The Ulysses writing app has been one of our recommended apps for easy posting the WordPress sites. We are withdrawing that recommendation on the basis of what to us is their money grabbing move to be a mini Adobe, stiffing customers with a yearly subscription price akin to buying a completely new version each and every year. Yes like Adobe. The Ulysses developers have decided to follow the money, and ‘hard cheese’ to their legions of previously satisfied customers.
In a shock announcement The Soulmen, the developers of Ulysses, overnight announced the move to a subscription model.
While Ulysses has always been overpriced, especially for the iOS version, like many I overlooked that price on the basis that the app was one of the easiest means of posting to blog sites.
With the surprise announcement of the change, Ulysses uses have been left shocked and confused.
50% Discount Turns Out To Be 25%.
For current licence holders, there is a bit of a sop in the form of a supposed 50% for life discount, or a free period of between 6 and 18 months. After some confusion, The Soulmen have confirmed it is one or the other, a free period or discount.
The $US advertised price is $39.99, while the discounted price for previous uses is $29.99. I am not certain exactly what creative math turns that into a 50% discount.
iOS users short changed.
While recent purchasers of the Mac version are supposedly entitled to up to 18 months free subscription, the poor iOS recent purchaser gets stiffed with only 6 months free. With the yearly subscription, $A54, and having paid $A38 only 8 weeks earlier for the iOS version (yes some suppliers such as The Soulmen make us pay full price for the privilege of reviewing and talking up their product) a measly 6 months free seems somewhat of a kick in the face for recent purchasers.
Recent Purchasers Stiffed Even More.
With confirmation that it is a choice of 6 to 18 months free for recent purchasers or a lifetime discount for current users, the recent purchasers must decide whether to take the discount and pay premium forever or be treated the same as someone who purchased long ago and take the discount. Here’s hoping The Soulmen correct this unattractive choice.
Pay Far Too Much For So Little.
In the view of this humble blogger, this attempt to turn what was a reasonable program for larger projects, and a very good one for blogs that was already somewhat on the expensive side, into a terribly overpriced attempt at a money grab gives most previously loyal users a strong reason to look at alternatives.
Alternatives Without Endlessly Reaching Into Your Pocket.
Scrivener. For writing your next thesis or novel, Scrivener was always a better bet with significantly greater capabilities. The guys at Literature & Latte advise they have no plans for a subscription offering. Their Mac and Win versions have always been industry leaders, while the excellently priced iOS version is an example of a great product with incredibly tight coding.
MarsEdit. If blogging is your thing, abandon Ulysses and leap across to MarsEdit, a clean, fully featured blog application that is streets ahead in functionality, without the subscription. The only downside, no iOS version.
Winning Strategy, or a Loser?
There’s no doubt, the subscription model could bring in substantial additional money, though on the other hand, could drive way other previously loyal customers. In the days since The Soulmen made their announcement a good number of users are claiming they will abandon Ulysses, although whether the threats turn to action remains to be seen. Time will tell if The Soulmen have picked a winning strategy, or are set to sink as customers abandon their application.
For this writer, time to write off our investment, and look elsewhere. A solid 5 THUMBS DOWN to the team at The Soulmen.