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Atlassian Marketplace - Changes Must Be Made (please read and share your feedback)

Edited

I have been a Confluence administrator for a large organisation for 5 years. I was hired to tidy up their huge environment which they have been using for many years.

When the environment was first installed, many of the plugins on the Atlassian Marketplace was free, The engineer installed a handful of those tools to meet business requirements. We also purchased a handful of tools alongside those. 

Over the years our page authors have been using macros from the free plugins. We have become reliant on those to display and organise our content. If we uninstall the plugin, information is greatly affected and we are not able to get it back unless we reinstall the tool.

As someone who needs to justify spending to their finance department, I feel trapped every time one of those free plugins change to a paid licence. Some drastically go up by such a huge percentage. We really do feel trapped when this happens especially when you compare our annual cost with Atlassian from 5 years ago.

It forces me into making difficult decisions to either waste endless resources, training and effort to get all our page authors to take off those macros from potentially thousands of pages or force us into purchasing the products. Either way, it requires a lot of planning with management.

I strongly believe Atlassian now need to start protecting their customers from vendors on the Atlassian Marketplace. I understand why vendors need to change their licencing plan but they need to set the expectation from the very beginning and make it clear.

Here is what I believe must change to start protecting your customers:

  • If a vendor releases a free plugin, they must keep it free for life. If there is a need to start charging for the plugin to meet customer demand, the free tool must become a lite version with no new features made for that tool. Only security and support updates for future versions should be required.
  • Atlassian *must* make it very clear to customers that plugins aren't guaranteed to remain free for life. A warning must be presented notifying them of this to give them the choice to commit to using that tool.
  • Atlassian *must* give their customers a way to easily take content from a wrapped macro so that it isn't hidden with the 'Unknown Macro' content.

Just these simple changes will make a huge difference.

Take a look at the below photos. There is no where to say the licence could change for that free plugin. It could increase by over 1000% in 2/3 years time when your customers become reliant on it:

(I have removed vendor information as it is not targeted against a specific company)

 

Screenshot 1.pngScreenshot 2.png

Any way I would love to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

 

1 comment

Hmm.  There's a lot of things in there you have not thought through.

  • If a vendor releases a free plugin, they must keep it free for life.
    • Why?  If you insist on it, then you're effectively telling people who volunteer to write plugins to be your slave.  If you imposed that rule, no-one would ever write anything for free, which completely stymies all forms of innovation.
  • Atlassian *must* make it very clear to customers that plugins aren't guaranteed to remain free for life.
    • It's in the T&Cs for marketplace
  • Atlassian *must* give their customers a way to easily take content from a wrapped macro so that it isn't hidden with the 'Unknown Macro' content.
    • Click "edit" on the page.  The content is there.

 

You yourself say

  • I understand why vendors need to change their licencing plan

Great, so you do understand the need for change (which obviates most of what you've said here)

  • but they need to set the expectation from the very beginning and make it clear.

So you're not reading the announcements vendors are required to make when they change from free to paid.  I guess there's a presentation issue here in that they're not as easy to find as you'd like, but they are there.

Like # people like this

Here's my feedback: 

1. It would certainly help if the app vendors make it obvious (or send an email) before their future paid versions are released.

2. Not sure if we already have this functionality somewhere but it would help if there is a reminder from every app vendor before a trial/free license expires and how many free trials they still have left. 

3. Also, I was thinking if Atlassian can come up with the idea of "a bundle of licenses" and charge users in bulk for all their licenses and all of them applied as a single key in a single place (all co-termed) rather than having to maintain so many with different dates (applicable to Server and DC)

I'm not positive because I haven't been through the process myself, but I have an app on the marketplace and my understanding is that, if someone wanted to go from free to paid, they have to send a notification to everyone who has it installed and it's either 30 or 60 days before the switch happens. That's part of Atlassian's requirements, and they actually have the control/switch--the vendor submits a request, the notifications are sent, and X days later, Atlassian makes the switch on the vendor's behalf.

But I suspect most people are like me and have a filter setup in their mailbox were a lot of announcements get shunted to a folder and they never look at them XD

To your 3rd point @Kris G _Alacriz_ , a partner can do that for you to some extent. It's not a single key, but they can co-term and bill all at once.

Disclaimer: I work for Adaptavist and Atlassian Software Licensing is part of what we do. We have built some custom tools that help us do it quickly and efficiently, which help us handle large numbers of licenses quickly.

