Short answer: what about the future of licenses

ohcibiohcibi
edited February 2017 in Purchasing

I digged through this thread: https://discussions.agilebits.com/discussion/75773/if-i-bought-1password-pro-am-i-going-to-have-to-subscribe-in-the-future? and I also have read numerous explanations of the agile bits team and there is currently an information overflow while there is still no clear answer and many completely unanswered questions. So I created a new thread and I want to keep this as short as possible (the discussion).

I'm not interested in a 1password.com subscription. Currently it costs 3 bucks a month, so 36 bucks a year. So within 16 month I've paid more than for the mac and the iOS app. I'm using 1password since 4 years now and that would have cost me 144 bucks vs the roughly 50 bucks I've paid and I'm still using 1password-6 so that gap will continue to increase. Don't tell me that this is a benefit for me. It is not as it is clearly way more expensive! There is no feature you are offering with 1password.com that justifies that higher price. So please be honest and simply tell the people that you want to make more money with 1password. It is your business decision to set the price but there is no reason to justify the price with pointless promises like "you will get 'the best' out of 1password if you are using a 1password.com subscription".

So I'm really concerned about this simple question: will you continue the "pay once for each major release" business model or will you eventually drop that and support 1password.com accounts only?

Please keep it with a simple yes or no and a short(!) explanation and don't try to convince me or the other readers of this thread that 1password.com has any benefits for the customer. As I explained, it has not.


1Password Version: Not Provided
Extension Version: Not Provided
OS Version: Not Provided
Sync Type: Not Provided

Comments

  • dancodanco Senior Member Community Moderator

    As a user who has moved to the subscription model, I have some disagreements with you.

    1. You're surely wrong about the cost. Unless there happened to be a special discount offer, the Mac plus iOS (with Pro features) would have been $75. I agree it's still a lot less than a sub for four years.

    2. AgileBits have been very good about not charging for major upgrades. Many firms do charge for such upgrades, and if AgileBits had chosen to charge for the upgrades released during the time you have used 1PW the cost would have been comparable, though maybe the sub would still have been more expensive.

    3. There are certainly advantages to the subscription. I've come across them recently myself. Getting a new device and not having to worry about setting up Dropbox was really convenient. If one is techy (which I am), this is minor, but I know enough people who have problems with tech to accept that not needing Dropbox and not having to set up sync can be a major advantage for many people.

    4. I tend to agree with you that part of the reason for the sub model is that it makes more money for AgileBits. But they have also pointed out that the new features, which are of advantage to many people, involve them in an ongoing cost, so it is reasonable for them to make an ongoing charge.

    I conclude that 1password.com has benefits for a sizeable number of customers, but it has no benefits for many others, particularly those whose use of 1PW is well-established.

    Where I really agree with you is that AgileBits seem to have got into a "compulsion through obscurity" situation where paying once is possible but hidden unless a user specifically asks. I think this is a mistake, even if such purchases are de-emphasized there should be more visible.

  • Please keep it with a simple yes or no and a short(!) explanation and don't try to convince me or the other readers of this thread that 1password.com has any benefits for the customer. As I explained, it has not.

    It has plenty of benefits for me. I am super happy that I can finally get rid of Dropbox. 1Password was the only reason I still used Dropbox. This change is great both from a security perspective and from an ease-of-use perspective.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    will you continue the "pay once for each major release" business model or will you eventually drop that and support 1password.com accounts only?

    @ohcibi: We don't know. We think it's best to build a thing first and then worry about selling it. And we just don't have any new versions to announce at this time. I'm sorry that this probably isn't as satisfying as the answer you're looking for (or as exciting as a big update), but this is all the information we have at this time.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member
    edited February 2017

    Hi @ohcibi

    will you continue the "pay once for each major release" business model or will you eventually drop that and support 1password.com accounts only?

    The best answer I can give I posted here. The long and short of it is: we don't know. There is no 1Password 7 yet. Decisions about how such a thing would be priced (if sold separately from a subscription) have not been made even internally yet (let alone announced externally). I don't have any reason to believe at this point that it wouldn't be sold as a standalone license upgrade to existing customers, but I also can't make any guarantee of that.

    Now, backing up for a minute: licenses never expire and as long as what you have continues to work for you you're welcome to continue using it. And we'll even continue to provide customer & technical support (within reason) for it. We can't do things like go back and update 1Password 3 for iOS, which was retired in 2012, to work on iOS 11 (which is going to break 1Password 3 for iOS, entirely). That sort of support of licenses just isn't sustainable.

