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The subscription-everything model is something that has really bothered me for a while.

As a person that doesn't do things "regularly" I don't want to be stuck paying per-month for certain things. More importantly, is that some of these things I will use so infrequently, and that you can't "keep" after you've paid your subscription, they become cost-ineffective.

I have video streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Now TV, Crunchyroll), email, back-up storage, software licenses, music, coffee, gym membership... the list goes on.

When I got married, I subscribed to Photoshop CC to create something as a gift for my wife, I used it once, and was then stuck in a 1 year contract, I missed the renewal and got stuck in another year contract. I ended that as soon as I could, but having had no need to use it up until that point, I'd paid for 2 years worth of CC (~£200) to use it once, and now the subscription was done, I couldn't use it again.

I have an IDE I use 3-4 times a year, but I have to pay monthly subscription with a minimum 1 year contract. After that year you fall back not to the version you're on, but the version before it.

More and more services are moving to this model, with no alternative model for those like myself that don't need, nor want to use something every week, or every month, or even every year.

There is a point where I have to draw the line at adding more monthly subscriptions to my outgoings.

I don't mind this model for some things, consumables, such as coffee, fine, Netflix, which I use frequently, fine, but this only suits my usage, and others probably have other things in that list they use frequently.

This model might be working for a lot of companies right now, but there must be people like myself that will happily pay X for some software/thing I get to keep and use indefinitely (within reason) and are simply not buying at all because the pricing model doesn't work for us.




>When I got married, I subscribed to Photoshop CC to create something as a gift for my wife, I used it once, and was then stuck in a 1 year contract,

To be fair in your situation I would have a hard time justifying the one-time purchase price if they still offered it. Back when they had this business model Photoshop CS6 cost about $700, there are cheaper alternatives for a one-time use unless you absolutely required Photoshop and piracy wasn't an option.

But more generally I feel your pain. I prefer the model where you get updates as long as you pay for the license but if you stop you get to keep whatever version you're currently using as-is. Photoshop on the other hand becomes unusable if you stop paying for the subscription.

>I don't mind this model for some things, consumables, such as coffee, fine, Netflix, which I use frequently, fine, but this only suits my usage, and others probably have other things in that list they use frequently.

I actually wouldn't like that for coffee because my usage is not always the same. Sometimes I have guests and I need more, sometimes I'm on vacations and I use less.

I think the subscription model works best for things that are constantly moving and require constant updates and maintenance. Netflix's catalogue is always changing so it makes sense to pay a subscription. Some software is updated constantly and it makes sense to pay to always have the latest version. Often you also get support which might be absolutely necessary with some expensive professional software.

For applications like Photoshop that arguably don't need to be updated that aggressively it seems more like a scam to get more money in the long run without having to come up with meaningful new features to motivate the users to buy newer versions. Just purchase a Photoshop license and pay forever and ever.


Absolutely, there are many companies whose pricing model is designed to maximise the money they make from you without being what I'd call "fair". That's their prerogative though, they're a business after all.

As for the coffee, I buy it for at work, so it's just me, and I know I'll be at work every day, again, a model that suits me. My "home coffee" I buy as and when, and don't use a subscription model, because it's a different requirement. I guess this is one case of a single person needing two separate pricing models for the same product.


> and was then stuck in a 1 year contract

This is the key thing that bothers me with subscriptions: they often screen £x/month while making little or no mention (outside of the small print) that this is for a minimum of 12 months, or sometimes the 12 months is not rolling (so if you use 13 months, you pay for 24).


Yep, this is what got me with CC, I didn't need it for the latter 10 months of the first year, and they won't let you cancel early, or set up a "finish" date, you can only "end" the contact within a month of the year end, of course, 10 months down the line I forgot, and rolled over, because they sent me a renewal email confirmation a few days later, at which point I was stuck in another year.

Unlike a mobile network (at least here in the UK), CC doesn't switch to monthly-rolling after a year.


Yeah see in my opinion a monthly contract that has a minimum duration of a year is not a monthly contract. I don't believe in that. So I just charged back all of the billings. I don't know who at Adobe decided they'd be better off scamming money from people but they've clearly gone ahead and made that decision.


