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IgnitionDeck License Structure Update

Posted in The Story by Nathan

IgnitionDeck was never designed to be a business. We built it simply because we saw a problem that needed solving, and figured that if we were going to build it for ourselves to use, then we might as well sell it to others as well.

We even tried to get out of the business multiple times, not because we didn’t love the product, but because we had our sights set on another app we had been working on. However, as time went on, and IgnitionDeck became more and more popular, we made the decision to abandon what we had been working on, and focus on IgnitionDeck full time. It was an honor we gladly accepted!

The initial IgnitionDeck product was simple and effective, yet suffered from legacy code that limited our ability to add features and enhancements. It had been sold as a pre-order at first, entitling the owners (supporters) to a lifetime IgnitionDeck license. At the time, we had no idea that eventually, we’d build what became IgnitionDeck Enterprise, but we knew that we wanted to support our initial supporters as long as we can.

Eventually, as IgnitionDeck Commerce was introduced, we had to make the decision to sunset IgnitionDeck (Legacy), and introduce what is now known as the IgnitionDeck Echelon license. Soon, IgnitionDeck Enterprise was added to the lineup alongside the Fundify and CrowdPress themes, which we acquired from their previous owners.

At this point, we had a decision to make. Should pre-order customers receive lifetime access to this new product, and furthermore, how should annual licenses work? Should the product continue working if not renewed, or should it default to a free version?

From our perspective, we have always tried to offer as much value to our customers as possible, and this situation was no different. We opted to give legacy customers a chance to continue using their original product for a year, and/or upgrade to Echelon at a discount.

In either case, both new and renewing customers would be able to continue using the plugin, even if their license expired. However, their version/s would be frozen in time, and they would lose access to our support channels.

This worked well for a period of time, but we learned very quickly that this would not be a practical long-term solution:

  1. Requiring active licenses in order to issue updates meant that even free users (those that were considering using our products) would be stuck on the versions downloaded when they signed up for IgnitionDeck Launchpad
  2. Trying to operate a site that is unlicensed and in a state of version-lock meant that API’s would eventually break, bugs would be introduced (due to newer versions of IgnitionDeck Framework still being available), and customers might have a very bad experience.

As much as we wanted to find a way around these issues, the WordPress repository’s functionality dictates (read: limits) how we’re able to offer free versions and updates, and even though we migrated several of our plugin extensions to modules, and still plan to, we could not find a way around these limitations.

In addition, you may not believe me when I say it, but building and maintaining IgnitionDeck is a very expensive endeavor. We are constantly updating API’s to ensure they stay up to date, and also adding new features, payment integrations, and much more. Were we to charge a single fee for a lifetime license, we would be unable to continue building and developing this platform without either a) charging much more, or b) ceasing the addition of new features and updates.

Obviously, this is not a solution that benefits anyone, so in the end, we made the decision modify our licensing structure once more:

  • Updates no longer require an active license, which means that even free users will continue to receive the latest and greatest features that IgnitionDeck offers (effective 10/10/18)
  • We have introduced lifetime licenses for IgnitionDeck Enterprise, ensuring those that want a lifetime license can actually purchase one at a price that works for all involved (introduced August 2018)
  • If you choose not to renew, your plugin license will expire and functionality will default to the free version. No, you will not be able to continue using Echelon or Enterprise features at this point, but you will be able to continue receiving updates that keep IgnitionDeck working as it should, ensuring your users will not be negatively affected (as of early 2018)

We know that for some of you, renewing annually presents a financial challenge. If you are a non-profit and/or a business that is struggling, please use the contact form to reach out to us and we’ll see what we can do to help. In some cases, it’s as simple as downgrading to Echelon until the business is profitable. In other cases, monthly payments can relieve the burden of an all upfront cost.

All in all, we believe these changes will result in a far superior user experience, and lead to many improvements in plugin architecture that will ensure IgnitionDeck continues to lead the way in WordPress crowdfunding, fundraising, and e-commerce. As always, we look forward to your feedback, and look forward to seeing the many things you build using this new and improved product.