TextExpander has gone subscription

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ValSalva, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. ValSalva macrumors 68040

    ValSalva

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
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    Burpelson AFB
    #1
    Has anyone else seen that TextExpander just released 6.0 and it's now a subscription model. It doesn't seem that there is a way to just purchase the software outright. $4.95/month. $3.96/month if paid up front. Another subscription. Not happy about this. Smile Software.
     
  2. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    Oct 31, 2009
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    #2
    Nope, it's all subscription based so they can afford to have the web service.
     
  3. beebarb macrumors 6502

    beebarb

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2015
    #3
    While I get why they're doing it, I don't think they thought it completely through.
    For many people this is an unnecessary subscription, and they'll end up abandoning TextExpander for something else because they don't want to or can't deal with it.

    It's just as likely to hurt than to help them.
     
  4. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #4
    So incredibly disappointed in Smile for this. For anyone who doesn't need the collaborative features and have already had their snippets synced through iCloud or Dropbox, this upgrade is nothing but a negative.

    Software that used to be $35 one time is now $50 a year. As useful as Textexpander is for me personally I have a hard time justifying rewarding this kind of behavior by signing up. I sincerely hope they don't follow suit on this with PDFPen as well.
     
  5. Puonti macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    #5
    I can sympathize; Day One forced people to move to their in-house syncing solution in version 2, dropping Dropbox and iCloud support entirely. They don't charge for their sync service yet, but it's still a no-go for me. I hope v1 will not stop working entirely at some point (the previous to last version already had a crash-at-start bug on my phone).
     
  6. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    I'm very disappointed about this.. TextExpander was good.

    But.. as a subscription, at $4 / $5 per month is just too much for what TE offers - so that would be around CAD$6 per month. There isn't the value for money. Comparing other software - MS Word personal subscription costs CAD $69 - annually... Some of the development IDEs I use that is subscription ( each ) - CAD $70 anually.. Then I look at TextExpander... Its a text replacement / macro utility.

    Smile / TextExpander - granduer ... Nope.

    There is very little improvements in TE6 over TE5 for the individual user... I don't need to sync - and TE5 could sync via DropBox....

    Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives that are just as good. AText - almost a TE clone, Typinator plus others.

    I just hope Keyboard Maestro doesn't go the same way...
     
  7. manu chao macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    #7
    Only $5/month sounds like a small number but if every app you use semi-regularly were to charge this, you'd be out off a lot of money very quickly. Adobe offers Lightroom + Photoshop for twice that, a package that cost north of $1000 in their standalone versions. If we reversed that comparison, this would imply TextExpander being worth $400 to $500. Which it isn't.

    Make that $1/month and now we are talking. I paid about $30 for TextExpander 3.x in 2012 and $20 for the upgrade to version 5 last year. That averages out to about $1/month. Smile is telling me I now should pay 5x that? That's ridiculous. We can argue about subscriptions but regardless, Smile picked a price that is way too high. And by not offering a cheaper, missing some new features version, they have priced themselves out of 90% of the market. Congratulations, price per unit goes up by a factor of five but number of units sold goes down by a factor of ten. That's still loosing half your revenue. Great move. And even if sales only went down by a factor of five and thus this whole operation would just be breaking even, they'd still pissed off 80% of their customers, which cannot be good publicity.
     
  8. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #8
    The backlash is pretty sad. Lifehacker posted a list of alternatives, there's a negative post about it on The Next Web, there's some blog posts from (not just from random) people who are moving away from it/questioning whether it'd be worth it, and a good chunk of tweets.

    I saw a few positive comments for it, but then people were complaining that they were coming from people who were getting sponsorship money from Smile.

    On the iOS version, the star rating has gotten to an average one and a half.

    Day One can easily survive without Dropbox and iCloud support. They have almost 1,000 4/5-star ratings right now for iOS, over 200 for the Mac app. The new sync service is a win for the average consumer, which are their most important customers.

    In the case of TextExpander, people have been using Dropbox with it for seven years now, some probably switched to iCloud Drive last year - And pay for them. The ones who don't use either, prefer to keep everything local and do manual backups.
     