It is worse than "a monthly contract with a minimum of one year". It is an annual contract billed monthly. With the former you'd pay 13 months if you cancelled in the 13th, with the latter you pay for 24.


CC contracts are kind of funny, because they are 1 year contracts with auto renewal, and they don't give you an easy option to cancel them, but if you happen to pay with a virtual credit card which happens to run out of funds after 1 month, then the contract gets canceled and the penalty for that is... none.


This seems dishonest if you know the agreement is for a year and then you use a virtual credit card to get around that.


It is no more a dark pattern than an auto-renewing annual subscription sold as a monthly one with no easy way to cancel ahead of time (assuming what others have said is correct there - I have no first-hand experience on that point as I've never subscribed).

I know two wrongs don't make a right, but then again neither does one.

And I count three dark patterns from them before we get to counting the one from that user, so that should be "four wrongs don't make a right, but three don't either"!


> I'd paid for 2 years worth of CC (~£200) to use it once

That's the reason why these companies are using this model.

> with no alternative model for those like myself

The market will always decide. Affinity for example, has some competitors for Adobe, and they make it very clear on their web-page with wording it as "No subscription. Only €54.99".

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/

The pendulum is at the max of one direction right now (in my opinion), and we will soon see it swinging back to its center (and of course to the other direction, as it always does)


Affinity may very well be the one I mentioned in another comment that is a competitor to PS, sadly it's only on the two OSs I don't use or I'd have bought it in a heartbeat.


The Photoshop one really bugs me. Before subscriptions they had to add compelling new features in order to convince me to upgrade. After subscriptions they have nearly zero insentive to add new features and many of the features they have added seem really superfluous. If feels like they are just sucking money out of my pocket because they can.


I think they know that certain people _need_ Photoshop, there are some alternatives that are reportedly pretty good for Mac, I have no experience with those, nothing on Linux/FOSS really compares, and they've found a way to milk as much money with as little effort as possible.

Back in the CS days, if we had something equivalent to CS 6.5 these days, I could justify spending £400 on it for the whole suite (other than the fact I don't run Windows and I don't think they support Linux), but there is no such option.


It would seem that pay-per-use would be a better model for products used infrequently... for example, tax filing software.


Each use would have to be quite expensive for that to be practical for most services, especially for things like tax filing software where most people will want to use it a couple of times at a specific time each year.

While that expense might well be significantly less than paying for an annual subscription (often the minimum) it would be hard to market as you would have to combat the fact that it would feel expensive to those looking with the view to maybe buying (humans are not rational creatures, despite what we like to believe, and often fail to correctly compute the relative worth of things).


I can see this working, for example, my use case for CC (see my original comment), if they'd charged me ~£5 for 24 hours use or something, I'd have been quite happy with that.

If I'd used it for a whole week, it would have cost me £35 instead of me using it once and it costing me ~£200 (albeit, only really ~£100, if their dodgy renewal practices hadn't got me tied in for another year).


Would this be an appropriate time to plug FOSS? I can never tell..


I'm exclusively a Linux user these days, have been for ~4-5 years. Photoshop CC, for my wife's anniversary gift was the last time I used Windows because I had to, that was ~4 years ago.

I'm 100% for FOSS, I support it, I'm happy to donate to it, but honestly there aren't always FOSS tools that can replace what's out there.

I honestly tried using GIMP to do the work I needed, but have you tried using GIMP circa 2015 on a 4K display? It's unusable. Even without the scaling issues it's harder to use than CC, and I'd additionally had experience with PS previously.

Further, the IDE I use every day for my work (on Linux), is second to none, and there is simply nothing comparable in the FOSS space (I've tried many options); If I want to be productive, I _must_ use this IDE.

I'd love if we could get more money into FOSS projects to make them first-class citizens, and I'm trying to do my part, I just don't know that it's an easy problem to solve.


I have experience with both PS and GIMP, and for simple tasks they are pretty much the same. Actually PS does some things in a slightly less intuitive way.

The strong points of PS are a better optimization of some common professional workflows, and the plugin ecosystem... which most people using it just once or twice a year don't need.




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