We here at Visuex used to be advocates for LiveZilla, we created Open Source Projects and even started a Design service based on it. However, since the release of Version 4 not only are we no longer advocates but we are now 100% Anti-Livezilla. This article will explain why we stopped using the software as well as the reasoning for why we became Anti-LZ and why our stance of Anti-LZ is so severe as to discontinue our projects and service for it.
Update (05/09/2013): LiveZilla has lowered their priced from $1,600 to now "just" $1,200...still more expensive than TEN combined pro-level Adobe products so not much of an improvement.
- What is LiveZilla?
- Why we used and stopped using LiveZilla
- Why we're discontinuing all projects and services based on LiveZilla
- Just how Absurd is LiveZilla's pricing?
- The Alternatives: Free and Premium
What is LiveZilla?
LiveZilla is a Live Chat/Support system to add direct/instant access for your customers to your website. The following is a quote from their website declaring what the system is/does: "LiveZilla, the Next Generation Live Help and Live Support System connects you to your website visitors. Use LiveZilla to provide Live Chats and monitor your website visitors in real-time. Turn visitors into customers - with LiveZilla!"
Why we used and stopped using LiveZilla.
"Windows Only! LZ doesn't even have a WebApp."
LiveZilla originally promoted itself as a community driven project and even though they were not 100% Open Source we still decided to support them anyway. We used the system for many months and for the most part it was a nice experience. There code was clunky and dated (seriously, who still uses frames ffs) but I looked over that because they offered the system for free so I gave them the benefit of the doubt as they spent a lot of time on the system already, maybe they would improve the code in the future. It does have some cool features that I wish other systems had but none of those features justify a cost of $1,600 USD.
About two years ago, we decided to move our network/infrastructure to be powered by Linux instead of Windows. This forced us to leave LiveZilla whether we wanted to or not because LiveZilla is a Windows only system and LiveZilla wasn't good enough to stick with Windows just because of it. Even though we had stopped using LiveZilla we continued to advocate for them and continued working on our projects and service based around the system. We even continued to be active members of their community forum helping people wherever we could.
Why we're discontinuing all projects and services based on LiveZilla.
"LiveZilla Doesn't Care About Their Users!"
"Ask For Help, They Ignore You."
The LiveZilla team have always been almost non-existent for support and even replying to comments. (I hope this has changed as they are charge such an absurd price for the software) They have one moderator on their community forum who is not a member of the development team so he can't always answer questions people have. I decided to become the "Community Ambassador" for most users answering development, design and technical questions wherever I could. I never expected any kind of "thank you" from the LiveZilla team but I certainly didn't expect to be ignored.
The LiveZilla team doesn't care what their users have to say, even if hundreds of them are requesting something and continuously request for years. For example, many many LiveZilla users became Linux users and for almost four years people have asked for the LZ team to make a Linux version of the software to which they almost never reply at all. So I gave up on ever getting a Linux version but for two years the LZ team claimed to be working on a web-based version of the software which would mean you'd only need a browser and it would not be locked to any specific operating system. 2012 comes around and LZ still does not have a web-based operator client even after they start charging such a ridiculous price.
LiveZilla team decided to start charging for premium services and addons while keeping the default/basic use of the software as a freeware system. We are a company as well so we understand having to make a profit in order to continue improving our projects and services, so this change was understandable and even encouraged by us. LiveZilla team created a couple addons that initially did not exceed $25 USD per addon. This was perfectly acceptable to everyone so we were happy to purchase these addons to help LiveZilla grow. However, later the LiveZilla team decided to remove features from the system and turn them into premium addons and even though we didn't agree with this decision it didn't damage the software too much. Over a few months the addons became more and more expensive without any apparent changes/improvements to them. These $25 or less addons are now set with the cheapest addon being $65 and the most expensive addon being $130 USD. Because of these addons, If LiveZilla was still a freeware based system it would cost you $416 USD to get the softwares full functionality.