  9. dammerl macrumors regular

    dammerl

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    Jun 29, 2012
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    Europe
    #9
    It should be noted that Typinator is not “just as good”. Though lacking a bit in the UI department, feature-wise Typinator is ahead of TextExpander, and expansion always was more reliable and faster (unless TE has caught up here).
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #10
    I'm also disppointed and wrote to the company. I guess you can make a case for adobe going to the subscription model, as they promised (And lived up to that promise) of continaully improving CC, but how much changes/improvements can you add to a text expander utility.

    Here's the life hacker article (from 2013).
    The Best Text Expansion App for Mac
     
  11. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    Apr 21, 2003
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    Canada
    #11
    Yup - the GUI on Typinator is awful. The rest is quite impressive. I'm liking the variables.. very useful.
     
  12. posguy99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    #12
    TypeIt4Me is the prettiest, but it doesn't support multiple active snippet groups, which is just whack.

    aText works, but it has that weird slide in its preferences about needing to listen to mouse down events, which makes no sense to me. Plus I have a very bad taste in my mouth regarding this developer due to my experiences with his other app, XtraFinder.

    Typinator has tons of functionality, but its GUI is straight out of an OS 9 app.

    Right now I think I'm moving to Typinator, especially since they have the discount going on for TextExpander users. I have to make a choice, though, because according to the license, you can only use it on two computers without buying more licenses, and I have three. :(
     
  13. dammerl macrumors regular

    dammerl

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    Jun 29, 2012
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    #13
    LOL, OS9, you are exaggerating a bit ;) Definitely not the prettiest one but the UI has improved (a bit) over the years. The good thing with this kind of apps is that you don’t see the GUI in “normal” use…
     
  14. ljdonato macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    #14
    I have absolutely no use for the collaborative features. I had recently switched from Typinator to TextExpander, so I don't like this move a bit. Luckily, I still own both TextExpander and Typinator licenses, so if Smile does not offer a solution for the individual user, I'm back to Typinator...
     
  15. Weaselboy, Apr 8, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
  16. manu chao macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    #16
    Here's a wide collection of reactions to this by Michael Tsai.

    I've written to Smile about this and I got the following reply from them today:

    "We've received a lot of negative feedback about "Year Two" pricing for upgraders. That feedback has not fallen on deaf ears."

    This might indicate that they could extend the 50% discount for existing users indefinitely. If true that would be an interesting solution to keep existing users largely on board though charging users twice the price if they've joined after a certain date could be awkward.

    But even at half-price, that's still a significant price hike for most users and it's still subscription-only. If they had done this in the beginning, I probably would have equally switched to a competitor but I wouldn't have blasted them publicly. This really is a textbook example of how to destroy significant amounts of goodwill overnight. Even if Smile returned to its previous pricing model tomorrow, the financial hit (caused by much reduced customer goodwill) would be substantial.

    The only way out of this for Smile that doesn't end badly, would be to restore the previous pricing more or less and offer an optional subscription model on top of this. They'd needed to put Dropbox syncing back into TexrExpander 6 which couldn't be done overnight but still very quickly.
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    That's good, because I also written to them, and they only responded by saying how much value I was getting with the subscription, i.e., we can now share our snippets, which I don't really see the value in that.

    My problem is the subscription based model.

    Here's a nice write up of TE's move and the industry's move to subscription.

    This portion resonated with me (I added the emphasis).
    I have to agree with that assessment, I was thinking of trying to reduce the software that I pay by subscription not increase. I'm seriously re-thinking my Office365 but that is used quite a bit and my kids have increasing needs of Word.

    Then there's Lightroom, so that's next on my list to see if I can do without.

    Back to this topic, TextExpander is a handy little utility. For some it offers a good amount of time saving, for others its a nice to have convenience. I don't really see how this can be a subscription based product and pay 60 dollars a year, when you can buy a competitor for a tenth of that. TE does one thing and one thing well, no question, but that dosesn't mean I should pay every month to use it.

    While the argument for compensating the developer, is on the forefront, let us not forget about the contention that the customer shouldn't need to keep paying the developer every month. I guess it boils down to what iMore calls it, Software as a Service. Do you consider a text expanding utility a service for which you need to pay every month?
     
  18. manu chao, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016

    manu chao macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    #18
    I had gotten the same reply after which I wrote back to them again (which then resulted in the answer I had quoted).

