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Author Topic: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question  (Read 10692 times)

kevs

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Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« on: January 14, 2016, 12:50:36 pm »

Anyone use Blinkbid? The new subscription model, I'm puzzled, I think it was about $75 every year or two to upgrade, and now it will be $240 tko $280 every year?  Any thoughts on that?  There are months where I don't use it. Sometimes in a year just a time or two....

I think the monthly is on par, or even more than Photoshop which is a much more expensive and used software.

I think it was just a $100 one time software when I first started, now almost $300 a year every year, for estimating.
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nemophoto

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 09:39:28 am »

The rate increase in Blinkbid is insane, as well as its transition to "online software". I've used Blinkbid for about 11-12 years, and my current version will be my last. I'm desperately trying to find an alternative where I can import my data -- at least the invoices since I use it to track my trends on a yearly basis.

Unfortunately, Adobe has released a torrent of copy cats in the "subscription" model. I loathe being held ransom by a software company. I figured out a way to. Make the Adobe transition pay for itself, but I'm horrified that a company involved with my financials can keep my financials hostage. The program is just not stellar enough to warrant the price. $5-8/month? Sure. But not $25/month. I don't see significant changes in the software from four years ago. I doubt that I will see them going forward. I guess I need to sharpen my database development skills. I use to do my own database for my invoicing, then got lazy and left it to others. I've now been orphaned by three different companies.
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Zorki5

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2016, 10:06:58 am »

I don't see significant changes in the software from four years ago.

This is exactly the reason why companies switch their users to subscription model.

Wast majority of SW has matured, so fewer and fewer customers would pay for an upgrade. But they've got to pay for something (for SW manufacturers to stay afloat), right? Enter the monthly/subscription fee...
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2016, 05:02:04 pm »

Quote
I'm desperately trying to find an alternative where I can import my data

I downloaded the demo trial of Blinkbid and discovered it is developed in Filemaker Pro. Unfortunately, Blinkbid has removed the native Filemaker menu item to export your data. You might want to download a trial of Filemaker Pro and take a look at the normal plethora of menus and data export formats, as there are many. In the meantime, export all your existing data as the Blinkbid option to QuickBooks just as your only option for now.

I recommend you contact Blinkbid and ask them how to export your data. After all, they now declare themselves "software as a service." I'm curious as to what they offer to you as a long time customer.
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nemophoto

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2016, 01:03:39 pm »

I downloaded the demo trial of Blinkbid and discovered it is developed in Filemaker Pro. Unfortunately, Blinkbid has removed the native Filemaker menu item to export your data. You might want to download a trial of Filemaker Pro...

Thanks. I actually own Filemaker Pro and have tried opening the file in that.. but, of course, it's locked. I plan on asking Blinkbid about exporting my data when I write to express my extreme displeasure.

In the meantime, I've been looking at a program a friend of mine suggested -- fotoBiz. Looks promising. It would actually get rid of another program I love to hate, ACT!, since it incorporates a contact database. Horrible software. I've owned it for longer than Blinkbid (13-14 years) and it has not changed appreciably though it has undergone ownership changes twice. Not quite sure how these companies can justify the "upgrades", though as Zorki5 suggested, they have to justify going to subscription based somehow.
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DCW

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 05:02:50 am »

+1 on fotobiz- was an early user and it's only gotten better.That pricing for Blinkbid is insane!
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calindustries

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2016, 03:21:53 pm »

I use blink bid for assembling estimates and invoices. But every producer I've ever worked with has no interest in using it at all. They already have their own excel worksheets they've assembled over the years to suit their own personal tastes.

As much as I like it, I don't use enough of the features to justify moving to a subscription version that costs as much as that one does.

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David Eichler

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2016, 03:30:49 pm »

Thanks. I actually own Filemaker Pro and have tried opening the file in that.. but, of course, it's locked. I plan on asking Blinkbid about exporting my data when I write to express my extreme displeasure.

In the meantime, I've been looking at a program a friend of mine suggested -- fotoBiz. Looks promising. It would actually get rid of another program I love to hate, ACT!, since it incorporates a contact database. Horrible software. I've owned it for longer than Blinkbid (13-14 years) and it has not changed appreciably though it has undergone ownership changes twice. Not quite sure how these companies can justify the "upgrades", though as Zorki5 suggested, they have to justify going to subscription based somehow.

I have Fotobiz and don't like it. It seems outdated and clunky to me. Guess it is better than nothing though and I am not going to try to design something with that degree of functionality myself.

I have heard that they might consider offering a scaled-down version for a lower cost, more suited to individual photographers. Perhaps if you expressed your concerns to them directly, that might have more influence on them?
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nemophoto

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2016, 04:05:49 pm »

I designed my estimating/invoice database years ago. Actually, dating all the way back to MS-DOS based programs. I used the same basic format for years as I moved on to other databases. I still have the database file, based on using Filemaker Pro (which I've never really cared for), but since I already have something, I could "tune it up" and go back to that. There were aspects of Blinkbid I grew to love, such as the Production module into which I could enter expenses and it would go against my estimate and show me how I was doing in my categories and overall.

