Sunday, November 04, 2012

Logos, Logos 5, and why their sales model frustrates me to no end

I really like Logos, but I find their marketing and sales model frustrating. In this post I am basically going to talk about how and why I dislike it. So, let's be clear, I really like Logos, but this post will be mostly critical. I will probably write a complementary post soon about things Logos does really well. And when I do upgrade, I'll write a review of Logos 5.

Not that long ago Logos released a major platform upgrade, moving from Logos 3 to 4. They were basically incompatible, and Logos 4 was a huge step forward. In the last week Logos has released a new version, Logos 5, which is receiving a whole bunch of positive reviews. I will probably upgrade at some time, mainly since it doesn't really pay to fall behind an upgrade curve on software you regularly use.

I own an Original Languages Library with Logos. This is a set that fit me very nicely, I tend to use Logos for more scholarly-line work, I want access to primary texts, language resources, and commentaries in the more technical end of the spectrum. Logos 5 offers 6 levels of product: Starter, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Portfolio. Here's how I view them:

Starter: something for those on the cheap. Good for bible study leaders, etc..
Bronze: something for Elders, pastors of small churches with small budgets
Silver/Gold: something for pastors of middle to large churches, people with some cash.
Platinum/Diamond/Portfolio: people who have someone else paying for their resources.

Sadly, Original Languages has disappeared, I presume it has in some sense been rolled into the middle products.

Now, probably what I dislike the most is the way Logos bundles things. In this case, bundling two separate things unhelpfully: features + products.

Starter: bare bones + 207 books worth $3500+ in print.
Bronze: includes the new features of Timeline, Sermon Starter, 426 books worth $8000+ in print
Silver: also includes the new feature of Clause Search, 699 books worth $13000+ in print
Gold: a few more features, 1037 books worth $20000+
skip a few..
Portfolio: 53 features, 2563 books worth $75000+

(dollar amounts are AUD)

One great feature of Logos is that you don't lose things - once you've bought a resource/book, you keep it whether you are upgrading or 'down'-grading. That said they are here bundling features with product. But you can buy product individually or in smaller bundles, as far as I can tell you can't buy features in any way.

Now the second bundling thing I dislike is this: bundles work best when they are a synergistic bunch of books/products that you would want together. The bundles in the base package aren't really like that: they are huge bundles of books that I would never buy in print, probably never read, and many of them are of lesser quality. Short of getting Platinum/Diamond/Portfolio level packages, most of the decent resources in terms of books are not included. So you not only pay more to get more  resources, you have to pay more to get better resources.

Essentially this is junk-bundling. If you want more and better resources/products, you need to snap up the junk with it, and there is a lot of junk in my opinion. That's both junk that's costing me money, and it's junk that costs my hard-drive space. But not only do you need to buy up junk to get to the good stuff, you have to buy junk to get features. That's because no base product lets you get hold of new features without going up tiers and gobbling up junk.

One thing I do appreciate is that Logos does individualised discount calculations. It works out what you own and gives some kind of discount, in theory so you aren't paying over for things you already have. I'm not sure this always computes for the best, but it's certainly better than no-such policy.

Now you get a sense of why the disappearance of OL package is also a bad move. That was a package that fit a niche where you got features, good resources, and didn't get a bundle of junk. Perfect for people like me, who want more tools for their own research, less guides for putting together teaching materials from someone else's study.

TL, DR: Don't bundle features with product, don't bundle junk before quality.


1. So I'm told that at a future point that it will be possible to get features without them being tied to products/base packages necessarily. That is a very good thing.


A minimal crossgrade option is in the works. Taking a read of that post is very enlightening and personally I am encouraged both by the sentiments and intentions expressed therein.