    Don't tell me that this is a benefit for me.

    At the end of the day it is up to each individual to decide what value they are getting for their money, and if the price tag is justified for their usage or not.

    Features aside, AgileBits being a profitable business certainly is a benefit to customers. If it weren't we'd be shutting the doors and there would be no more 1Password. That's no good for anybody.

    AgileBits have been very good about not charging for major upgrades.

    And perhaps that has given people the wrong idea about the value 1Password provides. Maybe we made the wrong decision to have v4 -> v5 and v5 -> v6 be included upgrades. We probably should've charged for them. But at the time we felt we could be extra generous, and it felt good to do so.

    Thanks.

    Ben

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    edited February 2017

    Where I really agree with you is that AgileBits seem to have got into a "compulsion through obscurity" situation where paying once is possible but hidden unless a user specifically asks. I think this is a mistake, even if such purchases are de-emphasized there should be more visible.

    @danco, @ohcibi: This is a fair point, but I can tell you that the confusion that having both marketed and displayed prominently on our website caused was substantial, and has lasted roughly a year. We've weathered that storm as best we could, as it was our fault after all. But that doesn't help those affected. Some folks ended up not paying for anything because of this, while others, though they persevered in navigating this, still got off to a rocky start. In both cases, that's time they won't get back. 1Password is supposed to make our lives easier by helping us secure our most important data. 1Password.com is a better experience for most people, and I don't think it's fair to them to just to make concessions to license holders. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but the reality is that while we're always here to help any of our customers, long-time 1Password users need it a lot less. They don't need help buying what they've already got, and they know how to use it. That's just the reality, and we'll continue to try to improve things in ways that reflect that.

  • @brenty: So the short answer I can see is this:

    1. New customers can only subscribe.
    2. Existing customers (license holders) can chose now to stay with their existing license or switch to a subscription.
    3. In the future there might be the possibility that purchasing a license will be offered again. This might be for all customers or it might be only for license holders, or it might some other option.

    As a license holder who syncs over home wifi I don't miss the online sync everywhere part of the subscription. I also haven't seen any benefit for me personally in Watchtower. So there's been no incentive to change.
    Also, I once owned software that offered an annual fee including all updates and definitely didn't get my money's worth, as the update frequency slowed down after the change. That wasn't Agilebits, but I guess you can see that I'm now very cautious.

    1P v6 does what I want really well and I congratulate you all on a fine piece of software! I'm disappointed, though, by the lack of clear information, at least about this change. No developer can assert they are not aware of many users' aversion to the subscription model and therefore also that they need to explain clearly when changes in that direction are being implemented. A year ago you did that, but without any hint (or any that stuck in my memory) that the license model would be phased out. Side-by-side was (and would be) perfectly acceptable for me. Remove the license model in this way and it looks like Danco's "compulsion through obscurity".

    Please do better! A mail to all license holders (and a blog post) seem in order.

    For now, I'll just wait and see. 1P v6 is great for me, and when a new version or new services are on offer I'll have to see what the pricing and the models are.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    @brenty: So the short answer I can see is this:
    New customers can only subscribe.

    @RoKe: Nope. That's not the question you asked, so it isn't something I even mentioned. New customers can purchase licenses by request, but we recommend they try 1Password.com first, as it's a much better experience for most people. It would be silly of us to push new 1Password users toward more confusion, as this has (over the last year) caused many people to get frustrated and some to give up on 1Password altogether. We don't want a new user's experience to be like that.

    Existing customers (license holders) can chose now to stay with their existing license or switch to a subscription.

    Yep! As I'm sure you've noticed, we've continued to offer updates that benefit both license holders and subscribers alike.

    In the future there might be the possibility that purchasing a license will be offered again. This might be for all customers or it might be only for license holders, or it might some other option.

    Yeah that's the aardvark. Given that we don't have a new app to sell licenses for, we don't have any news in this area. It wouldn't make much sense for us to sell 1Password 6 licenses to existing 1Password 6 users.

    As a license holder who syncs over home wifi I don't miss the online sync everywhere part of the subscription. I also haven't seen any benefit for me personally in Watchtower. So there's been no incentive to change.

    I'm not sure I understand this at all, as Watchtower is part of the 1Password app and has nothing to do with license versus subscription. It's useful. You should try it. But yeah, if you prefer to manually sync (and don't need to do so remotely, or between multiple computers), then the hosted service won't appeal to you in that regard.

