Global Mapper Pricing Goals – 2016 and Beyond

 

It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to the end of the year, the holidays in most parts of the world, and hopefully a new beginning where we all work together for a better tomorrow for all of us.  Here at Blue Marble Geographics we are gearing up for our fiscal year end and planning for 2016.  We have much to be thankful for; we have a great customer base, we have great software tools that solve interesting challenges and we feel really lucky to be in the GIS business at a really compelling time.  Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about our software or our company I always take a moment to point out the important changes we have seen in GIS over the past decade.  The combination of such innovations as the release and relevance of Google EarthTM across industries, the prevalence of GPS in our everyday phone devices and the development of LiDAR have all conspired to both complement what we do and present great challenges to GIS software vendors like Blue Marble.  I love Google EarthTM for simply being the calling card for explaining what it is we do in GIS to any novice.  I love the utility of a decent GPS in my iPhone.  And most importantly of all, I love the challenge and opportunity that stepping up to the LiDAR data challenge has presented for Blue Marble.  As a software developer we really have to innovate to deliver tools that both accurately represent this data in 3D while giving the user the tools to render and process all of that data, the way they want to, with the immediacy they need.  The Geographic Calculator and Global Mapper have continued to deliver in this arena in ways that traditional GIS tools, still as of this writing, cannot.   But I digress…….

I wanted to take a moment with this blog post to update our customers on our pricing strategy for Global Mapper.  Pricing for Global Mapper for us has been both an opportunity and a challenge. It has been an opportunity because we are committed to keeping the software affordable and we believe the GIS software market needs an affordable option.   We also do not require users to upgrade.  Yet we proactively support and develop the product with multiple releases throughout the year.  It is challenging because we are under great pressure to raise the price to offset those costs.   It was four years ago November 3rd that we acquired Global Mapper.  We have not only resisted the temptation to raise the price but we have embraced it.   I feel that we have done a decent job of honoring the pricing model while advancing the technology and the accessibility of the original software product. 

Over that time we have introduced new licensing options for Global Mapper and they too provide good value.  Traditionally Global Mapper was only available as a single user license.  The base price of the product had only ever been raised $50 every other year.  That is something that was established prior to Blue Marble ownership but we have carried it forward and today the single user price is still less than $500. Sometimes customers investigate our Network or Dongle pricing options and jump to the conclusion that we have raised the price of the software.   However, our pricing for network licenses are simply a factor of two per seat off the base price, in fact less than two.  So for a two seat network license Global Mapper is actually a great discount off of multiple single user seats.  However, that two seat license can serve many more users than two seats, which of course is another great deal. 

Admittedly we have changed some of the licensing process and that was something we had to do in order to try and stem the tide of piracy.    It is a very difficult thing to stop and really feels like a losing battle but we are doing our best with that with minimal impact on our loyal customers.  Some companies combat piracy with subscription or cloud licensing.  We have resisted that temptation because we feel that at this point, time out licenses are not in the spirit of Global Mapper.    After a user purchases a seat of Global Mapper, they are under no obligation to ever upgrade.  It is our challenge to add the features and functionality that make them WANT to upgrade.   So this is how we feel we have added licensing options to Global Mapper while keeping the pricing affordable and the software accessible.  Yet piracy of our software continues stealing value from paying customers.  It’s a shame.  If you ever run into anyone using a pirated copy of Global Mapper let them know they are breaking the law and they are hurting the accessibility of the software for everyone else.

Another change we did introduce over the past couple of years is to offer Enterprise License Agreements.  These ELA’s are intended to give our customers that have large numbers of seats of the software the option to lock in a contracted price, they provide volume discounts and include additional packages of interest to them such as training, the Global Mapper Lidar Module, and the Global Mapper SDK.  Admittedly we have struggled a bit with this pricing but we have recently confirmed our pricing model for ELA’s and it will scale directly with our base list pricing. Our ELA pricing will be as transparent as our single user pricing.   We are also now offering Maintenance options for companies that need to budget to maintenance instead of upgrading to new versions. If you have had a past interest in an ELA and were not happy with your quote I encourage you to reach out to your sales representative and learn about these new contract models.  

We are also committed to our International resellers and partners and our system integrators everywhere.  These companies are helping us reach local international markets by providing ‘boots on the ground’ for customer support and services to complement our software offering.  We have introduced a Certified Global Mapper Training program and our resellers are now being certified to provide quality training, certified by Blue Marble, to you in your own country. 

