What does "Lifetime Updates" really mean?

97 replies
When someone offers lifetime updates on a specific
product should the customer expect to get updates
for life or does it mean something else?

For example.. when someone realeases Software
Version 1.0 it is reasonable to expect that versions
1.01, 1.21, 1.67 would be a free upgrades.

However, would the customer be entitled to a free
upgrade to version 2.0?

John
#lifetime updates
  • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
    Lifetime updates should mean for every version otherwise it's false advertising for the initial purchase.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi John,

      When someone offers lifetime updates on a specific
      product should the customer expect to get updates
      for life or does it mean something else?
      If there's no other information than 'lifetime updates on this product' then I think it's one of those grey areas. It's down to the interpretation of the reader, because it's not specific.

      But if a vendor used those words and then charged for a new version, I would feel slightly had and make a mental note. It also depends on how different the new version is.

      Therefore I think it's wise for vendors to be particularly clear and to spell out exactly what they mean.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    To me, when I offer free updates for life, I provide updates for life, regardless of how many versions are released. It's just good customer service in my book.

    Shame that Apple and Microsoft don't offer the same thing
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  • Profile picture of the author Willie Murray
    I take life time updates to mean the life time of the software in question...
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    • Profile picture of the author annabelle07
      Originally Posted by william1872 View Post

      I take life time updates to mean the life time of the software in question...
      I think Microsoft and Apple tend to look at it the way you do as well. The annoying part is that then there are so many lifetime updates. It should just be a lifetime update once and for all!
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      • Profile picture of the author Willie Murray
        Originally Posted by annabelle07 View Post

        I think Microsoft and Apple tend to look at it the way you do as well. The annoying part is that then there are so many lifetime updates. It should just be a lifetime update once and for all!
        Very true Annabell, MS and Apple are a differnt beast though, non-main stream apps seem to be the lifecycle of the application in question and that's it, once the developer pulls the plug it's gone...

        Whereas with MS and Apple, they tend to work on major version numbers with patch updates in between.. each major release usually means paying for the upgrade to the next version.
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    • Profile picture of the author abcx
      Originally Posted by william1872 View Post

      I take life time updates to mean the life time of the software in question...
      haha yes and many times depending on the size of the software company the software in question may never even make it to 2.0 haha. Ive been promised "lifetime updates" because it sounds good and the developer or small company is gone before version 1.4
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  • Profile picture of the author JackTheLad
    Always check the terms and conditions, or get in touch with the person/people selling the product.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marian
      I guess the version 2.0 should still be considered as an update - because even if it's completely new - it's still the same product being updated to the latest ever version.

      But this does not mean the product creators always follow this.

      Marian
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    • Profile picture of the author Kev Gowing
      With the fast pace of technology today I would suggest that "lifetime Updates" could only mean the lifetime of the product.
      There are many products that we purchase that within a short timeframe become obsolete because technology has moved on and the product cannot work with the up to date technology.
      We can't realistically expect that terminology to mean our lifetime as none of us know how long that would be and how would the vendor know we are still here to send us the update?
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      • Profile picture of the author swi55tony
        John,

        There are 2 reason that sellers ask you to sign up for lifetime updates and they both can benefit you in the long run.

        The first:

        As people are buying a product, the seller should be following up with emails requesting for feedback on the product. They will be asking for ways to improve it.

        Any seller worth his salt will take on board the good advice and implement them into his/her product. Then to maintain that good customer relationship they will be able to inform you of any improvements made/added so you can take advantage of them and secondly increase your loyalty towards them.

        The second:

        They are asking you to sign up so they can change the autoresponder that you are currently on or add you to one. This will be their customer/buyer austoresponder which will have a completely different flavour to it as you have now become a buyer.

        There is a difference between marketing to leads and marketing to buyers. You will be able to benefit from offers that are only made to buyers rather than the sometime entrance quality products that are initially offered.

        Basically I am saying that for each product there will be 2 lists. There will be 1 for the leads that have claimed a F.REE report/video/audio etc relating to the product and the seller will be marketing to them to buy the actual product. Then there is the 2nd list that the seller will be making sure that the product is to their liking, getting testimonials, asking for advice on improvement and offering related products that will help them out in the long run.

        I hope that sort of makes sense for you.

        It is still early here in the UK

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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

    However, would the customer be entitled to a free
    upgrade to version 2.0?
    I have experienced this in the past with rather expensive software. The lifetime updates were used as a key selling point but when it came to the crunch the product creator decided that an upgrade from 1 to 2 was considered a new product even though it largely consisted of bug fixes and feature requests discovered by the 1.x crowd.

    It is up to the product creator to make this clear.

    The problem is that by making their intentions clear the benefit is no longer there and it almost becomes worthless. What is a software developer going to spend their time on: upgrading problems and adding features to an existing product (1.x) or spend their time on the new product which will make them more money (2.x)?

    I think it's fair to assume if not otherwise told that lifetime updates means the lifetime of the product regarless of the number in the About window.
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  • Profile picture of the author SocialMediaOwls
    That usually means from a software developers perspective:

    "If I have to change the program for any reason, you can get the latest version, and when I go bankrupt, that's it"
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  • Profile picture of the author Claire Sharp
    A lifetime is a lifetime. No matter how often they upgrade something.... it should be lifetime without charge.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    Do MS and Apple actually market lifetime updates though? They do provide support for their products which includes updates but that is to protect their product and brand rather than a direct feature to the piece of software they are selling.
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    • Profile picture of the author Willie Murray
      Originally Posted by Fraggler View Post

      Do MS and Apple actually market lifetime updates though? They do provide support for their products which includes updates but that is to protect their product and brand rather than a direct feature to the piece of software they are selling.
      I've never heard of it from the big guns, there's always an End of life with any software I've dealt with over the years...
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Fletcher
    Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

    When someone offers lifetime updates on a specific
    product should the customer expect to get updates
    for life or does it mean something else?

    For example.. when someone realeases Software
    Version 1.0 it is reasonable to expect that versions
    1.01, 1.21, 1.67 would be a free upgrades.

    However, would the customer be entitled to a free
    upgrade to version 2.0?

    John
    I expect to get point releases free and pay for major releases.

    Otherwise the vendor will have to rename/rebrand the software for major releases and spend more heavily on marketing and that just gets passed on to me.

    To expect people to do major enhancement work for free is just bad business for everyone involved.

    Although obviously I'd rather see this in plain text in the sales copy, realistically it's always going to get bumped to the small print by some legal/marketing drone.

    Cheers,

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Wow. What looked like a fairly straightforward question has certainly spawned a lengthy debate.

      Reading through the thread I kept thinking of the line: "Moneywise, I'm set for life - providing I die next Tuesday!"

      Seems to me that the takeaway, as always in such matters, is to make your offer clear from the outset. In this case, that's not only your definition of "lifetime" (which I think is nailed here):

      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      In my experience, "Lifetime" refers to the productive or useful life cycle of the product, in terms of being supported and actively marketed by the developer.
      ...but also whether you mean "update" or "upgrade" and what those two terms refer to in relation to your product.

      Clearly, it wouldn't be wise to rely on your customers' knowledge (or understanding) of any existing industry standard.


      Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author developer3d
        This has been a extraordinary revelation to me about elements of the IM crowd.

        Personally I can't see even a shard of logic or common sense in expecting upgrades from a software developer for free for the term of your natural life on a $25, $50 or even $100 product - but I have made that point several times so I set it aside.

        What this discussion opens up for me is this.

        I realize now why so many people in IM continue to buy into "Instant Success", "ATM Cash Machines', "Push Button Riches", "Unlimited Backlinks", submit your website to 4000 search engines for $17 and on and on and on - 1000's of 1000's of scams and ripoffs.

        And for those that think that is being harsh - go and check the stats on places like clickbank and other marketplaces that publish stats - that rubbish are the products that sell consistently higher than almost anything else.

