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Author Topic: License to print...money ?  (Read 9170 times)
David Mantripp
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« on: February 13, 2006, 01:57:27 PM »
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I know there is absolutely no point in this post but I'm going to vent anyway....

$200 to add application level printing to ImagePrint ?  AND to get it for ImagePrint Lite, you need to upgrade to IP 6.1, which offers zilch, nada, to Epson 2100 users.  A total of nearly $500 to add a feature which should already be there.

Given commercial realities (which, surely, are going to sink ColorByte sooner or later anyway), I'd be prepared to pay, say $50 to add this feature to IP 6.0, but otherwise, I'll just put up with the standalone interface (or maybe ColorByte would like to buy that bit back from me ? Let's say $150 with 3 minutes support ? Or even discontinue it and REDUCE THE PRICE, since they have finally worked out that whilst their RIP is fantastic and their profiles are superlative, their GUI design skills would make a kindergarten blush)

I know, Michael, that you do say that it is expensive, but sometimes maybe "TOO expensive" would be more justified.   Certain sections of the digital imaging industry need to get a grip.
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 02:31:53 PM »
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I don't disagree that it's expensive for what it is.

But, small companies need to charge a price for their products that keeps them in business. Customers are always free to purchase or not depending on their ability, needs and mood.

Michael
« Last Edit: February 13, 2006, 05:19:25 PM by michael » Logged
Nick Rains
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2006, 02:54:41 PM »
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I don't disagree that it's dexpensive for what it is.

But, small companies need to charge a price for their products that keeps them in business. Customers are always free to purchase or not depending on their ability, needs and mood.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58064\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hitting the sweet spot for pricing must be very difficult for small software companies.

However, given the enormous existing customer base of existing Epson owners, I would have thought that a lower price might lead to more sales. Half the price might lead to more than twice the number of sales. The 'unit cost' of the product itself is relatively low, it's all about cost recovery from R+D and overheads.

Given the extra productivity features of Imageprint I am surprised they do not try to go for the mass market at a lower cost, especially of the 13" model versions.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006, 06:35:41 PM »
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I echo what Nick Rains said, it's like 1/2 of the companies out there today have never taken a basic economics course.
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Hank
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2006, 10:19:57 AM »
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As a small business owner, I can relate a bit to the question of pricing, and perhaps add an insight.  

There are many business models for pricing.  You can raise prices to recover R&D costs, simply passing them along to your existing customer base.  You can hold prices while adding services and features to attract more business and recover costs.  You can cut prices while adding features, and recover costs by attracting an even larger customer base.

Those are conscious choices reflecting attitudes toward your existing customers, the potential to find additional customers, and the strength of your competition.  It boils down to an assessment of your standing in the market, the perceived value of your goods and services, the potential for competition, and the loyalty of your existing customers.  

The business model chosen by Colorbyte reflects a small market with little or no competition.  They could easily be called a "botique" company.  They can survive and prosper using that model, at least until confronted by a better product or one providing comparable service at a lower price.  

In their shoes I would probably make different choices.  Botique businesses are the first to disappear when Walmart and other big box stores appear in small markets.  These mega-companies are having similar impacts on manufacturers and their pricing or product lines.  You play by Walmart's rules or they stick the bat up your.... er, nose.  

I'm not saying that Walmart or any other big retailer is ever going to take an interest in small, specialized software companies or their product lines.  But there are large software companies following the "Walmart" model for products, pricing and bundling.  The moment one of these takes an interest in improving printer function for a growing population of home printers, I think RIP will take on much more ominous meanings for Colorbyte.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 10:21:33 AM by Hank » Logged
David Mantripp
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2006, 02:24:05 PM »
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I'm not really so bothered about Colorbyte's pricing on ImagePrint Lite, and even their upgrade scheme would seem far less weird if it was actually presented a little more conventionally.

But this latest thing really hammers in another nail.  Basing a pricing model for software apparently on the price of the printer it should work with is bad enough, but really, there are other "boutique" software companies (e.g PixelGenius, Fixer Labs), and they seem to be able to strike a reasonable compromise.  The market for Fixer Labs excellent SizeFixer is not so big, and it has competition with far bigger marketing muscle, but they still manage to sell it at a fair price.

