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Why Should I Pay?

 |  Interwebs

Mint, my stats tracker of choice, was upgraded recently. There’s even a nice little button which has appeared at the top of my install telling me so (). How sweet… and yet completely pointless because I can’t see me upgrading anytime soon. “!?!” you proclaim. “But you always encourage updating your scripts!” I hear you say…

Not when it’s going to cost me $19 on top of the $30 I already spent to purchase the license in the first place. And not just this site, I bought a license for tutorialtastic too. That’s a total of almost $100 just to run some fancy stats wizardry that I could have got for free from another provider. I could pay my water bill for this quarter and and eat for almost two weeks on that amount of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy with Mint. I stalk my stats; my eyes flicking back and forth like a cat on crack (er, possibly — not scientifically proven). I like the functionality it has to offer me. I like that it doesn’t include hotlinkers, bots etc. I like that it gives me an accurate picture of what’s going on and I like that I can see every move every visitor makes (feeling paranoid now?) I just don’t see why I should pay to upgrade it.

A few people have voiced this opinion and have been shot down. We’re “too greedy”, even “whiners” and “unintelligent”. Damned right — if we can get phpBB, WordPress and countless other larger and infinitely more complex scripts for free why should we have to pay again? Even Microshaft don’t charge for the service packs and general updates. It’s not like Mint 2 is offering anything that Mint 1 + peppers (plug-ins) couldn’t already provide anyway.

I’ve been told that I “have the option to not upgrade”. Of course, thank you for pointing out the obvious. This will be my chosen path at this precise moment in time. The problem is there will be a time when this is not a feasible option — how long are developers going to support and release Mint 1 peppers? How long can I get general help for if my Mint install cocks up? It’s not going to be possible to support two different versions indefinitely.

So, I pose the question: why should I pay? If Shaun Inman is as successful as he makes out, why does he need to charge for almost-pointless updates? Knock the cost down to $5 and I’ll upgrade in an instant. In the mean time I’m going to stick to being a greedy, unintelligent whiner. And proud of it.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

39 comments so far

  1. Jenny said:

    Hm, I saw that before when I was browsing the Mint site. I thought it was quite useless to “pay to upgrade”.. especially when I read that Mint 2 had nothing spectacular from Mint 1 on it.

  2. Katie said:

    So, I pose the question: why should I pay? If Shaun Inman is as successful as he makes out, why does he need to charge for almost-pointless updates? Cause he’s a greedy bastard?

  3. Nan said:

    I don’t think I have ever heard about paying for a upgrade to a script where you already bought a license. I understand you are disappointed and I would have been too if it was me. I read a thread on their forum where a guy said “And Iā€™m sure the many many other people that have purchased the upgrade show that it really is worth it.” – I think that because a lot people buy hamburgers at Mac Donald’s doesn’t have to mean that they necessarily are any good.

  4. Jem said:

    Actually, it doesn’t have the same Big Brother-esque abilities that Mint has, but it’s not too bad by the look of it. Shame about the spelling mistake in the script name.

  5. Stephanie said:

    That’s why I don’t think many people use Mint, and why scripts that you have to pay for aren’t popular. Whether they’re better and worth the money, I don’t know.

  6. Grant Mc said:

    Damn, ill get it right one of these days I’ve just noticed thou I’ve been calling it that all the time lol! oh well still think a link to the top of the page(from the comments box or bottom) would be good jem!

  7. Jenny said:

    I have thought about getting Mint. But then I saw the cost. That’s a week of grocerys for the baby. I think not. Like you said, why pay when you can get a different one for free.

  8. Vixx said:

    I had a little rant myself with weekend about this very thing. I don’t mind legitimately paying for software, but I’m not impressed at being expected to pay to upgrade at all. Like others before me have said much more eloquently than I have, I’ve never even heard of having to do that before. Before I would have recommended Mint in a heartbeat. Now, I’m not so sure. V xx

  9. Chans said:

    I don’t think you’re whining or greedy or anything like that. To me (and most others I think) it doesn’t make sense paying for an upgrade while you already paid for the license. And it’s not like it’s cheap either, that’s a lot of money you could spend on other important stuff instead. I have been thinking about getting Mint, but after reading this I think I’ll leave it for what it is.