  1. Most vendors do contact people in my experience, often months before we need to worry.
  2. The marketplace is the place to do that, as it handles the licences, not asking thousands of vendors to each have to do something.  But the marketplace doesn't send reminders (becase when it was tried a few years ago, 99% of the people getting emails either ignored them or treated them as spam).  Frankly though, if you've forgotten how many trials you have left, you're either not interested enough to renew it or you're failing to do your job as an admin/system-owner.
  3. There's no way to do single keys or bundles - you'd need the vendors to agree on all the pricing and terms across the board, which simply won't happen.  The co-terming thing is possible of course, but Atlassian have never really gone for it, preferring to let partners offer that instead of implementing it themselves.

I'm glad I got your reply, these things needs to be discussed from both a vendor and customer point of view. I'm being awkward because I really enjoy using Confluence but equally I would like to give my feedback on this matter because our license has increased by 200% in 4 years.

One product alone which was free for 8 years changed their license plan and within 6 months cost us $9000 a year. We can't do without that tool so can you see our disappointment.

I have thought this through from someone with 5 years experience.

If you volunteer to write code and expect to get paid, charge at the very beginning not 10 years later when a company has filled their site with the macro. It is like giving someone a highly addictive product for free, then charging that person once they have become hooked. Listing the price at the very beginning of what the developer feels their product is worth sets the expectation for the customer. Atlassian allows their customers to evaluate products before they commit to purchasing anything. This alone brings in the punters and the customer gets full visibility of the price before committing to any transactions. I truly believe developers should get paid for their excellent work, but it is tricky if you volunteer and expect to get paid at the same time.

I have had a good look and I can't find anywhere about the change of free tools on their terms and conditions, have you got a link? If it does exist, it must be made much clearer. I see a lot of information about product evaluation and there is a difference between giving it away to listing the price and letting the customer try it. I still stand by what I say that Atlassian needs to make this much clearer for new customers.

If we decide to uninstall the tool because we can't afford the product, Editing the page won't make any difference if the content is wrapped within the macro. Our customers who need to view our site for policies don't have permissions to edit. 

  • 'Great, so you do understand the need for change (which obviates most of what you've said here)'

If you scroll down to see what else I said 'the free tool must become a lite version with no new features made for that tool'.  I did a quick google:

An abbreviated version of a software application that is either bundled with a new computer or freely available from a website. The lite version (light version) may have limited functionality or be supported by advertisements, or both. Lite versions typically have no tech support. Upgrading to the full version for a fee eliminates the ads or invokes more program features, and tech support maybe provided. See shareware and freemium.


The developer should freely be able to start charging for their product, but to be fair to customers, this must be listed as a new product. 

  • So you're not reading the announcements vendors are required to make when they change from free to paid.  I guess there's a presentation issue here in that they're not as easy to find as you'd like, but they are there.

I agree with you here, they are there but not very clear for customer looking to install that new tool. You don't get any announcements if you haven't yet downloaded it. 5 years go by and bam you're hit with the dreaded announcement from the vendor... ouch!!!

> If you volunteer to write code and expect to get paid, charge at the very beginning

You’ve made a massive and mostly incorrect assumption there. I don’t think any of the previously free apps were anticipating having to charge. They became popular as free options because they were good, and they went paid because the authors did not have the resources to maintain them for free.

The obvious example I’ve got is ScriptRunner for Jira Software. When Jamie wrote it, it was free. He did not think it was going to sell as a paid app, but when he finally gave in to Simon and joined Adaptavist, it went paid. Not because we wanted money, but to cover the cost of paying Jamie and his new team's salaries.

Jamie was never expecting to get paid for this. So “charge at the beginning” is nonsense.

> I have had a good look and I can't find anywhere about the change of free tools on their terms and conditions, have you got a link?

The release notes and often introductory text on each app on https://marketplace.atlassian.com

>If we decide to uninstall the tool because we can't afford the product, Editing the page won't make any difference if the content is wrapped within the macro

Wrong - the content is available inside the body of the macro. Even when the macro code no longer exists, the body is freely editable on the page. And you’ll want to edit so you can get rid of the call to the macro.

>If you scroll down to see what else I said 'the free tool must become a lite version with no new features made for that tool'.  I did a quick google:

Nothing there changes the facts I pointed out before.

As for your last point, it is absolutely clear when things go paid. Even if the vendor doesn’t directly announce it, the UPM displays this sort of thing:

Screenshot 2020-05-15 at 16.34.49.png

In short, you're asking for a level of spoon-feeding that costs money.  You can't expect vendors to do it for free.  I'd rather keep the prices down than have to pay for clients who are creating work through their failings.

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