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A new commercial trend?

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I've just noticed a certain commercial developer who seems to have launched a new 'facility' to his customers - support files.Nothing wrong with that of course, until you realise that you have to pay to be get the support files sent to you. Here's a direct quote from the web site:"This new service enables users to sign up for a SIX MONTH period and have the latest support files sent direct to them as and when they are released....."This 'business' freely sends infomercials out to an unsuspecting database of would-be customers announcing new add-ons etc by email. If they can do that free, why charge actual customers

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They charge for spam or they charge for updates of the products?Sound questionable indead you think you would have paid for support when you bought it.

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TonyKnowing your attitude towards a certain developer I knew right where to go to see what you were talking about.It seems to me that the whole purpose of that service is to cater to those that can`t be bothered to get the updates themselves from the website.Why is it Tony that you insist on attacking this developer and it seems to be almost an obsession with you as it is almost the only thing you post about.Why don`t you come back and tell us when they start charging everybody for updates as that would be significant.Troy"Why not simply write to (email) the customers and tell them about new support files they should download?"What payware does this?I know DF/PMDG does`nt.Why do you think Arrianne should be any different?

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TroySorry, but I simply don't buy the theory that someone who buys an add-on which is bugged in some way (hence the support update) 'couldn't be bothered' to download it themselves when advised that the support update exists. I have yet to hear of any other 'developer' who charges for the notification.In reality, that's exactly what they're doing!I know of NO OTHER developer like Ariane (freeware or payware) who would dare to charge for this 'service'. In my personal opinion, it's a very poor idea and one which both the buying public, as well as developers, should avoid.Toni.

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They need to expend extra effort == money to run the service.That's all.Your slanderous attitude towards payware groups is noted.If this were just about any other area of software you'd have to pay for your "right" to get updates through any means at all.In fact, your purchase of the product would be subject to you signing up for a support contract worth (over time) several times the initial purchase price.When you elect to not extend that contract you loose the right to updates and support and in some cases your right to use the software (which is often rendered inoperative in such cases).

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JT,Thanks for your response. Firstly, let me state absolutely that I do not have a slanderous attitude towards payware, and indeed spend far too much money per annum feeding 'my addiction' to this hobby!My argument's based on the simple reality that, particularly in the case of Ariane, support updates are 'fixes' to bugs which rendered the intial purchased add-on inoperable in some or many ways, as intially claimed or advertised. We're not talking about enhancements or upgrades - we're talking about support issues.Looking at 'other' software if, for example, a new version of Word came out which simply didn't load or wouldn't communicate with printers etc, Microsoft wouldn't charge for the support software update to make it work correctly. They may well charge if the customer needs 'hands-on' help in setting up etc, but not to make the programme work right in the first place.When you buy the product, you expect it to work correctly and as advertised. If it doesn't, you either get a refund or a free update to make it work. That should apply to FS addons too.I'm not advocating that Ariane (or anyone) should copy the excellent example of DM Aviation. I'm simply suggesting that an announcement would probably suffice, without anyone paying

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Whilst I don't advocate the idea of charging for updates, I can't help but draw comparisons to other software.I run a drawing office, and we have a number of CAD and CAM packages, we have to pay a yearly "maintanace" fee just to get support and updates, and these are around

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Jeroen...Being in the same business you are in, I think you're using an apples to oranges comparison when it comes to signing up to support contracts vs. purchase of MSFS "Entertainment" payware add-ons. The former is certainly applicable in mission critical business applications. But with the latter, there's a standard of support that's been set and established by Dreamfleet, PMDG, FSD, Flight1. Eaglesoft--and that's just a handful. I'd say it's become accepted practice and an expected assumption when purchasing an MSFS add-on that anything outside of a major upgrade is provided with little fuss and little fanfare.However, the timing of this thread is in pretty poor taste. Being that it's the holiday season, and more than a fourth of the world is mourning the loss of their countrymen, these petty threads really have no place. It's more stirring up of the pot--one reason I've backed out of the debates over this vendor. Perhaps it is time with the new year coming--and given the terrible end to this one--that people contribute more than a "one hit wonder" agenda.-John

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"The maintanace agreements we have with these companies are such that if we don't pay the yearly fee, we get nothing, nada, no bug fixes, no e-mail support, no access to the support pages on the websites, nothing."Two years ago I dropped a vendor for our company because they took this to an extreme. Without naming the vendor, we had their product for approx. four years. Although I didn't negotiate the original contract, I had taken over as director of the project and was asked to negotiate for an upgrade. A couple years prior to my joining the project, we had made the decision to drop paying the support fee, with the understanding that we'd lose support.When it came time to purchase the upgrade, the vendor refused to sell it to us unless we paid "back support". I asked the vendor what would happen if we were a new customer, trying to purchase the same major upgrade. They said they sell it to us. In effect, we were being penalized for dropping their support package, even though we were within our rights to do so. (Edit--I forgot to note that we were attempting to purchase the latest version of the software at its street price, and weren't asking for any discount)I went with a competing vendor with a more liberal support policy. Even in the world of mission critical software, there's vendors who apply low-ball support/service/licensing schemes. There's no "standard practice" that we should be forced to accept. If a vendor uses low ball or sleazy tactics, whether it's an MSFS add-on or a system to monitor critical care patients, that vendor should be called to task and given the boot.-John

