Sync, Sync Pro, and iThemes Disappointment

Let me start off by saying I love iThemes plugins. (NOTE: None of these links are affiliate links; I don’t know if iThemes even offers an affiliate program) They are an essential part of my toolkit, and I have BackupBuddy, Security Pro and Sync on every site I manage. Several sites also have Display buddy. I have the utmost respect for Cory Miller, and the way he handled the recent security situation at iThemes is a lesson in how good leaders lead. I’ve been getting themes from Cory since before iThemes, so I completely trust and support him.

That said, right now I’m very frustrated and disappointed with iThemes. I have an ongoing subscription for their Plugins Suite, which gives me every one of the iThemes plugins, “Plus any updates and plugins we release during your membership year.” So when they announced a couple of weeks ago about a major improvement/enhancement to Sync, I was pretty stoked. I shared it several times on a couple of different social media streams, and was really looking forward to it coming out.

But, when it came out I didn’t get the new functionality. I didn’t understand why, and was quite frustrated and posted my frustration on Twitter. Cory happened to see my post and responded, telling me to contact sales. I did so, and to their credit, I received a very quick reply. It turms out that the new plugin functionality was only available to users who had purchased the Toolkit – their “entire library of themes, plugins and training.” So, even though I had purchased the Plugin Suite, which according to their own page included, “any updates and plugins we release during your membership year…” this plugin update was not included. Okay, I don’t agree with that kind of marketing, but fair enough.

I use Sync on 37 sites right now (which also cost an upgrade fee to get more sites covered – 10 come free). I only have 8 or 9 sites that I really need the new Client Dashboard functionality, the rest I manage completely, so no real need for that. In corresponding with the sales representative, I decided to go ahead and upgrade to the Toolkit. There are some features of that which I can definitely use, and again, this is a company I totally trust. So I agree to pay for the Toolkit, and I’m told that as a courtesy my Plugin Suite subscription will also be renewed for another year. Okay, fine. I don’t totally get that, since I think the Toolkit is already supposed to include everything in the Suite, but whatever.

Everything goes through fine, and I begin exploring all of the new excellent tools I now have at my disposal. (And no doubt about it, there are some fine tools included in the Toolkit) But when I go to set up the new Sync Pro for the sites that I need it on, I find it doesn’t seem quite so simple. So I emailed back in to the helpful sales team, and this is where the wheels fell off. I was told that with Toolkit, I do indeed get 10 free Sync Pro sites, BUT if I do that, I will have to lose all of my other sites that I already have on Sync.

Wait a minute; I just paid a fairly significant (for me) amount of money to buy this Toolkit, mainly so I could use the new features of Sync Pro, but if I do use it, I am going to be punished by losing the Sync access to all of my other sites that I had already paid extra to have? Oh, I could update all of them to Sync pro if I want, for another $500, even though I have no use for the pro feature on those sites. Something is just not fair here. I use Sync everyday on all of my sites to manage them, and I definitely don’t want to lose that. But it is apparently either that or not use the main feature that I bought the toolkit for. I’ll still use many of the new tools I have, but I’m just really frustrated and disappointed.

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