We may introduce other slight changes or tweaks to pricing in the future but in the end we are committed to keeping the software affordable.  We will be retiring the option to upgrade a single user license for $199, but that is only being raised to $299 for consistency across product pricing.  If you have a special deal or large group of single user licenses there may be some restrictions to that offer.  Please send us an email to verify that you are eligible. 

Lastly, the spirit of Global Mapper, and the Geographic Calculator, is in our customer support and our customer feedback development approach.   We are 100% committed to being available to our customers and to providing the best possible support we can.  We have never swayed from that and if your experience has been less then positive please reach out to me personally.  Our approach to development is directly tied to customer requests.  We do introduce our own ideas, but the vast majority of what we add to our software comes from customer feedback.  We look forward to the New Year and we are committed to driving Global Mapper, the Global Mapper Lidar Module, the Global Mapper SDK, the Geographic Calculator, and the GeoCalc SDK to be the best they can be while still being affordable at the same time. 


Patrick Cunningham
President
Blue Marble Geographics



Comments

  • geomanniegeomannie Global Mapper User Posts: 160Trusted User
    Hi Patrick

    I have been using GM for many years and I am a huge fan of the product. I have always immediately upgraded as soon as a new version is released so as to keep abreast to the latest features, not that I, in reality, actually need or use much of the additional functionality. A strong motivator for upgrading has been the relatively low cost of doing so. The price has not been something that I have worried over unduly.

    Your intimation of an increase to $299 for future upgrades has me concerned. The renewal price was recently increased from $169 to $199, but the further proposed raise to $299 will be a 77% price hike from where it was earlier in the year. If/when you start charging $299 for future upgrades, I will have to think long and hard whether the increased functionality will actually make commercial sense for me. I may well decide that my current version of GM does what I need, "so why upgrade?".

    I fully appreciate your commercial need to make profits but in increasing your upgrade prices you need to consider your market. At $199 I would certainly upgrade- no question. At $299 I would need a good reason to do so.

    Is the extra $100 price increase not perhaps too much too soon?
  • tjhbtjhb Global Mapper User Posts: 454Trusted User
    edited December 2015
    Patrick,

    It's great that you are communicating in this way, thank you.

    However, like geomannie I am concerned with the suggested (further) increase in the price of a single-seat upgrade licence.

    Obviously Blue Marble needs to make money, and equally obviously it deserves to. On the other hand, the cheaper and more accessible a product, the more people tend to complain about the price. (If it's so cheap, why isn't it free?) Please don't put me in that camp--at least not straight away.

    I wonder if you are looking at things sufficiently from your customers' perspective, in particular, the perspective of independent cartographers and GIS professionals. I don't know how much this segment contributes to your bottom line, but the other way around, Global Mapper as a tool tends to contribute disproportionately to ours; and we therefore tend to be a very loyal group, possibly worth more for proselytizing in favour of Global Mapper than for our direct revenue stream.

    So please do look at things from our vantage point, among others.

    I have a suggestion for your consideration.

    I look at my archive of Global Mapper releases and licences, and see 9 versions: 9 (2008), 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (2014) and now 17. Others will have a much longer list.

    My historic payments for these versions have been (to the nearest US dollar, converting back from NZD in some cases, and usually including the now defunct discount for forum members) $299 + 99 + 134 + 134 + 134 + 149 + 152 + 169 = $US1270. (I have yet to upgrade to version 17.)

    That's not much money, and over 7 years this small investment has given outstanding value, even without counting the many times I had direct, free support from the developer (later, lead developer), in many cases delivering fixes for minor bugs, and even new features, in near real time. With that support, the value is extraordinary. No complaints, many thanks.

    Nevertheless, at some price point I would stop upgrading, not because GM became any less useful (on the contrary), but because I felt my ongoing loyalty to the product was not being recognized.

    My suggestion is to turn that directly around, and turn this loyalty into a mutual benefit, by charging longtime users (longtime upgraders) less for repeat upgrades than relatively new users. In other words, make us feel we belong, and reward the sense of belonging.

    I don't have a specific idea of figures--not my place. But a longtime user might for example be someone who has already upgraded through 4 successive full releases, and the discount (compared to regular upgrades) might be 25 or 50%.

    You might also consider offering longtime users discounts on new modules as they become available.

    This would retain old friends and no doubt win some new ones. Up to you whether you think the extra goodwill would make up for the reduction in unit revenue.

    Thanks again for the open channel.

