A lot of times before pricing a plugin or theme, the developer or company developing them, will try to do research to see what people are paying. They will also see what is offered and try to fill the community’s need in the best way they can.
It could be:
- Guaranteeing superior code and functionality to your website using the plugin
- Giving a year of updates
- Giving a year of timely support (in case the plugin is broken or has some error, or the end user is actually having a difficult time setting the plugin up, or it has a conflict with another plugin or theme)
- Adding more extensions to the plugin or theme
It’s fine to complain if the product truly doesn’t give what they said they would. But think about it, whether the plugin is small and at $7 or offers a lot for $89 or $99 for single site licenses, this is really cheap!
For the low to mid-range developer, their hourly rate is usually $20 to $75 per hour. Tech support can range between $10-$45 an hour. So, in just one support ticket or plugin/theme update, you’ve gotten more than your money’s worth. Again- this is if the developer/ developing company is reputable.
Note- I’m not going to get into the crappy ones because it just breeds commenting about shady developers and this is more for understanding what comes with buying the plugin (and that is a totally different side of the conversation that can be done another day.)
For the more reputable plugin and theme developers, you could be paying a lot more per single or multiple site licensing, but the support is done in a manner like you feel they were on call 24-7. They will even give hands on support if your hosting environment is a little different from others.
For the plugins and themes that have free versions versus Pro versions, you’re getting the difference of more timely support, than what is in the WordPress.org Support Forums. Some developers won’t even provide support there anymore, and it takes buying the premium version to get that support that you want.
In the case of the free versus Pro Versions of themes and plugins, the developer is not obligated to give free support in the free forum. The WordPress.org Support forums are for everyone to chip in… if they can.
However, the developers that start there before making pro versions of their plugin or theme are more than likely to start offering support, because they do want to build a sturdy base community that will want to invest in them.
People don’t always submit plugins or themes for free just for the fun of it. It doesn’t happen as much as in the early day of WordPress, and even people like Joost de Valk, and Alex King, and many others have moved on to providing services that pays the bills, limiting what is given out for free because they’ve already given away so much.
Many of the developers work alone or for companies, and they are hoping that the theme or plugin will be the opening door to entice people to step in and invest in their services. It’s a means of building trust in the software development community.
The people using these plugins are not always going to be hobby bloggers. In fact, once you monetize your blog in any manner, you’ve become a business. That means, you want to make money and more of it. So, in order to do so, it may mean investing in a superior plugin or theme.
SO, if the plugin or theme is outstanding, think before making a complaint on price. A full year of updates and support isn’t such a bad deal after all.