***OFFICIAL MAIN LOBBY PRICING THREAD***

tech-home

Active Member
BSR EDIT: I turned Brian's thread into an "Official Main Lobby Pricing" thread so all comments related to Main Lobby (Cinemar's) pricing can be posted here. Many of our users have strong opinions on this subject. Please feel free to post them in a respectfull and professional manner here!


I'm just curious what others think about the new mainlobby icons. I was about to purchase them until I saw the price introductory special of $99.00. I would hate to see the REAL price. Almost twice what MainLobby cost. I sure wouldn't mind paying 39.99 for them.

I think Mario would sell more at a lower price point. Or I'm I just cheap?


I'm happy about the new version of Mainlobby though and the announcement of Mainlobby 3. Just hope the update don't cost a fortune....


Brian
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
I am really interested in MainLobby, but I these price hikes and the cost of other components is just adding up too fast for me, I would guess they are upping the prices to keep the company afloat and to look good in the high end market, but 99 bucks for a set of icons? damn!
 

jrfuda

Active Member
I'm a loyal MainLobby customer and think it's a great product, but I was really offended by the asking price for those new icons.

Which is why I'm sticking with creating my own custom icons - that I'll share as I develop them (although I still need to find some time :huh: )

I too hope that ML3 wont cost a fortune, especially for current owners of ML2. I think $30 would be a fair upgrade price.
 

CFGuy

Member
Glad to see I'm not the only one that was shocked at the price of the icons.

I have been talking with Marcus and have decided to purchase Main Lobby. (Waiting for the next payday this month)
When I saw the price of the icons, it made me rethink buying ML. I am still going to go ahead and get just Main Lobby but I can go buy a box of 800,000 icons/clip art/photo images at Best Buy for $99. Or 150,000 photo images for $20.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Guys, in addition to these icons, Cinemar now has some thermostat and security panel libraries. All these are are "dumb" flash files - just a collection of buttons.

Bottom line, give me a few weeks and I'll have flash versions of the major Tstats available for free (not bootlegs of Cinemars stuff, but original art of my own). They'll just be swfs that you can stick on a scene, and a few buttons that go along with them (they'll all be stand-alone swf's, not a part of a library, so you'll have to add a button, and then change it to a user-defined swf). However! When ML3 comes out, it will facilitate turning user-defined graphics into libraries for you, so then we'll really be able to make stuff ourselves with relative ease. I'll see what I can do with a security keypad and a few other common HA intterfaces as well.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Fungun posted a graphically tweeked pic of a TR40 the other day. 15 minutes later, I had a fully functional 2 way thermostat in MainLobby using Homeseer RCS Serial plugin as the back end.

That looks and works great!!
Thanx fungun!
 

mcascio

Active Member
Hi Guys,
I can appreciate your feedback. But the fact of the matter is MainLobby has not seen a price increase since back in 2002 when we offered ML2 for $60. Actually it's gone down in price - it originally was being sold for $60 and we lowered it to $59.99. :huh:

Since version 2.0's release, we've added lots of new features and MainLobby probably only had a handful of graphics back then. Now it comes with over 300 graphics standard and over 50 bkgd skins. Along the way, there have been no charges for upgrades since version 2.0's release. All free. So we've been providing 2 years of free upgrades on ML.

I think users are getting confused by the addition of our new GuiGraphix libraries. This does not add to the cost of MainLobby. The product is the same price as it was before. We're just expanding our offerings to make it easier for our users to build complex/great looking scenes in a matter of seconds. Users can certainly import their own graphics as has always been the case.

Some competing products don't even include a fraction of the graphics nor the designer environment we've provided. Editing text files to replace graphics can really be painful.

We've kept our products modular for obvious reasons. Not everyone is using our products for the same thing. Some only want certain features. Because of this, the modular approach allows them to only purchase what they need. As well as add when budget permits.

Our thermost and security library are selling currently for $24.99. I'm guessing it will save someone roughly 10-20 hours worth of work and probably still wouldn't look as professional. The fact that the library is available directly from MainLobby's Library also makes it easier to work with rather than external files. This requires programming and careful planning on our part to deliver these libraries. The Home and Media library is a special case and is priced quite a bit higher. At the same time, these graphics are not available anywhere else. They are not royalty free and sold all over the web. They are strictly marketed/sold to MainLobby customers and therefore have a limited sales potential. For fun, I would recommend someone go out and solicit and illustrator to find out the cost per icon to develop. I think you'll be stunned how much it would cost to develop the home and media library as we've done. Then on top of that customize it to work entirely within MainLobby. I think you'll be looking at $150 to $250 per icon from a qualified designer - your cousin Louie who took an art class in middle school doesn't count as a qualified designer either. :)

This industry requires multiple products in order for a company to grow, succeed and continue development. I'm pretty sure Dan and I can't keep up our pace forever. 12-16 hour days gets tiring after 3 years. We're looking to grow and continue to expand. Which means hiring additional bodies as well as outsourcing.