    Tim Baigent
    Wellington

  • tjhbtjhb Global Mapper User Posts: 454Trusted User
    (I have now upgraded to version 17.)
  • PatrickBMGPatrickBMG BMG Staff Posts: 17
    Tim and Geomannie this is exactly why I put this out there.   These are great comments and Tim I actually like your suggestion.  Rewarding loyalty is important that is why we have kept the price low overall.  We understand that we also have a challenge with every release to add new features and functionality that our loyal customers will want. I think we have done a good job doing that and we are going to continue to do that through version 17 and 18.  Geomannie you raise a good point about the upgrade price increase.  The justification for the $299 upgrade price is simply that it is consistent across all of our pricing models.  I know it is not easy for all of our users. I bet you might qualify for a loyalty upgrade program.  Let us look into that internally and I'll cycle back. I am really excited about what is coming in Global Mapper and I think you will be too.  The main reason for my blog was to assure our loyal customers that even though there are some small increases coming that we are not going to dramatically increase the cost of the product.


  • geomanniegeomannie Global Mapper User Posts: 160Trusted User

    Hi Patrick

    Many thanks for your reply. Its gratifying to know to that we can have a conversation on pricing. It might be useful to this discussion if I relate to you a licence maintenance saga that I am (still) involved in.

    About 11-12 years ago a very new piece of (buggy) software was offered to me. It was expensive but it had high levels of functionality and would be very useful. I bought the licence with an annual maintenance of 30% on top. I was the proverbial early adopter buying licence number 6.

    For the first 7-8 years all was well, with reasonable increase in the maintenance cost over these years raising to about 50% of my original purchase price. Expensive but worth it. However, in this period the software become popular and the vendor become more and more involved in the corporate market and the price/functionality of the software grew (including modular options at additional price). The single seat licence price was raised to about 7 times what my licence cost. During this time the company was bought out by a much larger organisation with whom I did not have close connections.

    There came a point about 4 years ago where the vendor came knocking on my door telling me that the maintenance was going to be raised by an additional 300% per annum, in line with what they were charging the large corporation. This price was beyond what my (single consultant) business could afford and after some hard negotiations the vendor agree to offer me a "one-time" maintenance discount of about 65%, based on the premise that I was a single consultant, not a larger company, and also reflecting my long association with the product. This one-off discount has been offered to me over the last few year. I am very grateful for the discount but its a bit uncertain, knowing that they can withdraw it at any time.

    I should also note that through enthusiasm for the product I did a lot of beta testing and I managed to sell several licenses of the product to third parties, giving the vendor significant additional income.

    I relate this story as I see some parallels with our discussion here.

    • I am a fairly early GM adopter (GM 5/6 as I remember)
    • I am a consultant supporting all my own software costs
    • Unbeknownst to you, I have actually persuaded a certain UK corporation to buy a number of licences for which they pay an annual networking maintenance. One other company bought a single seat following my use of GM on some of their data. (I am sure that a significant number of your sales will be similarly brought about by people like me)

    I know that you are in business and without profits there is no business, but it would be nice if the above would be recognised, hopefully to our mutual benefit. From what you are saying above, I am sure that there is good way forward.

    Thanks

  • PatrickBMGPatrickBMG BMG Staff Posts: 17
    Geomannie, I don't know who you are but I know your story and your story is very common.  I hear from customer after customer about how they have referred Global Mapper to other companies. I also have heard of scenarios where software prices get jacked up higher and higher in order to target larger corporations.   I am running a commercial company and I am trying to maximize our profits, however, I do believe that this market (GIS) needs affordable solutions.  There are already plenty of over-priced solutions in the market and that doesn't play well with Global Mapper anyway.  I also see all of the open source and free ways to do mapping out there today so I feel this is our niche.  We're not free, there is someone available for support and questions.  The reason for that is the biggest part of the success of Global Mapper.  It is not just the price, it's the customer driven development approach.   We listen to our customers all the time, for what we will add functionally.  I think we should also listen to our customers on pricing too.  So, we have discussed this idea more internally as a sales team and we feel that you and Tim are right and that we should continue to offer the $199 upgrade option.  So to that end we have changed our collective mind and will not implement that price change.  Thank you for your feedback and know that the door is always open to it. 

    Best Regards,
    Patrick Cunningham
  • geomanniegeomannie Global Mapper User Posts: 160Trusted User
    edited December 2015
    Hi Patrick

    I am humbled by your reply and really appreciated that you came to the forum asking for our views.

    Please feel reassured that I am not against price increases, but I had simply thought that going from a upgrade price of $169 to $299 in the space of about one year was too much too fast, giving me bad memories of the software story I recounted.

