Pricing Models: Subscription vs. One Time Purchase


Leasing a car means you can switch cars to a brand new model every three years or so - for the same fee :-)

But back to the topic: we were discussing subscription for the sole purpose of supporting Isaiah. I wouldn’t mind both models to chose. Subscription for the ones earning income with RW and stacks. And one price for those who do not need regular maintenance/updates and new features. Why stick to only one model?


Whilst it’s unlikely that the automobile leasing fee will remain the same, the ‘Isaiah’ dual model version is not unattractive. I can still choose to purchase the vehicle, or to lease said vehicle with leather seats and metallic paint!


Yep, I’d much rather use Affinity products than Adobe. And unfortunately a 1PW subscription isn’t going to work out better for me. Monthly fees just keep on adding up. Although I just checked and it’s possible to buy a standalone license for 1PW v7, only directly from their site.

Subscription is happening in the audio software world and nobody likes it. Who wants a tonne of recurring bills on top of all the other ones we already have? And for software? No thanks!


I think SIP made a mistake in calling their new pricing model ‘subscription’
You pay them $x annually and you will get free updates as they release them., if you stop paying then you stop getting the updates BUT your current version continues to work without any penalty/loss of features, It’s no more than you’d normally do if they brought out a new paid version every year.

As for paying a dev a yearly fee/retainer/subscription to access all/most of their stacks; that’s attractive if you already own a significant % of their stuff as you know their product/reliability but it would kill new user adoption.
Plus what’s to stop someone signing up for a month, downloading everything and then cancelling their subscription?

I don’t think there’s anyway to have a subscription model for stacks (upper or lowercase) but I do think @isaiah should charge more for Stacks, even if it’s only a marginal increase.


There are means and ways of preventing this scenario. E.G. 1Password: You can download all of their OS versions and use them for an unlimited period of time, but if you don’t pay the ‘subscription’ fee, you can only add new passwords to the base version of the App (I.E. the Mac or Windose version), but the new passwords will not be synched across devices…
This situation eventually had me so annoyed that I signed up for the cheaper ‘retainer’ version.


Stacks is in a different situation to other apps such as SiP or 1Password.

One good reason for not going subscription is that RapidWeaver is promoted by RM as “No Ongoing Subscription Pay once, and RapidWeaver is yours to keep forever. No ongoing subscription required.” They forgot about Setapp, but hey ho.

Another reason for a fixed pricing model is that RW grew from the 15 years old demand to replace the free iWeb and I believe that a lot of users still come from the iWeb days, but have to buy Stacks to make better web sites. That is going to be a hard crowd to convert to a subscription model.

One other thing about subscription models is that it works best for simple to learn and quick to see the benefits of, apps. Signing up to 1 month of RW and Stacks would probably put people off, as you need a lot more than 1 month to understand it. In this situation, the 1 off payment for RW and Stacks would stop the users giving up and potentially trying a different solution. I think we have all had the experience of evaluating a 2 week trial of something and giving up before we really get to grips with it.

This conversation is really about how can Isaiah get more reward and we all feel a bit award that the real power of a RW solution is Stacks.

I had a look at the RM RW web page and Stacks is only mentioned once alongside 5 other Add-Ons such as the Marvel theme and the RM SEO training course. IMHO that is pretty unfair for “The best web design software for Mac” to not emphasise the importance of Stacks, and also to claim that the RW site is built with RW. Will that change? No. I think RW should promote itself as capable of building genuinely good looking , professional, unique and powerful web sites when it is used with Stacks and the very best stacks. This would promote an ongoing upgrade to a RW system that can lead to professional sites. Will that happen? No. All the good stacks are not even in the RM add-ons system. I can’t remember when RM tweeted to point out a great site built with RW. Unfortunately I feel Stacks is treated like one of the 1500 other Add-ons and is no part of the RW solution.

@isaiah Just charge more for Stacks and mention in the system requirements, that it needs RW as the front end.


Or just write the front end for Stacks, no FTP required!


That’s precisely my concern.

With normal ‘apps’ you have a system of license codes and registration. So you can easily revoke a license code if someone has stopped paying a subscription for it or limit that license code to only work within certain versions.

Addons like themes and stacks don’t have that luxury. In essence, they are opensource packages of code which can be downloaded and copied to anywhere.

I would be very concerned that we would see people spending $10 or whatever for one month of access - bulk downloading thousands of addons, then cancelling their subscription once they’ve got everything they need.

Addons are potentially something that people use in their revenue-earning websites for many years. Not something like Photoshop which you might occasionally open to touch-up the odd photo or similar. I fear the subscription model could result in addon developers giving away too much.

We would have to quota it somehow - perhaps limit subscriptions to 5 addon downloads per-month or 1 support case per-month etc. But this potentially introduces conflict with users and ultimately carries a huge admin burden. By which stage, we question what is wrong with the current setup!

I totally agree that people like @isaiah deserve to be getting paid more for the skill, dedication and quality they bring to the platform. The problem is Realmac have slowly risen the cost of RapidWeaver from the original 2004 £15 shareware mark up towards £100 today in 2019. It is difficult to explain to new users that the part most essential to RapidWeaver is an extra purchase, on top of that.