        Common sense is just not that common.

        There really is no other explanation for it, these are just blatant scams and rip offs and they defy all logic and reasoning and yet every day they continue to get purchased handover fist.

        The take away from all this is if an individual cant understand that you are NOT going to have an ATM cash machine making you money while you sleep if you buy this ebook for $27 I guess you are just not going to understand issues like providing 20 - 30 or 40 years of free upgrades and support on a low cost software item because you "might be able to" interprete wording other than intended.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

          This has been a extraordinary revelation to me about elements of the IM crowd.

          Personally I can't see even a shard of logic or common sense in expecting upgrades from a software developer for free for the term of your natural life on a $25, $50 or even $100 product - but I have made that point several times so I set it aside.
          Are you reading challenged? The point of the thread is that WE expect what the sales pages promises ...nothing more and nothing less. If you don't want to offer free upgrades, don't advertise it as a benefit and make it clear to customers that free updates do not mean free upgrades. Make it crystal clear so that people who have no comprehension of that distinction, knows in advance what they are paying for. And you're the one saying the products are $25, $50 or even $100. I've paid a whole lot more for software, but price is irrelevant. It's about transparency.

          Your little rant about other people's products is irrelevant and just smoke and mirrors. Try to stick to the topic.
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          • Profile picture of the author developer3d
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            Are you reading challenged? The point of the thread is that WE expect what the sales pages promises ...nothing more and nothing less.

            Does that go for your...

            Get to the Top of Google Search Results in Minutes Without Spending Hours of Mindless SEO/Backlinking Work.


            Please ....

            My point

            If you read the thread and my comments rather than skim over it ( oh the irrony of your "reading challenged" comment wow ) I have been clear that this entire "rant" is about silly "interpretation" of what offers "could mean".

            I even offered the real world example of my offering "Free Software" on my sites - that doesnt mean that I cant have a version with feature upgrades for sale on the site just because it says "free software" - and yet I have had a few loonies tell me that I am obligated to give away all my software for free because I say "free software"

            That's called silly interpretation and that is what this thread is all about - not about honouring your offers.

            I have NO issue if someone states categorically that your are going to get anything ( including updates for your entire life - until you die ) if they do that they have an obligation to deliver on that 100% )

            My entire point was "free software" doesn't mean you can have everything I develop for free and
            "lifetime product upgrades" doesn't mean you get free upgrade for the next 50 years

            The life of the product is determined by the individual developer not customers wish lists.

            That is is only "lifetime" that makes sense.

            If you promise something you must deliver, if something "might be open" to interpretation common sense should prevail.

            I understand your offer to get to the top of Google is conditional - it has to be, thats called common sense. You might have some interesting ideas that I could implement but that is NOT what you are promising, you are promising top results without backlinks.

            According to your offer, if buy your product you will get me to the top of google without any backlinking and that is just not deliverable its conditional on me being a rationale human being.

            I have wasted enough time on this and have made my point.
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            • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
              Banned
              Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

              Does that go for your...

              Get to the Top of Google Search Results in Minutes Without Spending Hours of Mindless SEO/Backlinking Work.


              Please ....

              My point

              If you read the thread and my comments rather than skim over it ( oh the irrony of your "reading challenged" comment wow ) I have been clear that this entire "rant" is about silly "interpretation" of what offers "could mean".

              I even offered the real world example of my offering "Free Software" on my sites - that doesnt mean that I cant have a version with feature upgrades for sale on the site just because it says "free software" - and yet I have had a few loonies tell me that I am obligated to give away all my software for free because I say "free software"

              That's called silly interpretation and that is what this thread is all about - not about honouring your offers.

              I have NO issue if someone states categorically that your are going to get anything ( including updates for your entire life - until you die ) if they do that they have an obligation to deliver on that 100% )

              My entire point was "free software" doesn't mean you can have everything I develop for free and
              "lifetime product upgrades" doesn't mean you get free upgrade for the next 50 years

              The life of the product is determined by the individual developer not customers wish lists.

              That is is only "lifetime" that makes sense.

              If you promise something you must deliver, if something "might be open" to interpretation common sense should prevail.

              I understand your offer to get to the top of Google is conditional - it has to be, thats called common sense. You might have some interesting ideas that I could implement but that is NOT what you are promising, you are promising top results without backlinks.

              According to your offer, if buy your product you will get me to the top of google without any backlinking and that is just not deliverable its conditional on me being a rationale human being.

              I have wasted enough time on this and have made my point.

              Just as I suspected. You are the epitomy of reading challenged. Let me give you a graphic demonstration since you have no reading comprehension.



              You see, my site is all about building Google News sites, as I have done numerous times. So let me just Google the first words that pop into my mind. Ok, I typed in jackass. So if I write a story about jackasses in my Google News site, Google News indexes it within 5 minutes and it instantly shows on Google's Page 1 under the News block, as you can see in the graphic ....
              and that is without any backlinks. But there's a real sneaky catch. You have to actually build a Google News site first (but I think I mentioned that in the sales page).

              But I do agree ... you have wasted your time but don't agree ...
              you have made your point.

              My entire point was "free software" doesn't mean you can have everything I develop for free and
              "[B]lifetime product upgrades" doesn't mean you get free upgrade for the next 50 years
              It's not likely that I would take your software for free or otherwise, but if your sales page said that I got lifetime product upgrades for free, I would fully expect that's what I would get, although it is now fairly apparent that you would not honor that.

              You see, Big Mike hit the nail on the head. He is a software professional and knows how to run a software business. The seller does not leave it to "silly interpretation". The seller is responsible for spelling out the terms exactly so no interpretation is necessary.
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

              I have wasted enough time on this and have made my point.
              If your point was that you can't read and aren't very smart, I agree.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ralf Skirr
    Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

    When someone offers lifetime updates on a specific
    product should the customer expect to get updates
    for life or does it mean something else?

    For example.. when someone realeases Software
    Version 1.0 it is reasonable to expect that versions
    1.01, 1.21, 1.67 would be a free upgrades.

    However, would the customer be entitled to a free
    upgrade to version 2.0?

    John
    John,

    to me lifetime means just that: lifetime. There's no other way to interpret the word, is there?

    Real software companies usually are very specific about their upgrade terms. Many companies offer free upgrade for a specific time frame (for example 1 year) or within the same version number (1.01, 1.21, 1.67).

    It's mostly with IMers that they advertise lifetime and later tell you it wasn't meant this way. I've had this happen with some pretty popular and respected IMers, and with products that were anything but cheap.

    Software developers in the IM niche are the least reliable developers. Most of them are one man shows (or 1 man shows with outsourcers) and can't be considered real businesses. Now add the need for sales hype to that and you end up with life time upgrade promises that aren't worth the paper to print them out.

    But it's not only the problem of dis-honest sales copy. There's also the problem of the developers not treating it as a business and thus not being able to continue to support the product.

    How many WSO software or script products have we seen that were dead just weeks after their release?

    I do think, though, that selling software with a lifetime free upgrade promise is neither good for the developer nor for the customer.
    It's short term thinking of the developer, and it's unrealistic of the customer to expect it will work out well in the long run. Free upgrades diminish the chances of a product to be well maintained and developed to its full potential.

    Creating real, valuable software updates costs money. There's no way around this fact.

    Now, if a company has no way to make the existing customers pay for upgrades - where should they get the funds for the development from?

    It's hard to run a software business and keep the software updated if you rely only on a constant flow of NEW buyers. A mix of new buyers and existing ones paying for valuable upgrades is what makes a sustainable software business.

    Ralf
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  • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
    I guess now would be a good time to come clean...

    I'm delighted to see Andy's & BIGMikes's responses as they
    confirm my understanding of "lifetime".

    HOWEVER, I would like to see less hype and more realism
    in the sales copy for software.

