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Hitoshi Ozawa
Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 10, 2012 7:10 AM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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There was some comparison of Apple's App Store with Marketplace. There may be some similarities but the major difference is App Store items are very inexpensive. There may be some $0.00 items in the Marketplace, but if software vendors are going to sell their plugins, it's probably going to be priced much higher.

I was wondering how software vendors are going to assure customers of their software. If it's priced US$1.00, not many people may complain if they bought a dud, but when it's priced in US$1,000 or above, customers probably would want some assurance that it really works the way THEY expect it to work or be able to get a refund. Are vendors planning on offering trial/evaluation plugin in the Marketplace?

Would appreciate if we can exchange information on strategies on offering higher priced plugins in the Marketplace.
Victor Zorin
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 12, 2012 7:01 PM
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Victor Zorin

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Would appreciate if we can exchange information on strategies on offering higher priced plugins in the Marketplace.

When vendor defines licensing/charging model for own Liferay product, carefull consideration of high price handling is as important as handling of a low-priced items.

Below I have started compiling some of licensing approaches / items for discussions. We have introduced product licensing to our Liferay portal clients about 3 years ago, so the following is not simply a wish list, everything is based on our practical experience.

As there is a lot to discuss in this area, I will be making posts one by one, as time permits, starting from own business cases and formulations of requirements, down to specifics how do we handle/implement licensing to address those cases. Thanks to Hitoshi, I hope this discussion will be useful to Liferay community in forming their own licensing strategy.

Topic 1. Licensing consideration for Low and High-end Pricing
An ability to have a test/free version is equally important for both ends!

If you offer a product for $25 and no trial version, you will be bombarded with support/information requests, all of them by email, and you will not be able to charge for such support. That's OK if you have nothing else to do, but if you have support staff, making one reply email takes in average 15-30 minutes, at an internal cost of $60/hr. If that's how your licensing works, you would want to take you product out of Marketplace immediately.

If you offer your product for $1000+ and no trial/incremental-feature versions, it is a pretty hard and almost impossible call in the environment where 100% of community sits in an expectation of free stuff raining down from the heaven.

So first set of requirements to your licensing software:

#1. Must provide free/trial/evaluation version (in later posts I will describe what are the possible options of free/trial configurations and enforcing product feedback for evaluation versions)

#2. Must provide ability to define/deliver/enable incremental features, immediately after an upgraded licence has been issued to a customer (same, will show examples of how to do it)

#3. Must execute issuing of licences automatically (extremely important for $25 shareware-end products, it is not very hard really to do it from your own site if you already have a PayPal merchant account, such portlets already exist)

To be continued if there is sufficient interest in this topic ...
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 12, 2012 6:06 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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I'm wondering how much of these capabilities will be implemented in liferay's Marketplace. There's a big difference between selling music and business application on a net. I just hope that it's not just users can now download plugins and get charged. If it is, the strategy of using the Marketplace maybe to just upload a trial version for $0.00.
Victor Zorin
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 12, 2012 7:00 PM
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Victor Zorin

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I think it would be wise to discuss the licensing requirements, so LIferay MarketPlace developers will be able to analyse them and implement accordingly.
Downloading a trial version for $0.0 would be a good start anyway.
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 12, 2012 9:16 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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I think it would be wise to discuss the licensing requirements, so LIferay MarketPlace developers will be able to analyse them and implement accordingly.


It would be nice to have liferay.com employee tell us more on about this topic.
Victor Zorin
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 2:17 AM
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Victor Zorin

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Hitoshi, my apologies, I did not realise that your question was directed specifically to Liferay employees, and not intended to be a Liferay community discussion. Regards. Victor
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 4:16 AM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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Victor Zorin:
Hitoshi, my apologies, I did not realise that your question was directed specifically to Liferay employees, and not intended to be a Liferay community discussion. Regards. Victor


Sorry, I didn't mean it that way. I, also, wanted liferay.com to comment on what we've been talking about to get their opinion too. You've already have a site setup and probably know more about it and I think we'll all benefit from your input. Liferay.com has already spend considerable time and effort into Marketplace and I'm just hoping they'll go another extra yard to make it more useful by listening in on comments you've pointed out.
Deb Troxel
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 8:00 AM
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Deb Troxel

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Victor Zorin:
To be continued if there is sufficient interest in this topic ...

