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New Pricing - Missing the Boat

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  • New Pricing - Missing the Boat

    I've read a lot of positive and constructive comments about the new pricing for A5 V5. From my point of view Alpha is definitely missing the boat in wooing new users. Alpha is less well known and now apparently starting at a higher entry cost.

  • #2
    RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

    Hi Keith

    I remember the first time I came across Alpha was in a flyer for $150 and a free copy of Stacker, that was also selling at $150 at that time. This was a disk compacting utility program, in those days DOS disk space was very valable. Alpha was sold to me as a Relational Database for non programers. I still regard myself as a non programer but with a better understanding of Alpha. Having played with the Beta and had some great help from Selwyn, Alpha still will require programming logic to make it do rearly cleaver things. What makes the new Alpha nice to use I think , is that it will do every thing that it did before but with more sofistication and in a cleaner and easyer way. I agree with you, after all these years it is good that Alpha has survived the software jungle but is still rather an unknown product. The price is of importance but the desire to buy must be there first. To sell at a cheap price will only give a throw-away value to the software. Thats my feelings for now so we shall have to see exactly Alpha launches this new Application Builder.

    Keith Hubert
    Keith Hubert
    Alpha Guild Member
    KHDB Management Systems
    Skype = keith.hubert

    For your day-to-day Needs, you Need an Alpha Database!


    • #3
      RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat


      Why do you think Alpha is missing the boat? Should I presume you're referring to marketing techniques or should I presume you're talking about price, or both?

      Constructive criticism is always good. Criticism w/o suggestions is never good.

      What should they do diffently? What would you do and WHY?

      TYVM :) kenn

      Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.


      • #4
        RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

        Filemaker = $299, upgrade $149
        Access = $339, upgrade $109
        Alpha Five V5 = $349, upgrade $299

        For the sake of conversation let's say you don't know squat about databases, but know you need to get involved with one and away from that darned spreadsheet. hear that filemaker is easy to use. You hear that access is strong & powerful. And then, there's this database called Alpha Five that touts it's easy to use, but is the most to purchase outright and is double the upgrade of the next cheapest competitor. I am afraid that filemaker might win out in this area because it touts "easy to use" and is cheaper. Or, Access will win out because it's a dreaded MS product and there's a certain clientele out there that gravitates to these products "just because they're MS".

        I'm NOT saying Filemaker or Access "should" win out over V5. I'm NOT saying that V5 is a bad product. I'm NOT saying V5 isn't worth $349/copy.

        I'm just afraid that the outright purchase price and the exorbitant upgrade price (in comparison to the other 2) will tend to scare people away.

        I hope not!!!

        Thank you,
        Mike Konoff


        • #5
          RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

          I am curious as to what Alpha sees as new customers. Surely they have done their homework in that area. I cannot imagine a company working as hard as they have on a product if they did not have some idea of the size of the market and what it would bear as far as pricing is concerned. I am sure that most of the long time users recognize the value of Ver 5 and would pay whatever. That is most evident by the post on this board. However, I would guess that what will make or break Alpha are the people that have never heard of this forum. The big question is how does Alpha Software introduce that segment to their product and convience them to purchase. Not an easy task I can assure you.


          • #6
            RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

            Well the way I look at it is totally different. If you put a real cheap price on there then you only think of it as a lesser system. Well it's better than shareware but not as good as Access might be would a potential user might think. Somthing about $99 software just doesnt grab me. Maybe a demo would be a great way to get a potential customer to take a look. I do however do not find the price to be too high. I'm just as cheap as the next person but I also know that it takes a lot to produce and it should be paid for. Stop being so cheap! LOL There are so many whiners on here it's almost funny. I would be you they like to get paid a decent salary!


            • #7
              RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat


              To play Devils advocate new users will not be looking at the upgrade price but the new price where the difference is not so great. It must then come down to product qualities and awareness.

              How many current Alpha 5 (or 4) users own Filemaker or Access? I don't, so for me to jump ship would cost me minimum $299, never mind any upgrade.