    When you sell a product, and you offer me lifetime updates,
    I want to see your definition of lifetime.

    There's way too much ambiguity and hype... it's time for a
    lot more openness and transparancy in this industry.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

      I guess now would be a good time to come clean...

      I'm delighted to see Andy's & BIGMikes's responses as they
      confirm my understanding of "lifetime".

      HOWEVER, I would like to see less hype and more realism
      in the sales copy for software.
      John
      I always expect that lifetime will mean lifetime of the product. I would much rather see a sales pitch for discounted upgrades rather than free lifetime updates, when they just going to baffle you with BS when it comes time to upgrade. Oh, we meant for v1.0 ... not v2.0. Then say that already. I don't mind paying for an upgrade, but the buyers are going to see "free lifetime updates" and think that means "free lifetime upgrades".

      Causing this type of confusion in your customers is only going to create ill will. The customers are going to be angry and feel like they were lied to. Every customer should know exactly what they can really expect in plain, simple terms.
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      • Profile picture of the author Angela Chen Shui
        Great question, John.

        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        I always expect that lifetime will mean lifetime of the product. I would much rather see a sales pitch for discounted upgrades rather than free lifetime updates, when they just going to baffle you with BS when it comes time to upgrade. Oh, we meant for v1.0 ... not v2.0. Then say that already. I don't mind paying for an upgrade, but the buyers are going to see "free lifetime updates" and think that means "free lifetime upgrades".

        Causing this type of confusion in your customers is only going to create ill will. The customers are going to be angry and feel like they were lied to. Every customer should know exactly what they can really expect in plain, simple terms.
        I completely agree. Take the time to think things out and clearly state your intentions on the sales page.

        The terms Free lifetime updates and/or upgrades should only be used if that is what is meant - free major and minor updates for as long as the product is being developed and sold.

        If the developer means just minor updates but not major upgrades, say that CLEARLY, straight up.

        AND if a change in policy is needed:

        Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

        What they should have done is kept the old customers on a lifetime update policy and only start charging the new ones for updates. That would have been only right.
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  • Profile picture of the author gosocialsa
    Yes life time updates should mean you get every update for free for life, in my opinion.
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  • Lifetime updates, is free updates while I am still alive
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      Originally Posted by Michael Silvester View Post

      Lifetime updates, is free updates while I am still alive
      Hi Michael,

      As you know, the coin has two sides. If you are a purchaser, then that will be good for you. (If I understand you right, it was a joke from you.

      But if you are a seller, that case is a quite different thing.

      Anyway, I find Big Mike's solutions reasonable. As one of his customer, I know, that his system works this way, and I'm satisfied with that.

      Take care,

      Sandor
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  • Profile picture of the author emmndi
    I beleive lifetime update mean that it life time update untill the software expires.
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  • Profile picture of the author insidmal
    Life of the product.. Ideally for all updates, but at minimum what you got at the time you bought it..
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

    When someone offers lifetime updates on a specific
    product should the customer expect to get updates
    for life or does it mean something else?

    For example.. when someone realeases Software
    Version 1.0 it is reasonable to expect that versions
    1.01, 1.21, 1.67 would be a free upgrades.

    However, would the customer be entitled to a free
    upgrade to version 2.0?

    John
    If a product says free lifetime upgrade, I expect free lifetime updates. Version 2.0 isn't a different product. It is an upgrade. If that isn't the case, I would make that clear on the sales page and not use free lifetime upgrades as a selling point.

    As an example, I've used CorelDRAW since v2.0. The upgrades have never been free and were never advertised as free. I've paid for each one. It's still CorelDRAW ... same product that does the same thing it has always done... only better.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      If a product says free lifetime upgrade, I expect free lifetime updates. Version 2.0 isn't a different product. It is an upgrade. If that isn't the case, I would make that clear on the sales page and not use free lifetime upgrades as a selling point.
      Hi Suzanne,

      The essence of this thing is in the bolded section. This kind of attitude should be followed by all marketers.

      But, you know, many people are still far from that.

      Take care,

      Sandor
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      • Profile picture of the author aritrim
        What does "Lifetime Updates" really mean?

        It depends on whose life we are talking about here.

        Life of the user.
        Life of the seller.
        Life of the software/product.

        It can mean anything from above.

        That being said, lifetime free upgrades is a vague term.

        For example, I offer a 3 year free upgrade. Major versions. Minor versions. And Builds.

        Ver 5.50.1029 to Ver 5.50.2119 is free > Build.

        Ver 5.50 to 5.70 is free. > Minor.

        Ver 5 to 6 is free. Major.

        Beyond 3 years, the users have a choice to buy the latest version for half of the price. And I believe 3 years is quite a bit for software since everything changes so fast.

        So back to the question, if the seller does not clarify what actually life upgrades mean, it is nothing but a marketing gimmick.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

    When someone offers lifetime updates on a specific product should the customer expect to get updates for life or does it mean something else?
    It means for the life of the product. Any other interpretation doesn't make sense.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      It means for the life of the product. Any other interpretation doesn't make sense.
      But it appears that we need to now define "product."

      Some are implying that a v2.0 upgrade is a whole new product. Not in my mind as a customer, but in the developer's mind.

      Let the customers know that a new version is a new product and will require mooola to upgrade to a new version.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        But it appears that we need to now define "product."
        And that depends on the product. You can't make a broad-brush statement about that which is applicable to all possible products, or even to all possible infoproducts.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          And that depends on the product. You can't make a broad-brush statement about that which is applicable to all possible products, or even to all possible infoproducts.
          No, but you can inform your customers that new versions are a new product and require an upgrade fee.
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            you can inform your customers that new versions are a new product and require an upgrade fee.
            And then your customers will know you're a lying sack of crap who never intended to give them lifetime upgrades at all.

            You know what the product is. If the company tells you the product is really something else, they're just lying to you so they can take your money. Vote with your feet.
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            • Profile picture of the author MatthewNeer
              Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

              And then your customers will know you're a lying sack of crap who never intended to give them lifetime upgrades at all.

              You know what the product is. If the company tells you the product is really something else, they're just lying to you so they can take your money. Vote with your feet.
              No one likes a sac of crap...

              Lifetime updates means lifetime updates!

              Be cool
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  • Profile picture of the author K Meier
    Let's face it. If you buy a product from a person via WSO, Clickbank, e-Junkie, eBay or just a website, they can say a lot and there is zero guarantee that the project will be up and running in a few months time. If they say free lifetime updates, then all that means is that as long as he works on that product, updates are free.
    Maybe they have some T&Cs where they specify "lifetime". Some companies, like vBulletin Inc, specify that they will only give free updates for the current main version, as in, if you have a license for version 3, you get free updates for 3.x, but not for 4.

    Other developers simple create a new product instead of using Version 2.0 when they see they added many new features and offered free lifetime update on the previous product.
    Proper companies never use the term free lifetime update, because they know as well that this is a very vage term. No one can guarantee you that the creator of the programs won't die tomorrow, or simply decide to shut it down - end of life of product.

    In the amateur business that we are in (WSOs, Clickbank, etc.) it's probably a good marketing strategy to use the term "free Lifetime updates". But use common sense, it doesn't actually mean anything
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  • Profile picture of the author Sancho Sanches
    Updates is minor bug fixes and small improvements.

    Upgrade is a considerable revamp.

    Lifetime usually means the products life span - not yours, unless otherwise stated.

    A lot of the attitude here is wrong and is based on presumption.

    Marketing "gimmick"?

    When in doubt ask or read the terms.

    Most marketing is gimmick. Gimmick doesn't mean "scam" or "dishonesty" Gimmick is a form of communication. Gimmick is putting on make-up, nice clothes and having a white smile. Gimmick is "Look at what else you get! Look how it shines! It can also be used as a door stop!"

    What you probably mean is sleight of tongue or something - but if you knew better you wouldn't assume lifetime means your lifetime.

