Pricing is just crazy complex...

Page 2 of 4 (64 items) < Previous 1 2 3 4 Next >
This post has 63 Replies | 9 Followers

Posts 4199
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 4:13 PM
PetahChristian:

Mattillo:

I would appreciate it if some time and effort could be put into vyrso. I've seen countless sales pass by with no effort to bring them to vyrso... Not to mention the quality of the books.

Vyrso doesn't have crazy complex pricing.

I understand and I apologize for trying to hijack the thread. I was just hoping Bob might see my comment and try to improve Vyrso
Posts 2305
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 4:21 PM

Bob Pritchett:
the future (of all software) is a different market: subscription. Transitioning is hard and messy, and it disrupts both how we are used to doing business and the expectations of existing customers.

Alarming thought to many of us. I am not so concerned about the waste of money I have invested already when I could have merely subscribed, I am concerned about FL buying into that the future of software, "of all software" is subscription.  I am not so sure that is true. Or if it is, that it is right for a company like FL.  I am concerned less about the $$ involved as I am about the shift in philosophy and identity of the company.

The present fad in software profitability is the subscription model.  Which makes sense--especially for many kinds of software, the kind of software that relies on new bells and whistles, quickly responding technology to other quickly changing technology.  But how true is that for Bible software and media sales?  Those who purchase Bible media are looking for some new stuff, but also the old truid and true. We have emotional investment, time investment in the actual products we buy.  We aren't just using the product to produce something else like a service, or a movie or a photograph. We are using a very real product and pouring our hearts into that product itself.  In some cases that isn't true--we don't get attached to a particular Webster's Dictionary.  One is as good as another.  But our notes and thoughts relative to a Bible of commentary are very different.  A subscription loss of Webster's Dictionary might be a shoulder shrug, there are plenty in the world, but a loss of a book that deeply moves us, that we use in teaching or devotion is something we want to own--not have to subscribe to or lose.  

I would never start down the road investing in such resources by subscription.  Granted, my Logos library is a mix of such books, but because so many are of the "want-to-own" type, I prefer most or all of them that way.  

Logos Now is a little different story for a "trial" customer, or a poor student, or someone who just likes the subscription idea with its advantages--and I bet there are a few like that out there.  So keep it.  It is good.

If FL leaps head-over heels into the subscription world, I can imagine well that profits will be predictable, regular, consistent.  Such a model will also evolve a business model with diminishing interest in upgrading anything already sold or improving the quality of something of poor quality already sold. Profit is king! What will turn a profit now?  It will be by marketing new stuff, more diversity, new bells, to new users.  Old users--will they will probably buy a little too--actually they will just have to subscribe to anything new.  And FL will start selling more of the stuff that stuff that sells by subscription, because subscribers will have less interest in the kind of stuff FL "used to sell" that had "ownership value."

The value of a subscription won't be equal to the value of a product owned.  The constant threat of losing access when one had a lot of time and work invested such as notes, underlining, acquaintance with resources, is very different from someone who wants the latest gadget to make trash disappear in Photoshop. 

If I had thought Logos was moving to a subscription model one day, I would never have began the journey with them, I would have looked for someone who gave me something that wouldn't be a forever unpredictable financial drain, leaving me with little or nothing if I couldn't pay the rent.  

The old model of selling a product, creating a loyal customer base, adding media so they can buy more--it worked.  It fit the kind of product FL marketed.  Will subscription fit that product?  OR will FL evolve  into marketing products that fit the subscription model? What is FL's overarching philosophy?  Build a business model and find product that fits it? Or believe in a product and create sustainable business model that markets that product?

I am sure the subscription model adds value and is just the thing some people want. So keep it.  Just don't phase out the old way of selling books.  I don't think Logos media and market are best adaptable to that. I am concerned that the subscription model will distort FL's leading vision and focus into something that I don't want and regret starting into.

Posts 134
Joel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 5:09 PM

Looks like this thread has gotten hijacked from it's original intended purpose a few times. I'll be back soon to comment on the topic (and thanks Bob for chiming in)... but in the meanwhile, let's keep this on the topic of the complexity of pricing, shall we? (or to put it simply- how confusing it is to buy) I realise people are passionate about subscription models and the state of the programs, but those really are a side issue and can be addressed in other threads.

I am now simplifying this thread ;) Thanks.

Posts 1474
Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 5:32 PM

Edit: Removed long quote

Well said Gao Yes

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying." Leonard Ravenhill 

Posts 134
Joel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 6:12 PM

Wild Eagle, please. Did you have to quote the entire post to put a simple thumbs up? Are you trying to derail this thread? Please stay on topic. It makes it really hard to get a simple point across if this thread is more complex than Logos' pricing model.

