Explaining: On what are premium plugin prices based?

Discussion in 'Resource Discussion' started by Maximvdw, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Maximvdw


    Everything below this line is based on facts and personal opinions.
    Its an explanation for buyers and guidelines for sellers.
    1. Different qualities for plugins
    In my opinion there are 3 types of premium plugin qualities:
    • The ones that should be free (the ones that can be found for free with more features)
      Never ever ever buy these especially when the author is new
    • Plugins with extra internal enhancements or features
    • Plugins with extra internal enhancements and features

    1.1. Plugins with extra enhancements or features
    The first kind is the most vulnerable to price changes. If the plugin is something unique no other plugin has but is actually rather simple this could be a plugin that will/can be sold fast but are very fragile and can cause fast drop of support if the author does not keep adding new features to it. Some time another plugin will catch up and the author will most likely lose his motivation.

    Another example of the first type are plugins that are based on plugins that are free but add a few extra things. If the developer does not keep adding these things the free plugin can easily catch up.

    TIP TO DEVELOPERS: If you have a plugin that is unique but does not have 'a lot' extra features make those extra features first. It will be more trustful to have a plugin that has a bit of 'overhead' on features than a descriptions that says "Comming soon". The price should start low and can increase based on:
    - Is there another plugin with the same features
    - Are there more features added

    In the event a plugin with the same features arrives (AFTER you) make sure you have the same or more features. If not users will chose the other plugin depending on its price. A good way to solve this issue would be to lower your price and allow more people to see your plugin in action and leave a review.
    Also do not base your price on the time it took you to make it. This can be different for every developer especially with simple plugins. A personal TIP would be to let your plugin remain in your workspace for a while. Its like replying to an angry mail, when you do this immediately after reading it your emotions will take control over the reply (in this case price).

    TIP TO BUYERS: Plugins that do not have a lot of extra features but you still need that 1 little tiny feature fall under this category. Check how many times it is getting downloaded (wait, don't comment to discuss the price). If it is being downloaded a few times (3-4 < day) the developer will most likely not start dropping the price (maybe even increase it). If it is not being downloaded or people are complaining about things wait before buying it. A developer will in most cases not increase the price after a big bug fix update.

    If the plugin is based on a free alternative check if the free alternative is still maintained. If not the developer most likely has the best alternative available (There is nothing worse than an outdated plugin).

    I've seen a lot of these plugins developers asking a lot of money for simple features. Maybe for them it was hard and you shouldn't complain about it if the features do not exist elsewhere. Simply don't buy it if you don't need it, the developer will realize it is too high once someone else creates the same features.

    1.2. Plugins with extra enhancements and features
    This second category is about plugins that are one step ahead with both features and are unique. These are plugins that implement something hard.

    Most likely they will remain one step ahead even without a lot of updates. The advantages of these early plugins is that they have more experience for the future. If another plugin with the same features arrives it will most likely bump into old bugs that are already fixed in the older kind of these plugins.

    A good example in this case would be AnimatedMOTD, it is hard for a lot of developers. Still its something that has been in the game for a long time but mostly sold as custom plugins ,etc.. (less bug finding) if one of those developers decides to release their plugin they made earlier it won't have the same bugs fixed.

    In general you can assume that these kinds of plugins will remain updated for a long time. The developer was not in a rush to release something so he won't be in a rush to stop it.

    The downside of these types of plugins is that it can contain a lot of bugs that are still in the process of being categorized "Unsolvable" or "Bug". It will take time and testing before knowing if something is a bug or not possible.

    Sometimes it can be a good thing someone else creates a similar plugin like it. That keeps those plugins competing against each other.

    TIP TO DEVELOPERS: If you have a unique and hard to implement idea take your time. Create it and test it well. Document what the plugin does and also what it doesn't. The price depends on how hard someone will need or want it.

    Keep the plugin updated even if you are still miles ahead but keep the builds for yourself for a longer period of time to test them well.

    In the event of someone creating a competing plugin, do not decrease your price just yet! Trust yourself and your plugin to remain the best. If you start decreasing the price people may thing that your plugin is no longer worth its original price.

    TIP TO BUYERS: If the plugin does what you want then buy it. Prices of such plugins can go up and down but usually plugins like these can get more players to your server (or whatever the plugin is meant to do). Go easy on the author, he is doing something new and everything can happen.