    It's like people assuming there is a money back guarantee when none was promised or lifetime support when none was promised. People do that because they're used to it or they have a sense of entitlement.

    Now if the seller clearly said one thing and did another that's just lying but it's not gimmick because lifetime updates or upgrades has a specific and universally agreed upon meaning whether or not you are aware of it.

    Your misunderstanding is your misunderstanding.

    Lifetime updates or upgrades (customer's lifetime) doesn't even make sense so it's a wonder they think it means that.

    That's a promise no one can keep.

    No doubt some marketers intentionally use language to mislead, counting on people's ignorance, lack of due diligence and lack of responsibility, but it's often people who dupe themselves.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Sancho Sanches View Post

      I don't doubt some marketers speak a certain way knowing people will take things a certain way, counting on their ignorance, but it's often people who dupe themselves.
      No actually, it's more often that sellers dupe the customers, deliberately being vague to use something as a selling point that doesn't really exist. It's called lack of transparency and it's one of the major reasons that customers are dissatisfied with products.

      If you really want your customers to know what they are getting, say Product Lifetime and when you say free updates, make sure that they know that new version numbers are not an update.

      Of course, people can continue to confuse sellers and continue to get very angry customers, but transparency and knowing exactly what you are buying makes for happy customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    Good question. As a buyer I expect that "Lifetime updates" means I will forever keep enjoying the software even if they go to version 20. That's not always the case. I remember buying software that promised lifetime updates and updated it for years.

    One day I got a message that they will no longer honor lifetime updates and that I would have to purchase future updates. That didn't sit well. I understand it because their revenues were taking a hit. As a customer I felt I didn't get what I purchased. Had they never promised free updates forever I would have been fine, but they did.

    What they should have done is kept the old customers on a lifetime update policy and only start charging the new ones for updates. That would have been only right.

    As it is I stopped using the software and purchased a different package. They not only lost out on updates but helped the sale of a competitors product.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brad Pollina
      nevermind.
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  • It really depends on the vendor, and of course whether they honor it.

    Also, many people nowadays are using 'life time updates' obviously as a marketing tool. The translation is more along the lines of 'if we get around to making an update, you can have it, as long as saying lifetime updates convinces you to buy now'.

    But usually 'lifetime' updates means any software version. Otherwise, usually software vendors will specify. But of course, if you have questions, contact that vendor.
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  • Profile picture of the author tgdrew
    To me, "lifetime updates" of a product only includes small features and bug changes. Although many people would disagree, I think an entire overhaul of an existing product is a new product entirely. As a software developer you do want to treat your customers fair, but in the world of technology you also have to stay caught up with your competition which may include completely morphing your product in a new direction at which point your product is no longer the same that it was in the beginning. I do believe that when you are selling the product you should have a clear definition and should not at any point just throw in an upgrade fee without your customers knowing in advance.
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  • Profile picture of the author zvendor
    Usually lifetime software updates includes all future patches and version upgrades to the software. The only thing that would be excluded usually is any optional software addons, or any sister product releases (like in the Windows example mentioned above about Windows XP vs. Windows 7 - since these are 2 totally different products the lifetime updates won't apply in this case)
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  • Profile picture of the author Karan Goel
    I rather contact the support people to ask what
    are their update policies, and what exactly is
    meant when they use "lifetime updates" in their
    sales copy..

    Karan
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  • Regardless of whether it's called lifetime upgrades, or limited upgrades, or what does it mean to you, the fact is, a lot of marketers are using it as a form of sales gimmick, hence it's the intention that counts in my opinion.

    I mean, why call it lifetime upgrades to play around with ambiguous words trying to get away with it?
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  • Profile picture of the author developer3d
    This is one of the most ridiculous threads I have ever read.

    I am just stunned that someone would even ask this question, let alone have so many people jump on the bandwagon supporting them.

    Do you really think that its possible that someone could make a complex product like software sell it as modestly as possible and then provide you with free upgrades until the day you die ?

    How much are you paying for the software ? $50 ? $100 ?

    I would understand if you where talking about $5000 or $10,000 by irronically even software that sells for that much like AutoCAD or Max or Maya sees a new product every year without fail.

    Grow up, you are supposed to be business people.

    The only relevant logical and practical concept here is for the life of the product, which you should expect to be 12 months to 3 years on average.

    Version 2.0 is a new product, it always has been.

    Free upgrades until you die - OMG

    As far as "ambiguous" wording goes - this is the IM crowd right ?

    haha

    You must act now for this special one time offer as there are only 30 copies of my ebook that will show you how to make millions whilst you sleep all without doing any work at all.

    Most software companies offer a free trial of some kind, that is about as transparent as it gets, download it buy if if you like it and in 2 years from now if your still using it give the guy another $50 or $100 bucks
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
      There seems to be an assumption under the surface here: That the only customers you will ever have as a developer are those who purchase Version 1.0

      You will always be bringing in NEW customers at various versions. So, it's not like you're losing 100% of you profits by offer true lifetime upgrades.

      To me the "lifetime" ends once the product gets a new name.

      However, as long as the rules for upgrades were disclosed, and posted plainly (perhaps hyperlinking the words "free lifetime upgrades" to your upgrade policy), then customers wouldn't have much to complain about.

      The best option seems to be offering a time limit on upgrades, and NOT calling them lifetime upgrades. "A full years of all upgrades", or whatever.

      (One other point, the absolutists in this discussion are obviously wrong on some level - because the absolute statements are contradcitory.)

      All the best,
      Michael
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
      Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

      This is one of the most ridiculous threads I have ever read.

      I am just stunned that someone would even ask this question, let alone have so many people jump on the bandwagon supporting them.

      Do you really think that its possible that someone could make a complex product like software sell it as modestly as possible and then provide you with free upgrades until the day you die ?

      How much are you paying for the software ? $50 ? $100 ?

      I would understand if you where talking about $5000 or $10,000 by irronically even software that sells for that much like AutoCAD or Max or Maya sees a new product every year without fail.

      Grow up, you are supposed to be business people.

      The only relevant logical and practical concept here is for the life of the product, which you should expect to be 12 months to 3 years on average.

      Version 2.0 is a new product, it always has been.

      Free upgrades until you die - OMG

      As far as "ambiguous" wording goes - this is the IM crowd right ?

      haha

      You must act now for this special one time offer as there are only 30 copies of my ebook that will show you how to make millions whilst you sleep all without doing any work at all.

      Most software companies offer a free trial of some kind, that is about as transparent as it gets, download it buy if if you like it and in 2 years from now if your still using it give the guy another $50 or $100 bucks
      Remind me to never buy any of the software you develop.

      ~Michael
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      • Profile picture of the author developer3d
        Originally Posted by Michael Oksa View Post

        Remind me to never buy any of the software you develop.

        ~Michael
        If my opinion causes you to not want to buy any software I develop that's cool with me.

        Free lifetime product updates mean "free updates for the lifetime of the product" not a human beings life - end of story.

        If you get 2 - 3 years of free updates before a new product is realeased that would be considered by any reasonable rational human being excellent value.

        As for your comment...

        I will make you a deal ...how about you don't buy my software and I will not buy your "incredible secrets" ebook showing me how to make( and I quote from your site ) "EASY MONEY" online.

        Although I am not sure how i will survive without these "secrets" or the EASY money I was going to make - damn.

        Let me let you in on a "secret" of my own

        I have never read anything you have written but I can guarantee that nothing, not a single thing in your information is a "secret" and if you haven't worked it out yet there is no EASY money online. There is plenty of money but your saying EASY money.

        See my point ? ( Probably not )

        This crowd uses ambiguous, over promotion all the time, its their bread and butter of marketing even you the self proclaimed "ethical marketer" are just plain lying when it cuts down to it.

        The truth is you dont have any "secrets" at all.


