Hey, it’s an odd-numbered year, and I find myself again writing about a Wild Apricot price increase on existing subscription offerings. This time, 25%.
Once again, I’m not going to advocate whether folks leave or stay unless they are our clients or prospective clients, and I know their particulars. The particulars matter. Wild Apricot makes some things very easy for those with limited technical skills. Because of that, they also make things fairly rigid in what you can and can’t do, and how it gets done. There’s a trade off that depends on their customer’s needs and abilities.
I’ve been thinking about Wild Apricot’s price increases that have occurred the past few years. They do not do them well; actually, I think they do them fairly poorly. They irritate their customers, and it isn’t necessary. Price increases are part of reality on the web. Inflation is part of the world’s economy. The past few years have been a trying time in web development. We have to increase our prices.
Their primary reasoning for the price increase is inflation, and it is a real cause for price increases. Hosting costs are going up almost everywhere – we saw one server company try to double their rather expensive rate in 2022. Software costs – and the expertise needed to deal with that software – continues to go up as well. Security issues and the general expansiveness of issues relating to web sites increases the amount of hours needed to run a software as a service. I can’t say if 25% increase in 2 years is reasonable or not for them. I don’t feel it is unreasonable, but I know the realities of things on the web. Most of Wild Apricot’s customers do not. A little bit of explanation goes a long way with customers. Just saying inflation isn’t enough.
I also think the short notification window of the rate increase is uncomfortable for their clients. In a day where I can’t get a clone of an existing site from them in over 10 days with three requests, it seems unreasonable that they expect people to start paying more for their service in as soon as 60 days. Budgets are real things. Most of Wild Apricot’s customers are on a fairly tight one. This isn’t just a simple software package they are pricing. It’s the hosting, and the site design, and the payment gateway for many as well. Moving in less than 60 days just isn’t a reasonable possibility for almost any organization. Wild Apricot knows that. But the same holds true for 90 days, yet it gives the association more time to plan the ramifications of the price increase.
In addition, a lot of associations are on calendar year budgets. Announcing a price increase one month into the new year on a tight budget is also uncomfortable.
We’ve been users of Wild Apricot since the first decade of this century, and I’m just going to put it out there: The customer communication process is not good. Lead time, and some explained details, are important for a client base that is dependent on Wild Apricot for so much of their web visibility and functionality. I suspect that a big part of this increase will go into technical improvements, and it should. But I hope more is put into providing a better quality customer communication process.