If ColorByte made their direct print upgrade available to IP 6.0 Lite owners, at say, $50, I bet they'd sell well over 4 times as many as they will at $200 + upgrade to 6.1. Actually, the real message may be that the low end market no longer interests them.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2006, 03:24:58 PM »
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There is a marketing 'truism' that states that it costs 8 times as much to generate a new customer as it does to get a sale out of an existing one.

However, $200 to add a single function to already not inexpensive software seems more like exploitation of the existing customer base than anything else.

Interestingly enough, I wonder how much goodwill would have been generated if the facility had been offered as a point upgrade for free. 'Tell your friends' is a powerful marketing tool.

Photo Mechanic seems to follow this philosophy, upgrades are free for 12 months and they have a fiercely loyal customer base who evangelise the product for free - unpaid sales staff!
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2006, 07:07:22 PM »
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Like a lot of seminal software products, IP will likely end up as a footnote in digital printing history unless the creators respond to current trends.

With K3 printers, most anybody can churn out satisfying B&W prints with the free Epson driver. As far I can see, those heavily into B&W are mostly using more specialized tools for the task anyway, or at least those that can be linearized. Layout is likely to move to upcoming apps like Aperture and Lightroom which can do it a lot more elegantly. Which only leaves quality on the page. You'd have to spend heaps on profiles to see any advantage here. I'm not even convinced that IP's reputed advantage for quality output is warranted any more. Certainly there was nothing that wowed me from the demo on Enhanced Matte ... in fact the Dmax wasn't great and there was a nasty cast in the shadows that would take some fixing ... but maybe this is my unfamiliarity with the app.

With the new driver interface, there's an opportunity to repackage the app (no layout) and price it accordingly (say 25% of current) and aim for a sizable chunk of the market. It will be interesting to see which way they go.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2006, 02:40:48 PM »
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Like a lot of seminal software products, IP will likely end up as a footnote in digital printing history unless the creators respond to current trends.

With K3 printers, most anybody can churn out satisfying B&W prints with the free Epson driver. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58177\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't know about K3 printers, but it is certainly the case for me that for both B&W and (especially in fact) colour, IP has saved me more money than I paid for it, through paper and ink savings.  I certainly am not complaining about that....
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2006, 05:06:39 PM »
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I agree the $200 price for a virtual printer is certainly way too high and 50 smackers would be more than reasonable.

As to the price of the software itself, I think it is appropriate considering the current market conditions. What little competitions they actually do have is more expensive last I checked.

The thing that really quirks me about Colorbyte is their support policy. It as absolute crap. They only allow you to obtain software updates during the first 90 days you bought the program. This means that if they release a bug-fix your have to pay for it if your 90 days is up. If you want a full year of updates/support you have to pony up an additional $495 per printer license.

That kind of screwing of your customers is unheard of in the software industry. If they want to pay for point-relaeses (e.g. 6.5 to 6.6) then fine. That's irritating but its not unheard of (*cough*OS X*cough*). But for any sort of update? That's just inexcusably cheep.

That kind of "support" just sends the message that once they have your money (which is considerable in it's amount) they are not concerned about their customers unless it means they can squeeze some more bucks out of them. Maybe that's not really the case, but with such abysmal policy it is hard to think otherwise.

Considering the very high costs of their software they should only be charging for full releases (e.g. 6 to 7). But, such is the benefit for a company with a corner-hold on the market.

Unfortunately due to the lack of options I will probably end up purchasing the software for workflow reasons once I start offering printing services this year unless I like the competitions results/workflow/support better. However as soon as something better comes along I'll have no problem dropping IPR like a bad habit. If that's the type of customer loyalty they like, then they are doing just fine IMHO. Otherwise, they need to learn to be a little less greedy.

