BinaryNights Blog

ForkLift – New Business Model

We at Binarynights are planning to change how we develop and price ForkLift, and before you freak out, no, we don’t want to use subscriptions. Find out in this post what we are planning and why.

So far, we have used the one-off purchase model which means that the major releases (ForkLift 1, ForkLift 2 and ForkLift 3) were paid releases and all minor updates in between (for example ForkLift 3.3.9) were free. This is the traditional way of selling software online but it has some drawbacks for both the developers and the users.

While using the one-off purchase model, the development of the major versions has become a bigger and bigger burden for us. This model has a lot of drawbacks: every major release has to be packed full of new features to make it interesting enough for users to upgrade. That also means that big features and great new ideas don’t make it into ForkLift right away because we have to withhold them and bundle them up for the next major release. That holds the development of the current version back, and we can’t react quickly to the changes in the market and the requests of our users.

What is the new model?

In our new model, there won’t be major and minor updates the same way as we have them now. As soon as a new feature is ready, we will release it. If we decide to implement a new feature or change something, we will start the development of it immediately. That will clearly benefit our users because they will use an app that evolves continuously. And that will benefit us too because we won’t need to maintain and develop two versions parallelly, which sometimes causes big issues. If we have to maintain only one code, we can deliver changes faster. We won’t speculate what to release and what to withhold either, so we will be able to focus on the continuous development of ForkLift without restrictions.

New pricing model

Changing the way we develop ForkLift means that we also have to change the way we price ForkLift.

The software industry is shifting towards the subscription business model. Subscriptions are great for developers because they secure a predictable and steady cash-flow, and they make the continuous development of the application possible. But we know that a lot of users are getting tired of subscriptions, and we also think that the subscription model is not the best fit for ForkLift.

We want to combine the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of the two extremes: the one-off purchase model and the subscription model. To do this, we want to use a hybrid model that some call the Dutch Model because it was first introduced a few years ago by mainly Dutch companies such as Sketch.

The idea behind this model is that when you buy ForkLift, you get the app and one year of free updates. After the year is over, you can renew your license and get one more year of updates, or you can keep using the same version of ForkLift forever. If you change your mind and want to use a newer version a few weeks or months later, you can renew your license any time and get all updates for another year.

If you constantly use ForkLift to upload files to your servers or you use it as your go-to file manager, then it will be worth renewing your license because you will greatly benefit from the constant enhancements. But if you only upload some files occasionally, then it might be enough to buy ForkLift once because you will be able to use a reliable FTP client for many years.

We want to lower the price of the single-user license (plus one year of free updates) to $14.95, and the renewal would cost $12.95.

We are currently working on the technical and administrative changes which are needed before we can switch over to the new model. We want to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We want to switch to the new model in a few months and release ForkLift 4 in the Spring of 2021. With increasing the version number we want to make a clear distinction between ForkLift 3 and ForkLift 4 to make the transition for our existing users easier to understand.

If you already have a ForkLift 3 license, then you will be able to use ForkLift 3 for as long as you want. Users who buy license keys to ForkLift after the introduction of the new model will get free updates for 12 months.

Nothing is set in stone, but these are our plans. We would like to hear your feedback. If you have some suggestions or ideas, please write to us at or tweet us @BinaryNights.

8 thoughts on “ForkLift – New Business Model

  1. I’m looking for the right file manager for my MacOS Mojave iMac.

    I have about 120TB spread across 16 hard drives and my needs are pretty rigorous.

    One feature I’ve come to need is a Merge feature that is quite robust. The built-in Merge in MacOS is not nearly as capable as what I need.

    I have created a Frankenstein’s monster over the years of duplicate files and and file subsets that are all over the place and that I need to merge to a single location.

    Does your product do this? Or would you be willing to add the feature to your existing product. . . even just you’re PRO Pack?

    That’s what I’m looking for. I look forward to hearing from you.



  2. I would like to see a “file shelf” or “drop stack” feature baked in. I presently use Yoink for this capability but it would be nice if it was a built-in feature.

  3. sounds like a great and fair business model with pricing that actually reflects the value of the product for me. You’re right that Subscriptions are a pain, even more so as we add more and more software to a workflow. I like the dutch model, as it allows a way ‘out’ at some point, and hopefully you keep a reasonable stream of money even if it’s just as Os moves along and requires a new purchase every couple of years. Thanks for your efforts and skill sin producing a great and reliable app.

  4. -ti be honest – hate subscription models 🙁 I’d like to pay only once for a software, and then be able to use it for years… If I need all the extra features of the new version, I’m going to buy it as well… I wish the subscription model would be replaced by something that benefits occasional users more… Like the case with Figma for example: you are given full functionality, and a generous amount of item slots available (to save your work), but you can trial and error, and learn the software without paying a penny. (you don’t really make a living out of it nevertheless). People who should be charged for are pro users, but it’s no problem for them, since it generates income.

    1. They are stating the Dutch subscription model will be used which makes it a purchase of the app + 12 months of updates included. You can use the app with the latest received update forever so it’s exactly what you want, pay once, use forever. Unless you need one of the features that were introduced after your 12 month update period you don’t need to pay again and even then…$12.95?

      You may look at this like an app purchased that got abandoned after 12 months of updates. As long as it doesn’t break because of other external reasons you can just keep using it.

      I honestly don’t see a problem at all with this model.

  5. The possibility, as with Pathfinder, to place a favorites bar on the right-hand side, which then only navigates for the right-hand side.

  6. Well, you set the price of the renewal nearly at the same value as initial price. So if one wants to keep using the latest software it is definitely subscription model and not a cheap one. The only difference is that one can stop paying and keep using the product.

    Anyway, I do not believe in subscription model for most software simply because people need so many tools these days and their subscription costs would add up very high very soon.

    On the other hand, every year many people are born and thus every year many new potential users appear on the market. Thus standard model can work indefinitely without leaving developers without new income. Subscription model surely is no good for users at all.

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