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Changing from Freemium to Paid and Frustrating Users in the Process

Posted on December 2, 2009 by Zach

I am a pretty big fan of the Freemium model, I always like to try things out first even if its bare bones. If the product or service is ok, I may keep using it or try something else. Likewise if the freemium portion covers my needs I typically continue to use the product and tell those I know about it as well. If the product or service is stellar then the odds are pretty high that I will pony up for the premium service especially if there is something behind the pay wall I am particularly interested in, and the price is reasonable. All in all I like the model and it gets me hooked on new products and services.

What frustrates me is when a company twists that a bit, starts freemium and then somewhere down the line asks you to pony up for what you have been using for free (especially if I had been thinking about upgrading to their premium services). It's even worse if you have integrated this product or service into your normal routine or business. This is exactly what happened to me recently with a software as a service product that we use for product reviews. Our main reason for using this software was because it was free and offered a decent product with most of the features we needed. When you suddenly get contacted to "renew your contract" and find out quite a few things have changed such as the service going from free to several thousand dollars a month let’s just say there is a bit of lost love because of it. It not only rubs me the wrong way but gives me a really good reason to look elsewhere.  No longer will I be telling people about it, sadly if I did mention it to others in the industry it wouldn’t be in such kind regards and/or my recommendation would now probably be to develop a custom solution. Suffice it to say we came to an equitable agreement, however I can see so many other ways I would have rather have handled the situation.


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