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Free vs. Paid vs. Ridiculous Web Services

Posted on September 16, 2008 by Zach

Recently, one of the SEO tools I use to track SERP's (Search Engines Results Pages) placement has raised its pricing to what, I feel, is an outrageous level. It's quite sad, really; I like the product. I got in on its beta when it was free and truly fell in love with its ease of use and convenience.  When the product went from free to a paid service, I anted up and paid the fee to continue my use of the service.  I am a pretty big fan of free web services, but I paid the fee because I felt the price was reasonable and I really liked the product.  Everything seemed like it was going well, the company was automatically charging me the appropriate amount per month, the service worked great and I continued to enjoy its ease of use and convenience.  I say everything “was” going well because a couple of days ago I received an e-mail from the service with "new pricing" in the title and was horrified with what it contained.  Not only would the service be doing away with its current pricing structure but the cheapest level of service would be four times what I had been paying per month (they were nice enough to offer me a 30% discount but still, the ratio between what I am currently paying per month and what I would be paying per month is ridiculous).  I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Are they serious”?  To my dismay, and what I considered to be an additional slap in the face, they mentioned that they would also be offering a "free" account. I was excited, at first.  I then quickly realized that the free service was of no use to me considering how jank and crippled they made it. 

After reading the e-mail, I downloaded all of the data I could from the account and will most likely discontinue its use and search for a new service.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not against people making money, or charging for web services, (even though, as I mentioned, I am a pretty big fan of free web services) but at some point I have to draw the line.  I consider a 400% price increase ridiculous, especially without a 400% increase in the value of the product.  You would think with the enormous success Google has seen with releasing free products, and their ability to capitalize on them, would make other web services take notes and follow in their footsteps.  Can someone throw me (or them) a bone here?

Below, is the better part of the e-mail, I blurred the name because I don't want to bash them too hard but the service seemed to be working fine!

 

Price update from SERP service

 

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