(let me re-assert the fact that I have no problem paying for expensive software/hardware. I just expect a company to be reasonable and fair to the customer).
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2006, 07:34:02 AM »
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The thing that really quirks me about Colorbyte is their support policy. It as absolute crap. They only allow you to obtain software updates during the first 90 days you bought the program. This means that if they release a bug-fix your have to pay for it if your 90 days is up. If you want a full year of updates/support you have to pony up an additional $495 per printer license.
 However as soon as something better comes along I'll have no problem dropping IPR like a bad habit. If that's the type of customer loyalty they like, then they are doing just fine IMHO. Otherwise, they need to learn to be a little less greedy.

(let me re-assert the fact that I have no problem paying for expensive software/hardware. I just expect a company to be reasonable and fair to the customer).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58349\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm agree completely with 61Dynamic. After three months, $1200.00+/- (6.1 & new $200 update), and minimal use of their support system I'm about to be on my own usless I ponyup $495. I'll still be able to download drivers and any 6.1 updates until. Until mind you. Once something newer than 6.1 comes out I'm done. Maybe I should have gotten the Epson drivers. Any ideas on what I or we should do?
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TomTom60
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2006, 12:08:32 AM »
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It think this thread and every other Colorbyte slam like it, on the internet, should be printed and mailed in large canvas bags to Colorbyte Software in Fla...along with one sack that contains a large Alligator.

They really piss me off. First off, when i was using 5.6 I experienced a fair anount of instability, unexpected "DEMO" invasions, quirky Spoolface stuff...generally things were ok and then out of nowhere.."Image Print has left the building". Most of time it happened at night so support was unavailable..so i would figure it out..I never even used support and when I needed it, it was gone..machine driven e-mail responses..support us, send us money if you want support.

It didn't really bother me to much because I am fairly handy at solving issues like this, or, I have patience and I love the program itself..despite the discrepancies in the greyscale profiles. actually, to many users...there is a built in discrepancy in that IP can do dramatic things to the range in an Image, sometimes not desirable. Using the program properly can be a bit dodgy at first.

If you ever visited the IP Yahoo group you probalby found many subscribers who were a bit confused. It seems the 6.0 to 6.1 has reduced the number of those confusoids. I was one of them at first. Sort of wondering where my nice crisp contrast went when I opened images in IP with the wrong settings or expectations.

Anyhow..The program is to expensive, The support sucks (because you have to pay big bucks), the upgrades are WAY to expensive. At least with Apple's upgrades you get fairly robust improvements (most of the time) for your money. That said, the improvements from 5.6 to 6 were fairly marked. For me, the Gray profiles were worth it because they are much better.

The one thing that IP brings to the table, especially with the factory tuned K3 printers, is that the profiles are excellent...who wants to spend time building profiles that are not going to be as good?...not me..i wanna make pictures and not screw around with peripheral b.s. Having these profiles is a great thing. I spose though, that if you onyl use one or two papers it becomes sort of moot...you could have two or three top quality profiles built from a reliable source.

Ok but still, IP pisses me off...I do beleive the writing is on the wall for them because Epson is getting closer to supplying drivers that are equal to IP..It will be interesting to see what Canon will bring to the table with it's new printers via their drivers. Anyhow, things aren't what they were and Colorbyte needs to get a grip and get ready for the, inevitable, end of the honeymoon.

It is very difficult to swallow all the add on's that they get you for...auto print, high upgrade fees, support, lite vs. not lite...consider that the giant sized PHOTOSHOP is an immense program and you get everything for one price...about 500 clams...not a bunch of add ons..like 150 extra for Cmaera Raw, Bridge, etc.

Sorry, I begin to repeat myself when I get crinkled. I guess I would like to love the actual company as much as i do the product. They leave a bad taste in my mouth and I hate that it has to be like this. I would like to like my lovers for more than just the intimate moments we spend together at night, making prints.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2006, 12:11:13 AM by TomTom60 » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2006, 07:18:36 AM »
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Ok but still, IP pisses me off...I do beleive the writing is on the wall for them because Epson is getting closer to supplying drivers that are equal to IP..It will be interesting to see what Canon will bring to the table with it's new printers via their drivers. Anyhow, things aren't what they were and Colorbyte needs to get a grip and get ready for the, inevitable, end of the honeymoon.

