5 May 2011

Buying online from Slow-dobe

Here are some observations and tips for buying software direct from Adobe.com and a warning.

  1. Don’t expect to download your newly purchased software on the same day you bought it. Adobe are very slow to release your product’s serial number. Imagine someone working in a tiny room somewhere in India printing out orders, using a ladder to stack them, as his grandmother slowly keys in serial numbers into another computer. The pair have been doing it for years and like it that way; they think their customers must be patient and wait their turn.
  2. For UK consumers it’s cheaper to order a boxed copy than to go for the download-only option. Go figure that one out!
  3. The US price is much cheaper than the UK price, but that’s no surprise. It won’t let you buy from the US store unless you register a valid US postal address. (I’m not sure if it would reject a credit card registered in the UK, but you could try using PayPal.)
  4. If you are a business you can sometimes get a better price by going to Adobe’s Business Store – even taking VAT into account. This store also has the download and boxed options at the same price.
  5. Adobe’s website is slooooow. The product pages are slow, the store is slow and the licensing site is slow. I hope the public don’t think this is a reflection of ColdFusion. They may get loads of traffic but that’s no excuse. They may be the market leaders and pretty much have a captive audience for many types of product but that’s no excuse either to be complacent.
  6. If you think you can side step Adobe and buy from a reseller then think again. Downloads and the release of serial numbers for certain products (especially upgrades) must go through Adobe.
  7. It’s been this bad for as long as I can remember. You should plan to make your purchase as early as possible, don’t leave it to the last minute.

I’ve just bought Dreamweaver in case you’re wondering. Previously I bought ColdFusion several times.


  1. Having just purchased the Builder 2 upgrade from the US Adobe store yesterday, I can say I had a markedly different experience. The store was quick to respond, and immediately after the purchase was approved I was presented with the download links for ColdFusion Builder 2 and Flash Builder 4.5. The nearly 1 GB took about 20 minutes to download, and I had an e-mail with my serial numbers before the files were finished downloading. Overall I'd say it was a great purchase experience. Again, this was from the US store, so perhaps the Adobe online stores in other regions are not as quick to respond.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience from the US, Justin. I wish it could have been like that for me. Maybe next time I'll register with a friend's US address and benefit from cheaper prices and better customer service.

  3. In regards the boxed product being more expensive than the download, this is because boxed products ship from the UK (20% VAT) and electronic 'ship' from Ireland (21% VAT).

    In regards Resellers, whilst you are correct that the same process has to be performed before you get your license, you should always pays a fair bit less through a Reseller than Adobe.com (if you don't it's normally due to some currency exchange screw up).

  4. Andy, thanks for explaining the discrepancy between download and boxed delivery. But the 1% difference in VAT isn't enough to explain how that the cost of manufacturing the box and its contents costs more than providing a download, yet the download option should be cheaper or the same cost. A big company like Adobe should encourage people to take the download option to save wasteful packaging.

    UPDATE: My license key must have been added to my account last night because it's there now. I didn't receive an email to tell me it's been added so I would have been waiting all week if I hadn't kept on checking. (I did check my junk mail folder)

  5. UPDATE: 24 hours after making an online software purchase Adobe have emailed me to say they have processed my order and the license key is available.

    Adobe, why are you still stuck in the 1990's? Automate all of your darn processes! Your management is 20 years behind your software products.

  6. That's weird it's different for US. I ordered mine yesterday and got everything I needed emailed about 30 seconds after I completed it. It now shows up in my registered products section on Adobe.com as well, which helped as I needed the old CFbuilder serial number and just looked it up.

    Had it downloaded and installed in about 30 min ( I have a sloooow connection :) )