With v4 maturing in the beta phase, we think it’s a good time to share some thoughts on the licensing model we have in mind for v4. We have gotten some questions around this over the last months and we feel confident by now to let you in on what we’ve planned:
Kirby 4 will truly be the next milestone for our CMS, packed with many powerful user-facing features, a fresh look, lots of enhancements on all ends, better security options,… we could go on for a while. We really think this will take your projects to the next level. In fact, we know it already does for some of you daredevils using the beta in the wild
Alongside this release, we’re introducing a new but yet old licensing model that’s designed with longevity for Kirby but also you, our community, in mind.
What are the goals:
Kirby shouldn’t be just an enterprise product. We have always been fans of the variety of projects, spanning from single artists and their personal sites to big corporations. So we definitely want those small and medium-sized projects to stay with Kirby. We think it’s where it really shines.
We don’t want auto-renewing subscriptions or licensing terms that would not allow you to keep using Kirby when you stopped paying. That’s not for us.
We’re committed to a model that sustains both Kirby’s development, its community and your projects in times that get economically more challenging
Here’s what we came up with:
The regular license price remains at 99 €. Just as it has been for the last 5 years, simple and square. We don’t correct it for inflation.
For larger companies and organizations exceeding a yearly revenue or funding of 1 million €, the license will cost 399 €.
We will keep on supporting students, educational projects, social and environmental organizations, charities and non-profits with free licenses.
All licenses will have access to the full array of features in Kirby 4. No compromises on functionality. Just like before.
Your license covers all major releases within 3 years after activation. This means that you can buy a license at any time and that period only starts as soon as you publish and register your site. We will also keep on having volume discounts.
After those three years you can either …
… keep on using your latest version indefinitely.
… buy upgrades and extend the timeframe for newer releases. We will offer fair upgrade prices.
New major versions are now planned approximately every year. (v5 in 2024, v6 in 2026, etc.) Our upgrade pricing model is basically no longer bound to major upgrades but to a period of 3 years.
We’re committed to providing security support for any major release for approximately 3 years. This means, If you always keep on updating to the latest major version, you will get 6 years of security support included. If you upgrade your license afterwards, this period will of course be longer.
We believe that this approach strikes the right balance for building a thriving community and ensuring a sustainable product. We definitely want to celebrate Kirby’s 20th birthday in 2032 together with you as well
Upgrades for Kirby 1, 2, 3
As promised earlier this year: Any v3 license not activated before January 1, 2023, will qualify for an upgrade to v4 at no extra cost. You can choose to upgrade to the regular license or an enterprise license, depending on your projects. For those who want to show some extra support, we’ll offer a ‘pay what you want’ system, with no minimum.
We will also offer fair upgrade prices to everyone with older licenses for v1-v3. More on this soon.
Thank you for being an integral part of the Kirby community, always very supportive and caring, not just towards us as team but – and that’s maybe even more important for us – also between each other. Your feedback and support have been super important in shaping Kirby 4. We can’t wait to get it out the door and see the incredible projects you’ll create with it!
I offer licenses to our clients, because it’s easier for them (don’t ask a bank to inconvenience a credit card, it won’t happen). The licenses are therefore registered to my (or, to be precise, my company’s) name. My company does not reach the 1 million revenue threshold (I wish…), my client’s revenue however does often exceed it some tens of thousands of times.
What license should I pick? I’m asking because the 400€ is starting to be a number which merits its own “cost item” on offers. I guess it’s the 400€, just wanted a clarification.
In principle, I welcome the licensing model. Huge companies have a different marketing budget than small companies or start-ups. When I observe what large companies pay for SEO or online marketing, €399 is peanuts.
However, I see various difficulties here in enforcing this model:
I assume that large corporations also commission agencies with the realization of a website. We, the agencies, are then your licensees.
Possibly a tender takes place with the companies. The offer of a WordPress agency is then 400 euros cheaper and gets the job.
Next question: How do I know the turnover of the company? Maybe the small, inconspicuous architect has a revenue of 1.1 million and the apparent large corporation only 0.9 million. Unless it is a stock corporation, agencies will not know turnover figures.
Maybe a small start-up will become a global corporation through a Kirby website
There will certainly be more questions of this kind from the community. I look forward to the exchange of ideas.
The upfront price difference with an agency offering a Wordpress solution would probably be way bigger than the 400€ license cost, considering most, in a race to the bottom, just resell an online bought template. Of course that’s cheaper than actually doing development work. You can’t compete on a price level with those agencies, you’ll always lose. You have to actually offer something more, something that a premade Wordpress website doesn’t do.
It is difficult to say in advance whether a client decides according to price or individuality. Especially with potential new customers it is difficult to find out. There are also companies where the boss doesn’t know anything about websites, doesn’t want to deal with them, and delegates website maintenance to his employees. No amount of persuasion will work if the boss doesn’t know (or doesn’t want to know) what a CMS is. I have experienced this myself, at a large company. The price is more likely to be the deciding factor.
It’s not about techniques to convince clients. It’s about the fact that you either resell a premade website, do it for free, or simply lose the price competition. It’s not like you have other choices, it’s not the 400€ that makes a difference unless you sell websites for 400€.
I think this is a problem that we cannot solve. We can only try to set a fair pricing model that will be sustainable for us for the coming years. If there are projects that fall out of this pricing model, it’s of course a shame. But there will always be free systems or cheaper systems to compete against and as @rasteiner said, such a race to the bottom would be our end.
We think that the threshold of 1 million € is high enough to not get into such discussions. We understand that there might be gray areas where it will be hard to tell how much revenue a client really has. But we are sure that this isn’t as hard to solve in reality as it might sound at first.
Until now, I have not been able to adopt any template 1:1. Never one of them corresponded to the wish of the customer or my ideas. I use templates as inspiration, but in the end they are changed so much that nothing of the original is recognizable.
And I guess that work has a cost. It’s that cost that already separates you from someone that doesn’t do that work, I mean for ignorant clients it’s the same: you do work other people don’t, you cost more than them. You have already lost the price competition and the 99€ don’t make a difference. If it’s a big corporation who would need the 400€ license, and they chose their site solely based on price… trust me, you don’t want that client.
I deliberately chose Kirby, because I was convinced by the unique selling propositions. With WordPress, Typo3 etc. I could and never wanted to make friends.
Only the support here in the forum would be worth 99 euros a month to me. Therefore, I have no problem with your price model. It might just be difficult for some agencies to convincingly market the higher price.
I think what he means is that he would pay a monthly fee of 99 € just for the support we are offering here in the forum. It’s just picking up on our regular license price as an orientation for how much value the support actually means to him.
I should not only improve my Kirby knowledge, but also my English knowledge.
The first text from Bastian contains all the important information.
I only mentioned that the support here in the forum - for me - has a value of 99 Euro per month. My statement is not related to a monthly fee. Sorry for the confusion.