NEW PRICING STRUCTURE FOR MULTICHARTS?

Questions about MultiCharts and user contributed studies.
khalaad
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NEW PRICING STRUCTURE FOR MULTICHARTS?

Postby khalaad » 13 Oct 2008

If, as many of us wish, MultiCharts is to become one of the all time great analytical software, both TSSupport and the users need to rethink certain issues.

One is MultiCharts pricing, which should be reviewed and restructured.

glam_100 -- http://forum.tssupport.com/viewtopic.php?t=5484 -- has very bravely suggested this:

I think the problem lies in MC's pricing scheme.

Basically MC is a one time investment where a user paid once and then all the bug fix requests is done without any income.

Inevitably this model promotes new features over bug fixes because new features is what draw in new customers. Bug fixes and maintenance becomes a drain on resources that generates no revenue and worse get in the way of the income generating features ("Priorities").

As MC builds up a larger user base this will create a big problem because now you have a huge user base who're not income generating but nevertheless making (rightfully so) a lot of bug fix/maintenance requests.

I don't see how TSSupport can get over with this without charging recuring maintenance fee or monthly fee. Without this the incentive to keep an old customer is simply not there. I'm sure TSSupport would love to keep their old customers and have put in as much effort as possible but the simple fact is that their old customers are not an asset but rather a long term liability. The pricing model is simply broken.

If this go bad enough MC could go down the road becoming the most attractive product for new users (with all the bells and whistles) but get abandoned by all their old customers as it is never really usable for real trading. If this is what they want fine but this is definitely not a long term business model. Revenue generating old customer base is simple a company's biggest asset.

I'm sure many old customers are fair and wouldn't mind a subscription fee for a solid stable product. Many old customers may not agree with this but I think TSSupport should charge $99 fee a month starting from Multichart Gold. Old customers can enjoy a 6 months waived fee and then start paying subscription fee afterwards. This is the only way to create a sustainable product with enough incentives to cater with the ever growing maintenance/bug fix requests.


I think this must be debated so:

the users get the best possible product at the earliest possible date and at a most reasonable price;
TSSupport has adequate cash flow now -- rather than after MultiCharts Gold is released -- to continue development work apace.

Khalid

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Postby SUPER » 13 Oct 2008

Marina's comment on thread : http://forum.tssupport.com/viewtopic.php?t=5157


Hi flipflopper,

Quote:

Are these issues still on track for resolution in the next major release?

I tried the newest beta and the problems are still there.


The problems should be solved in the upcoming official release.

Quote:
Also I got an e-mail asking me to upgrade to Pro version for $6900!??!

In the e-mail it said that after v 4 is released additional upgrades will be charged for!?!? I thought I had a lifetime license. Please clarify.


Several years ago we promised our customers that we would be working to create a platform that would include a number of specified features. All those features are implemented in MultiCharts Gold that we will be releasing shortly. All the upgrades up to and including MultiCharts Gold have been free. After the release is out, we will start charging for upgrades. You will not be forced to upgrade. Your lifetime license will still be active. But if you decide to upgrade your program, you will be able to do so for a reasonable fee.

This is normal practise in the software industry. Data feeds, brokers keep upgrading their software and we have to keep up with those changes which costs us a lot of money. Apart from that we keep developing more features. Without charging for upgrades, we would not be able to implement any upgrades at all because we simply won't have enough money for that.

This is the same thing as Windows and Vista.

Regards.


Charges coming after Gold release..........

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Postby Tresor » 13 Oct 2008

Hi glam_100,

I have a number of questions and comments regarding your post:

1. ''I don't see how TSSupport can get over with this without charging recuring maintenance fee or monthly fee.'' - for sure you made, based on TSS's historical financial data, forcasts that prove TSS would go in the red in case no maintenance fee is paid by existing customers. Can you please share the historical data + projections with us? balance sheet + p&la + cash-flow - in Excel please.

2. ''I'm sure many old customers are fair and wouldn't mind a subscription fee for a solid stable product.'' - are unfair those who would mind to pay?

3. ''Many old customers may not agree with this but I think TSSupport should charge $99 fee a month starting from Multichart Gold.'' - I am one of many old customers and I am looking forward to see TSS's financial projections that you will no doubt post so that many old customers could see how you arrived at $99 and its timing with the release of the Gold Version.

Regards

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Postby glam_100 » 13 Oct 2008

How would I be posting financial statements???

I'm just an old customer like you who paid $400 a long time ago.

$99 was just a number pulled out of thin air (TS platform charge)for the sake of discussion.

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Postby Tresor » 13 Oct 2008

How would I be posting financial statements???

I'm just an old customer like you who paid $400 a long time ago.

$99 was just a number pull out of thin air for the sake of discussion.


If $99 is not based on hard facts than I suspect the whole idea of monthly fee for MC is also not based on hard facts.