The reason I said "if LiveZilla was still a freeware system" is because as of Version 4 LiveZilla no longer offers a freeware solution and has become 100% commercial. I know, most people would be annoyed that I might be against a company going 100% commercial, after all I run a company that has commercially driven services. The fact that they dropped the freeware model is not what disgusted me, it was the ridiculous price they are charging for their lack luster program. They still don't have a Linux version, a web-based version, or a mobile version of the software yet they are charging $1,600 USD for full functionality.
Just how Absurd is LiveZilla's pricing?
"Every Other Option is Cheaper!
Even PRO-ONLY apps, like Photoshop, are cheaper!"
There are MANY options in the genre of apps and I list many of them later in the article but I can say without a
shadow of a doubt that EVERY other option out there is a cheaper solution. Even the most expensive, overpriced, options are cheaper than LiveZilla. LiveZilla's cheapest option is 70 Euros ($92 US Dollars) and all you get is TWO operators/agents.
Here is something you can compare the cost of LiveZilla to in order to truly see how ridiculous their pricing is. The company Adobe creates lots of professional grade software including the industry standard for our industry, Photoshop. Adobe offers a Design Suite of software that we use on a daily basis to do our jobs. This design suite software package includes Photoshop® CS5 Extended, Illustrator® CS5, InDesign® CS5.5, Dreamweaver® CS5.5, Flash® Professional CS5.5, Flash Catalyst® CS5.5, Fireworks® CS5, Acrobat® X Pro, Bridge CS5, Device Central CS5.5 and you can get all of these professional grade programs for $1,140 USD which is almost $500 USD cheaper than a clunky, unprofessional, Windows only and lack-luster live chat software.
The company behind LiveZilla thinks their unprofessional, clunky, lack-luster Live Chat/Support software is $500 USD better than TEN Adobe products combined, not only is this a ridiculous claim on their part but it is so absurd that it is just laughable. Which is why the answer to the question "is LiveZilla worth $1,600?" isn't just "no" but instead is "HAHA, NO!"
The Alternatives: Free & Premium
Mibew - http://mibew.org/ - good features, decent UI (User Interface), fairly good support (recommended)
Crafty Syntax Live Help - http://cslh.com/ - great features, hideous UI (User Interface), awful programming (the developer is a rather bad developer so the code is 10 years outdated), almost non-existent support
LiveAdmin - http://www.liveadmin.net/ - very nice option with some good features and a fairy decent UI but sadly it has not been updated in over 2 years.
* unfortunately those are the only options right now, that I know of.
phpLive! - http://www.phplivesupport.com/ - phpLive! has a lot of the same features and MANY that LZ doesn't. You can customize pretty much every section of the system and it is platform-independent so it works on Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, and everything else that can run a browser.
Pricing: $150 Self-Hosted (One Time Fee) or $9.95 per month (for managed hosting)
JLive!Chat - http://www.joomlalivechat.com/ - this has most of what LZ has and MUCH MORE...this solution has apps for Android, iOS and Blackberry. This is one of the few if not only options to come with mobile apps. Requires Joomla to run but Joomla is Free.
Pricing: $22 per year/per site (self-hosted), $150 one time fee/per site (self-hosted), $199 per year/UNLIMITED sites (self-hosted)
Ultimate Live Chat - http://www.ultimatelivechat.com/ - this solution is a managed hosting service that utilizes JLive!Chat as the backend...both this service and JLive!Chat are provided by the same company, CMS Fruit. ULC has all the features of JLive!Chat but is a hosted solution rather than a self-hosted.
Pricing: $4.08 - $12.42 per month (depends on the amount of operators/agents)
JLive!Chat is a little confusing in their pricing so if you have any questions please leave a comment below.
Update: Thanks to Hieke for informing us about LiveAdmin as an option...it has been added to the article.
What do you think of our assessment? Do you think we're right or are we totally wrong?
Let us know by leaving a comment below: (no account needed)