We'll continue to release more libraries because there is a demand for these graphics. We hope users will continue to support Cinemar whenever possible. We realize not everyone will be able to afford every single product we release, but they are available for those that can.

I think if some people took time to look at many of the things we've provided for free over the years, you'll realize we've been very generous.

I know there has been a lot of talk about pricing on a variety of products in the industry so I thought it might be good to users to hear from another point of view. It could be much worse, we could have raised prices based on gasoline prices over the last two years and the cost of living. Unfortunately we decided to keep our pricing the same.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Mario, I'd already come around from being offended, as I originally posted, after reading your pricing comments elsewhere, and I understand. I think that your professionally produced libraries and the freebies that the users create (even when having similar functions) are great complements to each other. If you want a "drop-in" solution that will have reliable support, buy the GUI library (I have the network logos and don't regret it a bit). If you want to use something produced by members (like my tabbed interface files) and can live with some bugs and unpredictable support (I still have to fix some stuff on those files!), then use a user-made freebie. And some folks will do both... For example, I'd never could have had the time to put together the network library on my own, so to me that's a good value. For something like a Tstat, though, I can probably make it myself - but hey, you may have a library out next week that I'd prefer over something I make myself - a balancing act.
The bottom line is both the professionally produced libraries and the freebies (even some freebies produced by y'all - like Casino Lobby]) are going to attract more customers and contribute to the overall quality and usability of the suite!
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Mario:

Thanks for taking the time and effort to contribute to our forums here! We really appreciate your time and look forward to your continued contributions here!

Thanks again!

BSR
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
After thinking this over I can actually see both sides to this situation. Of course nobody likes to work for free and companies need to keep afloat. Also, the company needs to be compensated for the hours spent on development as well as maintaining support for their products.

Mario brings up a good point that there are basic icons included in the Main Lobby package, and that the additional icons (which a considerable amount of time went into making) were being offered at an additional price. These icons actually do not influence the "basic" Main Lobby package (at the time of its purchase).

Also keep in mind that Mario (and Dan of course) updated this basic Main Lobby package (at the encouragement of members like Krumpy and DavidL :huh: ) so it could include icon status changes based on values/variables from Homeseer (using Krumpy's MLHSPlugin). This was done at no charge. Then Mario updated Main Lobby so different icons/pictures could be visible based on these values as well. This again was done at no charge.

These two factors (along with Krumpy's plugin) were probably the biggest reason why I purchased Main Lobby in the first place.

I also like the fact that the main owners/developers are on "tap" to provide support and comments not only here, but on Cinemar's on-line forum. Of course a lot of other experts and users give their support and advice as well.

That being said I can understand some of our user's feelings about price increases. Of course nobody likes to pay more for products. Cinemar also has the (unfortunate??) situation that boards such as this one and theirs, offer a VERY easy outlet for anyone to vent their frustrations and comments on these issues as well.

I can also understand to the average HA enthusiast that these dollar amounts add up. By the time we pay for an operating system, anti-virus software, Homeseer, Main Lobby, Music Lobby, J.R. Rivers Media Center, MLHSPlugin, and maybe a few more Homeseer plugins plus the cost of Microsoft Office and others, this can amount to a very large sum. Look at how much the operating system itself costs now compared to a few years ago. But, we seem to be a little less critical to say Microsoft's price increases than Cinemars? Maybe this is just my perception.

Other software has gone up as well. I paid $35 for my WebCamXP a couple of years ago. I believe I would now pay around $100 for that same capability if I were to purchase it today. Also rumors that Girder is going to cost money as well as other common HA software (iVista??). Maybe we are too quick to "pull the complaint trigger" during the announcement of a company’s price increase?

All in all the bottom line is what value this software offers you, and is it worth the cost to have it as an enhancement to your Home Automation systems. Remember there are other alternatives to any software package if you don't feel like paying for a particular one (not just Cinemar's, but any of the packages mentioned above). Will the quality, flexibility, stability, enhancements, and WOW factor be the same? Maybe, maybe not. Ultimately the choice is still up to the consumer.

Respectfully,

BSR
 
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