    Also, I once owned software that offered an annual fee including all updates and definitely didn't get my money's worth, as the update frequency slowed down after the change. That wasn't Agilebits, but I guess you can see that I'm now very cautious.

    Oh, totally. I've been there too. But I've also purchased licenses for many, many apps that are simply abandoned and broken now — presumably because their developers needed to get paying jobs. So none of us can have it both ways: continuous improvement and a one-time fee. There's always going to be another payment at some point in the future, whether it's an upgrade fee or a subscription payment...or the ride is over.

    1P v6 does what I want really well and I congratulate you all on a fine piece of software!

    Thank you for the kind words! 1Password is indispensable for me, and it makes me feel really good to hear that you appreciate it too! :chuffed:

    I'm disappointed, though, by the lack of clear information, at least about this change. No developer can assert they are not aware of many users' aversion to the subscription model and therefore also that they need to explain clearly when changes in that direction are being implemented. A year ago you did that, but without any hint (or any that stuck in my memory) that the license model would be phased out. Side-by-side was (and would be) perfectly acceptable for me. Remove the license model in this way and it looks like Danco's "compulsion through obscurity".

    The problem we're having offering "clear information, at least about this change" is that nothing has changed for you if you've got your license already and you're happily using WLAN Server to sync your data.

    Please do better! A mail to all license holders (and a blog post) seem in order.

    What do you think it should say, bearing in mind that no one is taking away your license or local sync, and that we don't have information to share about hypothetical future versions of 1Password? I think you may be right that a blog post would be a great idea for the future — sort of a "1Password State of the Union" — but it would make more sense at a time when we have some news to share, perhaps when a new version is on the horizon.

    For now, I'll just wait and see. 1P v6 is great for me, and when a new version or new services are on offer I'll have to see what the pricing and the models are.

    It really sounds like you're satisfied with what you already have: you have a 1Password setup that works for you, and I think that's all any of us want for ourselves and for you and the rest of our awesome customers. Cheers! :)

  • To @pervel and @danco ... 1password can currently sync with filesystem, iCloud AND dropbox. A user not so tech-savy can simply choose iCloud sync and is good to go. But the point that 1p can sync via fileysystem makes it possible to sync with whatever service I want. I am syncing via dropbox but not with the dropbox integration but by simply putting the vault into the dropbox. This means I can move that vault now to google drive, owncloud or whatever. Im 100% flexible - why would I need an upgrade on that? So to conclude: The sync via 1password.com services would be a nice extra but is definitely not a benefit over the license model!

    I don't really know if 1password continues to support the other sync options but if agilebits decided to sync via 1password.com servers only the "sync-thing" would even be a disadvantage instead of an advantage.

    @brenty I'm curious: would you be willing to pay for every single tool you are using on your computer with a subscription model? If I would do so and they would charge 3 bucks a month, I'd pay ~50/month, ie. 600/year (thats without free software or software I can use because of my job). I never payed that much for software in a year but with your desired future this would be normal.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    To @pervel and @danco ... 1password can currently sync with filesystem, iCloud AND dropbox. A user not so tech-savy can simply choose iCloud sync and is good to go.

    @ohcibi: That's a good point. But unfortunately that still means logging into iCloud first to get to your 1Password data on a new device. This may not be a hurdle for you and I, but not everyone takes this into account and has a contingency plan in place. If I had a dollar for every time someone needed to access 1Password first to get their iCloud credentials, let's just say it would move me to a bigger house.

    But the point that 1p can sync via fileysystem makes it possible to sync with whatever service I want. I am syncing via dropbox but not with the dropbox integration but by simply putting the vault into the dropbox. This means I can move that vault now to google drive, owncloud or whatever. Im 100% flexible - why would I need an upgrade on that? So to conclude: The sync via 1password.com services would be a nice extra but is definitely not a benefit over the license model!

    I agree that this is the ideal: use Folder Sync to sync with anything. In many cases that works on the desktop, though there are plenty of 3rd party tools/services that don't handle it well (it doesn't seem like it should be hard, but it is). But unfortunately this isn't really an option on mobile. On Android, it's a pain; on iOS it's impossible.

    I don't really know if 1password continues to support the other sync options but if agilebits decided to sync via 1password.com servers only the "sync-thing" would even be a disadvantage instead of an advantage.