Posts 1474
Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 6:23 PM

deleted by user

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying." Leonard Ravenhill 

Posts 4465
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 6:29 PM

Joel:
Looks like this thread has gotten hijacked from it's original intended purpose a few times. I'll be back soon to comment on the topic (and thanks Bob for chiming in)... but in the meanwhile, let's keep this on the topic of the complexity of pricing, shall we? (or to put it simply- how confusing it is to buy) I realise people are passionate about subscription models and the state of the programs, but those really are a side issue and can be addressed in other threads.

The pricing is very confusing until you understand it, and then it can barely be called complex. The trouble is that lots of people don't take in pricing information well in the way that Faithlife provides it. I understand it just fine, and it makes perfect sense to me, but my experience isn't everyone's.

My advice to Bob would be to create a complete, comprehensible, and (for bonus points) visually attractive explanation of the entire FL pricing model that fits on, say, half of one 8.5x11 in. piece of paper if printed out at 100%, and with no font smaller than 12 pt.

And then put it somewhere on your website, after running it through the hyper-critical (in a good way, this time) forums.

(Also, those arguments over subscription models, etc. have been done to death in other threads. Death, I tell you, death.)

“God watches over the affairs of those who truly love him without their worrying about them.” - St. John of the Cross

Posts 1474
Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 6:29 PM

Joel:

Wild Eagle, please. Did you have to quote the entire post to put a simple thumbs up? Are you trying to derail this thread? Please stay on topic. It makes it really hard to get a simple point across if this thread is more complex than Logos' pricing model.

Sorry Joel, I removed the quotes. I am not derailing this thread. Subscription is under "Logos' pricing model". 

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying." Leonard Ravenhill 

Posts 134
Joel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 6:34 PM

Thanks Wild Eagle :)

Actually, keep in mind this thread is not about anything related to pricing. It's about the complexity of buying. Your comments (although good) are best suited to another thread.

Posts 4465
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 6:37 PM

EDIT: Redundant because Joel posted faster than I did.

“God watches over the affairs of those who truly love him without their worrying about them.” - St. John of the Cross

Posts 134
Joel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 7:01 PM

OKAY, bring this thread back on track…

Bob, the issue really doesn’t rest on what you’re offering. I’m sure that has a part to play, but the real issue stems from the fact I don’t think you guys have sat down and asked the question, “Is this as simple as it can be? Is it so complex it’s confusing our customers?” This thread is telling you no and yes to both of those questions. The finer detail about how to simplify is actually best left to you guys. I know what I would like to see, but when I sit down and think about it, I know I don’t have the whole picture. You do.

As mentioned, my confusion begins when I try and bring clarity to what Logos Now is offering me over Logos 7. It just isn’t clear. The website is overly wordy at times (it’s not direct enough in just telling me what it offers versus non subscription) and the faqs don’t answer my simple questions. To add to the confusion, there are so many tiny upgrade offers the waters get very muddy, very fast. I realise deals bring people to the table to buy, but that is definitely a tree that needs trimming. In fact it needs to be hacked away at ;)

The website is also a confusing mess. You have multiple links from every page, and each page has limited links to another. Then you have popups that lead to unique pages that offer some deals other pages don’t. I also can’t find what I’m after without asking on the forum. How do I find the features only upgrade? When does the software only upgrade come out? I feel like someone hasn’t sat the web guys down and had a long chat about simplicity.

I don’t want to make it sound like you guys haven’t succeeded in simplifying things. You definitely have in some areas. You have taken a crazy huge catalogue and allowed flexible pricing and a subscription model to sit somewhat side by side in a table. That’s great. Where things have fallen down is in not thinking about about the customer journey, from your landing page through to purchase. Can a customer get lost along the way? Could someone get confused by the descriptions?

Take a look at the Bibleworks website. It looks like it’s from 1992, but at least in two seconds I can find a link to “What is bibleworks?” or “What is new in version 10.” On that page it tells me what’s new in version 10 of Bibleworks. I might say, “Yes, I like this and will upgrade.” Deal done. I still don’t know what the headline new features in 7 are. I couldn’t find them and a popup got in my way while I was looking. If I sent a friend who was new to bible study to Logos.com to buy (and I’ve considered it) they would give up and leave after 30 seconds. I guarantee it.

I hope I’m making sense here. I’m not just talking about a few tweaks to the website. If your web guys debate the point of reworking things for the sake of simplicity, get new web guys. Feel free to pm me if you’d like more detail about what I’m saying, but I’m happy to leave the ball in your court as to the ‘how’. I just hope I’m clear on the ‘why’.

