Take Dropbox, if everyone would be using up a full TB for $10 per month, they would probably be out of business soon. Most of their profit comes from people who pay $10 per month, but only use a far smaller amount of space (and probably strongly correlated - bandwidth).

 

Of course, since we don't have numbers, it's hard to say how things work for Bittorrent Inc. Although, if this forum is any indication, I would be worried if I were them. Potential customers (including me) clearly dislike software subscriptions. We are still in our trial, and will probably subscribe, because there is not so much competition in P2P products. But, I like to own software.

 

I am still surprised that they didn't follow the obvious way of monetizing Bittorrent Sync: continue to make it a free product, offer read-only encrypted peer hosting. I'd love to have a reliable peer that only sees encrypted data, can provide more bandwidth than our 120/5 MBit upstream home connection, and costs approximately the same as Dropbox.

Edited by iswrong

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Another (hopefully) balanced opinion:

  • Your Pro price is reasonable. I think that it's fine that you have introduced a pricing structure. It doesn't seem well thought out based on your client base, however.
  • Your approach to the changes and surrounding PR is horrific.
    Any strong arming of users into features or plans probably wont work out well for you. I'm pissed that there was no warning about these changes upon agreeing to auto update. I've just been forced into a 30 day trial and it appears that there is no way to avoid that.
    What would have been better is to offer the trial at any future time. Someday, I might want the Pro features and that's when a 30 day trial would help me explore with interest as well as help you secure a sale. Now I just hate you for forcing me into situations I don't want to be in and I wont give you money until I get over it sometime -- maybe over the next year if you prove not to be so creepy of an organization and regain some trust.
  • Forcing ads is absolutely unacceptible to me.
  • Crippling what users are used to is a very bad PR choice. People will like you if you use a carrot instead of a stick. An enticing Pro featureset that people want to pay for is your goal.
  • It just seems like you haven't taken the time to learn your customers and plan out better payment tiers.

Use Cases:

  • I use BitTorrent Sync personally. I would love to replace Dropbox with BitTorrent Sync at my company. A fine resolution of user and folder permissions would make BitTorrent Sync an ideal replacement. But I don't want to pay for my personal account. I refuse to use products with adds. I could accept a 10 folder limit on personal account, but I should be able to get more than 10 folders synced on my personal account if I have been granted folder permissions from a paid Pro account. This encourages collaboration environments without compromizing one's personal structure. It encourages users to be somehow connected to at least one Pro account and they will advertize for you, probably encourage sales.
  • Multiple tiers that relieve specific pain points. Many users here seem to be complaining about folder limits, but may not care about folder/user permissions. There should be a $12/year plan that just gives back unlimited folders. All or nothing sucks.

I could go on, but I have to get to work.

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