    You're absolutely right that it would be a disadvantage for your use (and others), but for many, even these are not sufficient. We regularly get requests for various other sync options, some of which are wholly infeasible, but in general we can't make everyone happy in that department. Even if we could devote the resources to all that are requested, we can't fix things if they break, because it's controlled by a 3rd party. With 1Password.com, we can. And finally, the vast majority of users don't want to deal with any of this, which is why we built 1Password.com in the first place. I realize that folks in discussions like this will fall into a more technical group, and so it becomes a bit of an echo chamber. But while it isn't your job to think of less technical users (or just folks who don't enjoy technology for its own sake the way some of us do), that's absolutely ours.

    @brenty I'm curious: would you be willing to pay for every single tool you are using on your computer with a subscription model?

    Nope. I don't. And while I appreciate what you're getting at, you know this is a bit of a ridiculous question. We're not asking this of you. If you feel the 1Password.com subscription service gives you value, that's what we're asking you to pay for. This is no different from a license. Does it provide value commensurate with its cost? Then buy it. In either case, if the answer is no, don't. We'd rather you use some other tool that better fits your needs than be an unhappy customer. Life is too short.

    If I would do so and they would charge 3 bucks a month, I'd pay ~50/month, ie. 600/year (thats without free software or software I can use because of my job). I never payed that much for software in a year but with your desired future this would be normal.

    Not really. That just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Most of the subscriptions I pay for are much more than 1Password.com, but that's reflective of what they offer. That's not to say 1Password.com is less valuable, only that I get a lot of music with my streaming subscription (and video from others). The equation is more like, "How much would I be paying if I bought movies and albums each month?" And for me, it would be a lot more than a subscription, and I'd only have a handful of things to watch/listen to over and over again. With 1Password, for the amount of use I get out of it, it's arguably worth a lot more to me. I could live without music and movies, but at least digitally, I'd be digitally incapacitated without 1Password. The fact that 1Password isn't entertaining the way that media can be means I'm not willing to pay Netflix prices for it though. ;)

    So yeah, paying 3$ a month for every piece of software I use would be pretty silly. There's plenty of software that folks pay much more for monthly. And we're talking about the price of a sandwich here. I get much more out of 1Password every day than I will from what I ate yesterday, and it was about the same price. And I guess now that I think about it, buying any developer a sandwich once a month doesn't seem so unreasonable. And that sounds kinda nice, actually. Dude's gotta eat. :)

  • dancodanco Senior Member Community Moderator

    New customers can purchase licenses by request,

    The trouble with that is that a potential user does not even know of this possibility. It needs to be described somewhere, even if not prominently. Something like a note at the end of the purchase page saying "While we recommend the sub for most users, a one-time licence can be obtained by contacting AgileBits. See .. for more on the differences."

    One issue is that AgileBits staff probably don't see negative comments posted outside the forums and related social media. I still use Newsnet, and there's a discussion at the moment about password managers for iOS. Several people are saying that they used to recommend 1PW to others but are no longer doing so.

  • @brenty you are mixing things up. I wasn't talking about any online music streaming service. If I would bring streaming services into my equation things would be even worse. Please stick to the topic. I'm talking about the software I am using for work only. So you are actually making no point because I have already answered that rhetorical question. Yes the subscription services are more expensive compared to paying a higher price once for each tool. There is no doubt about that.

    Its possible that agilebits miscalculated 1password and that the single price you've charged in the past was to little. Thats what I meant when I said be honest and just tell us that you need to make more money with 1password and that this is the reason you've been switching over to the new pricing model.

    You are saying that people have trouble signing in into iCloud. Granted. But those people will have trouble signing in into any service including 1password.com anyways. So there is still no benefit for 1password.com users but for agilebits as you are able to charge more from each customer.

    I understand that you want to get more non-technical customers and that you are willing to ditch some of those who are more technical for that. Please use less words to say it. By saying things like "short answer" or "be honest" I wanted to avoid reading multiple paragraphs of reasoning why you are not so much interested in customers like me. I really hoped that you could make this short and precise but you still tried to convince the readers of this thread that 1password.com is the shit. For professional users it is not.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    The trouble with that is that a potential user does not even know of this possibility. It needs to be described somewhere, even if not prominently. Something like a note at the end of the purchase page saying "While we recommend the sub for most users, a one-time licence can be obtained by contacting AgileBits. See .. for more on the differences."

    @danco: I'll have to respectfully disagree. A user knows if they can't use a hosted service (for legal or regulatory reasons, for example), or if the 1Password.com service isn't an option for them for other reasons. We do whatever we can to help folks who reach out to us, even if it means they purchase a license instead. Either way we're getting paid, after all. But we don't want that to be the first experience with 1Password, being confused and becoming frustrated because there are too many things to worry about: licensing, syncing, sharing, etc. This is all so much easier with 1Password.com, so that's where we want to direct new users right off the bat.

