I notice that Ghost Valet (ie the pay-per-use install / update service offered by the official Ghost people) is pretty much dead.
I wanted to offer an idea for an alternative service that could benefit both users and the Ghost Foundation. That is to offer a support service with monthly subscription price of around $10.
I base this on the following observations:
-I notice that there’s a Github sponsor plan that offers Slack access to Ghost core developers for $99 per month
-Ghost core members already help users for free on the Forum
-Ghost Foundation was at one point willing to run Valet (and the web page still says: check back soon)
This would be good for self-hosters and others who prefer to have their own instance (or managed by someone other than Ghost Pro).
This would also be a way to monetize people who are with other managed hosting providers. Such hosts have no control over the code itself, so some issues fall “between two chairs”.
Better yet, the support medium could be this Forum, rather than email (paying members could be assigned a badge).
You could have anti-abuse provisions and limit questions to maintenance rather than installation and also support people on a standard stack.
There are already people on the Forum like Vikas Potluri or Kevin Ansfield who actively answer a lot of questions for free…you might as well monetize it.
To be honest with you, I don’t think this would be viable. As soon as somebody is paying any amount for support they will often have an unreasonable level of expectation that people who are paying nothing don’t (or at least shouldn’t) have.
The issue with that, I think, is that $10 per month simply isn’t nearly enough to warrant offering people that expectation. Developers’ time, and especially the core developers’ time, is worth a lot more, in a professional sense.
A forum exists for that reason, I think. Questions or requests for technical support do go unanswered sometimes, and nobody really has a right to complain about that. I mean, what are they going to do, ask for a refund?
Having said all of that, I too discovered the Valet page recently and initially I thought it was an optional, automated service that would keep your self-hosted installations of Ghost and themes etc. updated automatically using some script or magic beans. Being an automated process, that wouldn’t have the same cost overhead as having expert developers on-call to do 1-on-1 technical support (which I would expect to cost a lot more, and which is probably why Ghost have priced it at $99 per month, which to me still seems like a bargain).
I’m not sure exactly what Valet was, if it was some automated process or an unautomated support service similar to what you suggest, but if it was the former, I am disappointed it no longer exists.
Anyway, I’m happy that you posted this and provided the opportunity to discuss Valet, technical support and keeping self-hosted Ghost website software updated. Thank you.
Good points…it could be $20 instead of $10
And I certainly wouldn’t suggest that the core devs need to be too involved…Ghost Pro already has support people.
Ghost already has a hosting plan at $9 with support…so offering support only at $10 or $20, with anti-abuse provisions, etc…doesn’t seem too unreasonable
I’d say most creators/publishers only have occasional problems and are focused on their writing, not trying to make extensive use of support.
The Valet service was mostly about installs and updates.
I didn’t realise that Ghost Pro has dedicated support for customers at the lowest tier of $9 per month, so that’s my bad, I’m sorry. I personally have no experience with using Ghost Pro, so I’m relying on the information from the pricing page, and your suggestion is not unreasonable. I apologise if I made it sound that way
I do have an alternative suggestion that kind of piggy-backs off your original idea, and it’s something I’ve been mulling over for a while.
I would suggest there could be a support channel (I think chat works a lot better than either a forum or email for 1-on-1 technical support) that is not run by official Ghost staff, but rather by higher-level, more experienced Ghost users offering 24/7 tech support to beginners and less-experienced users having trouble with updates and such.
We already have something like that going in the unofficial Slack chat, and I’d love to see more of it. The more burden that is taken off the core developers of the Ghost project, the more they can focus on what is undoubtedly already a very difficult and time-consuming task.
I think I will make a channel in the Slack for tech support and have it open to anybody who is a current sponsor of the official Ghost project on Github (which I am about to become myself).
I looked for but couldn’t find any other page to donate to the Ghost project or Ghost Foundation directly, without the friction of creating a Github account (which most inexperienced users probably won’t have). Does anybody know if there is one?
Take a look at Contributing to Ghost - Submit your contribution to open source software :)
Thanks! That was actually the page where I just discovered the GitHub sponsors option but I somehow missed the other option to make a custom or recurring contribution through Open Collective
I’ve just created a private channel in the Slack chat room with the following description: This is a special (but unofficial) tech support channel for Ghost users who are currently supporting the Ghost project as sponsors on GitHub or as recurring donors of $10 or more per month through Open Collective.
Currently there’s just 4 sponsors on GitHub.
Any experienced devs who would be willing to join the channel to offer support are of course also more than welcome. Just message me