Posts 3935
Forum MVP
PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 7:02 PM

SineNomine:

The pricing is very confusing until you understand it, and then it can barely be called complex. The trouble is that lots of people don't take in pricing information well in the way that Faithlife provides it. I understand it just fine, and it makes perfect sense to me, but my experience isn't everyone's.

Separate pricing factors aren't exactly confusing by themselves. For example, I think anyone can figure out:

  • Bundle discount. You save money on the collection, versus buying the items separately.
  • Dynamic pricing discount. You don't pay for what you already own.
  • Introductory discount. You save x% for a temporary period of time.
  • Subscriber discount. You get y% off as a subscriber.
  • Special sales. You get z% off during the sale.

But the problem is that prices can include 3 or 4 or 5 separate discounts, which have to be calculated in a particular order, and the exact custom savings is not always broken down, line by line.

Some discounts appear to be combined, such as introductory and subscriber discounts. Others don't get applied consistently, or don't apply to every bundle (since some publishers prohibit bundling, dynamic pricing, or other discounts).

The more complex the savings, the more tedious it is to figure out by hand. Most people probably don't care to do the math, or even check the math.

SineNomine:

My advice to Bob would be to create a complete, comprehensible, and (for bonus points) visually attractive explanation of the entire FL pricing model that fits on, say, half of one 8.5x11 in. piece of paper if printed out at 100%, and with no font smaller than 12 pt.

Could Bob put the pricing formulas on a sheet of paper for everyone to see, learn, and understand? Sure.

But I don't want to have to whip out a calculator and figure out the math, just to determine which of two or three products is a better deal. It's difficult to do that, especially when we can make mistakes ourselves. If FL gives 4-5 discounts on an item, they should also show the line-by-line savings.

Frankly, the whole system seems to be based on inflated base prices, coupled with sales here and there to get a product's pricing down to where it might be reasonable. I would rarely buy a FL resource at regular price, but might buy a resource at 40-50% off, if it's not already available in a bundle (of many things I'd like) for 80-90% off. I'd rather see better everyday prices, than high prices offset by occasional sales, so I don't have to wait for eventual "sales" to get items on my wish list at a better price.

Thanks to FL for including Carta and a Hebrew audio bible in Logos 9!

Posts 2305
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 7:23 PM

My post above was pulling the thread a new direction.  I am sorry.

I do think the "transition," or bridge or cross-pollination of business models contributes greatly to the complexity. FL is working hard and well to provide us with packages, deals, sales and such.  The complexity seems to be in getting the best buy  and the annoyance at buying what we thought was a good deal, only to learn we could have had a better one.  

All that is useless whining without a solution.  My solution would be to....hmmm..what would it be?

1) Separate marketing between the models.  Keep both, but don't try to make them overlap

2) Allow a hybid model, but rather than let a hybrid system evolve along moderately manipulated default patterns (and struggle along hoping it will somehow get better after the "transition is over--which probably won't happen soon), invest time to create a crisp clear model and market that.

Personally I think FL is doing a lot right.  I like lots of options and they provide that. Lots of options might be mistaken for complexity when it is actually just a lot of options.  The marketing doesn't seem designed to fool me into spending more than the cheapest deal I might ferret out.  It is just...marketing and pretty good at that with dynamic pricing, notifications of packages that reduce prices, sales, and of course phone sales assistance.  

Although the system will benefit from improvement, I am not sure it is all that bad. Overall it works pretty good for me.  

Posts 2655
Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 7:56 PM

Mattillo:
I understand and I apologize for trying to hijack the thread. I was just hoping Bob might see my comment and try to improve Vyrso

YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Past IT Consultant. Past Mission Worker. Entrepreneur. Future Seminary Student.
Why Amazon sucks: Full background story of my legal dispute with the online giant

Posts 1713
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 8:00 PM

Sorry, Joel... I may be the one hijacking your thread. Big Smile I can see this is going to get out of hand quickly... but...

Joel:
“Is this as simple as it can be? Is it so complex it’s confusing our customers?”

Sure we have. We'd love to keep it super simple, but we feel compelled to add complexity in response to user demand. (We went too far, of course -- that's the point of this conversation.)

Joel:
I realise deals bring people to the table to buy,

You're right. Personally, I love crystal-clear pricing. But the entire history of business, psychology, research, and experimentation has proven beyond doubt that $9.95 sells better than $10, that a $100 product for "$70 today! (almost everyday)" will dramatically outsell the same product for $70 every day, and that a value-meal bundle does better than selling burger, fries and drink alone. (c.f. JC Penney, Saturn cars, books on pricing, persuasion, etc.)

Joel:
If I sent a friend who was new to bible study to Logos.com to buy (and I’ve considered it) they would give up and leave after 30 seconds. I guarantee it.

