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  • Paid Plugin-Reviews & Refrom. HS Need to Regulate

    I'm a long time user of HS and various plugins, but usually just read the forum in silence. I know this is controversial as no one wants to displease the a plugin author, but HS really needs to step in more and regulate whats happening. Locally there are 4 of us who use HS and many different plugins, but many us have the same exact problem.
    What made me post this now is I just saw a Denon thread where the person bought the plugin and has posted repeatedly, then the user finally post saying "I guess Blade is busy". This happens so many times, it is just not ok. I know the plugin author will reply promptly to this user now that I've just bought this up, but the history of inadequate support still exist. This is not about Blade, this is about getting more oversight of plugins.




    Let me say there are many great plugin authors that are responsive and helpful. Like Spud, Ultra, Mark Sandler, etc. Even free plugins like Jon00, CFguy, etc are extremely responsive. I nor anyone else expect free plugin authors to do anything, but paid plugin authors need to live up to a standard. That is not the case here with some authors. You've got plugin authors like Blade who corner the market with massive number of plugins, 36 paid plugins at last count, but offer little or no support at all. On top on not providing existing product support, they continue to produce more plugins, while paid users are left to beg and plea for basic support.



    I understand that these authors spend a lot of time creating these products, but once you start selling, there is a reasonable expectation that you will support. I'm not talking about the annoying user who ask 10 different obvious questions about issues that have solutions in the forums or are explained in the plugin documentation.


    Yes, there is a 30 day trial, but the 30 day trial does not help especially with a software like HS because there are constant changes and these changes can affect plugins.



    First I'm not trying to single out anyone, but this needs to be said because its been going for so many years. I know some of the pro users will step in and say Blade is responsive. Yes, he is selectively responsive to more prominent long time HS users, but to the newbie or others who read the forums, more than post, there is very little response. Please review Blades threads for the last 2 years and you will see, there are initial one sentence replies, then request for log, then no response or "will get back to you" or "I'll look into it". Most of the post in Blades threads are replied to by other users, not blade who seems to be MIA. There are thread where a user reports a problem, then gets a few words of generic initial reply, then the user has to "bump the thread" a 2 months later, then bump it 5 months later, then after nearly a year, gets a reply! Each step of blades reply, submit log(for errors), submit feature request(small tweaks), etc, adds weeks if not months-- only to get no reply in the end. This is ridiculous! This is not being busy but just intentional neglect. This has been going on for years now.



    I'm grateful Blade has 36 paid plugins, but if you're not able to support your existing plugin, then please stop making more. If you're unable to support your plugins, then stop selling them. I understand you're one person, but it is you who has chosen to sell all these plugin. Then it is your responsibility to offer support.
    I know users will be fearful of blade not selling his plugins, but if he doesn't that's fine. The market will take over and new authors will emerge. Look at Spud, great innovative plugins, seems to have come out of no where and has filled in the holes that are much needed in HS.




    Fear: Most users are afraid to speak up because if you do, the author may not reply to your request or help. This is why HS needs to allow user to post a review using an alias or anonymously. This really needs to be done.



    Solution-
    1 . Forum Based Review Thread:
    I know there is a review system on the product page, but most people don't review there, plus it doesn't allow you to use alias. Create a Forum based anonymous or alias review submission system. This way new users to the HS and new users to that particular author know before hand what they are getting into. The plugin product page can have a link to the forum review. This way everyone knows what they are getting into.



    2. HS Regulation:

    And if an author of paid plugin is unresponsive to users, their rights to publish further plugins should be monitored or prohibited. This way unresponsive authors are allowed to prey on unsuspecting users, especially new users. This is why a better forum based review system is needed.


  • #2
    I'll go on record as saying that Blade typically provides excellent support. I use a number of his plugins and there have been multiple occasions where he's released multiple versions of a plugin late at night in an effort to resolve a problems with me. He's also released all most all enhancements I have asked for. He also has a separate help desk and area on his web site to ask for enhancements and responses could be through other avenues and therefore not visible on the board. As (all/most) plugin authors are not running a full-time business, they must fit in the plugin support work in with their family life, work, etc. Sometimes other life events get in the way and there are periods of time that they may not be able to respond at all or only occasionally. I've seen this from other plugin authors as well that you mention as "always" providing good support. You say you are not singling out Blade, but in your post you are, which I don't think is appropriate. There have been a number of plugin authors that have sold plugins and then disappeared completely. He's not one of them, but even in those cases, you don't know personal circumstances. Again it's not a full-time business and for most the revenue of selling a few plugins doesn't come close to paying for their time. From my perspective, if you buy a plugin from a third party plugin provider, you are providing them "beer money" for their work so far, but there are no guarantees of any future support. Factor that in when you buy or try a plugin.

