Pricing Models: Subscription vs. One Time Purchase


True, they wouldn’t be active all at once. I envision that once plans were announced that development was beginning, a third would be on board immediately and maybe a third would be willing to move to a new ‘platform’ after a year or two. And of course a third would probably stay w/ RW, as is ;)
After the launch of Stacks v4, would be a good time to make a ‘go’ - ‘no go’ decision as that would give you enough time and resources to work on something new, as well as additional funds coming from Kickstarter/Patreon. And currently, as you have said, the cycle is about 3 years, so that would give enough time to make the move from ‘here’ to ‘there’.



And factor in the reaction from RW!


Patreon proselytizers may not be aware of the significant scandal involving Patreon on the subject of free speech. On Twitter, the hashtag is #PatreonPurge. It is in fact the same malignancy that has manifested on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter itself with regard to censorship, shadowbanninng, and termination of accounts not considered sufficiently"woke".

These links are just the tip of the iceberg. The Google page runneth over:

A little food for thought…


not according to my checking account balance. LOL 🤣
let’s just say your business plan does not seem to line up well with reality.
if everything goes well, stacks 4 revenue will begin to pay for stacks 5. it’s self sustaining – which i’ve been very happy with – but not a lot more.

kickstarter doesn’t work like that. if you don’t meet the goals you set, you get zero. it’s an all or nothing sort of deal.

i’d love to build an app – it would be a blast – but funding it is a real challenge. might just have to rely on the old blood, sweat, and tears account that i used to launch stacks in the first place. 😏


And so we’re back to my other post much MUCH further up there: What app?

Since the discussion on this thread mutated to how to fund developers opposed to how to pay to use stacks there has plenty of “apps” mentioned in passing, and some discussed as to numbers pertaining to specific as yet not mentioned apps, but then it gets all vague again.

If the vagueness is going to be put to one side and some solid plans discussed about whatever the “the app” is, you’ve got three questions to find the answers to… What will it do, who is it’s target user and how much will it cost to dev? Nail those three and you can really start to gauge interest/viability. I would suggest these answers will give you a better idea of the realities than previous numbers simple because you’re (I suspect) talking about a whole other beast to the one you have the numbers on.

Only other thing I’d say is, is it wise to do this in public?

RW for All or none?

But, for starters, numbers that feel right to me: Pro Supporter (for pro users who also want to throw some extra into the kitty to support the app/dev): £30pcm. Pro User: £20 (unlimited domains). Hobbist (max 10 domains) tenner month. Add in an appstore to funnel all in-app purchases thru and take a percentage of the price.

Let the cheap-seats remains in the present hell with if you like a watered down version of “the app” and use this as a feeder to the pro package, without the compulsory beta testing that users now have to do.

To NOT do “the app” on subscription is to my mind a huge mistake.


They would probably halt all of their Stacks endorsing and promotion activities. I am just inundated with Twitter posts and mail shots from RM telling me how great Stacks is, how the future is rosy with the impending release of Stacks 4 and they will not stop showing me great sites built with RW+Stacks. They would have to do a big redesign of the RM RW site to remove all of the references to Stacks. Not.


@isaiah I think the Patreon idea is a great workable way forward.

I also like the not non specific goals and targets because this is really about an investment in you and a show of appreciation. It reminds me of those memorable Dragon’s Den episodes where someone gets funding not because the product or service they have presented is fundable, but because the Dragon’s want to invest in the person on the confidence that something good will be created.

It is clear that you lie awake at night problem solving and thinking or new stuff, and I expect you have already about thinking about the idea previously discussed.

I don’t want to use the word punt, but if nothing productive happens, then it’s not the end of the world.

Maybe a new thread is needed to continue discussion or even a new forum area. Initially there will be very few Patreons but I think it will be closely monitored and has the potential to grow. Even if it just partially funds your monthly (insert favourite thing here) consumption, then why not?


You might want to re-think the Patroen page. I just went to setup a donation, and it’s adding VAT at 20% (UK rate).