I'm not sure what I'll do in the end. I won't do the "cloud" version, that's for sure. And I could continue to use Blinkbid for another year until I re-write my own database to update it. Or....
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2016, 07:18:48 pm »

I also looked at the fotoBiz demo and I discovered its developed in Filemaker Pro as well as BlinkBid. They both are relatively simple solutions IMHO. Realize though, just because I think they are simple, I donít mean to imply they were easy to develop or didnít take a long time to develop. Iíve used VERY complex solutions in my day. Easy to use, but very complex as to what they do for a business process and complex to develop.

Iím in the Los Angeles area and almost everyone in the advertising, graphics, printing, or film industry use FMP to some degree on another. Alas, people use Excel too. One of the beauties of FMP is to integrate that Excel data. I routinely transmogrify Excel tables and sheets into FMP, mainly to create custom pricing and custom products because that is what the market has come to. Everybody gets special pricing for special products nowadays. Sound like your business?

Anyway again, one might download the latest Filemaker trial and open the Estimates Starter Solution if they still include it the trial. To me, it looks like it could become a quick substitute, and then later, import all your old data IF you can actually get your old data.
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kevs

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2016, 08:44:19 pm »

Great feedback all, thanks. Honestly, I think Blinkbid is a fantastic software, and gets better all the time, so I'm sure I'll stick around.... we'll see.

As someone who has been buying software for years, (as most you seem to be as well), it's hard getting one's head around yearly subscriptions. I just decided to finally jump into Photoshop's plan.

Also, there is the fact that several of my "other" favorite software I use even more -- for emails newsletter, Text inserter (use that one every day), and those are just $40 for three years, and $5 for one time fee. In a way we are spoiled with many great software's being inexpensive, which we are used to for a long time now.  And as great at BB is, it's not like PS, which you could not do on your own, and yes, I do notice producers just use Excel.....
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nemophoto

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2016, 11:10:36 am »

I wrote to Blinkbid to express my displeasure and requested information on how to export data. This was the reply I received. You can easily read between the lines.  >:(

Hi there

Thanks for writing. I hear you about web based software but unfortunately job sharing is one of the most critical and utilized features and the best deployment of that is in an online based product.

---
Thanks
Elliott
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MarkM

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2016, 07:08:48 pm »

I read through their TOS and found the usual, 'we can change anything including the price, service, and these terms whenever we like, but we take no responsibility for anything and you'll indemnify us in the event of trouble.' Conspicuously absent, especially from a cloud-based service, was a privacy policy. Maybe I just missed it, of maybe you can only get it once you've signed up. I would be curious to know if they have plans for all the data that might live on their servers.

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Stephen Ray

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2016, 12:07:08 am »

Quote
but unfortunately job sharing...
 

Yeah job sharing, but what about unlocking your data for you?

Still curious as to how they answer that question directly.

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kevs

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2016, 01:03:21 pm »

I will most probably be going with BB in long run for reasons described -- great quality app. That said, from our perspective the issue is: it's like a new utility bill out of the blue.. right? Oh well...

Someone pointed out here something interesting: Producers don't use BB that much.

Why not? This is a big bummer right, as those are the folks you want to get seamless with, and we have conflicting softwares.
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2016, 07:13:36 pm »

Quote
it's like a new utility bill out of the blue...

The key word is "utility." Are you using BB as a consumable utility or really just using it as a tool? BlinkBid offers the use of its servers to communicate the bid between the photographer and others but you said producers (client) don't use BB much. Therefore, you are really using some other consumable utility and it's called email.

I have the same opinion of Adobe CC. I use their tools such as photoshop. I don't use, and I don't need, their services such as cloud space. Photoshop is a tool and it is not a service and it is not software as a service IMHO.

I have the knowledge and the tools (Filemaker Pro) to build something like BB. I wish I could say the same for building something like Photoshop!
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calindustries

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2016, 11:15:01 pm »

I don't share my blinkbid data with anyone. I just export the estimates and invoices as PDFs and email them. I guess, unless I've missed something, there is no reason to not just keep using version 7?
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kevs

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2016, 03:05:15 pm »

Good point Stephen, actually I would probably only have a few files in cloud every blue, moon, is that the justification for software going subscription?  Cloud based is great for working off an estimate on laptop then desktop.  7 is good, not sure if they will support if don't upgrade will ask... but wont have cloud.
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kevs

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2016, 06:27:54 pm »

Anyway, final verdict: Stay with Blinkbid!  Lou (BB), has created the best software of it's kind for commercial photography, and Elliot there is very nice an helpful. The DIY option, for me is not practical, and the other estimators from my experience are inferior, as I remember. So maybe they have a point, in that they do not have the masses and economies of scale that PS has.  It is very hard to have a estimator software company that is really good, and sticks around for a long time. So that is my feeling and recommendation, to keep  supporting Blinkbid and hope they succeed and do well. I hope more producers get on board too....
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Blinkbid -- Big rate increase -- Question
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2016, 09:25:14 pm »

After some hesitation and a private conversation with kevs, I decided to go for the upgrade. The new interface is not entirely intuitive at least not at first and because it is web based there is no need to keep the app on your computer.

All of my data survived the "Ascend" process.
further notes and reports will be posted as necessary.
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