This post has been UPDATED
First, let me say I LOVE TextExpander. I’ve been using it for years, every day. On my 8 month old laptop, I’ve expanded snippets over 8500 times, saving 34 hours of typing.
Smile Software posted on their blog that they were changing the pricing model for TextExpander. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I do know that I will have to seriously consider whether I’m going to switch to the new model.
From the Smile Blog:
TextExpander is US $4.95 per month for individuals on the Life Hacker plan. Current TextExpander users receive a 50% loyalty discount for their first year.
I searched my email archive and found my receipts for TextExpander. The first version I bought was 1.3 in 2006. I must have gotten a deal, because it was only $20. I upgraded (paid $35) to 3.0 with OS X 10.6. For the big 4.0 update, I bought the new version in the Mac App Store. That was $45. Then a $20 upgrade to 5.0 last year, which took it back out of the Mac App Store.
In total, I’ve spent $120 to use TextExpander for 10 years. That’s a damn good value. Works out to about a buck a month, and that’s certainly worth it.
The new model will cost me $5 per month. In the same 10 years, I would have spent $600 on TextExpander. Is that a good value? I’d say no.
Smile will keep the lights on “through El Capitain and the next version of OS X” for current users, but after that, who knows what will happen…
I don’t need or want all the collaboration features of the forthcoming textexpander.com service. I want to keep my snippets in Dropbox and call it a day. I’d happily pay $20 a year for a TextExpander subscription without all the collaboration features. Without a reasonable option, I will either migrate my snippets to Keyboard Maestro, or check out another expansion utility like TypeIt4Me or Typinator
I find myself rarely using TextExpander on my iOS devices anymore. I keep regular snippets in the stock Keyboard settings, because the TextExpander Touch keyboard is virtually unusable. Most apps that I use that sync snippets with TextExpander Touch have their own snippet libraries (Drafts, Editorial), and I’m using Copied to keep longer blocks of text at the ready.
On top of my dwindling use of TextExpander Touch, the iOS app doesn’t seem to background sync, so every time I add a snippet on my Mac, I have to open the iOS app and force a sync. AND, there is still not an iPad Pro-optimized version of the app five months later.
I will spend the next few months exporing alternatives, and hoping Smile comes up with a more realistic pricing structure. If, by the end of the “next version of OS X”, the pricing structure doesn’t get more realistic, I’ll move away from TextExpander. Photoshop and Microsoft Office are each $10 per month, and I don’t think TextExpander is even close to 50% of the value or complexity of those apps. I’m hoping Smile adjusts this soon.
Today, TextExpander has listened to long time customers, and have adjusted.
We will apply a lifetime discount of 50% off the Life Hacker pricing to customers of any past version of TextExpander. That amounts to just US $20 per year. In our initial rollout, we offered the discount for the first year only, and that was a mistake. We value our long-term customers, and it’s important for us to demonstrate that in our actions. Thanks for bearing with us as we sorted this out.
So, it looks like I’ll be staying on the TE bandwagon. I am so happy about this, because I was not looking forward to moving 600+ snippets to another utility. $20 a year is reasonable and sustainable for both the customers and the developers.
Strong work, Smile.