ACF Solicits Lifetime License Holders for Contributions, Urging Them to Purchase Annual Subscriptions

The Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) marketing team at Delicious Brains kicked up a sandstorm over the weekend after it emailed its lifetime license holders, asking them to consider signing up for a discounted subscription. Despite Delicious Brains’ explicit promise that they would never be required to pay for ACF updates in the future, the sales email insinuates that the development team is in need of appreciation in the form of annual paid subscriptions:

I know you already have a lifetime license for ACF Pro, but I’m hoping you’ll consider signing up for a discounted subscription to support our ongoing work in continuing to improve Advanced Custom Fields.

We’ve shipped two major releases (5.10 and 5.11) since we took over development of the plugin from Elliot in June, including a full-featured REST API! If you’re a fan of the work we’ve done so far, nothing will show our developers that you appreciate them more than signing up for an ACF Pro subscription, especially since you already have a lifetime license.

This bewildering pitch to lifetime license holders landed in email boxes on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US. It drew more attention after Paul Charlton, creator of WPTuts, tweeted a screenshot of the email, saying it left “a really bad taste” in his mouth. Charlton also recorded a reaction video that succinctly articulates why the email was so irksome to many lifetime license customers. He suggested Delicious Brains instead take the approach of offering a discount on their other subscription products.

“If you’re going to broach the topic of asking lifetime subscribers to suddenly pay for $250/year for the same product, I would just think that something, anything, could be offered,” one lifetime license holder said.

Some lifetime license holders found the email pitch was especially perplexing after the confusing messaging when Delicious Brains acquired ACF. A hasty response to a customer inquiry caused lifetime license holders to question if the company would continue honoring the agreement after the acquisition.

“Lifetime license holders will get all ACF Pro software updates forever,” Delicious Brains founder and CEO Brad Touesnard said at the time. “They won’t be required to pay for version 6.0 or any other major or minor releases in the future. They signed up for updates for life, so we’ll continue to deliver on that promise forever.”

Some lifetime license holders tried to read between the lines of the recent sales emails and wondered if Delicious Brains was signaling an end to its commitment.

“What happened to our lifetime licenses being honored and we would get full and continued updates for life?” Brian J McCracken said in response to the email. “They haven’t said they aren’t doing that but talk about skirting the intention with this guilt trip.” Others are also skeptical, speculating that Delicious Brains may repurpose the code for a new product so they can “kill off the LTD’s once and for all.”

“I honestly believe they WANT the LTD owners to leave,” WordPress developer Wendell Harness said. “Think about it — they won’t have to support us anymore. An email like this may garner a few buy-ins while also wiping away a bunch of people they no longer want to support. It’s brilliant. Rude, but still brilliant.”

Those on the other side of the argument disagree with the notion that lifetime license holders should expect updates indefinitely.

“You paid a hundred bucks or so 5 years ago and you expect a company to keep adding value to your business that could have been generating hundred of thousands of dollars in revenue,” 10up WordPress engineer Clayton Collie said in response to critics of the email. “They could abandon the project. How would you feel about that?”

After the sales email created new confusion on the status of lifetime licenses, ACF tweeted to reaffirm their commitment to honor them, but many recipients had already formed their own conclusions about the intent of the email.

“We’ve heard from many lifetime customers who are happy with the work we’ve already been doing to improve ACF and glad to contribute by subscribing,” Touesnard said in response to customers who suggested the company offer something in return for signing up to a new annual subscription. “If you don’t feel the way they do, that’s fine, you aren’t required to subscribe.”

The heated conversations have renewed the controversial topic of selling lifetime licenses in the WordPress product space. Few have done this successfully long term, and it gets trickier when a company is acquired.

“I see both sides for this – as someone who bought a lifetime ACF license 7 years ago and also a plugin dev,” Amber Hinds said. “Really lifetime licenses should be offered with extreme caution.”

In many cases, when early adopters purchase a lifetime license, they are usually paying much more than the regular license, for an unproven product that isn’t guaranteed a future. This gives newer products the money they need to build momentum but also offers something in return. It’s a transaction where each participant extracts some value and assumes a share of the risk.

In this particular scenario, ACF appears to be mistaking its relationship with lifetime license holders as something more akin to investors or donors. Customers who purchase lifetime licenses rarely share those same motivations.

It’s quite unusual for a Black Friday sales email to ask for contributions for a product consumers have already paid for long ago. This unorthodox sales approach and timing was off-putting to many of the recipients. Was it worth upsetting a slew of customers who are not bringing ACF any money for the rest of its life as a product? Only the Delicious Brains team knows how successful the campaign has been so far. When asked if the email is generating new signups from lifetime license customers, Touesnard said the developer who pulls that report was not currently available.

