Paying For Lightroom Add-Ins

Today I decided to purchase the LR2Blog Lightoom add-in that I have been using in evaluation mode for a couple of weeks. The evaluation version is restricted to a maximum image size of 300px on the longest edge. That’s why some of the screenshots that I have posted here are a little hard to read.

I have no problem with paying for the useful functionality that these add-ins provide. I’ve happily paid for several of Jeff Friedl’s add-ins like the Flickr uploader that I use all the time.

Both Timothy Ames, the author of Lr2Blog and Jeff use PayPal to process payments. I think this is a good choice. I have a PayPal account and it is simple to use.

However, and there’s always a “however”, Tim’s implementation of the payment system is a bit frustrating. He requires payment in British Pounds. No problem there – PayPal converts automatically to pay from my US Dollar account and I think the exchange rate is competitive.

The first problem is that Tim requires an immediate confirmed payment whereas Jeff is more trusting. He allows a payment from my checking account (current account in the UK) which may take a few days to process. In the meantime he accepts the PayPal transaction id as proof of payment. That unlocks the full functionality of his add-in (for example a limit of 10 pictures per upload after a generous 6 week evaluation period).

Tim also restricts the functionality of Lr2Blog until you pay for it in contrast to Jeff’s method that downgrades the functionality a bit after the evaluation period.

For PayPal to make an immediate payment they either require a credit card number as backup or a credit balance in your PayPal account. I did not want to give PayPal my credit card information. I want to limit the number of entities that have that data and I don’t think it is necessary. So I had to do a transfer of funds from my bank account to a non-interest bearing PayPal account. That takes a few days and I only transferred a small amount to test the system.

I made the payment today and received a transaction id from PayPal. However, Tim’s add-ins don’t accept a PayPal transaction id. In his case a payment should kick off a process that sends me an email message with a separate serial number.

I did not receive the email message and several hours later I still haven’t. You can access a web page that attempts to get your serial number from the add-in. It takes either your PayPal transaction id or your email address. I entered the transaaction id and got an error message: “Sorry, No records have been found with that email address/transaction ID.”

I entered my email address and got a success message: “Thank you, an recapitulative email has been sent to …”. (Is recapitulative a word?)

But I didn’t get any messages so I still don’t have the prized serial number. I’ve tried this a number of times with the same results.

I am guessing there is some foul up in communications between Tim’s download site / PayPal and his server that produces serial numbers. I will probably get a flood of recapitulative emails soon. If I don’t I’ll have to try to contact Tim.

This is a bit frustrating but these things often are. I must remember that I am sitting in Bangkok Thailand trying to pay money to a developer in the UK from funds I have in the USA. That fact that it ever works is bordering on the miraculous.

My hat is off to Jeff Friedl for his smoother payment process. He must have some way of validating a PayPal transaction id in real time. He’s also a bit more trusting than Tim. If my payment fails I don’t know if he can cancel my registration.

Adobe has left the download and payment for add-ins very much up to the developer. I hate to think how much work Jeff and Tim had to do to support the “donationware” model. I wonder if it would be better for Adobe to develop an equivalent to the iPhone App Store. Amongst other things Apple handles all the payment processes in a standardized way for a cut of the proceeds. I wonder if Lightroom add-in developers and users would go for that?

Of course the Lightroom add-in market is minuscule compared with that for the iPhone and always will be. I guess Adobe do not think it is worth their investment for no more than a few hundreds of add-ins sold to Lightroom users in perhaps the tens of thousands worldwide.

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2 Responses to “Paying For Lightroom Add-Ins”

  1. bkkphotographer Says:

    I found out what was happening: Gmail was sending the recapitulative emails to my spam box. I had three copies hiding amongst the 1,786 other spams I have received recently.

    Now my LR2/Blog is unrestricted and I am happy.

    But my point remains – this would not have happened if Tim used the same payment protocol as Jeff and accepted the PayPal transaction identifier. Every additional step adds complexity. Ah well.

  2. middlebaltic Says:

    My web works on google via gmail. It is O`K.

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