        You might know things that new comers to online marketing don't know but that is NOT the definition of a "secret"

        This thread is full of people that are whining and complaining because they think that lifetime product updates could be interpreted as meaning a human beings life not the product being discussed.

        Read through the signature footers of these same commentators, its like a never ending parade of promises and lies to customers that will never be fulfilled.

        Like I said before - if you like some guys software and he decides after you have used it for 2 years to do a new version pay the guy another $50 and stop splitting hairs about what "Free lifetime product updates " could be interpreted to mean.
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        • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
          Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

          If my opinion causes you to not want to buy any software I develop that's cool with me.

          Free lifetime product updates mean "free updates for the lifetime of the product" not a human beings life - end of story.

          If you get 2 - 3 years of free updates before a new product is realeased that would be considered by any reasonable rational human being excellent value.

          As for your comment...

          I will make you a deal ...how about you don't buy my software and I will not buy your "incredible secrets" ebook showing me how to make( and I quote from your site ) "EASY MONEY" online.

          Although I am not sure how i will survive without these "secrets" or the EASY money I was going to make - damn.

          Let me let you in on a "secret" of my own

          I have never read anything you have written but I can guarantee that nothing, not a single thing in your information is a "secret" and if you haven't worked it out yet there is no EASY money online. There is plenty of money but your saying EASY money.

          See my point ? ( Probably not )

          This crowd uses ambiguous, over promotion all the time, its their bread and butter of marketing even you the self proclaimed "ethical marketer" are just plain lying when it cuts down to it.

          The truth is you dont have any "secrets" at all.

          You might know things that new comers to online marketing don't know but that is NOT the definition of a "secret"

          This thread is full of people that are whining and complaining because they think that lifetime product updates could be interpreted as meaning a human beings life not the product being discussed.

          Read through the signature footers of these same commentators, its like a never ending parade of promises and lies to customers that will never be fulfilled.

          Like I said before - if you like some guys software and he decides after you have used it for 2 years to do a new version pay the guy another $50 and stop splitting hairs about what "Free lifetime product updates " could be interpreted to mean.
          Maybe you have good software, that wasn't my point.

          My point is that you came across as rude, didn't sound like you would be very helpful as customer service goes, you seem quite stubborn, you come barging in as if you know everything, you cut down all marketers and members of the forum...

          Therefore, just the type of seller I don't like buying from.

          HOWEVER, I am only basing that on one post in one thread on one forum.

          I wasn't saying anything against your software, I was referring to the way I perceived your attitude. That's why I wouldn't buy.

          Other than that, you can cut down my product all you want, but without seeing it, you don't really know how good it is. You do make a good point about the use of the word "secrets", though. BUT...don't you see that you're doing the exact same thing with the word "lifetime" (probably not).

          And with that, I wish you luck and success in all of your future endeavors.

          All the best,
          Michael
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        • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
          Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

          Free lifetime product updates mean "free updates for the lifetime of the product" not a human beings life - end of story.

          If you get 2 - 3 years of free updates before a new product is realeased that would be considered by any reasonable rational human being excellent value.
          You make it pretty obvious that you are new to the world of IM. Software creators in the IM world have been selling software with lifetime free upgrades for years, it isn't something new thats being discussed here.

          For example, I created a product in 2007 that I offered free upgrades on to all my customers. I released a new version on average every 30 days from Nov. 07 when it was initially released until middle of 09 when I sold the product line off to another marketer. That was just short of 2 years ago and he still offers free lifetime upgrades on that product line.

          Years ago, many of us used the "free lifetime upgrades" as a way to stand out from the crowd because there weren't many using it as a selling point.

          These days, pretty much everyone puts that on their sales page as a sales point so it is now used by a huge range of people with a huge range of meanings.

          From a marketing standpoint expecting everyone to agree with your point of view and stating your opinion as fact is pretty much the kiss of death so you might want to take a step back, rethink your mindset, and try not to develop too huge of a case of "foot in mouth" disease when you are a newer user of a very old and established forum full of people who have been in this business for years and years.
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          • Profile picture of the author ExRat
            Hi,

            Thread summary - there are many interpretations and assumptions that can and will be made, but if you state 'lifetime updates' without any further explanation or clarity, then when you charge for any kind of update a portion of the customers will be surprised and unhappy about it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
      Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

      Do you really think that its possible that someone could make a complex product like software sell it as modestly as possible and then provide you with free upgrades until the day you die ?
      Yup...I purchased software with that exact guarantee.


      Grow up, you are supposed to be business people.

      The only relevant logical and practical concept here is for the life of the product, which you should expect to be 12 months to 3 years on average.
      In your opinion only and obviously.


      Version 2.0 is a new product, it always has been.

      Free upgrades until you die - OMG
      I don't agree. It's a new version of the same product.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      And then your customers will know you're a lying sack of crap who never intended to give them lifetime upgrades at all.

      You know what the product is. If the company tells you the product is really something else, they're just lying to you so they can take your money. Vote with your feet.
      How will your customers know or think you're lying if you don't lie or baffle them with BS from the start? Like I said, I bought CorelDRAW years ago and never expected (because it was never promised) to have free upgrades. I'm a happy customer. I bought and paid for exactly the product advertised and because the product makes me happy, I've upgraded nearly every year to the current version.

      I just want to know what the 'real' ugrade/update policy is before I hit the buy button. I don't want to have to find out after I buy, because the sales copy was trying to hype a benefit that doesn't really exist.

      Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

      Grow up, you are supposed to be business people.

      The only relevant logical and practical concept here is for the life of the product, which you should expect to be 12 months to 3 years on average.

      Version 2.0 is a new product, it always has been.

      Free upgrades until you die - OMG

      As far as "ambiguous" wording goes - this is the IM crowd right ?

      haha

      You must act now for this special one time offer as there are only 30 copies of my ebook that will show you how to make millions whilst you sleep all without doing any work at all.

      Most software companies offer a free trial of some kind, that is about as transparent as it gets, download it buy if if you like it and in 2 years from now if your still using it give the guy another $50 or $100 bucks
      You say IM crowd as if everyone who has an online business is the same. They are not. I don't buy ambiguous products and I don't want to find out that I did after I've paid for one. I'm up front about my products and I expect the same. But then I've never been one to fall for the make millions whilst you sleep, and I don't expect to see that I have product lifetime updates for free only to find that they didn't really mean that .... and as for v2.0 being a new product ... it is not. CorelDRAW has made improvements but it is essentially the same as it was when I first bought it. I could still use that first version I bought if it worked on my current OS and not really miss the new features. An upgrade is an upgrade ... not a new product.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        How will your customers know or think you're lying if you don't lie or baffle them with BS from the start?
        If you don't lie, then you're not lying. I don't see the issue here.

        The OP seems to be about "you buy software that promises lifetime updates on the sales page; what does that mean?"

        It means the lifetime of the product. Version numbers aren't part of the product. Company names aren't part of the product. Even product names aren't the product; if they rename it, you've still paid for lifetime upgrades to the product. You know when you're being ripped off.

        You seem to be arguing some entirely different thing about whether people should expect lifetime updates. And the answer is, IF THEY PROMISED IT ON THE SALES PAGE, yes you should.

        If they didn't, they can charge for one whenever they want. Apple does.
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    • Profile picture of the author gefflong
      Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

      This is one of the most ridiculous threads I have ever read.

      I am just stunned that someone would even ask this question, let alone have so many people jump on the bandwagon supporting them.

      Do you really think that its possible that someone could make a complex product like software sell it as modestly as possible and then provide you with free upgrades until the day you die ?

      How much are you paying for the software ? $50 ? $100 ?

      I would understand if you where talking about $5000 or $10,000 by irronically even software that sells for that much like AutoCAD or Max or Maya sees a new product every year without fail.

      Grow up, you are supposed to be business people.

      The only relevant logical and practical concept here is for the life of the product, which you should expect to be 12 months to 3 years on average.