    The main two arguments brought forward in favour of subscription pricing are that:
    1. The user expects bug fixes and compatibility updates ideally indefinitely, and
    2. Apps being good enough such that most users don't ever see the need to pay for an upgrade to a new version.
    Both can lead to apps being dropped by the developer after a while when the initial sales rush has slowed to a trickle. For example, more than a third of the iOS apps I own have not been updated in over a year. And yes, bug fixes and compatibility updates cost money and cannot be sustained indefinitely if no new revenue comes in but requiring a paid upgrade after some time to continue to get updates has been a solution to this problem for a long time.

    Take VMware Fusion for example, it certainly is a complex enough piece of software and has to deal in a very involved way with both the host and the guest OS such that new OS versions might easily require updates at the very least to support new features of the OS. Security and stability is also paramount for such an application. It has received a paid upgrade almost every year since its introduction in 2007. While it certainly has taunted new features for every paid upgrade, most people bought the updates for compatibility and security reasons.

    I am fine with apps that require a paid update every two years or so because I can decide how important bug fixes, performance improvements and security fixes for me are for a given application (or if new features entice me). The more I use an app, the more likely I am to pay for upgrades and not just because I think I would profit from any app improvements more the more I use the app but also because I want to ensure that the app keeps getting developed and because I might want to reward the developer.

    Subscription software doesn't give the customer the choice between living with software that doesn't receive updates anymore and one that does. It doesn't give the user the choice of paying more to get improvements and reward the developer and paying less and live with potential bugs and the risk of software abandonment. It might be too inflexible but what if software came with a guarantee of updates for a year or two and after that you could either keep using the software without getting any further updates or pay again and keep getting updates. And once you fix this period in advance, there would be no difference between upfront payment or a subscription (as a subscription for a fixed period equals a fixed price). The difference to a conventional subscription would be that the user could keep using the software after the subscription has expired and that the developer is enticed to keep releasing improvements (if only of the stability, speed and security kind) if she or he wants the customer to keep paying.
     
  19. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a

    nightcap965

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cape Cod
    #19
    This deeply disappoints me. I've been a Text Expander user for many years, but it ends now. I never asked them to sync my shortcuts on their servers - I have Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive.

    Sorry, Smile on My Mac, but it's simply not worth it to me to have this software as a service
     
  20. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #20
    There's quite a backlash. Smile have stated that they will now support Textexpander 5 to the next version of OSX.

    A total miscalculation of their user base.
     
  21. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

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    #21
    Seriously? Thanks for the warning. Sorry to stray off topic a bit, but can you recommend another journaling app?
     
  22. Cascades42 macrumors 6502

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    Jan 25, 2016
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    My problem with this is it feels like they did 0 market research. I work for a university, the university provides me with a Dropbox account - there's a very simple rule, if I need to sync anything related to university then I sync it via the Dropbox account. So guess how I sync my Textexpander snippets? Dropbox. I'm not allowed to use another syncing service or store things online in any other way. I know for a fact that many businesses won't let you store things outside of their servers, and others are only as generous as letting you use accounts they provide. Good luck telling them you need them to pay $10/month per person for an app they likely won't see as necessary and stores their data out of their control.

    The other thing is they don't encrypt the snippets you put on their servers. Aside from confidential job related things, I also have my address, phone numbers, boyfriend's phone numbers and address, abbreviations for various companies I contract for, my student number, various email addresses and so on saved as snippets. If someone were to hack their servers then they would have a heck of a lot of information about me which would be a boon if they wished to access my accounts (I don't save passwords there, but the rest of the info and a little social engineering could do the trick I suspect).

    Additionally any businesses operating in Europe will not be able to store data in plaintext as of next year - so while they might be targeting enterprise users there's an entire union of countries they've prevented from using it, and I highly doubt any even vaguely security concours IT department will let their employees use the service either.
     
  23. Puonti macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I have no first-hand knowledge of other journaling apps... yet.
     
  24. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    #24
    Thanks anyway. :] I'll be on the look out.
     
  25. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a

    nightcap965

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    Cape Cod
    #25
    But why do I want web service? I sync my TextExpander via Dropbox. I have no interest in sharing my macros with anyone else.

    I've been a loyal customer for over 8 years, and have purchased each upgrade, but it ends here.
     

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