  10. Jem said:

    @David: I’ve not used Google Analytics personally but have seen a lot of negative opinion on its reliability, and apparently the tracking is not ‘live’?

  11. Hillarie said:

    That’s…wow. I thought they said on the mint site that it was a total one-time fee…forever. That is just…so unfair. If version 1 works, do you need the second? Probably not. I’m stunned.

  12. Stephanie said:

    That’s ridiculous. Makes me kind of sad he’s out of Baltimore — giving my home a bad name. You bought the license, now you get the perks. How stupid. Friggin’ Adobe gives out general updates for free. His little tracking script isn’t worth the nineteen bucks to upgrade unless there is some major bug that hasn’t been made public in it. And even then, I would try to edit the source code before upgrading ;P

  13. Melissa said:

    All of my comment did not display. :( So here is the rest! Interesting about Mint. I hadn’t heard of it until a few days ago myself. Like said above, I can’t afford it. :( Especially since my site has been such a see-saw of updates and visitors. Maybe when I get a real job in the real world and get “real” visitors I will invest in something like that.

  14. Jordan said:

    Jem, I feel the exact same as you do in regards to the Mint 2 upgrade price. It’s 66% of a new Mint license; I don’t see how you can charge that much for an upgrade to mint. I know people who adore Shaun agree with the price and have obviously paid for the upgrade. But I don’t see why he’s charging people for an upgrade. I could understand if Mint was free, then charging for an upgrade would seem legitimate. But charging for the upgrade after having to pay for a license? I just feel like he knows people will upgrade, so that’s why he went ahead and tossed out that $19 upgrade fee. With as much money as he’s pulling in from Mint, I can see why he’d want to continue making money off of past purchases. @ Stephanie: If very little people used Mint, the price would be much more, and well, I don’t think Mint 2 would be something to even talk about. But trust me, A LOT of people use Mint. Just search “mint client mode” and you’ll see Mint live, and just how many people are using it.

  15. Melle said:

    Mint’s probably the best stats tracker available, and although I want so much to purchase it, I’ve never done it. Because well, besides the point that I don’t have $30 to spare, I also think I can rely on other sources which are free (although not as reliable and accurate). But if I had the money, of course I would buy Mint. And I can see your point of the absurdness of paying AGAIN to just upgrade. And it’s not even a THAT big upgrade. I mean, WordPress didn’t even ask us to pay when they released version 2.1. I really can’t see why Shaun is asking y’all to pay again. Probably to earn some extra bucks for coffee.

  16. Corinne said:

    I agree. I would definitely use Mint. I think it’s a great tool. But, would I pay $30 or more for it? He..ck no. I don’t even care about my stats. I rarely if ever check them because I always forget to. Plus, what’s it going to tell me, that I only have a few visitors a day? I already knew that. When I heard that Mint 2 would cost extra money? I laughed. No thanks Shaun. Maybe I’ll feel gullible next week.

  17. Aithnea said:

    I’ve considered getting Mint for my blog because I just like knowing that people visit, then I saw you had to pay for it. Like you said, why pay when you can get something for free. The difference between Mint and phpBB and WordPress is that both phpBB and WP are open source. WP and phpBB have the advantage of having tons of developers working on their scripts for free (at least that’s my understanding of the open source movement) and Mint likely has to pay for their developers. I’m not saying that I agree that you should have to pay to upgrade your scripts but may-be Mint is trying to just make enough money to make working on Mint worth the developers time.

  18. Jordan said:

    Aithnea, the license fee is already $30; That’s fair enough reimbursement for Shaun’s time on developing Mint. The upgrade price seems like it’s a coy plan to scrape up more money for the past people who already paid $30 for his product. Think of it: Jem and I both have two instances of Mint, so between the two of us, we’ve provided Mint/Shaun with $120. We’re just TWO people. There are a lot of other people that have Mint, and multiple licenses for it too.