      Version 2.0 is a new product, it always has been.

      Free upgrades until you die - OMG

      As far as "ambiguous" wording goes - this is the IM crowd right ?

      haha

      You must act now for this special one time offer as there are only 30 copies of my ebook that will show you how to make millions whilst you sleep all without doing any work at all.

      Most software companies offer a free trial of some kind, that is about as transparent as it gets, download it buy if if you like it and in 2 years from now if your still using it give the guy another $50 or $100 bucks
      There is a way around that little issue... don't offer LIFETIME updates as a selling feature and this problem goes away.

      Whiz Bang Software 2.0 IS Whiz Bang Software 1.0 with... gasp... updates.

      I really don't have a problem paying again for 2.0 or 3.0 if they don't use "lifetime updates" as a featured selling point of 1.0.

      Personally, I feel if you want to change the name of the software to something else and claim it is a NEW piece of software, so be it. However, developers should not be able to slap the 2.0 on the same name and claim it as new.

      Again, I have utmost respect for software developers and this isn't their fault. It's the marketing that is to blame.

      To avoid confusion, they should not be offering lifetime updates if they don't plan on giving you updates to the SAME software with different version numbers. That is what VERSION means... 2nd or 3rd or whatever VERSION of the original named software.
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    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by developer3d View Post

      This is one of the most ridiculous threads I have ever read.

      I am just stunned that someone would even ask this question, let alone have so many people jump on the bandwagon supporting them.

      Do you really think that its possible that someone could make a complex product like software sell it as modestly as possible and then provide you with free upgrades until the day you die ?

      How much are you paying for the software ? $50 ? $100 ?

      I would understand if you where talking about $5000 or $10,000 by irronically even software that sells for that much like AutoCAD or Max or Maya sees a new product every year without fail.

      Grow up, you are supposed to be business people.

      The only relevant logical and practical concept here is for the life of the product, which you should expect to be 12 months to 3 years on average.

      Version 2.0 is a new product, it always has been.

      Free upgrades until you die - OMG

      As far as "ambiguous" wording goes - this is the IM crowd right ?

      haha

      You must act now for this special one time offer as there are only 30 copies of my ebook that will show you how to make millions whilst you sleep all without doing any work at all.

      Most software companies offer a free trial of some kind, that is about as transparent as it gets, download it buy if if you like it and in 2 years from now if your still using it give the guy another $50 or $100 bucks
      Kind of a little new here to be popping off with an attitude like this don't ya think? Doesn't make for making any friends. Grow up? By the way, how old are you? I ask that because your tone sounds real young and immature in itself. Maybe you should take your own advice pal.
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      • Profile picture of the author developer3d
        Originally Posted by scrofford View Post

        Kind of a little new here to be popping off with an attitude like this don't ya think? Doesn't make for making any friends. Grow up? By the way, how old are you? I ask that because your tone sounds real young and immature in itself. Maybe you should take your own advice pal.
        Wow, so you think that someone's right to position a constructive argument against both hypocrisy and silliness should be based on the number of post they have made. Interesting.

        In the real world, every one is entitled to equal opinion and everyone entitled to voice that opinion equally.

        As a 12 year veteran of creating and selling software products online fulltime, I have significant insight and understanding into this discussion.

        If you want to live in the world of "the customer is always right" then go right ahead and be my guest - again in the real world the customer is not always right.

        Most of the the time the customer is a valued partner in business, but when you get enough customers, when you become successful enough a small percentage of loonies come with the territory.

        I have had this issue on a small number of occasions over the last 12 years ... where a small number of vocal minority get fixated on some silliness and they need a swift kick in the pants.

        A vivid example

        I have had people complain because apparently promoting "free software" means that that you cant offer a "paid upgrade" with an advanced feature set - that if you say "free software" on your site you cant charge for anything period.

        Loonies.

        Again sensible people approach this sensibly.

        So for those that want a vendors point of view of the real world of software and an answer to the OP question.

        Whenever you buy software with a small value $ and there is offer like
        free product lifetime upgrades you should assume that at some point the product lifecycle will be reset.

        How long that is period is is going to highly variable but a 1 - 3 year window would be good value - a possible 40 or 50 years ( who knows ) until you die is not what is meant and not what is being promoted.

        "Product Lifetime"
        is the default and assumed position, the only time that this would be different is if the wording is very specific relating to the term of your natural life and I have personally never seen that wording on a software offering - ever.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
          Originally Posted by developer3d View Post


          Whenever you buy software with a small value $ and there is offer like
          free product lifetime upgrades you should assume that at some point the product lifecycle will be reset.

          This is the default and assumed position, the only time that you should expect this to be different is if the wording is very specific relating to the term of your natural life.
          No, it isn't the "default and assumed position"... that's simply a
          generalization that you've chosen to adopt to support your
          position within this discussion.

          The crux of this question, as I see it, is how the product update
          is described within the sales process. The sales copy forms part
          of the contract and, unless it states otherwise, "Lifetime upgrades"
          used as a benefit within the copy could be constued as the complete
          life-cycle of the product.

          I'd be interested to see how authorities such as the FTC or thye UK
          Trading Standards interpret it.

          John
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  • Profile picture of the author WDM
    I consider lifetime updates to mean a one time purchase, no matter how many updates or versions are released. If the developer stops production on the software, then you don't receive anymore updates. However, if you release a completely overhauled program, like video games for instance, you don't buy Age of Empires and get Age of Empires III for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe118
    For my products, which all come with lifetime updates, it means:

    As long as the product is in development, all buyers get all updates to the product for free, without charge, provided they are reachable through my email subscription list.

    A very simple and non-confusing guarantee. If the product is no longer being developed obviously there's not going to be updates, so...
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
      Originally Posted by Joe118 View Post

      For my products, which all come with lifetime updates, it means:

      As long as the product is in development, all buyers get all updates to the product for free, without charge, provided they are reachable through my email subscription list.

      A very simple and non-confusing guarantee. If the product is no longer being developed obviously there's not going to be updates, so...
      That's the way aha aha i like it .
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewNeer
    If the case of software, I would be PISSED OFF if I didn't get an update to 2.0 on a piece of software I bought. Life time, to me, means the life of the product, not the current version.

    Did that happen to you bro?
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  • Profile picture of the author Gail Sober
    If the corner donut shop offered me a lifetime supply of donuts and coffee for a couple hundreds bucks. I would assume it meant as long as they were in business and I was alive.

    Maybe not exactly the same thing but that's how I view the word lifetime.

    Not offering a lifetime of upgrades doesn't stop me from purchasing software though. However I do expect that the 2.0 upgrade that they are charging for be significantly different from the 1.8 ver and not just a bug patch and I expect my current version to continue operating should I choose not to upgrade.

    Example: I'm still using photoshop 7 and Office 2003 so even though I'm not using the latest and greatest, I am happy that I am still able to use what I paid for even though I'm no longer receiving upgrades.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      When I first sold my Software Builder here, I offered free upgrades for life. In that time, and years of work that one product has turned into a whole product line.


      The main product is the Software Builder but now I have Express and Professional versions. IMO, it would have been fair to charge upgrades to the Professional version. I was/am constantly upgrading both products so the customers got one heck of a deal anyway. I just gave the upgrade to Pro for free. Don't forget, I have several different versions of each since they are constantly being upgraded.


      I now have a newer product based on the Software Builder coming out. I do charge those customers for an upgrade since the stuff being implemented was never planned when people originally purchased the first. Only one customer had a problem and I offered a refund even after 3 or so years. They declined simply because it was one heck of a deal they got with all the updates.


      I would be wary of software developers offering lifetime upgrades. Normally they won't do anything once it is sold and most will disappear.