              Maybe I am in the minority but if I was a new user spending �299 - $349 I would be looking at product features and usability, again product qualities and awareness.

              I think most are agreed that v5 is far more than just an upgrade to an existing product, the new features go far beyond "bells and whistles". Yes the delivery of the new product has taken much longer than anticipated and hoped so in the meantime we got v4.5 - an upgrade sorting out some "bells and whistles" and now that v5 is arriving we are getting a NEW product at a discount for upgrading the previous product. That is how I look at it and I can live with that.

              As and when upgrades to v5 occur, which I have no doubt they will, THEN we can compare upgrade prices with those offered by Access and Filemaker.

              In the meantime TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!!!!! Yeee Haaah!


              Glen Schild

              My Blog


              • #8
                RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                "There are so many whiners on here it's almost funny."

                Yah David, you hit the nail on the head. I think if we knew what was really going on behind the scenes to market the product, there'd be a different song. Yes, the fees are high enough but I look at it this way:

                I am a small time developer, I written 2 apps and got paid $500 for each, much less than what I should have received. However, I also looked at it as a learning experience so I viewed it as, "I got paid for being trained".

                I also write apps for my work at the county. It helps me and only me. Cost to the county, A big fat goose egg. But, again, I'm learning and I'm investing in ME!!!

                So, my investment of VB6, Access 97, Alpha 4, v4 & v6; A5v1, A5v2, A5v4 & V4 Documentor; A5v4.5 and V4.5 RT and soon A5v5 and V5 RT and the V5 Documentor. You do the math!! Has it been a good investment for me? Where / when do I break even or actually make a buck?

                How much new business will Alpha loose SOLEY because of the price? Who knows, Richard is marketing like crazy. You can have an excellant product at a very, very reasonable price and go broke. Or you could have a very, very poor product at a high price and become wealthy. Both scenarios depend on the marketing.

                No matter what we think of the pricing, let's give Alpha the benefit of the doubt and see what the marketing can produce. After all, the only price there is where there will be no complainers is if it is FREE! Even then, some will want the shipping paid as well.

                So, let's stop the whining about the price. It's set and you won't change it. We all live and die by our decisions. I can assure all, without a doubt, no mater who can afford what, the product is well worth the $$$. Throw in the quality of help I've received from this mesaage board (and it's FREE!!!!); I can't afford to switch or is it, "I'd rather fight than switch!!""

                TYVM :) kenn

                Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.


                • #9
                  RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                  Hello all,

                  These threads are starting to bug me.

                  My father is an old timer who knows more than most of us about setting price levels. He once told me that underpricing something can be a mistake because people figure that if it's so cheap how good can it be.

                  He recounted to me that at an early stage in his career, finding himself with too many clients (!) he decided to cut back by doubling his hourly rate. The effect: his client base increased! A guy who charges so much must be good!

                  He has continually encouraged me not to undercharge for my services and he has been correct to do so as people who undervalue themselves are undervalued by others.

                  We have requested serious software from Alpha and they have responded. Such software cannot be sold for a pittance.

                  If you like version 4, you can stay there for nothing. So what's the problem?

                  Bill Hanigsberg


                  • #10
                    RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat


                    Let me give you the Louisiana transliteration (you like that word?) of what you just said: 'Good fish ain't cheap and cheap fish ain't good'.

                    Tomorrow is getting closer all the time.

                    Dave Jampole
                    Dave Jampole

                    Women and cats will do whatever they want. The sooner men and dogs realize that, the happier they will be.


                    • #11
                      RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                      "Tomorrow is already here for me!!" Pity the release was not midnight GMT!! Sweet dreams everyone!
                      Glen Schild

                      My Blog


                      • #12
                        RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                        Msg ID: 64518
                        Subject: RE: the REAL V5 prices
                        Author: Richard Rabins
                        Date: 07-19-2002 12:25 AM

                        I can't resist jumping in here.

                        Total cost for a database application is the cost for the software AND for your time.

                        One of the key design goals for v5 was productivity.