“Does a company that spans across five very popular products require a donation approach, to keep a product like ACF, afloat?” WordPress business podcaster Matt Medeiros said in a post titled “WordPress, the multi-billion dollar software industry that has us begging for money.”

“If so, we better start getting better at pricing and voting with our dollars,” he said.

“Either way, expecting lifetime updates for one price, coupled with a part-time donation strategy, is bad for both the consumer and the business. I don’t see any other major markets operating this way.”

What to Buy (and Skip) in December 2021

Wouldn’t it be convenient to wrap up the year with straightforward shopping advice? Alas, the retail landscape is still chaotic. So it’s hard to tell which products (if any) will be listed at an affordable price point this month. If you’re looking for the short answer as to what’s worth your dough, consider opting for…

Temporary Buildings: Obtaining Planning Permission

Temporary Buildings: Obtaining Planning Permission

Featured image by porjai kittawornrat

These days, temporary buildings are becoming more common. People are looking to construct more sustainable buildings at a cheaper cost. Besides, temporary structures have plenty of benefits over brick-and-mortar buildings.

However, if you’re planning to set up a temporary structure, you need to ensure that you get your planning permission approved first. Many people skip over the necessary planning and construction protocols. However, this can have some dire consequences.

In this guide, we talk about the benefits of temporary structures. We also share some handy tips on how to go about applying for planning permission.


Benefits of Temporary Buildings

Temporary structures cost less than brick buildings. This is largely because most of the materials used for setting up temporary buildings are prefabricated. As such, the time required to construct the building from the ground up is shorter. In addition, if you’re setting up a temporary building using industrial tents, you don’t need to prep the surface.

Another benefit of temporary buildings is that they are portable. Steel beams support the structure. These are bolted to each other to form the skeleton of the building. As such, when you need to move the building to a new location, you only have to dismantle it and carry the materials to the new site.

Temporary structures from Smart-Space also have plenty of floor space and headroom. The buildings do not have support beams running through the center of the structure. The owner can therefore more easily use the structure as a warehouse or garage. They can also expand the floor space if the need arises.

Most temporary buildings are fitted with a clear roof manufactured from high-quality PVC material. The roof is capable of withstanding rough weather conditions. It also allows plenty of natural light into the building, meaning that the owners save a lot on energy expenses.

The doors and windows also fit tightly. This prevents heat loss during the cold seasons. Additionally, you can have insulation material added to the walls. This can be very important, especially if the building will be used for residential purposes.


Applying for Planning Permission for a Temporary Building

Temporary structures can be customized as per the user’s needs. The structures can be used as indoor arenas, classrooms, warehouses, or even greenhouses. Semi-permanent structures are the ideal option, especially if you’re planning to set up a building fairly quickly.

If you’re planning to use the building for more than a month, however, you will need to apply for planning permission. If the building has a floor space of more than 100 square meters, you will also need planning permission. This is the case even if you will be using it for less than a month.

It is always advisable to obtain your planning permission a couple of weeks before you purchase the materials for constructing your temporary structure. In most cases, the planning permission can take an average of ten weeks before it is approved. This can be quite a hindrance, especially if you require the structure on short notice.

Temporary structures have plenty of advantages. Nowadays, most businesses are using temporary structures as warehouses and office spaces. Property developers are also developing temporary buildings for use as residential houses.

You need to ensure that you get your planning permission approved before setting up the structure. People often skip over this process. However, as mentioned earlier, this can have some dire consequences.

Procedure for Making Your Application

As mentioned earlier, you need to make your application before buying the temporary building. A planning permission can in some cases take up to three months before approval. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from making the application.

The long approval times are always a hindrance, especially if the owner requires the structure urgently. However, according to construction consultants, you can apply for a planning permission while the construction of the structure is ongoing. Nonetheless, you will need to show proof of why you require the temporary building urgently.

Most local authorities will approve planning permissions in a shorter time than normal if you can prove why you need the building urgently. As such, you can always consult on some of the causes that can be considered as emergency requests.

Construction consultants can help you apply for planning permissions. They will ensure that you have all of the documents ready and in order. They will also make follow ups on your behalf to make sure that the approval process is sped up. If your planning permission is denied, the construction consultants will make a follow-up and help you in the reapplication process.

Planning permission applications are vital before you begin any construction project. Failing to get the planning permission approved can result in fines. The local authority can also force you to demolish your temporary building until you have obtained approval for the planning permission.


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SKU vs. UPC: What’s the Difference?

A stock-keeping unit, or SKU, is a unique alphanumeric code that is assigned to an individual product. SKUs appear on products as unique identifiers and are used to optimize inventory management and make tracking more efficient. In contrast, a universal product code, or UPC, is a 12-digit code that is purchased and licensed by the…