It's time to drop the "premium" support label

I have been using this software on a casual basis for many years. I only recently began to put this software into commercial use within the past year or so. Once I did that is when the issue began stacking up....many without resolution. This is not bashing the hard working folks at not take it as such. I would like to make a suggestion. you keep virt gpl out there with the reduced featureset...and keep the virt pro priced in the range it is a great deal...but clearly state the support is mostly community based with developer support on a when they can get to it basis. I would then make another tier of pricing with no less than a 35% price premium per tier from each pro level. those customers get "premium" support. those are the ones you give direct attention to..even if you limit it to whatever your business hours are. That would give you the ability to bring in more money...give a level of service commensurate with the label of premium, and remove a ton of the support load from the developers. This would allow for better tested and higher quality code...and maybe(i do not know the company's finances), the ability to hire one person to do nothing but handle support problems..escalating the problems to the dev team when a set of parameters is met. This is the only way virtualmin is going to be able to set and control the expectations of your customers to the labeling you are providing. To no do this or something else is going to lead to more folks silently leaving your product.

This "premium" support is no such thing. Relying on your paying customers to fix things themselves is not "Premium". Premium support means you have competent, timely support available from a certain time to a certain time and that ways of communications for said premium support are clearly notated.

It appears the virtualmin staff is highly over-extended. I have found nothing in the documentation that says the first level of Premium support is self-fixing. If the virtualmin staff is so highly over-extended instead of calling support for paid users premium...just state out loud, in the clear, and in your documentation that first level support is community based. Make it clear that the subscriptions give you the full feature suite and that's it. I would have certainly had differing expectations of support had i known then what i do now. I would have STILL bought the subscription armed with this knowledge. The pricing is reasonable beyond belief for a feature laden package such as this....for the first level of support being community based....which is effectively what virtualmin pro really is.



Howdy -- thanks for your comments!

Sorry, I know you have had some issues that have taken awhile to sort out recently.

I'll offer that the product description does mention that the support is via the support tracker, and it also mentions that response times are usually under 24 hours (actually, in most cases they're well under an hour).

But we wrote the above to help set expectations.

We gladly log into servers when necessary! However, we do troubleshooting here in the support tracker first.

I know this hasn't been the case with some of the issues you've brought up recently, but we do sort out most issues that customers bring to our attention pretty quickly.

Most problems don't take more than a few comments back and forth to fully work out... again though, we're sorry that hasn't been the case with the issues you've had!

We'll review what text we have online for our support, and see if there's any improvements we can make to that, as well as take your other suggestions under consideration.

case in point:

I posted about this on saturday. It got answered on monday..that's not the part I am upset with. I listed all of the interfaces available on my machine. Not once is there a mention about eth0. So why was the reply to tell me to add the address to eth0? This is NOT somebody who is reading the information provided by your client but simply copying a canned response. This is premium support?

We're sorry, but it's just the three of us here. We're doing the best we can.

We do not have any canned responses though. Jamie just meant the default interface -- most of us have been using "eth0" as the default interface for decades, and when CentOS 7 went and changed that, we have a hard time remembering that it should be enp0s25 instead.

Jamie is on vacation right now, and is responding when he has availability. And I didn't respond, as he seemed like a better fit to answer your question.

If you're unhappy with the support you are receiving, we can offer you a refund.

Diabolico's picture
Submitted by Diabolico on Tue, 02/28/2017 - 10:20

This is the third time i opened this topic and thinking to reply or not. The problem you described here is plaguing Min software for a long time. Its like devs are torn between "be nice with everyone" and "pro users need better attention".
There is one hidden topic where i had some back and forth with one of them because last time i made a public post it was a sh*storm on me "how i dare to limit GPL users" because many of them feel entitled to whatever they want. Of course no need to say that the loudest one were people who are massively using GPL versions of the software.
Premium support should be "i have a problem here" and the support need to answer "we are working on your problem", once done "the problem was this and that, everything is fine now"... preferably in time limit not exceeding 4-6 hours (24/7/365) from initial request. There are some exceptions but then the situation is already bad, e.g. rooted server.
I made great suggestion what would mainly help Pro users and lower the pressure on Min team, but i have a feeling until they take the position "because we can, accept or die" we will never see any solution. Go figure, i cant even remotely imagine that any GPL user will abandon this software because Min team took more professional position.

Welshman's picture
Submitted by Welshman on Wed, 03/01/2017 - 12:51

Gpl is great, difficult to comment other than icky.

Mostafa's picture
Submitted by Mostafa on Wed, 03/01/2017 - 14:26

Min team have been doing great and they are not three, Jamie himself does the job of 3-5 devs imho, just look at what he has done so far ... they just need to develop the team and hire more "Jamie"s as they grow :)

Diabolico's picture
Submitted by Diabolico on Wed, 03/01/2017 - 23:05

@Mostafa: More "Jamie's" cost between 50.000-70.000+ $ per year for each and to have 24/7/365 you need at least 3-4 of them. So we are speaking of 150.000-200.000+ $ per year, something what i cant see with this business model.

To be honest i dont even care what GPL users have to say as whatever they get for free, they should be thankful.

One thing i would immediately remove from GPL is multiserver (master / slave) support and leave this only for Pro. This would be the biggest boost for their income. Who dont like it he is free to pay double the price for any other control panel or use other free alternatives with maybe 30-40% of settings what you have with Webmin/Virtualmin and a whole bunch of limitations.

Hello. I am brand new here :-) I just have to 2 days and I am alredy on problems. I must say that so far support was nice with me BUT as a company we pay premium support to amazon ec2 team to support our instances. It's not a cheap support but I am so happy to pay for that every month.... as a user that provide sites, backup etc to my customers I will be more than happy to pay for a premium support here too :-)