We’re not just license holders; we’re also stakeholders as well. We many not own shares in Internet Brands, but we certain play an important role. But let’s just look at license pricing here. It might be difficult for non-vBulletin license holders to understand, but let me speak from a business perspective and maybe that will shine some light.
Let’s establish some facts and simplify some of the logic.
When vBulletin came out, there were two licenses: Leased and Owned
Leased license: $85.00
A leased license, as it suggested, allowed users to utilize a vBulletin license for one year. Afterwards, it need to be renewed. This was an annual process
Owned License: $160.00
A owned license, as it suggested, deemed a license holder a lifetime owner for vBulletin. After a one year period, any version updates, regardless major or minor, required a $30.00 fee to regain another year’s access to downloads.
On April 29th, 2008, a new pricing scheme was implemented.
Leased Licenses: $100.00
Owned Licenses: $180.00, with a year’s download access costing $40.00 before 60 days after a license expired, or $60.00 after.
On October 13, 2009, another new pricing scheme was implemented.
Leased Licenses: Discontinued
Owned Licenses (Forum Only):
Presale : $175.00
Support Fees for One Year: $80.00
Owned Licenses (Suite):
Presale Upgrade from Older License (Active): $130.00
Presale Upgrade from Older License (Inactive, 12 or Less Months): $190.00
Presale Upgrade from Older License (Inactive, 12 Plus Months): $210.00
Regular Price Upgrade from Older License: $250.00
Presale New License: $235.00
Regular New License Price: $285.00
Did your head spin at the last set of prices? Mine did. So let me attempt to clarify in the words of Ms. Carrie Anderson:
Let’s say you have an owned license. Under the old scheme, you received free upgrades for one year with your license purchase, at which point you either renewed or did not renew. If you renewed, you received another year of upgrades. If you did not renew, then you could continue using the last version available to you prior to expiry.
Under the new scheme, if your owned license is not expired, you still get upgrades until your license expires. Once your license expires, you are in the same situation you would have been in under the old scheme. You will either upgrade (renew) or you can continue using the last version available to you prior to expiry, and that includes the vB4 Forum package.
The term free comes in because there is not going to be an additional charge for you to upgrade to the vB4 Forum package with an active license. You will continue to get upgrades just like you did under the old scheme until your license expires.
On a related note, let’s say you have an active, owned license and you upgrade to the vB4 Forum package, and then your license expires. Just as with the old scheme, you upgrade (renew) or don’t. This time however the pricing scheme is different. Instead of the yearly $40/$60 renewal fee, the renewal (upgrade) is based on series so you would get upgrades for the life of the vB4 series.
As to the cost, it is $175 to go from an expired, owned license to the vB4 Forum series. The $175 is not a yearly fee; it is a fee to continue to get upgrades on the vB4 series, e.g., vB4.1, vB4.2, etcetera. This price is not yet displayed to you on the purchase page because vB4 Forum licenses for upgrades are not yet available. The $195 price you see is for new vB4 Forum licenses, not upgrades.
In summary, if you are interested in the vB4 Forum upgrade path, you get the vB 4.0 Forum upgrade and updates to the vB4 Forum series until your license expires. At that point you will need to pay the upgrade fee in order to continue getting updates on the vB4 Forum series.
If you are interested in the vB4 Suite upgrade path, you pay the upgrade fee now to get on the vB4 Suite series and will receive all updates to the vB4 Suite series.
Did your head spin even more? My eyes rolled into the back of my eyes.
For the sake of argument points, let’s just boil everything down to some numbers and let’s think about the overall cost.
vBulletin version 4.0 Suite License costs 235.00/285.00 Respectively for a new license.
vBulletin version 4.0 Forum Only Licenses cost 175.00/195.00 Respectively for a new license.
For us holding old licenses, it costs us 130.00/250.00 respectively to upgrade to vBulletin 4 License. Let’s just forget for the moment that some of us are Project Tools and Blog License Holders as well as that just complicates the math. I prefer things to be a bit clear.
So for those holding legacy licenses, it costs $160.00 or $180.00 per license plus the upgrade fees.
Price 1A $160.00 + $130.00 = 290 (Pre)
Price 1B $160.00 + $250.00 = 410 (Post)
Price 2A Price $180.00 + $130.00 = 310 (Pre)
Price 2B $180.00 + $250.00 = 430 (Post)
Each of the above prices are more expensive than a brand new regular license. I don’t care if it is pre or post sale.
Price 1A $160.00 + $130.00 = 290 (55.00 Difference
Price 1B $160.00 + $250.00 = 410 (125.00 Difference)
Price 2A $180.00 + $130.00 = 310 (75.00 Difference)
Price 2B $180.00 + $250.00 = 430 (145.00 Difference)
At the cheapest rate (which the really old vBulletin license holders bought licenses at), there is a 55.00 cost difference. Is Internet Brands trying to tell me it really costs them $55.00 in administrative fees? That’s like 1-2 years of free upgrades. Is Internet Brands telling me it will be close to that long of a commitment? At 40.00 a year for renewals, it’s 3-4 years of upgrades before you recoup that cost. at 60.00, it’s between 2-3 years. Either way, you’re stuck for that long and it’s one expensive upgrade.
Let’s look at those who got hurt really badly and likely will have to pay 145.00 on top to get a new vBulletin 4 license just to get patches and updates after one year. I really feel sorry for those who got screwed out of their money. These are the people who really got hurt and all because they just bought their licenses recently. Personally, I feel Internet Brands did not deserve to take your money and slam you for “upgrading”. Plus they’re taking away our lifetime ticket and email support. Yup. No more support from the ticket system, yet we’re still getting charged more. Chances are you’re going to need it since there’s more frequent versions. So now tack on another year’s worth of support charged at 80.00 per year of support.
It’s far cheaper and more economical to buy brand new licenses from Internet Brands no matter what. The 235.00 Price is still cheaper than the 290.00/310.00 PreSale Pricing. The 285.00 price is more cheaper than the 410/430 postsale pricing. And who knows. Maybe this was their intention all along; to force us to buy brand new licenses.
And if your eyes completely rolled into the back of your head and did a second roll, just take away this: We’re getting screwed. BIG TIME.