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Breaking Promises: The Quickest Way to Screw Your Customers Over

Earlier today Sketch has announced that they are moving from a one-time purchase to a subscription-based model. Although they framed it like they’re giving away “one year’s worth of updates”, they basically screwed over their customers by changing their business model.

The company’s promise was that Sketch is a one-time purchase, because the subscription-based model was unfair to customers. That’s why Sketch was different than the Adobe Suite, which you have to pay for every month. From now on, you will purchase Sketch for $99 and get free updates for the next year. Meaning that features released more than a year after your purchase will not be available to you. Therefore, you will have to purchase Sketch again.

To put it in perspective, this basically means that you purchase Sketch once a year, because you want all the new updates. At a price of $99 per year, this turns into $8.25/month. Still a cheap subscription for such a powerful tool, but that’s not what it’s about.

When Sketch hit the market a few years ago, it came with a promise: purchase it once, own it forever. That was one of the things that made them successful. That’s one of the reasons that made me switch from Photoshop, which I’ve been using for the previous 15 years.

Don’t get me wrong, many companies change their business model and that’s okay. For Sketch, however, I think this is wrong. It’s one thing to change the business model for new customers, and it’s a whole other thing to change it for people who already paid for your software under the assumption that it’s the only time they will have to reach for their credit card.

Sketch broke a promise to their customers. To the same customers they proudly showcase whenever it fits their agenda:

“[…] our fantastic community of Sketch users has increased tenfold, sharing a wealth of resources, tutorials, and Plugins.”

So much for all that buy it once, own it forever crap. Take notice: If you want to fuck over your customers, the best way to do it is to break a promise. When the promise has to do with money, it only gets worse. For me, Sketch has fallen from the pedestal today.