      Selling lifetime upgrades isn't a bad thing depending on the market you are in and your business plan. Some of these markets have new customers coming in every minute. It is the customer support costs you really need to have under control.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
    If the seller says just "free lifetime upgrades" with no type of limitation or disclaimer then it should mean any new version of the software, minor or major, should be free.

    Giving free upgrades on minor point upgrades such as 1.14 to 1.15 but charging for a major upgrade such as 1.x to 2.x is fine, provided that customers know they will be charged for this before purchase.

    You should always honor exactly what you put on your sales page, and if what the sales page says could be taken in more than one way, always do your best to put the customers needs before the potential dollar signs floating around in your head. Happy customers tend to bring you more customers but unhappy customers tend to cost you business.

    If you think charging for major upgrade releases is wrong then do not buy the next version of Windows to come out, or any MS product for that matter. Pretty much every mainstream software charges for point upgrades.

    It all really falls to exactly what you lead your potential customers to believe they are getting. If you say "free lifetime upgrades" then deliver on that promise.

    If you want to charge for major releases there is nothing wrong with it, provided your customers know this before they make the decision to purchase.

    When I first started out I had a simple script that didn't do much, when I moved to a newer script that was completely rewritten from the ground up and had a ton more features I not only upgraded all current customers to the Pro versoin but created an upgrade path from the old script to the new one. Doing this didn't really effect my bottom line as much as you would believe as I continued to promote and sell the new version for a few years before selling that business off.

    I also agree with Gail above, upgrading should always be an option, not a requirement for the product to continue functioning. And never ever remove features when you do an upgrade.

    One well known product in the IM world had a large portion of its functionality removed when you upgraded to the newest version, and customers had to pay to recieve the upgrade. Charging customers to remove functionality has got to be the biggest boneheaded move I've ever hard of.
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  • Profile picture of the author omk
    I think what it really means is "until we go out of business", LOL

    - you get lifetime updates!
    - you get updates until we go out of business!
    (see what I mean, lol)
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  • Profile picture of the author JaisonG
    Well to try and answer this question,

    When someone is offering lifetime support than they are basically saying that as long as their product is alive or marketed, that they will support any of the customers who have purchased the item.

    Although this can be really complex sometimes, be sure to check the fine print and see if they really do promise on what they say, because sometimes they just say things to get a sale!
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  • Profile picture of the author betsyanne
    I agree with the posters here that say listing something with "Lifetime Updates" should mean getting that product in the most recent version forever. I don't think that happens a lot.

    I think saying "Lifetime bug fixes" or something else is probably what most vendors should say. (Or, going by the answers on this thread, what most vendors or sellers probably mean...)

    I also agree with other posters here that connecting with the company via phone or reading ALL the fine print is in order if you run across something like this. It's a buyer beware world out there. Sometimes what you head or read doesn't always happen.

    Also, it doesn't do any good to have "Lifetime Updates" if the product seller isn't solid and the product goes off the market.

    I like to read reviews of products and sellers on the 'net before I buy something anyhow, which does help.
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    • Profile picture of the author VanessaB
      What I see here is a simply vocabulary problem:

      Update: Something the product relies (Paypal, Google, Amazon, etc, IPN changes...) the software has to be upDATED to continue to work.

      UpGRADE: Better version... more features, new features, etc.

      If someone says I'll get free upDATES (well, I all ready expect that) great, but I would never expect a free upGRADE, unless it was explicitly promised, and even then, if it was software, especially IM software, I would ask for clarification with the exact terms I have used here, and especially after seeing this thread where business owners have said "If it says free updates, I would expect free upgrades." That tells me that too many people don't really 'get' the difference in definitions.

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      • Profile picture of the author shabit87
        Originally Posted by DanielleS View Post

        What I see here is a simply vocabulary problem:

        Update: Something the product relies (Paypal, Google, Amazon, etc, IPN changes...) the software has to be upDATED to continue to work.

        UpGRADE: Better version... more features, new features, etc.

        If someone says I'll get free upDATES (well, I all ready expect that) great, but I would never expect a free upGRADE, unless it was explicitly promised, and even then, if it was software, especially IM software, I would ask for clarification with the exact terms I have used here, and especially after seeing this thread where business owners have said "If it says free updates, I would expect free upgrades." That tells me that too many people don't really 'get' the difference in definitions.

        -Dani
        Agreed! If I'm giving you an upgrade, it'll be a new added feature, not the software functioning for the newest version of lets say Wordpress or whatever. My customers shouldn't be limited because of a newer version of the platform their using my software on in the first place.

        But due to this thread, I am going to be sure to describe what I mean clearly in my sales copy from now on. Clarification is my goal. I don't want people to see I have the same software with new features and feel entitled to a free copy. It isn't fair to me or them.
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  • Profile picture of the author shermancox
    oh come on...lifetime updates is updates until you go out of business or I die...As long as it is the same product...all this version number thing is a bunch of bunk...

    Now one can play games by changing the name of the product...but you are playing games.

    Now I don't know why anyone even gives these kinds of promises...but that ain't my problem as a customer...if you tell me that I get lifetime updates for 7 bucks...it ain't my business that you over-promised...that's on you...

    The answer...don't offer lifetime updates...especially if you plan on playing games to get around the obvious meaning of the wording...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jake Gray
    Lets keep it simple.

    Whenever the end creator updates their software, they change
    the value of the product from Example: Ver 1.01 - Ver 1.02

    Doesn't get much easier than that.
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    I always assumed free lifetime updates meant precisely that, since you bought the original product you are entitled to free updates for as long as the lifetime of the product (unless ofcourse the product suddenly changes its name and is no longer considered said original product)
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  • Profile picture of the author rickfrazier1
    "Lifetime" can have several meanings, particularly depending on where you stand.

    From the perspective of a customer, lifetime is often considered to be the lifetime of the buyer. The seller is partly banking on this, because it causes the prospect to be more likely to become a buyer.

    From the standpoint of the vendor, Lifetime is typically the lifetime of the product. This is nearly always less than the lifetime of the buyer. For an example in the "physical world" it is not unusual to have a "lifetime warranty" on tires. This warranty is good for defects in "materials and workmanship" over the life of the tire. The life (on the outside) may be perhaps 70,000 miles. Now, if you wear the tires out in 30,000 miles this doesn't mean you get new tires, unless you can prove there was a defect in "materials and workmanship" and not due to your driving habits or lack of maiintenance on your vehicle.

    Similarly, lifetime warranties, or lifetime updates for downloadable products can be difficult to obtain. Most reputable marketers that advertise lifetime updates will give you updates through minor (1.1, 1,2, 1,4) revisions, and major revisions (2.x, 3.x) as well. However, that said, just how many IM products do you see that undergo many revisions? It is much more likely that the same information will be repackaged and sold as something "new" under a new name rather than an "old" product that has been updated. This is primarily because folks will often buy the same thing if it comes in a different box with a new name and sales hype. By the way, it also technically releases the vendor/seller from the obligation to provide updates into the "new" product... I doubt that many vendors really think about this, but are more focused on the fact that it can be nearly impossible to sell "my-product 2.0" to the same folks as they can with the same information repackaged as "new-product 1.0." It probably has more to do with human nature and copywriting than it does with trying to avoid any need to provide existing customers updates.

    I know of at least one product I purchased years ago that was revamped and sold under a new name. The vendor sent out emails offering the new product to the old (existing) customers for a decent discount, and they got a lot of pre-launch sales that way. I don't believe they had promised a lifetime update on the original product or not, it's been a while...
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    with the LFM software we dont offer lifetime updates though you do get them... but when we develop a new feature for the software we sell them as plugins.

    So your original purchase is always updated if we update it with new code... but all new features are sold as plugins

    Hope that made sense
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    • Profile picture of the author Rick Wilson
      Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

      with the LFM software we dont offer lifetime updates though you do get them... but when we develop a new feature for the software we sell them as plugins.