I don’t think this is correct. I can see no reason why donations from a private individual to another in the US should have to deal with VAT. Essentially 20% of your donations are going to be going into the UK governments coffers. F**k that!

You’d be better just using Stripe or PP or summit.


I think that so called “crippled” software, with less features (for lower price), is completely unacceptable. I, for one, wouldn’t touch such software. The demo software (time-limited) should be offered—absolutely free of charge.

In my humble opinion, the only differentiators between “amateur” and “pro” versions should be in terms of how many domains it can be used on and the price to be paid. There could be an additional “upgrade” fee in between from “amateur” to “pro” version(s).

The base price should be increased from the current level. More frequent paid updates would take care of a cash flow. I think that would be fair for everybody and relatively easy to manage for @Isaiah. This way, he could avoid paying a ransom to Patreon or any other middleman. Also, in this scenario, subscriptions could be taken out of the equation.


My thoughts on the subscription model as a small business owner…it sucks! WordPress has a number of subscription based products that 3rd parties have developed, Gravity Forms, several Woocommerce plugins etc, and when I had a lot of customers paying monthly fees to me, this worked ok. But when my customers left in droves I still had the same sub overheads and a shrinking revenue to cover the costs. Also the Adobe model was a killer. (Now on Affinity and have ditched Adobe). Maybe these subs start out small but when there are 10 or 20 you are paying out it becomes problematic. I can’t pass on all the costs to the client - they just up and go elsewhere.

My thoughts on Patreon for Isaiah: Brilliant idea for us to support him - as Stacks are what make RW such a good piece of software, and of course if I didn’t have that I wouldn’t have a business. Maybe not Patreon, given the issues that previous posters have mentioned, but PayPal has a subscription function. Forget about Patreon, market a way to sell the idea of us subscribing directly to Isaiah. The PayPal subscription button is easy enough. I am forever in your debt, Isaiah, for the tool you created that turned RW from a fun hobby thing into a sustainable business. It is a shame that all the stacks builders out there don’t pay a royalty to you on each sale, but that would probably be unworkable, as are many of the licensing issues discussed.


The general analysis here seems to be that there are two categories of Rapidweaver user: the uber super duper guy on HTML/CSS steroids, and the hapless hobbyist of limited ambition/pocketbook. Those are the two extremes, but I proffer that there is a great unwashed middle: people who opt for the control of designing their web presence free of canned, pre-packaged constraints, people with sufficient grey matter to tackle the big challenges, if they were so inclined, but with other interests and priorities that take precedence.

Falling squarely in the last category, I unequivocally would never engage a subscription model. It’s usurious. It doesn’t work for me with Photoshop, on which my work is totally dependent, and it would never work for Rapidweaver and its descendants, on which my work is not. Furthermore, a subscription model discourages creativity on the part of the developer who now has you hooked, but has no real motivation any longer to constantly upgrade and improve their product. It becomes an addiction like heroin, where you cannot get off the treadmill without serious damage.


I found this discussion circuitously (Webdeersign email), and would like to add my $0.02.

For me, and I bet a majority of RW designers, RW without Stacks is worthless. While I know zero about RealMac’s financial situation, I always thought it odd that Stacks was not just purchased by RM and incorporated directly into RW and perhaps Isaiah brought on board as a full-time consultant developer. Not to say, he’d wish that, but Stacks is such a fundamental part of RW webdesign, that it seems like it should be a permanent part of the RW product and would probably benefit from being incorporated directly inside the RW code.

I don’t know what percentage of RW owners also own/use Stacks–50% or more? And I have no idea how big the licensed RW universe is–25K licensees? 50K? 100K? 200K? More? If RW new and upgrades pricing were $10 or $15 more and that included the licensing fee that RW was paying for Stacks, might that be a more lucrative income for Isaiah? This way every time RW gets a big upgrade, Isaiah gets his income, just like RM does. It seems like there’s an upgrade every 1.5-2 years or so, so it would still have the general feast or famine cycle of upgrade payouts, but the total will likely be more because piracy would be over, given that all licensed copies of RW would include the licensing fee for Stacks.

Just a thought.