    Monitor the updates of those plugins, if the author has no competition updates may get less features so try to give him/her ideas on what to create. Its both new for the developer as it is for you.

    2. Server goal
    Plugins are meant for servers not the users using it. If a developer makes a plugin that can be used on all servers there is a bigger audience that could potentially buy the plugin. However "all servers" also includes "poor servers" you can make your price high and you will most likely sell your plugin for decent amount of money, but the poor servers will start to complain. If you lower the price of your plugin more servers will buy it but for less/plugin. A plugin that costs less can be cool for the buyer and temporarily cool for the seller, but as soon as 'most' servers have it the seller will stop selling and lose motivation leaving a lot of angry server owners behind.

    Then there are the plugins that are meant for one particular kind of server. Like PVP servers, or Minigames servers or <fill in gamemode> server, ... . In that case developers don't have a big audience and depending on the type of gamemode the developer will most likely base the price on the average income of such gamemode. Minigames take a lot of time and should always be high in price, but there are plugins that are meant for "any type of server" that are far more complicated and take way longer but are sold for less. Plugins that are for Prison servers usually are the most extreme in price since it is a known fact that the majority of prison servers get a lot of donations (of course there are exceptions) yet even the smallest tweaks can change that gamemode completely (since it is focussed on one particular thing).

    TIP TO DEVELOPERS: Start your price medium (not high not low) if it sells good and the replies are positive increase the price slightly. An example would be: "You have a minigame that is cool and unique and you want to sell it for 15$" try asking 10$ first to get a few buyers and some reactions. If they are positive increase the price a bit until you reach your 15$. You can always lower the price on sales to get a new load of feedback.

    TIP TO BUYERS: Don't judge the price of a starting plugin. The developer will notice the price is too high if his sales are too low (they can read). If the plugin is something not meant for a specific gamemode there will be times you will think "Why would I need to pay so much for X" but some might say "THAT IS EXACTLY what I was looking for!", maybe if you don't need it you should ask the developer to lower the price.
    Usually the user does not see the same possibilities as the developer does, so ask for examples or a test server.

    3. Support and maintenance
    When buying a resource spigot guarantees you one download but possibly no updates. This doesn't mean you can only download it once after buying , it means spigot can't guarantee that the resource author will update his plugin or if it will be removed in the future. Support and maintenance are hard things to check, you can see how the author interacts with users (on discussions , ...) but this does not mean he will keep doing it.

    RTFM is just a pure excuse for a bad usability design. The best of the best shouldn't need a manual or description to prevent you from ever needing support, but there are very few developers or companies that can achieve this (Compare the Apple iPhone manual to a Samsung manual and you will see the difference). So don't blame the author because you think the plugin is hard to use, there are 1000's of manuals about Windows but that doesn't mean Windows is hard to use,. it means you find it hard to use.

    One thing you should know is that developers on spigot are like you, they are normal people with a job or studying in college that like to create plugins but get something in return. They usually don't have a team behind them or dedicate their full lives on answering questions. You may be used to the (fast) support with your hosting that has dedicated people constantly watching for new tickets but this will never ever be as predictable.

    You may be lucky and the developer responds in minutes or hours, but as said before these developers have a job or exams and they won't be able to answer your questions instantly.

    Developers should make clear how their customers can contact them (Before they buy it) so the buyer knows what he has to do 'in case of'. Also make sure your buyer knows when you can reply to their support requests (timezone, vacation ,...)

    TIP TO DEVELOPERS: Have some clear SLA agreement with your buyer. Make sure they know when, where and how they need to contact you for support. For small plugins you may find the discussion thread of the plugin to be enough, but with larger or more plugins you may want to look into alternatives like freshdesk, github issue tracker or other ticket services. Keep in mind that your buyer pays the price for the plugin and possible support.

    Always keep loyal to the how of support, when a customer doesn't provide all information you defined on your discussion page tell them to give that information first (like errors, logs, config ,...)

    Personal tip: What I usually try to do just like many others is to create a FAQ section in your description or issue tracker. Things that get asked a lot like "is this plugin compatible with xxx" or "I get this error what does it mean".