    Cheers
    Al
    HS 3.0.0.548: 1976 Devices 1156 Events
    Z-Wave 3.0.1.262: 123 Nodes on one Z-Net

    Comment


    • #3
      I respect what you're saying, but several threads of users bumping and literally begging for support replies. Just review the threads of all his plugins. Yes, he replies to ones he uses more often, but ones he doesn't...

      Also you're a prominent member of HS so you are less likely to experience situation like these. Yes, there are other authors who have disappeared after payment, that is why a better review system and HS regulation needs to be in place. The goal wasn't to single out Blade, but when seeing that Denon thread, as I have seen many Blade threads, it had to be said. I was just saying you've got premium plugin authors like Spud, Ultra, etc, then there are some others.
      Personal circumstances as side no one should have to wait months to be fit in and also if you pay for a plugin then HS needs to say explicitly that there is no support, or support is if and when the author pleases.

      Again I said from the get go, this might meet resistant, but there needs to be some oversight and/or expectations need to be spelled out on the purchase page and forum support page so users, especially new users are mislead.

      I leave this alone. It just had to be said.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by attx2000 View Post
        ... but there need so to oversight and/or expectations need to be spelled out on the purchase page and forum support page so users, especially new users are mislead.
        What exactly would you suggest that HST do? All plugins come with a free month so this should be plenty of time to determine the level of support a plugin author is going to provide. I'm not real sure HST has any recourse if a plugin author chooses to stop supporting his plugin. The best review of any plugin is to watch the plugins forum and you can quickly see if the support is there. Blade is one of many good plugin authors on this message board plus Blade even has his own support forum. The only time I see Bob's support lapse is when he takes one of those long long Canadian vacations he gets several times a year
        -Rupp
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          (please take this in a friendly manner)

          I too will step in on Blade's defense. I have never had an issue that Blade wasn't helpful with solving regarding one of his plugins. Take a look at my signature...I use a lot of them! Plus, I've used several others in the past.

          Blade has his personal help desk that he requires people use. With this many plugins it just makes sense for him to be able to keep track. While he does come here often, it's not the best way to get his attention.

          Also, notice his posts. He always posts when he will be on vacation or not available for a day or two. Just yesterday he posted that he will be moving his server from one machine to another and will not be available. Ever see another author give out this kind of notice? Not too many do.

          Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I for one will stick with Blade.

          Bottom line: If you don't care for how a certain author conducts their business, don't buy their plugins.
          Bryan
          Software/Hardware: Win10 Pro, HS 3 Pro, HS Touch, Echo, Edgeport/4, Z-Net w/88 Devices, Insteon PLM w/19 Devices, Nest, GC-100-6, W800RF32A, WS-2080 Weather Station (KMADRACU10)
          Plug-in/Scripts: Alexa API, BLBackup, BLGData, BLLED, BLLock, BLRF, BLTVGuide, Blue Iris, BLUPS, Current Cost 3P, DirectTV, FitbitSeer, Insteon, Nest, Pushover 3P, Random, Restart, Tasker, UltraGCIR3, UltraWeatherWU, Z-Wave

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with Rupp, that HST cannot control what an author does any more than they can control the way hardware manufactures support their products. I suppose they could pull a plug-in, but what metrics would be appropriate for such a unilateral move? Then what do they do when a portion of the customer base is happy with the plug-in and another portion is not.

            Further, I totally agree with Sparkman, Blade has given completely adequate response to any issues I have made him aware of. I have had issues with a couple of his plug-ins that were addressed within days if not the same day. I made support requests directly to his help desk, NOT on these forums - as is his requirement for support.

            These forums are primarily for user to user interaction, if you need to get support from any plug-in provider and/or HST specifically, there are established communication channels that rarely have these forums as primary or even suggest that the forums are a part of the communications network.

