The “Pro” version of Broken Link Checker has been discontinued. All features that were previously paid-only have been merged into the free version. This includes (among others):
- Internationalized domain name support.
- The ability to check embedded videos from popular video hosting sites (e.g. YouTube).
- The ability to check links to popular file hosting sites (e.g. RapidShare).
- Plaintext URL support.
- Custom post type support.
- Search & replace for bulk URL editing.
In addition, the plugin now includes a call for donations and a single ad.
What does this mean for you?
If you already have the free version installed, you should receive an update notification within a few hours. After installing the update, you can enable the newly available features in Settings -> Link Checker. Some features – e.g. IDN support – are on by default and don’t need to be enabled explicitly.
If you own the Pro version of the plugin, I recommend moving to the free version. Just deactivate Broken Link Checker Pro and install version 1.2.2 from WordPress.org. Your settings and data will be retained, and you will not lose any features.
Caution: Do not click the “Uninstall” link to remove the Pro version unless you want to erase your current settings. Instead, delete the /wp-content/plugins/broken-link-checker-pro/ directory via FTP.
Also, check the status of your update subscription (if you have one). It should be cancelled automatically, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. Just in case, here’s how you can cancel a PayPal subscription manually.
Ultimately, the reason why I decided to drop the Pro version was very simple: “If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.” The purpose of every commercial plugin is to make money for its developers. The way I tried to achieve this with Broken Link Checker Pro was to offer a bunch of extra features and priority support for those willing to pay a small fee. However, after tracking sales stats for a several months and reviewing the results of a recent user survey, it became eminently clear that this approach wasn’t working.
Full disclosure: just before the Pro version was discontinued, Broken Link Checker had
- 60 000 free users (estimated).
- 70 paid users.
- 39 active subscriptions.
That’s a free-to-paid conversion rate of around 0.11%, which is downright horrible even for a freemium product.
There are many things that can kill your conversion rate, but I think in this particular case the cause was straightforward: nobody cared about the Pro features. For 99% of users, the free version would be perfect – or at least good enough. A user survey confirmed this suspicion. The same survey also revealed that there was no must-have feature that I could implement to dramatically increase the attractiveness of the Pro version.
I could’ve tried removing features from the free version, but that’s 1) nearly impossible for an open-source application and 2) Evil™.
After much thought, I decided to drop the Pro version entirely and try something completely different* – all features for free, a prominent call for donations, and an ad on the settings page. I don’t know what the results will be, but I’m sure they’ll be interesting.