    TIP TO BUYERS: The description of most plugins contains a section that says what you should do for support. Some developers prefer skype, others pm's or others have issue trackers on another site to organize their support tickets. If the support questions other people asked are public (in the discussion thread for example) check how the author of the plugin responds to them and what his responses are (or if he responds at all).

    Never use the review section as your first resort, some may think you can push the author by doing this but you shouldn't.. stick to the when, where and how of asking support to the author.

    The other customers may be able to help you, Spigot is a community everyone helps each other so why shouldn't we help each other when its about paid plugins? Try to ask your question in the discussions of a plugin when the author's reply takes a while (And also do it the other way around, if you see a config mistake in someone elses config or you recognize a problem just give them advise, you won't die from helping other customers of a plugin that is not yours).

    4. My personal conclusion
    Selling plugins remains like EVERY product something that can seem high for person A but low or fine for person B. Even those new developers that create the most useless plugins shouldn't be yelled at, if indeed it is something no one will use then don't buy it. Don't go ask the developer to lower the price for something that remains useless to be sold.
    In the end the goal is to get downloads, not to have a plugin for sale with a high price and 0 downloads.

    See it as a software pack that magnifies and narrates your screen but sold for 700$. You may find that
    ridiculously high, but for someone who needs it it is like a penny of what they can achieve with it.

    Compare it to an iPhone and a OnePlus One. The OnePlus one has more features, ram than the iPhone. You can buy 3-4 OnePlus devices for an iPhone 6 plus yet people buy it.

    The same happens with plugins.

    TIP TO DEVELOPERS: Don't join spigot to sell things. Having a plugin as your 21th post is not the most popular way to get downloads. Have a nice avatar, signature get to know the community before starting to sell a premium plugin.

    Help other developers, even the ones selling premium plugins.

    TIP TO BUYERS: Developing is not easy. The factor of how hard depends on the features and the internal working and the skill level of the developer. Don't start to hate those new developers who spend their entire week end to create a simple plugin. Yes they should not sell it, but help them create something unique.

    #1 Maximvdw, Dec 6, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
    • Informative x 101
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  2. Sinkas


    Really nice and thorough explanation!
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  3. Maximvdw


    Damn, so much typos I made xD
    • Funny x 11
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  4. Maximvdw


    Will fix the typos soon
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Nice explanation.
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  6. Is it just me, or is this text hard to read with all this green?
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  7. Maximvdw


    its you :p
    • Funny x 4
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  8. Great post, very clear.
    ps: Keep those {placeholder} updates coming! =P
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  9. Placeholder?
    • Funny Funny x 1
  10. You have different shades of green for the tips.
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  11. Perfect !
    • Informative Informative x 1
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  12. Nice!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Great someone has put this up, quite useful.
  14. Nice and thx for this explanation.
  15. Wow very nice post :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. *cough* be a moneywhore *cough*
    Back ot: should add that if its something major,eg more than a hundred. Don't sell as premium plugin but instead offer it as a one time deal type of thing. Though that's rare as most people don't have ideas of that caliber
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  17. One of the most beautiful analogies. *Sniffle*
  18. Very good :)
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  19. MineCove


    Excellent informative post. Hit the nail right on the head.

    My two cents on the matter -

    Rational buyer behavior includes factors that may exceed importance over the monetary price of the object being considered. With such factors, a buyer *may *chose the more expensive plugin with the same features as a cheaper plugin. To name a few factors:
    • Track record of the developer (i.e. Reputation)
    • Usability (i.e. Ease of installation/use)
    • Aesthetic presentation (i.e. Design of the advertisement/information page)
    While the feature list of your product (plugins) claims foremost importance, substantial effort should be put into building buyer trust.

    My advice to developers - Develop stable plugins as a respected member of the community while also putting substantial effort into the presentation of your resource page. You want to show any potential buyers that you are reliable, competent, and established with the community. The amount of effort you put into the presentation of your resource page can sometimes be the only indication to a buyer between a robust plugin or a volatile one. If a developer's resource page is riddled with spelling errors, wouldn't that be an indication that his or her plugin is also full of errors? Last, try to avoid uploading a simple plugin that there already exists many variations of - Doing so can harm your distinction as a developer which thereby correlates to your reputation.

    My advice to buyers - Buy plugins from respected members of the community who have clearly put substantial effort into the presentation of their resource page.
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  20. wow! maxim u are great man, one day i have with u or more :p :)