            Edit: I started composing before TechHA posted, sorry for the redundancy.
            Randy Prade
            Aurora, CO
            Prades.net

            PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by attx2000 View Post
              What made me post this now is I just saw a Denon thread where the person bought the plugin and has posted repeatedly, then the user finally post saying "I guess Blade is busy". This happens so many times, it is just not ok. I know the plugin author will reply promptly to this user now that I've just bought this up, but the history of inadequate support still exist. This is not about Blade, this is about getting more oversight of plugins.
              While I agree with your suggestion that HST monitor plug-in authors for responsiveness and try to minimize collecting money for plug-ins that are not supported, I disagree with your statement "This is not about Blade. . ." and with the implication that failing to respond to a board post is equivalent to poor plug-in support.

              Your statement IS about Blade. As such, I find it to be a poor example of the problem you want to address. First, he is very explicit about the way to get support for plug-in problems, and that is to log the issue on his web site. http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=140778

              A quick review of the list of Blade's plug-ins should make it quite clear that he probably finds it difficult to monitor everyone of them as closely as someone with a problem might like. On the other hand, I've found him to be one of the quickest to respond to any (properly) reported problem with one of his plug-ins. Also, unlike most plug-in authors, he is also very good about announcing when he will be unavailable for even short periods of time.

              I really think you need a better example.
              Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
              HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

              HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rupp View Post
                What exactly would you suggest that HST do? All plugins come with a free month so this should be plenty of time to determine the level of support a plugin author is going to provide. I'm not real sure HST has any recourse if a plugin author chooses to stop supporting his plugin.
                I do think it would be worth having some support requirement for a paid plug-in. (HST branded plug-ins, too, by the way.) Then, if an author does not provide the minimum level of support as defined by contract with HST, then HST stops charging for the plug-in until the agreed level of support is available again. (for example)
                Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

                Comment


                • #9
                  Guys, I believe that we are talking about is establishing a service level (or service levels) for plugin authors. I agree that this is worth consideration as it protects the overall HomeSeer Technologies experience of its products. It could be tiered based on cost of the plugin whereas the higher the cost, the more service users can expect. It could be good for the plugin authors as well. For example, instead of a one time fee, it could be on a subscription basis. Continuous revenue stream is a good thing.

                  One of the challenges that I am struggling with is that I had a big investment in plugins for HS2. Now am I considering upgrading and finding that the upgrade cost of plugins is potentially not worth it as the HS3 versions of the plugins are basically the same as HS2 equivalent. Why would I pay the upgrade fee when there subjectively is little additional additional value to what I already have with the HS2 version? This does not apply to all plugins, just more of a point.
                  HomeSeer 2, HomeSeer 3, Allonis myServer, Amazon Alexa Dots, ELK M1G, ISY 994i, HomeKit, BlueIris, and 6 "4k" Cameras using NVR, and integration between all of these systems. Home Automation since 1980.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I know everyone is saying there is no problem or bad example but here is what I see:
                    The thread links below are only the first several plugins (A-M, not A-Z). Actually go through the rest of the threads and you will see many, many more.
                    I've only gone through BL"A" to BLMediaCenter, If I go through the rest, It will take me more than an hour. All paid plugins, not free

                    Posted Aug 2015, then again Sept 2015. STILL NO REPLY
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=176355

                    Posted Two times Nov 2014, Still NO REPLY
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=171008

                    November 2015 - No Reply
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=178068

                    Sept 8, 2015, then 3 more post Jan 2016 - STILL NO Replies
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=176654

                    August 2014 - No Reply. Two other threads there with the same
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=176039

                    Feb 2015 - No Reply - To any of the below
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=172803
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=172142
                    Jan 2015
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=172085
                    Aug 2014
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=167192

                    Aug 2015 - No Reply
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=176428
                    Feb 2014 - No Reply
                    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=165920


                    Someone mentioned feature request:
                    Closed Tickets:14 Feature request closed in 2015.
                    Open: 62 Tickets still Open. Most are paid, handful are free.
                    Remember there are 36 Paid Plugins.
                    Feature Request:
                    http://bladeplugins.no-ip.org/ListFeatureRequests.asp

                    I understand Canadian vacations and the vacation per-announcement, but months to a year later and still no reply should not be.

                    Not trying to be a bad guy here, but I think the community is better severed with a better review system where users can freely leave review with the use of alias or being anonymous. Just as you have in the Google Play store and Apple App store, but I think it needs to be on the forum as most users come here before they buy a plugin.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      People vote with their feet, if they feel an author isn't giving enough support they'll stop using that person's software.