    I think that the notice you mentioned is a nice idea, but in practice many people don't read these things (e.g. "Save your Emergency Kit"). Most folks just want to get up and running and get back to their lives, and 1Password.com exists to facilitate that. Admittedly this means that some people won't be able to find exactly what they're looking for right off the bat, but that doesn't justify adding confusion (and an extra step) for everyone else. We've tried that for the last year, and it hurt more new users than it helped.

    One issue is that AgileBits staff probably don't see negative comments posted outside the forums and related social media. I still use Newsnet, and there's a discussion at the moment about password managers for iOS. Several people are saying that they used to recommend 1PW to others but are no longer doing so.

    While we do try to keep up with mentions of 1Password around the internet, I'm sure we miss some, and that's one I've missed. Certainly I talk to folks who are staunchly against 1Password.com every day. But at the same time, I talk to even more that love it — and many who never thought they would. I don't think anyone actually gets exciting about paying for a subscription. But we'll never hear from even more 1Password.com users who don't run into issues or have questions. It bothers me a lot that there is no good solution that helps everyone, but that's just the reality.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    @ohcibi: I gave a very concise answer to your question already, so my subsequent responses were to address your followup comments. It seems like you've made up your mind already to think what you like, in spite of the facts, and that's fine. And frankly, I'm happy that you've already got a solution that works for you. Let's not begrudge others don't yet, or are just starting out. Cheers! :)

  • lightallhaillightallhail Junior Member
    edited March 2017

    Just to chime in: As someone considering whether to buy a license again or a subscription (or not at all at the moment) I would like to say I actually find it more confusing (I just had not noticed it yet...) not to find the possibility to buy a license and that one has to reach out to Agilebits to do that explicitely mentioned on the site. Sometimes, seeming simplification pushes away those who try to gather information first and whant to make an informed decision instead of choosing the (perhaps only seemingly) "easiest" path.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Hi @lightallhail

    Well, it is simpler in that there is now only one choice. ;) Yes, it is still possible to purchase a license by special request, but we're no longer marketing them.

    Thanks.

    Ben

  • ohcibiohcibi
    edited March 2017

    @brenty this is really funny. You've shared not a single "fact" in your responses but only your opinions; which I even explicitly asked to not respond with, to keep information precise.

    By the same time you even tried to sell the lack of a feature as a benefit because the ditched feature is "too complicated".

    Whats the next big thing you're going to advertise? Will you eventually drop the password generator because passwords in general are too complicated to use? Behold the new 1password17. No passwords, no usernames, just a splash screen and 5 bucks a month.

  • @ohcibi I don't think this discussion is going somewhere. As @brenty already said, I also think you made up your mind.
    The great thing is though, nobody is forcing you to use 1Password. If you no longer trust the makers or the way they are going, you're free to leave.
    I know there are alternatives out there, but I would ask myself, why some of them are offering their product or part of it for free or are selling lifetime licenses for a very low price. I'm pretty sure they have costs for development etc., especially in such a critical area as password managers.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    edited March 2017

    @ohcibi: I don't believe that there's a market for a password manager that doesn't store passwords, so we probably won't go that route.

    The facts:

    will you continue the "pay once for each major release" business model or will you eventually drop that and support 1password.com accounts only?

    @ohcibi: We don't know. We think it's best to build a thing first and then worry about selling it. And we just don't have any new versions to announce at this time. I'm sorry that this probably isn't as satisfying as the answer you're looking for (or as exciting as a big update), but this is all the information we have at this time.

    And we haven't removed features from 1Password.com, nor have we removed support for licenses from the app.

    In case some perspective helps, 1Password 6 is supported on the current (and 2 earlier) version of macOS. If it breaks, that's probably a ways off, and after we've ceased development on it. 1Password 3 only stopped working normally last year, and it was developed in 2009 (originally for Leopard, if memory serves). We still have customers using it today. I can't promise you 1Password 6 will have that kind of longevity, but we put a lot of care into making apps that aren't fragile or dependent on private APIs and hacks, so they tend to have long lives long after we've shifted out attention elsewhere. Also, when we do cease development on 1Password 6, you'll know, and it won't stop working that day. I don't know the timing of any of this, because it's the future, but I promise you that if we do decide that licenses are going away in a future version of 1Password, it's something we'll talk about publicly well in advance of you needing to abandon what you're already using. Again, I just can't tell you one way or the other today, which is what you seem to want.

This discussion has been closed.