A few months ago it was explained by TSS that:

(i) they will stop enhancing MC after the Gold version of MC is released (except for a debugging of MC), and

(ii) after releasing the Gold version they would launch a brand new charting and analytical product (probably under different name than MC, just as it was the case with Windows and Vista)

Conclusions:

1. I would really dislike the idea of paying $99 monthly fee for a product the development of which was promised to be discontinued.

2. Let's wait for TSS's proposal on how the new product will be like and what is their proposed pricing policy with regard to this new product.

Regards

khalaad
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Postby khalaad » 13 Oct 2008

Conclusions:

1. I would really dislike the idea of paying $99 monthly fee for a product the development of which was promised to be discontinued.

2. Let's wait for TSS's proposal on how the new product will be like and what is their proposed pricing policy with regard to this new product.


Very valid points.

But how do we get from where we are to MultiCharts Gold in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of pain?

Khalid

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Postby SUPER » 14 Oct 2008

Let us not push too soon for Multichart Gold as there are many bugs which need to be fixed. Once Multichart Gold project is complete there would be very little incentive for TSS to pursue enhancement features as they would be more interested in their New charting application project. If I quite understand, the whole purpose of MC -gold is to lure TS users to MC and hopefully move them to their ultimate new platform which may have charging structure similar to TS.

I don't believe $99 monthly subscription will attract any new TS users, Most users don't pay for TS platform anyway as 10 round trips entitle you free subscription.

I believe the reasonable upgrade fee idea of MC sounds much better proposition.

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Postby Tresor » 14 Oct 2008

[quote]

But how do we get from where we are to MultiCharts Gold in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of pain?

[quote]

Khalid,

I think some of us would intuitively agree with glam_100's diagnosis that keeping on improving a product without a stream of revenues generated on existing customers may lead to a neglecting of existing users, which for sure is not good for existing customers and might be to the detriment of the company's financials. We have no idea, if it is to the detriment because we have not seen the company's financials.

How do we get painlessly from now to MC Gold? A common sense would indicate that TSS would like to launch MC Gold asap in order to start charging existing customers for upgrades. If so, I wouldn't worry much about the schedule.

BTW, does anyone have an idea of what functionalities / improvements are going to be included in the Gold version?

Regards

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Postby khalaad » 15 Oct 2008

If:

MultiCharts Gold list of features are posted in the near future and are winsome in comparison to competitive products;
there is at least one official release and two or three betas -- and realistic, not rushed, develoment time -- between now and the Gold;
assurance of fault-free high-definition charting, further improvement with regards to strategy back-testing and optimization, and improved auto-trading with more orders execution options (say, by way of email strategy orders).

I would not mind a reasonsable upgrade fee before the Gold is released.

Yes, I do get mad when MultiCharts performs below the standard; but when it eases the generation of above-average profits, I also feel uncomfortable at having only paid US$400!

Khalid

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Marina Pashkova
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Postby Marina Pashkova » 15 Oct 2008

Hello everybody,

First of all, I would like to thank you all for your comments and suggestions regarding our pricing policies.

Below you fill out our official position regarding pricing, bug fixes, and upgrades.


1.The assumption that fixing bugs is just a drain on our resources and therefore we are reluctant to do so is not exactly accurate. Bug fixes are as important for attracting new customers as adding new features. We want to offer a stable and reliable product so we naturally and constantly are fixing bugs. This is why it is not fair to imply that our development and pricing policies are biased against the existing users and favors the potential customers. Bug fixes make Multicharts better and benefit you, us, and whoever decides to purchase MC in the future.


2.We are not planning to start charging existing customers monthly fees. It would simply be unfair. You guys were told that there is a one time payment and that you will be entitled to use the program having paid once. Moreover, we have a separate model for those who want to pay in small installments. We have a quarterly license. Its holders pay for MC every three months and receive upgrades for free. This model, however, is an alternative to the lifetime license, not its supplement.


3.Charging for future upgrades once the Gold Version with all the promised features is out is a necessary measure. Apart from financing new feature development, it will allow us to cover maintenance costs for modifications that we are forced to make. As you know, data providers keep releasing new versions of their products. We have to monitor those changes all the time, run tests, and implement changes accordingly. If you keep in mind that there are 20 different data feeds that MultiCharts supports, you’ll get the scope of ongoing changes.


4.Finally, we have decided that it is a little bit too early for the Gold Release.

We are releasing a new official version of MC (4.0 official release) next week. However, we have felt that it does not quite meet the promises regarding the complete package of functionalities made to all of you in the very beginning.

What is going to happen instead is as follows:

Almost immediately after releasing the 4.0 release we will roll out the 5.0 beta. This beta will have fractional price scales, dramatically improved backtesting and many more features (I will be publishing a list of those shortly). To iron out the possible glitches and fix the bugs, we will release a few betas after that. Once we make sure that the product is ready we will release the Gold Version. It is only after that that we will start charging for upgrades.