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>"Why not simply write to (email) the customers and tell them>about new support files they should download?">>What payware does this?I know DF/PMDG does`nt.Why do you think>Arrianne should be any different?>A Little place up in Redmond Washington Called Microsoft does. :DThey sell a little Payware Product called windows XP, and they have this neat little FREE Service called Automatic Updates that a consumer can turn on, and not only will they notify you of their PATCH....err....UPDATE.....errr... Service Upgrade...Errrr....Whatever is the PC word these days, they will also install it for you as well, at NO CHARGE to you. Imagine that, not charging for a patch, what a novel Idea, huh?And Guess what? This little company in Redmond does it all for FREE once you purchase their PAYWARE Operating System.So I ask you, why Shouldn't all developers do what this little Redmond, Wa. Company does?Seems fair to me, and also shoots down your analogy as well, IMHO. :-)Happy New Year,Joe****************Grab My FREEWARE Cessna 172 Voice recognition Profile here:[a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=fs2004misc&DLID=58334]Cessna 172 Voice Profile[/a].You will need the main FREEWARE Flight Assistant program to use it, get it here:[a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=genutils&DLID=39661]Flight Assistant 2.2[/a]

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"If this were just about any other area of software you'd have to pay for your "right" to get updates through any means at all."I disagree, see my example above.****************Grab My FREEWARE Cessna 172 Voice recognition Profile here:[a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=fs2004misc&DLID=58334]Cessna 172 Voice Profile[/a].You will need the main FREEWARE Flight Assistant program to use it, get it here:[a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=genutils&DLID=39661]Flight Assistant 2.2[/a]

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I am not saying whats right or whats wrong, we are consumers, beit entertainment software, or high-end commercial software, we have the choice, and the power to decide what we use and buy.If you do not like the practices of a certain company, then just do not buy from the vendors you have an issue with.As long as any company is up front with their practices then thats fine.As for our CAM software, the trouble is its a pretty narrow market, and there are none, at least none I know of, yet ;), that provide the service we require for free, or for a small fee, maybe its not a good comparison, but I just get the feeling that because this (FS) is our hobby, we should get a free lunch, no matter what it is, support is time, and time is money.When a company goes above and beyond the call of duty, Realair spring to mind with there FREE full re-jig of the SF.260, this should be viewed as the exception, not the norm, and come FS2006 or whatever it is, I think that many of us will be required to purchase our upgrades.Dan.

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DanBasically I agree with you regarding 'support' - but I think you may need to define 'support'.In this example, 'support' means basically operating the software as advertised, or supplying 'bug fixes' to make it work. Not upgrades or enhancements/new features, simply fixes - just like Microsoft does with XP etc.I'm not suggesting that Ariane are charging everyone for bug fixes, but they are charging for the fixes to be sent to you (as opposed to you 'collecting them' yourself). Given that they can afford to email 'the world and their dogs' with infomercials, surely notifying paying customers of available bug fixes without charge isn't asking too much.....?Toni.

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From your original post it looks like you can either get (free) announcements of updates and download them yourself or pay a set amount of money and get them sent to you.That sounds like a perfectly reasonable system to me (though for 10 quid a pop they might as well send them out on CD).

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Given the attitude of many people towards FS addons you'd hardly know the difference.Our customers (who pay tens of thousands of Euro a year for the privilege) don't complain as much or as loudly as the average FS user and never about such petty things...

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ROFLMAO. Yeah, I suppose it is reasonable to expect a small developer of add-ons for a PC flight simulator to offer a support system similar to the single wealthiest corporation on the face of the planet. Excellent analogy...Although I note with interest that MS doesn't offer that same service for any of its entertainment software. Hmmm.......one might also wonder how much that support adds to the cost of the OS itself when you purchase it, whether or not you actually ever take advantage of the service (which I personally choose not to)...

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If it bug fixes they must really. Now they obviously do offer bug fixes for free just this service so to me it

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Microsoft does offer a service where you can get major updates on CD.Service packs you can order separate for cost of shipping and handling.So can some other things (like the DirectX SDKs).If you want more frequent delivery you can subscribe at a price of several thousand dollar (depending on subscription level chosen) to receive the MSDN collection every other month or so which contains updates to everything Microsoft produces (and at higher levels the full products as well).It sells rather well, mainly to large companies and companies working on development of Windows applications (it also contains tons of technical documentation and SDKs).

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TonyWhat is the problem with what they are trying to do?They are offering a for fee update notification service for those that are too lazy to get them themselves for free from their website."Given that they can afford to email 'the world and their dogs' with infomercials, surely notifying paying customers of available bug fixes without charge isn't asking too much.....?"You keep saying this but no other developer for Flight Sim goes to that length to notify their customers of updates so why do you expect any more of Ariane?Troy

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When it comes to Ariane and Rauch (and some others), don't expect him to concede to anything, no matter how logical. Of course, I will now be idiotically accused of being associated with Ariane.

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Hi Troy (and John & Edam & everyone else)HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Great contribution to the discussion, Edam.Makes you wonder why threads get locked..........

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ToniHappy New Year to you as well.What you consider a money grab I would consider an optional service that I might like to take advantage of if I wanted to spend the money(which I don`t)and or did`nt have the time to go crusing the net for all the updates for all my addons.It just seems to me that as long as these updates are freely available to users on their admittedly convoluted website there is just not an issue of concern.Now I know all about PT and his antics in the past as I have been simming since "91" but I have to admit that some of their stuff is`nt too bad (visual models and effects mostly) in fact if they developed their pushback system for all aircraft I would most likly buy it.Just try to remember that Ariane consists of more people than PT and some of them have real talent.It seems to me that it is a shame that they are kept out on the fringe like they have been.I will tell you though Toni that if I ever found out that they were charging for bugfixes and critical updates I would be right next to you handing out torches and pitchforks.Troy

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