      So your original purchase is always updated if we update it with new code... but all new features are sold as plugins

      Hope that made sense

      Makes sense to me, Robert. That's a great way to do it. Support the basic code (feature set) but charge for all new features from then on.


      Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 8-)
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    I bought a product a year or so ago with lifetime updates and I was curious about this product as I had never received any. so I looked up the seller and found an updated product listed as a WSO just about three months ago with limited release.

    I wrote to the seller to ask what the scoop was and why hadn't I received any updates. I didn't get any answer. So I guess that was my answer. As far as I could tell, the newer updated version didn't sell very many and had less than a half dozen posts in the thread. So was this karma?

    Don't offer lifetime updates, or any updates if you don't intend on delivering them to your buyers.
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  • Profile picture of the author armadillo
    From the hundred or so WSO's I've purchased, I have determined "Lifetime Updates" means "I will send you an update or two, put you on all my mailing lists and forget about you as soon as I start working on my next gigantic, humongous, you've-never-seen-anything-like-this, product launch." Am I being negative? No, I'm reporting facts. At least 70% of you product sellers provide no support whatsoever on stuff a year or two old.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnsIsotopes
    This term is the same as any other: it means what it means in that context. Unless some organization has been created to lawfully enforce a countrywide exact meaning of the term, than its open to interpretation every time. As someone said earlier, check the TOS each time. It's like here in the U.S. with "natural" & "organic" when it comes to food. Organic is regulated with a lot of terms & meanings backed by the govt, so they can't misuse it. Natural sounds great, but isnt regulated so can apply to anything, being outright false advertising.
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  • Profile picture of the author BizBoost
    LIFETIME UPDATES means....

    We know you'll forget, or we'll go out of business, and maybe our intentions are true and sincere but we're only human and like we said, you'll forget or we'll go out of business but if it helps you to make the decision to buy now then we mean it with all of heart and all of our soul.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Gordon
    Lifetime updates means updates for the lifetime of the product. It doesn't mean for your life. It means the products life. Customers are entitled to free updates to V2, V3, etc., until the product does exist anymore. If the change the name of the product (for example) from Niche Domination to Niche Domination Exclusive, you are not entitled to lifetime updates as long as a sort of different product is offered. For example: Niche Domination includes lifetime updates and is an eBook. Then Niche Domination Exclusive comes out and it has videos, without the eBook. Then the customers from Niche Domination wouldn't be entitled to a refund.

    I hope you understood my quite long story .
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  • Profile picture of the author JackRT
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi,

      Interesting to see so many people come along and state that their definition/interpretation of something is the de facto standard for everyone, yet none of them seem to notice that most have a different interpretation, or that it's clearly wide open to interpretation - due to the nature of the wording and some aren't even offering reasons for their interpretation, just stating it to be the case.



      Ben,

      Lifetime updates means updates for the lifetime of the product. It doesn't mean for your life. It means the products life.Customers are entitled to free updates to V2, V3, etc., until the product does exist anymore. If the change the name of the product (for example) from Niche Domination to Niche Domination Exclusive, you are not entitled to lifetime updates as long as a sort of different product is offered.
      Are you stating that this is how you do things, or that this is somehow universal?
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

        Interesting to see so many people come along and state that their definition/interpretation of something is the de facto standard for everyone, yet none of them seem to notice that most have a different interpretation
        The term "lifetime" has a historical basis in software products and services, including the Quantum Link online service when America Online turned it off, ThunderBYTE Antivirus when Norman Data Defense Systems acquired the company, and even TiVo - who fall under the "creative license" category I mention below (your lifetime subscription belongs to the hardware, not to you, so you can only keep it as long as you continue using the exact same TiVo hardware).

        While there are certainly complaints that customers wanted "lifetime" to mean something else, and there are certainly companies who have used a great deal of creative license in what "lifetime" meant, there is precisely one definition of the term which satisfies the most people.

        And that's the definition Ben and I have both given. It's the lifetime of the product. If you postulate any other definition and examine the way it works out in practice, you'll find someone taking it in the shorts.
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi CDarklock,

          there is precisely one definition of the term which satisfies the most people.
          Are you trying to suggest that there are more people making software than there are buying it?

          Besides, when did this become solely about software (or services?)

          What about information products?

          The OP gave the example of software but didn't state that he was only talking about software.

          The arguments in this place are getting whacked out. Over in another thread there's someone who sells a mobile internet product trying to convince me that because mobile internet is becoming so popular, in the near future I will lose my internet connection on my desktop and I won't be able to afford not to have a mobile internet connection - and you're jumping in to support him too.

          As I said in post #75 -

          there are many interpretations and assumptions that can and will be made, but if you state 'lifetime updates' without any further explanation or clarity, then when you charge for any kind of update a portion of the customers will be surprised and unhappy about it.
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

            The arguments in this place are getting whacked out.
            Lifetime updates or subscriptions are largely meaningless for anything that isn't software or a service.

            What would it mean to have lifetime updates to a DVD? Or a vacuum cleaner? Or a box of cookies?

            The idea is simply absurd.

            So when we start with the notion of the vendor SAYING you get lifetime updates, we're presuming that the phrase makes sense for the product. Which means software or a service.

            Infoproducts historically don't update. Ever. If you have updates to an ebook, you don't normally edit the ebook - you make a new ebook, which isn't a free update, it's a new product.

            This is so common, I get a flurry of emails every time I send free updates to my ebooks because nobody ever does this.

            So when you say "lifetime updates" on your sales page for an infoproduct, it's basically worthless because nobody believes you.

            Now, if you'd like to suggest that someone out there is saying "lifetime updates" and actually means it about something that is neither software or a service and will in fact be updated in the future, feel free. I'd love to hear it.

            Over in another thread there's someone who sells a mobile internet product trying to convince me BLAH BLAH BLAH and you're jumping in to support him too.
            I support the idea of a mobile device being able to replace your desktop PC in the near future.

            I also said outright that I don't see this being the right thing for everyone.

            I do not support the entire initial premise of that thread, and never said I did.
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            • Profile picture of the author ExRat
              Hi CDarklock,

              What would it mean to have lifetime updates to a DVD? Or a vacuum cleaner? Or a box of cookies?

              The idea is simply absurd.
              What's absurd is that you ignored my example of information products and bring household items into the conversation.

              Lifetime updates or subscriptions are largely meaningless for anything that isn't software or a service.
              Lifetime updates are not meaningless for information products.

              Infoproducts historically don't update. Ever. If you have updates to an ebook, you don't normally edit the ebook - you make a new ebook, which isn't a free update, it's a new product.
              Utter nonsense.

              nobody ever does this.
              Incorrect.

              Let's just agree to disagree, I can't be arsed.
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              • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

                What's absurd is that you ignored my example of information products and bring household items into the conversation.
                I didn't ignore it. I covered it later.

                Lifetime updates are not meaningless for information products.
                I was not talking about information products yet.

                Utter nonsense.
                Explain the logic underlying this conclusion.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ben Gordon
        Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

        Hi,

        Interesting to see so many people come along and state that their definition/interpretation of something is the de facto standard for everyone, yet none of them seem to notice that most have a different interpretation, or that it's clearly wide open to interpretation - due to the nature of the wording and some aren't even offering reasons for their interpretation, just stating it to be the case.



        Ben,



        Are you stating that this is how you do things, or that this is somehow universal?
        No, I don't do things this way. I am trying to explain what it means universally.
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  • Profile picture of the author bradleynsmith
    As internet marketers we would be slammed by Government agencies for most of the so-called guarantees that are made.

    No wonder IM'ers get such a bad name.

    It's better to "over-communicate" and mention that there is a limited warranty or Lifetime period, rather than leave it open to interpretation.


    eg. LIMITED UPDATE GUARANTEE - You are purchasing a product with a one year upgrade and bug-fix guarantee period from the date of purchase, and does not include jumps in the product version (from say example 1.4 to 2.0)
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