                      I've had situations where I felt I wasn't getting the support I was looking for but that might or might not have actually been the case.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Most users are afraid to speak up because if you do, the author may not reply to your request or help.

                        This is why HS needs to allow users to post a review using an alias or anonymously. This really needs to be done.


                        Over the years I have seen this.

                        Maybe an anonymous 5 or 10 star thing might work.
                        Last edited by Pete; January 16th, 2016, 09:03 PM.
                        - Pete

                        Auto mator
                        Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                        Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                        X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Rob:

                          I can't help but think this is aimed at Blade. Perhaps you could have a one on one talk thru the BB.

                          Personally I have been pretty happy with his code, but that is just me.
                          Don

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by attx2000 View Post
                            Not trying to be a bad guy here, but I think the community is better severed with a better review system where users can freely leave review with the use of alias or being anonymous. Just as you have in the Google Play store and Apple App store, but I think it needs to be on the forum as most users come here before they buy a plugin.
                            I'm not sure we need the community severed , but I still would state that you are showing threads on this forum, some of which are not even bugs, while Blade specifically asks for a Help Desk ticket to be filed. These forums are not the place to ask for help from a developer.

                            You apparently do not see the need to review anonymously and Twitter is a perfect example of how dialog can devolve under the cover of anonymity. Many people on these forums remain completely anonymous.

                            Secondly, feature requests are not bugs, they are requests to change working software. While I appreciate a developer that is willing to make changes to his plug-in based upon our desire for new features, the requirement to do so certainly shouldn't be policed by HST.

                            Lest you think I am being defensive of Blade, there are other developers that are much more responsive to adding features and improvements.

                            We also enjoy a robust community of developers, many of whom don't even use HomeSeer to distribute their plug-ins. They would be completely off of HST's radar - putting them under HST's control might make them abandon development.
                            Randy Prade
                            Aurora, CO
                            Prades.net

                            PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by attx2000 View Post
                              I know everyone is saying there is no problem or bad example but here is what I see:
                              The thread links below are only the first several plugins (A-M, not A-Z). Actually go through the rest of the threads and you will see many, many more.
                              I've only gone through BL"A" to BLMediaCenter, If I go through the rest, It will take me more than an hour. All paid plugins, not free.
                              After reviewing the posts, there is only one that appears to have followed Blade's request to post problems on his web site - and then only after being urged to do so by another participant. That one appears to have been recent, when Blade explained in a post that he was experiencing server problems and is in the process of switching to a new server.

                              Many of the posts also appear to be looking for user help, not help from the plug-in author, or they are proposing changes to plug-in function rather than citing a failure to perform as designed. That could be a 'cultural' issue, since on this board, there seems to be an understanding that it is mainly here for us to help one another. If others aren't experiencing the same problem or need, or don't have an idea for a solution, then responses tend to be limited - or nonexistent. In my experience, that does not mean that the plug-in author doesn't care, it just means he is not aware of the post. That is, as a part of the culture of this board, plug-in authors, especially those who explicitly request that problems be posted to a different site, do not patrol the board to find posts of problems encountered by new users. (Some do, of course, but I don't think it is the norm.)

                              Is that a deficiency? Or is it just a mismatch between expectations and reality? The answer is probably dependent on point of view.

                              One thing I note is that many of the cited posters have relatively few posts. That may indicate a need to be more specific - and emphatic - about what to expect from posts of the sort, "I tried this and it didn't work, what am I doing wrong?" My own experience is that no response is fairly common to posts like that, and a meaningful response, if it comes at all, may take some time for someone with both knowledge and interest - and the time to respond - to see it. I do think it is highly dependent on the plug-in author and the time since the plug-in was first introduced whether he is likely to respond to that kind of post. (A problem with a plug-in with a long history of satisfied users is unlikely to be caused by a failure of the plug-in.)

                              It is unlikely, if you have not posted here often, to appreciate that distinction; hence the clear divide between more experienced and less experienced users on this issue.

                              I can only say that from my personal experience, if I post a problem on Blade's web site, he responds quickly and constructively - unless he is on vacation or is otherwise occupied, in which case he makes it clear that is the case and when he expects to be able to respond - and he ALWAYS does so.
                              Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                              HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                              HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

                              Comment

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