Subject: Re: "Reasonable Profits"
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 12:49:55 -0700

At 03:16 PM 9/1/98 -0400, Frank Hecker wrote:
>* You find some other mechanism by which you can distinguish VIP
>customers from other customers and have them compensate you for the time
>and attention you spend catering to their needs.

One way to do it, perhaps, is to charge based on # of contacts allowed to
ask for support.  Based on the theory that if company X has twice the
installed base of your product as company Y, they will probably want to
have twice as many people on the contact list.  On the other hand, the
customer could internally organize so that even with ten times the usage
all questions are filtered through a single contact - which is beneficial
to you, because such a person is likely to know enough about your products
to answer most questions (after the first time they are asked) without
needing to call the support line.


I also don't think that per-use licensing of support is a bad way to go.
You can craft a support contract that specifically only covers a certain
number of installs.  Without licensing and all that you do have to have
some sort of trust in your userbase not to buy a single use, install it all
over their company, then demand support for everyone - but if they do that,
it can become bleedingly obvious from the types and variety of support
calls you get, and violation of contracts is not something companies take

Operationally it's a little dicey, but ethically I think it's clean.  If a
customer buys support for 100 installations, they can certainly install a
101st, but they can't ask for support for it without paying for it, even if
the other 100 had never need a support question answered.


"Common sense is the collection of prejudices  |
acquired by the age of eighteen." - Einstein   |