New Features in Roboform 7:
Roboform 7 offers significant upgrades to Roboform's form-filling service. Some examples of the new features include:
- You can store your forms online or locally on your computer, and you can sync passwords and data across multiple computers.
- Roboform 7 is fully compatible with Google's Chrome browser as well as Safari, mobile devices, and more.
- Roboform 7 runs faster and has a streamlined look and feel and better organization.
See the full list of improvements here: What's New in Roboform 7
Sounds great, right? However, there are some drawbacks to upgrading to Roboform 7.
Disadvantages of Upgrading to Roboform 7:
If you purchased a previous version of Roboform, one of the advertised features was free upgrades for life. But apparently, "for life" really meant "up until Version 7" because now, Roboform Pro users are expected to pay to upgrade to Version 7 as if they had never purchased a license.
Even worse, the licensing changes weren't announced ahead of time. Roboform users were prompted to upgrade as usual, but what they were getting was a limited-time free trial of Roboform Version 7. At the end of the trial, they must pay the $29.95 fee for a new license in order to continue to access all of their information.
Paid Users' Reactions to Roboform's Version 7 Upgrade
The Version 7 changes are causing controversy among long-time Roboform users. I received one email from a disappointed Roboform Pro customer with the subject line: "Roboform Cheats Users!" A recent Roboform Review stated: "THEY RUINED IT!" In the comments to Softpedia's article, How Not to Change a Licensing Model, user daveOz wrote: "Long-term customer loyalty counts for nada, that's for sure!" and user Rikk wrote: "It appears that Siber Systems has chosen to risk their brand in pursuit of the almighty buck," among many other complaints.
Roboform Responds to Version 7 Upgrade Controversy:
Roboform's Facebook page says that the need to charge for the new version of the software was brought on by the changing ways that people use computers and mobile devices as well as the increased workload their support department faces. The Facebook note also addresses several of the common objections to the Version 7 upgrade:
Regarding current customers being treated the same as new customers: "If you purchased RoboForm after September 1, 2010 then you get a free upgrade to RoboForm Desktop, or a free year of RoboForm Everywhere. If you purchased before September 1, 2010, then you get a $10.00 discount on your upgrade license."
However, people have been reporting issues with redeeming these discounts. Softpedia's "How Not to Change a Licensing Model" article states:
"SEVERAL Softpedia employees who purchased Roboform after September 1st contacted Syber Systems to receive a free upgrade to version 7. In ALL cases, instead of offering the free upgrade, the support team stated that only two options were available: purchasing an upgrade to Roboform 7 Pro for $19.95 or switching to Roboform Everywhere for the yearly fee. ONLY after mentioning the above clause, activation was successful."
Regarding allegations that users were "tricked" into agreeing to a paid update without being warned ahead of time: "We realize that we did not have enough messaging that Version 7 was a paid upgrade before the update. We have since added additional messaging and will continue to improve the messaging even further."
Regarding being forced into a paid update: Roboform states that users can continue to use Version 6 for free, and if they already installed Version 7, they can uninstall it and re-install Roboform Version 6.
However, this is a little disingenious, as Version 6 is no longer being supported. For example, it won't work with the new Firefox Version 4 browser released on March 22nd, 2011, only days after the Roboform Version 7 release. So unless you're not planning on upgrading your browser, you'll need to upgrade Roboform sooner or later.
So Should You Upgrade to Roboform Version 7?Roboform is a very handy program for sweepstakes entry, and for many people, it might be worth an additional $30 to continue to use the program. I certainly win more than $30 a year in prizes with Roboform's help.
However, the unannounced change in the license has left a bad taste, and many people are wondering how long the $30 you pay now will last before another "major upgrade" demands additional fees.
One option you have available to you is to use the free version of Roboform, which is still available with Version 7. With Roboform Free 7, you have access to 10 logins. See Roboform's Product Comparison Page for more details.
If you are already using the free version of Roboform, you can continue to use Roboform Free 7. This might also be a good time to consider purchasing the paid version, or looking out for a sale on it, since presumably it will take some time before the next "major upgrade" requires an additional fee.
If you decide that you'd like to try a different auto-fill product before you commit to Roboform's Version 7 Upgrade, check out About.com readers' choice for the 5 Best Form-Filling Programs.
If you'd like to contact Roboform with questions, comments, or objections about the Roboform Version 7 upgrade, you can use this link to Roboform Support.
Roboform Everywhere vs. Roboform DesktopIf you use more than one computer and/or mobile device with Roboform, a better option than Roboform Desktop might be Roboform Everywhere. Roboform Everywhere stores your information on an encrypted remote server that you can access from any computer and any mobile device. However, there is a yearly, rather than one-time, fee for Roboform Everywhere. See Siber Systems' Roboform Everywhere page for details.
Roboform has been invited to share their comments about the Version 7 Upgrade. If I receive relevant comments that were not covered in their previous releases, I'll update this article.