Community member Ned Ward wrote to us last week with a sobering tale on buying software on a promise. Several brands are now employing this tactic of investing in either unfinished software, or buying software with features promised in future.
The case in question for Ned is Sonoma Wireworks Drumcore 4.
Ned writes that he was offered DrumCore 4 as pre-order last year;
Really shocking that this was up for preorder last year (I paid $99 in December 2013) and the beta is just is coming out on flash drives and USB sticks now.
On further digging it seems Ned is not the only buyer unimpressed by this situation, on their forum users have been giving their feedback;
This, is unacceptable behavior, for a company - any company - to take its users money and then keep them waiting for what is almost a year now.
Another user wrote on the forum;
Honestly, you guys give new meaning to the word “soon.”
I’d love to hear an honest and detailed statement/explanation — directly from the person responsible for deciding to collect pre-orders in November for an expected — and strongly implied — January delivery — and who presumably has been instructing SonomaWireworks communicators simply to say “soon” or “very soon” — ever since.
In their defence Sonoma has been offering users refunds. 12 months on, and they now seem to be delivering beta versions to users. It is still showing as a pre-order item on their website.
We do not think for one minute that Sonoma has done anything underhand or dishonest, they have simply dug a big hole of optimism and fallen into it.
However this tale should give anyone considering purchasing software on a promise a note of caution. Software development is a complex process and can be prone to delays, the smart developer waits until a product is stable enough to release before taking money from people. If they need to raise capital to finance it then there are other options such as Crowd Funding, raise it from stockholders or go to the bank.
There’s a Jewish proverb that says ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick’ - in other words, the longer a promise remains broken the worse one feels about it.
Our advice to buyers, don’t buy software until you’ve seen it working, however tempting the offer is to buy it now on a promise. We all know how flexible the word ‘soon’ seems to be these days.
Have you had similar experiences, or have you had a positive experience of buying software in this way?