    I agree with you on the niche of GM as an affordable product, neither freeware or the full-blown, over-priced GIS packages, that we know and avoid. There are lots of people like me who support their own software costs. IMHO GM is a far better user experience than the open source GIS products, or the expensive modularised software favoured by most larger corporations.

    More power to GM and I hope to be recommending it for many more years.  Wishing you a Merry Xmas and an excellent New Year!

    Cheers
    geomannie

  • WadepWadep Global Mapper User Posts: 18Trusted User
    Great to see there has been a rethink on the GM upgrade price. A price of $299 for just a full version upgrade seems unreasonable especially when a complete new licence is only $200 more!! I still don' t understand for us users outside the US why the upgrade price even with a lower currency conversion rate (0.72 in Australia) which should convert from $199 to about $276 on the Blue Marbles website asks me to pay $307 Australian dollars!!!
    I am nearly tempted to upgrade but not for $307. Love your product and understand your wish to increase prices.
  • henniehennie Global Mapper User Posts: 44Trusted User
    Be glad that you are not in South Africa! Current exchange rate some R 15,00 per US$ - makes for some R3000,00 for even a $199 increase. This is a lot of money when a beer costs us R8,00 ($0,53) !!

    As a GM disciple, I will upgrade regardless!!
  • pwave1pwave1 Global Mapper User Posts: 10
    Hi Patrick,

    I just wanted to "pipe in" on this thread. I've also been a loyal user of GM (since v11) when I used it as a consultant on a project year ago. I teach geology at a university and decided to adopt GM to teach classes as an alternative to Arc-related software (the university has a site license). I feel it is important that students see what is available. The university is not willing to pay for a multi-seat license so I show my students GM from my own laptop Toughbook, in the field and from my in-class laptop. In order to allow students to get hands-on experience with the software I have allowed them to check-out my field computer for their projects. Thus, in the past I have had the opportunity to have the software licensed on two computers which has worked, students have seen the value of GM in the field and all has been good. I also have started using the mobile version of the software to show field GIS alternatives.

    With the latest iteration of GM (v18) you introduced the "floating license." I thought that sounded like a great idea as I could then have a copy on my desktop to do research and develop field maps for student projects, I could have the laptop license to teach in class and I could have it on my field laptop. I then found that the floating license would cost $849 and the LiDAR module would cost $499. This would be a new, upfront charge for me without an upgrade consideration. I was also informed that an upgrade of my existing license ($199 + $199) would no longer allow me to have it available on my field and classroom laptops. As it is now upgrading my current v17 license for $400 will only allow me to use one computer, otherwise I am now faced with a charge of $1350. Would this be my future upgrade price also?  I can no longer justify this cost in order to teach students about GM. 

    I do see your product as an amazing resource and was pleased when this thread started that there was consideration of ways to mitigate high costs. I do not make a profit from your software, I too evangelize about it. 
  • henniehennie Global Mapper User Posts: 44Trusted User
    edited November 2016
    Referring to pwave1, and in particular "Thus, in the past I have had the opportunity to have the software licensed on two computers which has worked", I am small (very small) consultant with two professionals and two admin employees.

    As we have to work some 12-16 hours per day, it is just impossible to get everything done at the office, during daytime hours. We have bought two licences, and in the past it was possible for the two professionals to work also at home on our laptops.

    When I was informed by our local re-seller in South Africa that, when upgrading to V18, I would need 4 licences or two roaming licences to do the same, I realised that we are just not able to afford upgrades for GM any more. This is very sad, as I have been a very loyal and contributing user ever since GM5! Some of the features built into the later versions of GM were implemented based on my inputs/requests.

    Should I not be able to use my licence on my desktop and laptop (never simultaneously) as before, there is no way that I can afford to upgrade to V18 and beyond. This is a very state of affairs for me, as I regard GM as the best possible tool for my purposes. I would hate it to say goodbye, but you leave me no choice with your new licence conditions.

    Please reconsider!!

    Kind regards.
  • txrplstxrpls Global Mapper User Posts: 83Trusted User
    Just to throw in my two cents. I sell drones and use GM to show clients how to process the data. I upgraded to a dongle version awhile back to solve the office/field dilemma. I have probably been responsible for at lease 30 direct sales and no telling how many indirect sales of GM with the LIDAR module over the last couple of years. No telling how many additional from speaking engagements I was taken aback when they wanted to charge me more than a standard upgrade just because I had a dongle. I had already paid for the dongle previously. I think you need to consider some other form of license upgrade policy strongly. 

    Best regards,
    Mark
Sign In or Register to comment.