Those upgrades will be released approximately twice a year and will cost around $200. So basically upgrading MC on a regular basis will only cost you about $30 a month. Please note that those upgrades will NOT be mandatory.



I hope I have addressed most of the concerns discussed here.

Best regards,

Marina

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Postby Tresor » 15 Oct 2008


Once we make sure that the product is ready we will release the Gold Version. It is only after that that we will start charging for upgrades.

Those upgrades will be released approximately twice a year and will cost around $200. So basically upgrading MC on a regular basis will only cost you about $30 a month. Please note that those upgrades will NOT be mandatory.



Marina,

If I want to upgrade from MC Gold v1 to MC Gold v2 I will pay $200. If then I want to upgrade from MC Gold v2 to MC Gold v3 I will pay additional $200. That is clear.

But if I want to upgrade directly from MC Gold v1 to MC Gold v3 (skipping MC Gold v2), will I pay $200 or will I pay $400?

Regards

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Postby Moulinex » 15 Oct 2008

Thank you very much Marina!!! Thank you for explanation of your product's plan!
All is clear!!

khalaad
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Postby khalaad » 15 Oct 2008

So, barring unforeseeable, we should get from here to MultiCharts Gold without too much pain.

If the progress between Multicharts 4.0 Beta 2 and Multicharts 4.0 Beta 3 is any guide, we should have the Gold worthy of the name.

I think glam_100, Tresor, SUPER and Marina deserve appreciation for their contributions.

Khalid

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Postby Tresor » 16 Oct 2008

Respect for glam_100 who provoked the discussion.

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Postby Nick » 20 Oct 2008

Can you confirm that you will continue to support the old edition of MC with bug fixes and that users will not have to purchase upgrades to get fixes?

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Postby brendanh » 20 Oct 2008

I have recently purchased a "lifetime" MC licence. I am disgusted to read that from the moment Gold licences are made available (a few months?) MC could stop working unless I spend a further $200 every 6 months. I feel cheated.

I can accept paying extra for new features that would change the nature of the product thus justifying a rename and new licence. However if the existing functionality of MC stops working, it is a bug to be fixed, not a feature upgrade, thus should be covered under the existing MC lifetime licence. MC will be rendered useless to non-Gold-licencees from the moment Gold licences are made available if there are 3rd party broker or data changes.

MC should distinguish between feature-upgrades and bug-fixes. Maintenence of 3rd party connectors are bug fixes because they do not introduce new functionality, they prevent existing paid-for features breaking. This leaves a sour taste and loss of goodwill towards TSS.
Last edited by brendanh on 22 Oct 2008, edited 1 time in total.

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Marina Pashkova
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Postby Marina Pashkova » 22 Oct 2008

Hi everybody,

We will support the older versions and we’ll keep trying to fix the bugs. However, if you stopped to think about it you would clearly see that not all of the bugs can be fixed. Bugs can vary in their complexity. Often, to fix a seemingly minor bug, we would need to make major changes in the overall program structure. Such a task would take weeks or months. In this case we won’t be able to provide a bug fix for the old versions of the program. With data providers, however, we should be able to ensure the functionality of the older versions.

What really surprised me, though, is brendanh’s accusations and complaints. You are an intelligent and reasonable person and must understand that nothing comes for free.
Your statements are especially disappointing because as soon as you mentioned that you are not happy with how auto trading worked, we allocated time and resources to implement a totally new feature based on your idea. Isn’t that something that’s called good customer support?

Regarding your post.
You tested and subsequently bought our platform. The program worked and obviously you found it good enough to make the purchase. As the time passes however, 3rd parties make changes on their end. The result is that our program stops working with those 3rd parties. Now, we starting implementing adjustments necessary to ensure compatibility. Obviously, this task takes time and resources on our part. Once implemented these adjustments and changes are a new functionality, not a bug fix (even though you hoped otherwise).

We have never made any promises to endlessly keep changing the program to adjust to 3rd party changes. However, even though we are in no way obligated to do, so we’ll try to make those changes for you whenever possible.

.What I am saying is in complete accordance with the practice across the software industry. For example, it wasn’t possible to fix all the bugs in Windows 95 due to the limitations of its architecture. So Microsoft released the next version of the product that had to be paid for.
Another example is NT:
http://www.NT.com/webnew/NT ... ervice.pdf

Here’s an excerpt from their agreement:
“Lifetime Licenses. If User purchases a lifetime license to use the Software/Service, User
agrees that without limitation certain features of the software may not be available or supported in perpetuity. User also agrees that Company shall have the right to change features associated with the Software/Service in Company’s sole discretion, and that Company may choose to discontinue support of Software/Service at any time”


And here’s similar information on Neoticker: http://www.tickquest.com/upgrade.html

The bottom line is: our goal is to do our best to meet our customers’ needs. Therefore, the quality of the future generations of our products would be such that you will be feeling that the money spent on the upgrade is an investment not the costs. We are also not going to force anybody into upgrading without a good enough reason.


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