Dare I say it (and I am probably going to be shot-down for eternity in a ball of firey flames for suggesting this) but I feel Stacks is mature enough to become a standalone platform for building websites. Cut RapidWeaver out of the equation and reserve it as a basic app for iWeb and Wixian converts. I just feel Stacks has more to offer and has evolved faster than RapidWeaver has and deserves to be getting more revenue than RapidWeaver does. This is not a bash at RapidWeaver - mostly an observation of how I see things.


@isaiah How about creating a stand alone app that allows some stacks to be opened up, stacks settings to be setup, and then outputs the code and files to allow stacks code to be used in other Apps for those with enough knowledge to use the code. Plenty of issues of course but just a bit of food for thought. I would jump on such an app.


Thread needs splitting again…


Interesting idea. A small simple, single task app for pro users. A sort-of stand-alone partial editor.

That’s a pretty cool idea actually. It doesn’t really step on RapidWeaver’s toes. In fact it would probably bring more pro-users to the RapidWeaver/Stacks platform. 🤔

If it’s targeted at such a small group of users, it would need to be a bit more expensive. But maybe not immediately. Maybe that’s something it grows into.


Thanks for the kind words 🙏 I really appreciate it. It means so much coming from a dev that’s been on the platform over the long haul.

Perhaps someday Stacks can grow into a full fledged app. I think I need to start a Kickstarter to fund the development. LOL 😝

All kidding aside, it would be a lot of work, but I would sure love to build that for everyone.

But right now, I’m only thinking about Stacks 4.
Head down. Focus. Test it. Ship it. Onward.



No bad idea at all 👍 Call me a backer.


I love the idea of splitting off from RM dependency. If you could change Stacks into stand-alone application for a bit more advanced users (but not necessarily hard-core pros), I would certainly buy it.

The Kickstarter idea should be mentioned with all seriousness, in my opinion.

Before I read today’s posts, I had an idea of you (Isaiah), or even all of you, developers on this forum, buying RealMac company and collectively making it into a better platform. You could then make Stacks an integral part of RW. You could decide the price of the whole package and all consecutive upgrades, or modify the licensing model.

But I like Phil’s and Gary’s idea even better. Start afresh, without all the boundaries of an old RW platform…


Hey @Jannis can we split this thread again please? They don’t call you The Cleaner for nothing!


I’ve only said it a thousand times, the layers of abstraction in RW if one is using Stacks/Foundation/BWD becomes unbearable. Everything tacked on to tack-ons. I’m all for starting afresh with Stacks power at the core.


@Andy let’s see where it goes, I think it’s still fine currently.


OK but I think we’re talking about a new Stacks app now, rather than the title of the thread!


So the app we were discussing that Isaiah might like to consider after the current focus on Stacks4 has come to fruition, might work in the following way:

The app very likely would not work with all stacks, and if the initial focus was on single stacks with no other dependancies, that could function, when added on their own, into a blank theme and produced the expected html result. These type of stacks would be the type that would fit such an app. If the app can grow in capability then that’s a bonus.

Type of stacks that come to mind are forms, sliders, image effects, buttons, text effects, background gradient stacks and many more I expect.

The app would need to show the Stacks edit window and side panel and show the normal edit display of changing a setting. A preview that takes you to a Safari window that shows the “previewed” stack in a bare html page, would be all that is needed to check the result. An export function could save the files in a directory.

I think that such a basic feature set would have value and potentially extend stacks created for RW Stacks, to be used by users and ex RW users, of other web creations tools. I expect some stacks developers will throw some toys on the floor over such an app, but it sounds like win win win to me.

Of course I have the luxury of knowing nothing whatsoever about what goes on in Stacks under the hood, so I may be talking total bollocks. I would jump as such an app.


OK, I get it. I hear you guys. And thanks so much for believing in me. But calm down! calm down!!! 😋

So, have you guys heard of patreon? I need your feedback to tell me if this is crazy or crazy awesome…

The reason I joke about Kickstarter is that it’s just not really realistic. I’ve run the numbers – there’s just no way – it’s not even close. Building a big app, as in indie takes time – what we really need is something that can start small and build a following over time – if it gains enough momentum, then we can build whatever we want.

I could do a patreon, small goals at first, maybe with some stickers. Maybe some utility apps if things got a bit bigger. The big app is the eventual goal, but we don’t have to get there overnight.

How 'bout something like this?

  • A few bucks a month: I’ll make some nice stickers for everyone.
  • A hundred bucks a month: T-Shirts and stickers. 👕 + 🌠
  • 500 hundred a month: I’ll release my FTP syncing menubar app. 😁
  • A thousand a month: I’ll make a stand alone partial editor. 🤩
  • Ten thousand a month: Wow! We can build an app for sure! 🥳
  • A million a month!!!: I’ll hire a team and we’ll take on Wordpress!!! 🤑
    World domination baby! wah ha ha ha!!! Wait, did I say that out loud??? 😳

Oh, and I could probably offer a coupon for Stacks 4 too. Whatever someone contributes – I’d send a coupon for that much off of Stacks 4 or the upgrade.

Is that too much? Not enough?