Hi Victor,
Thank you for sharing your experiences. If you're looking for feedback before taking the time to post more, consider this a 'yes please' vote. emoticon emoticon
Victor Zorin
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 1:43 PM
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Victor Zorin

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Hitoshi, you have some interesting perceptions about intentions of discussions. In terms of Marketplace, if there was something decent on liferay.com a couple of years ago, no-one would bother spending time and money developing portlet licensing model, at least for own applications. Even now, after so many exclamation marks about the launch, licensing approach remains a black hole. May be it does not exist yet. That's why the discussion is important, and it is not about pushing people away from the Marketplace, Marketplace is the best place to maintain collections of Liferay applications.
Such discussion shall also be about informing Liferay-based product developers about how to practically structure their application that it will provide multiple levels of functions, how to do it if this is a standalone portlet or a hook or a servlet or a multi-tiered application, how to gracefully handle mishandling of licence by customers, how to organise time-based licences and how to gracefully handle licence expiry, how to price the product so it will be easier accepted by the market, and what options are available to you if you want to move towards creating cloud-based pay-per-use transactional services/products for Liferay and how to charge for it. So it is all about sharing and building a new knowledge.

Deb, forum post is probably not the best format to publish and discuss such information. I'll try to find blog spots on the internet and put initial information there. Anyone is welcome to give pointers to relevant places.
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 2:11 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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Victor,
According to comment made by Brian Kim just a few days ago, liferay.com doesn't still seem to have a solid set of licensing plans.

Such discussion shall also be about informing Liferay-based product developers ...


Agreed, that's why I created this thread. Also, it's probably going to take some time to get it all implemented so I was hoping on a discussion on how to best use what the Marketplace can offer now. I don't want to wait another xxx months till liferay.com developers get it all ready. It's probably best to start using what available now especially since they took the community plugin site down.

It I really thought is was useless, I won't be using my time posting here. :-)

Will be waiting for your blog post.
Victor Zorin
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 4:44 PM
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Victor Zorin

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The most probable reason for liferay not to have detailed licensing plans is that Marketplace is never going to be a substantial revenue earner for Liferay Inc, even if 25-40% commission is enforced.

The major corporate goal is to take the market share out of WebSphere, Oracle and Microsoft, and that move is to be assisted by building a vast collection of business and other applications, not by re-selling them. So it is very likely that licensing is going to be a Do-It-Yourself operation for quite a long time.

Making Marketplace larger and user-friendlier is a much more appropriate investment area, that's probably what they do now.
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 5:56 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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I'm not sure sure about the stance that liferay.com has because they've already invested some amount incorporating it into liferay 6.1.1 with a long delay. They've also shutdown the community plugin site.
The reason customers choose the big vendors is primary because of quality. Customers want a bug-free software out of the box and good support. I see liferay.com putting efforts into adding new features but really haven't seen too much on these areas.
Brian Kim
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 13, 2012 7:57 PM
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Brian Kim

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Sorry I haven't been able to chime in on this earlier. Let me begin by stating that trials are something that we've definitely discussed internally. Like Hitoshi and Victor, we believe that for the low-cost and high-cost applications, trials are going to be important to the purchaser. While we aim to provide the option to developers to allow for trials, it is still possible that some developers may opt to go the App Store route and just create a "Lite" version of their app that is entirely separate.

At the moment, we are already in the process of developing the licensing portion of the Marketplace, with the plan to allow for per user licensing as well as per server licensing. That said, we're making iterative improvements to how it is implemented, so it's good to see threads like this to make sure that we're on the right track. I'm not sure if we'll be able to take everyone's wish list and turn it into reality, but we'll do our best. Also, just because a feature doesn't make it into the next release of the Marketplace doesn't mean it won't be there in the future.

Thanks for the feedback, guys.
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Trial/Evaluation version of plugins
August 14, 2012 2:55 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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Limited feature $0.00 "Lite" version may be a good idea too. It's won't require additional implementation and operation cost compared to the trial version. Probably best to test out Marketplace with a small and low priced plugin first.