WP All Import announced it will soon change its business model to annual licenses. The product, which includes free and commercial versions, allows users to import/export XML, CSV, or Excel data and integrates with more than a dozen popular plugins. Since its founding in 2011, WP All Import has been sold with unlimited, lifetime licenses. The product has more than 12,000 customers.

In a statement published this week, WP All Import explained that the company went with lifetime licenses from the beginning because most commercial plugins were sold this way when they started in 2011 and customers began to expect it.

Some companies have had a rocky transition out of providing lifetime licenses, as the community saw with Delicious Brains’ acquisition of ACF in June 2021. Although they assured existing customers that they would honor their lifetime licenses, a few months later on Black Friday, Delicious Brains began urging them to purchase annual subscriptions. For many companies transitioning away from old pricing strategies, lifetime license holders become dead weight, requiring support without putting revenue back into the company. WP All Import has found success with offering lifetime licenses for 11 years, but the company is making sure its new customers will be paying every year:

We are not making this change because because lifetime licenses are inherently unsustainable or support costs are spiraling out of control.

WP All Import is a profitable business, support costs generally follow revenue up and down, and lifetime licenses for WordPress plugins are absolutely a sustainable business model.

We are moving to annual licenses simply because we will make more money.

“While lifetime licenses work, annual licenses are absolutely more profitable over the long term. This is why you see almost every piece of software on earth now being sold with one.”

WP All Import is one of the few remaining companies that is still using a lifetime license pricing strategy. The company noted that over the past ten years, the budgets for WordPress projects have grown along with the quality of their software.

Generally, the response to the news has been positive. Some are considering purchasing lifetime licenses before they are no longer offered. One customer said he appreciated the honest communication but bristled at the notion that “people just expect to have to renew their software licenses.”

“No,” developer Patrick van Kouteren said. “It is being forced upon consumers because it generates more revenue for the business selling it.”

WP All Import assured existing customers that it will continue to honor their lifetime licenses and offer the same level of support. If the company releases new products in the future, lifetime license holders will be eligible to purchase annual licenses for these products at discounted rates. WP All Import said the company will be making these changes “sometime later this year or next year.”

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