                        We are getting annecdotal feedback from beta testers (who are also very proficient with MS Access and VB) that, with v5, their development time is being cut dramatically (4-5 times quicker).

                        In real monetary terms, this means that with v5 a project that might take 20 hours could take 80 to hours in MS Access. So if you look at both pieces of the cost equation, v5 starts to look like a fair deal.

                        Another user made the point that this pricing is going to make it more difficult to reach out to brand new customers.

                        This is a good point that we thought long and hard about, however, it is worth noting that a database purchase decision (as we all know) is often a critical decision for a business and organization -- people want to make the right and smart choice.

                        Due to the fact that such a decision is such an important and complex decision, people often look at price as ONE of the factors in determing product quality.

                        A low price does NOT necessarily mean that it will be easier to penetrate into new customer sites.

                        I would like to mention that in the early days of Alpha, we used to send free copies of Alpha Three to IT folks in large companies. When we followed up with these folk after a few weeks, more often than not, they would say "I have been meaning to look at your software, but I am sorry, I have not gotten around to it yet".

                        We then switched to charging for these evaluation copies.

                        Guess what happened?

                        When we followed up with them after a few weeks, almost all of them had evaluated the software. You can obviously draw many conclusions from this, but it is clear that once the software was associated with a price, the perception of the software changed. The lessons that we took from this learning led us to initiate conventional direct mail campaigns promoting Alpha Four in the early part of the 90's. We mailed over 20 million!! direct mail pieces (costing about 60 cents per piece) and generated about 60 million dollars in a 5-6 year period.

                        We believe that conditions for aggresively and (hopefully intelligently) marketing v5 now are more favorable than they were then for the following reasons.

                        1. The market is substantially bigger now.
                        2. The competitive playing field is narrower now. We have two major competitors now -- Filemaker and MS Access. Back then we had to slug it out with dBase, Q and A, Dataease, DataFlex, Revelation, Paradox for DOS, FoxPro for DOS, Clarion, FilePro, PFS, Reflex, RapidFile and a bunch of others!
                        3. Back then (in the early to mid nineties) relative to the alternative products, Alpha Four offered very good ease of use, but did not have a full blown/powerful langauge. Now with v5 we have a product that has clear strenghts in the "ease of use" department, BUT also offers very high levels of power and flexibility because of a greatly enhanced xBasic and Action Scripting.

                        Not being able to offer a developer/user total confidence in the ultimate flexibility and extensibility offered by a development langauge, cost us sales on Alpha Four. With v5 this issue is off the table.

                        One final note. We are keeping Alpha Five v4.5 on the market for those folks who want a lower priced option.

                        Thanks for taking the time to wade through this.

                        We appreciate all of your support and best of luck to all of you.

                        Richard Rabins
                        Richard Rabins
                        Co Chairman
                        Alpha Software


                        • #13
                          RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                          ...and generated about 60 million dollars in a 5-6 year period.

                          I like those numbers. May you prosper & grow!

                          AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                          [email protected]


                          • #14
                            RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                            I am not saying V5 is not worth every penny. But to be relatively unknown and Charge $299 for an upgrade $349 for the full version I think is a little steep. I posted in an other area that is selling Access 2002 for $289 full and $95 Upgrade. Yes A5 is easier. I know that and you know that. I have worked with A4 and A5 and can make that claim. But most others only know the more marketed brands. What are you going to do to prove to them that paying more for A5 will get you more. Sure your marketing, but there are software companies making claims like Alpha all the time and I ignore them because so many are BS(LindowsOS is one I really cant stand).

                            I think you should have staggerd the options. Make a version with things missing such as "security" i.e. permissions and such for $200 then tell them to upgrade to the more secure alternative for $150 more. Give them a chance to buy a working copy at a better than File Maker and Access price. If they seriously test it out I am sure they would be hooked.

                            Just my thought.


                            • #15
                              RE: New Pricing - Missing the Boat

                              "I think you should have staggerd the options."

                              Aren't they doing this by keeping 4.5 on the market?

                              Bill Hanigsberg