The ThoughtWorks Studios forums are a usability and customer experience debacle. When you post something, it won’t show up until it’s "approved". This could take a few days or could never happen. It seems that they’ll occasionally forget to "approve" posts entirely and you never get notified. This means that your issue will never get heard.
This sort of moderation is absurd and does nothing but belittle me as a customer. You don’t trust me enough to show what I say immediately on your forum? I’ve even had approved posts or replies DELETED after the fact because they contained a link to a favorable Mingle review on my blog. According to TWS this was a legal concern and has been rectified, so maybe it’s OK to link in your posts now.
Mingle’s pricing is absurd. $47 per month per user after your first 5 free if you prepay for a year. Let’s do the math on this for a bit. So TWS claims that this is a fair price because of the first 5 free. So if you get 10 users, it’s really only $23.50 per user per month. But if you get 15 it’s $31.46 per user per month. Yep, the price goes up the more users you buy. I know they can give bulk discounts, but when I did the math there, I was still paying more per user per month as I went higher. Newsflash, you cannot justify high prices with free users because the users are then not free.
Oh, and did I mention, this monthly pricing you’re paying is for a product you must host yourself! Yep, you’re paying monthly for the product, plus you’re paying for the machine it runs on. And guess what? It requires 2GB of RAM and I can tell you first hand it needs that ram, and it will peg your CPU while doing any sort of (slow) searches, so you better not need that box for much else.
They recently introduced "perpetual" pricing which is an up front $995 + $199/yr (including the first year) and isn’t worth it unless you plan on using Mingle for at least 3 years. Even then it only saves you $88/user/year. You’re still paying $477/user/year.
Now I assume their excuse for monthly pricing is that they release often and they continue to add value. This is partly true, except when they spend an entire release half-building something like Card Trees TM (yes, they trademarked that) and then spend another release trying to clean up the mess and make it useable for a project with more than 20 cards.
ThoughtWorks’ sales team is inefficient and annoying. Just yesterday after the release of Mingle 2.1 I emailed my point of contact on the sales team asking about licensing for read only users because in the release notes it says to. It took EIGHT total emails back and forth to get them to say something that should be on their site or at least should be a canned response. I couldn’t be bothered to go through this again when I wanted to know what "light" users were (yes, they have normal, readonly, anonymous and light users, all with different licensing requirements) so I just called them. Apparently light users are read-only users that can also comment on cases. The conversation was reasonable until I asked if part of adding light users would be fixing comments so that they were not off to the side and often ignored. At this point I was called sweetheart multiple times and dismissed in a manner I considered, well, rude and dismissive.
For those who care, read-only users cost 1/3 the price of normal users (Yep, $17/mo/user so one person can look at web pages on a server you own), anonymous users are "an enterprise feature that [ThoughtWorks charges] for separately and in order to have anonymous access added to any license and it requires a conversation around an enterprise or site license agreement" and light users do not yet exist, though I’m guessing they’ll probably be something awesome like 2/5 price a normal user.
I think that’s enough for now. I’ve got a few complaints about the product itself but I can save those for another day. Despite these annoyances, Mingle is the closest match to the product that we need here so I’ve put up with it thus far. If another product came along that met my needs, provided a better customer experience and more reasonable pricing I will jump ship in a heartbeat.
And now for your moment of Zen:
-------- You're charging for read only users? Is that per user? And how do anonymous users work? Is it per concurrent user logged in? Quite honestly I can't believe you're charging for anonymous or read only users. Mingle is expensive enough for normal users. -------
-------- Hi Aaron, Thanks for your feedback. We are responding to our customers who have requested this capability. We understand it may not fit your needs but for many of our customers this fills a requirement they were seeking. Best Regards, ... -------