Try opening an incognito / private window and going to https://logos.com/7 as a new, not-logged-in user. Isn't that pretty clear? (But maybe not enough...)

(I'll be responding to other points in replies to other messages...)

Posts 1713
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 8:06 PM

Mattillo:
I would appreciate it if some time and effort could be put into vyrso.

I love Vyrso -- I love that we can offer all those titles we otherwise wouldn't have working with Logos. But those are publisher-supplied EPUBs. We have to take them on the same financial terms as other ebook vendors, and in almost every case Amazon is selling those titles at or below our cost. (Amazon appears to use books as loss-leaders to win all your shopping business.)

We literally can not afford to invest much more in Vyrso -- a given title might generate as little as one-dollar per copy in gross profit for us, and that's before operating expenses. There are thousands of titles that sell very few units per year.

We are hoping to give the automated processing tools a little work to improve the tagging, but we're very much at the mercy of the files we're sent, and our system is not exactly like EPUB (which is HTML based, and has varying quality levels), which means the automated conversion sometimes has hiccups.

I did have a meeting a couple weeks ago where we agreed to give Vyrso some temporary resource help, but we'll need higher volume of sales to put much more into it. I'm sorry!

Posts 1713
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 8:20 PM

Don Awalt:
While I don't have an issue with subscription, I do think it puts undue pressure on Faithlife to get new customers, hence there is a large drive toward new features.

Actually, it's the opposite. When we have to sell transactionally -- once you buy we get no more revenue unless you upgrade / buy-again -- then there's pressure to keep making new features to get you to purchase.

If we go to subscription, there's an incentive to continue to improve and tune the existing product so that subscribers will continue.

The problem with our existing transactional model is that Logos 4 / 5 / 6 were 'all I needed' for many users. Yet our development costs, server maintenance, operating system compatibility, etc. continue as expenses. Maturing software becomes good enough, and over time people stop purchasing upgrades. (You may know someone on Microsoft Office 2007, for example. Or 2003.) But people expect patches, fixes, compatibility with their new mobile device, continued sync servers, etc.

That's the allure of subscription for the provider -- consistent revenue for ongoing expense... While I appreciate our long-time users (a lot!), more and more often I hear from someone who 'invested thousands in my library, so please fix this / help me / etc.' -- but whose last investment was 5+ years ago. (That didn't happen for the first five years...because math. :-) )

I get that if you invested thousands you may have all the books and functionality you need, and may even want the product to 'stop moving' so you can just master the tools you need each day. But if you want us to be here to update things for iOS 14 or Windows 12, we need to find a way to continue revenue.

(This is a bit hypothetical, but a bit real too -- we really are seeing this slowdown of happy users who spend less each year. I'm trying to plan ahead of the trend!)

Posts 4199
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 8:24 PM

Bob Pritchett:

We literally can not afford to invest much more in Vyrso -- a given title might generate as little as one-dollar per copy in gross profit for us, and that's before operating expenses. There are thousands of titles that sell very few units per year.

We are hoping to give the automated processing tools a little work to improve the tagging, but we're very much at the mercy of the files we're sent, and our system is not exactly like EPUB (which is HTML based, and has varying quality levels), which means the automated conversion sometimes has hiccups.

I did have a meeting a couple weeks ago were we agred to give Vyrso some temporary resource help, but we'll need higher volume of sales to put much more into it. I'm sorry!

Thank you Bob. I don't want to derail this thread anymore than I already have but I do want to comment on your reply. I wasn't clear enough in my first post and I apologize for that. My main concern is the quality of the Vyrso books. I don't mind paying more (and will gladly do so) to have a book in logos versus my Kindle. As long as you know there is a quality issue then that is good for me. My hope is that as logos expands maybe an employee can be dedicated to Vyrso and focus on QA for the products and getting issues flagged and fixed when they appear like missing heading text (ToC) and missing body text as well. I would think many issues could be alleviated if someone just looked at the books before shipping them. Again thank you for taking the time to respond to my concerns.  I'll go away now

Posts 11332
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 8:45 PM

Ok, I'm not Joel, but I decided to be a guinea pig on Logos.com/7.

First image is Safari. Couldn't read the text due to the forced popup ... no way to clear the popup. Guinea pig threw in the towel.

Second image is my browser that handles everyone ... except Logos.com/7. Guinea pig gave up. Bedtime.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 4264
LogosEmployee
Kevin Byford (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 6 2016 10:51 PM

Denise:

Ok, I'm not Joel, but I decided to be a guinea pig on Logos.com/7.

Thanks Denise,

Please create a new post about this issue and let us know which exact device and iOS version you are using.

Page 2 of 4 (64 items) < Previous 1 2 3 4 Next > | RSS