  19. Mumblies said:

    AHA! Now i know why Foxi runs around like a mad thing after your visits Jem *grin* (only kidding) I guess it’s pretty much the same over. This is how the rich get rich, they screw people for more and more money all the time. I agree with Katie :o)

  20. Jem said:

    The difference between Mint and phpBB and WordPress is that both phpBB and WP are open source. I’m aware of that. My point was that it’s possible to make them free despite being all the more complex. Although Mint has a single developer/owner (Shaun Inman) there are tons of people who could/would contribute. Even without contribution, there’s no need for it to be as expensive as it is. I develop all of my scripts in my spare time, and while the code is less complex and probably no where near as efficient/tidy, it still takes hours and the reward for that is seeing people use the scripts, not monetary gain.

  21. Amelie said:

    I bought it without even thinking about it. Now I feel like asking for a refund, because stupid me didn’t think about the maths (duh). I thought “ooh, $19 to upgrade, that’s not too bad” … but on top of the $30 I already paid? I forgot about that. Then again, he does state that updates (e.g. 1.1 to 1.2) are free, while upgrades (1.x to 2.x) are not. I wasn’t very happy about that, because the “$30 one time fee!11!!” is then incorrect. There’s nothing new about Mint 2 except the layout. Disappointing. I’ve learnt my lesson and will definitely not be paying any more money. He won’t give refunds (I’ve just read) so there’s that idea out of the window. Blah.

  22. Hillarie said:

    @Jem: Well said. I was YES!!!!ing everything you just said. Now, if he says something about version 2 being more stable, THEN that’s when you upgrade. But, if it’s nothing important, WHY? WordPress 2.1 came out (free, of course), and they gave you a reason to upgrade: security fixes.

  23. Jenn said:

    It does seem ridiculous to pay for the upgrade. I’ve been contemplating Mint, and even asked Jordan what she thought of it, but the idea of having to shell out $19 or more every time there’s just the slightest upgrade makes me hesitate. I’m all for supporting software by buying it initially, but paying for minor upgrades shouldn’t be necessary.

  24. Rosemarie said:

    Oo, you even got a guy agreeing with you! Ben and Jem, battling Snookers. Okay. But it would have been more entertaining if he commented on your turf, instead of the other way around. Because then I would have actually noticed.

  25. Jem said:

    I know. Mighty Snook guy commenting over here – that’d be something. Heh, actually, we’ve spoken briefly at the Mint Pages forums. I’d link you, but this keyboard is becoming unbearable.

  26. Jordan said:

    @ Amelie; At that point, how would you differentiate going from 1.29 to 2? Isn’t that essentially an update? I can see if there were using that were literally on 1.00, and never updated between 2.00. There would be justification in paying for the upgrade, since they failed to update it. What I don’t understand is how the next update, is now an upgrade (even if we purchased and downloaded it the day before Mint2 was released.) At that point, especially with no announcements made prior to the release, you start to think that it’s all the money that can be brought in. I would have been very upset if I paid $30 on the last day (Dec 31), only to find out that with the next release, the cut off date to receive a “free upgrade” was Jan 1st.

  27. Amelie said:

    @Jordan: @ Amelie; At that point, how would you differentiate going from 1.29 to 2? Isn’t that essentially an update? Shaun considers that an upgrade, not an update. He considers updates to be a change in the numbers after the dot, i.e. 1.0 to 1.1 or 1.2 to 1.29; an upgrade is a change in the number before the dot, i.e. 1.29 to 2.0. I don’t like it and I really feel stupid for falling for it. It’s really not that great, other than having a new look.

  28. Corinne said:

    [T]he idea of having to shell out $19 or more every time there’s just the slightest upgrade makes me hesitate. He’ll probably upgrade the price next time too. My question is why $19, why not the full 20? Is that supposed to be reverse psychology or something?

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