I've been wondering about [span style=\'font-size:14pt;line-height:100%\']Epson[/span] TomTom60. How long before they catch up. I can cut my loses now and us what I have. I can start riding IP into the ground now, save my money, and buy something more cost effective in the future.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2006, 10:35:58 AM »
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The problem with just using Epson drivers is the crap-tacular workflow they offer. Particularly if you are on a Mac.
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2006, 02:55:05 PM »
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The problem with just using Epson drivers is the crap-tacular workflow they offer. Particularly if you are on a Mac.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59387\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm on a Mac. You think they might turn around some day and be Mac friendly. I'm kind of hanging with IP at the moment. Either I shell out $495.00 to keep things alive or I'm one upgrade away from oblivion. Colorbyte is taking a bite out of my pocket book and all I can do is bleed.
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sergio
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2006, 02:57:32 PM »
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Not only on the mac. It is the most expensive piece of software I own (6.1 for the 7600UC). And it is the crappiest and buggiest of all. The only good thing it has is color. It does do a great job,especially B&W, though it is very annoying to use. I won't be paying more for a heavily overpriced feature and also an unsupported one. Colorbyte is a very unique company in this sense. To add more, when I upgrade my new printer I'll stick to Bill Atkinson's color profiles and leave the B&W to the new inks. I too believe Colorbyte will die if they keep thinking business that way.
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2006, 03:28:18 PM »
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I broadly agree.   I have a 7600 and 4000 but if I upgrade to a newer Epson (I'll wait out the current versions - I have a feeling Epson will need to respond soon to the latest from Canon) then I may rethink and rely instead on the improved standard drivers and, say, Qimage (I am on a PC).

ImagePrint is a niche product with the world's worst interface and a ludicrous upgrade / maintenance policy.  I have V.6, and don't plan on moving to anything higher anytime soon.  My wife, who uses the 4000, is using the Epson drivers an a profile I made for her.  She is happy with that.

Quentin
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2006, 03:30:47 PM »
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Nothing to add yet. Just keeping this thread at the top. If that reflects badly on my character I'm sorry. Hoping Colorbyte might offer a retroactive one year maintenance agreement to all.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2006, 04:02:21 PM »
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I'll add to my earlier comments...

I emailed Colorbyte for a review copy, or at least a limited licence to allow me to evaluate the software for my magazine articles. Normal practice and most companies are happy to play.

Not so Colorbyte - not even an answer to my email.

Contrast the above user comments with CameraBits - updates galore and all free, plus the most responsive support in the history of, er, support. Cheers Kirk.

Even Adobe are friendly to the media; after jumping through a few hoops and as long as you actually are writing and publishing genuine articles, Adobe will let you play with any of their software for free.

Shame on you Colorbyte, no way I will ever buy their product and will happily tell others the same - beware the power of the press!
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2006, 09:44:00 AM »
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I'll add to my earlier comments...

I emailed Colorbyte for a review copy, or at least a limited licence to allow me to evaluate the software for my magazine articles. Normal practice and most companies are happy to play.

Not so Colorbyte - not even an answer to my email.

Contrast the above user comments with CameraBits - updates galore and all free, plus the most responsive support in the history of, er, support. Cheers Kirk.

Even Adobe are friendly to the media; after jumping through a few hoops and as long as you actually are writing and publishing genuine articles, Adobe will let you play with any of their software for free.

Shame on you Colorbyte, no way I will ever buy their product and will happily tell others the same - beware the power of the press!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59733\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Marked above in red are some things I'd like to address. Sour grapes possibly for no response from Colorbyte. Followed by free plug for CameraBits. Could be a good product, but title reminds me of Kibbles N Bits. Followed by a slam of a product you've never had. Can't slam it if you don't own it. Then you negate your entire post by warning us about the power of the press. You are the press. Colorbyte shouldn't be ashamed. Writing a post of something you know nothing about, of that you should be ashamed. Colorbyte has a good product. We the hands on users are just trying to express our concern for a product that is good possibly great, but provides very limited support and very expensive upgrades. All of my requests for support have been handled quickly and accurately. I hope I've ironed out the kinks before support runs out. I also hope Colorbyte does well and succeeds. It will just have to do so without me spending anymore money. Last I hope I've been clear and not to offensive with this post.
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