I have been addressing the issue in previous post oblivious to the fact that it is a growing phenomena.
Now it became even a user driven one when MG Siegler from techcrunch decided to tell the services like face book how much would he pay for a yearly subscription.
I am not a fan of the Pay for a subscription or parish without knowing my services for longer then trial usage, but for the freemium deal i am all about.
As the comment i have made to the post i believe that the usage of paid services with a base price rather then giving you some services and then charging you for the premium package is a wrong business model for most of the services in the web. people got used to the free and like it and are willing to pay for the pro if they require the additional services.
I use flickr and i am a pro member since i saw the value in the service, as a counter point i use the AgileTracker and i am not going to use the pro service Agile Agenda supply since i am not in need of that and i need only the client locally.
Will i be more lenient to buy the service when i require? yes i will do so since their tool is great and when in sync probably greater.
So what is freemium at all?
Freemium is offering a basic or a service with ads free and giving you the option either to upgrade to remove the ads or add the premium functionality.
And no trial of a very expensive software is not a freemium business model nor is a free service going into a pay business model. Oracle XE and SQL Server Express (growing recently to the Visual Studio Express family) are a wonderful example of a freemium business model In response to the MySql assault.
But for services to start charging money at the front door after years of free services? that is just wrong, foolish and wrong.
If you want to expose users to your alternatives you just need to push them and let nature do its course. i am looking for the next free P2P radio client.
Actually i am very happy i left Last.fm since then they managed to expose all their clients listening information to the RIAA and made a nice bar fight with techcrunch denying it.
But that was just because they needed the money… i can lash at last.fm now for ages but lets go the the original argument i am making. if Last.fm would not go and make you pay for a service you have gotten for a small fee of exposing your data to them and letting them rip the songs of your machine. and they used commercials more offering an ad free pro version with ability to do more in the widget world and in the community will you not take that opportunity?
And last.fm are an annoying example since they were using your services as much as you used theirs to get your songs available to other users.
I assume that this was a more appropriate contract then the one they lazily devised in their couches.
Assume that face book will now charge you for image sizes and video uploads making you a pro user for 15$ a year. that will be a reasonable price especially if it came with some more features.
The only problem there is that they might lose some users that were dangling away or the ones with moral standards.
And some of their rivals like my space would get more traffic (although they are number one any way).
But i am sure that steps like that from a competitor will make others follow.
Google will be the last one to move since they are running the biggest advertising agency in the world and will not want any one not to be exposed to the content due to some little fee.
Having said that they are a very good candidate to put their freemium services.
So what is the future? i say freemium is going to be the best breed approach to get users hooked and if you have a good service you will get your crowds hoarding in.
What sort of incentive will be given for the clients to upgrade can very and will be probably dominated by ad free, more space and more features. though i hope to see some more incentives in the features and space then in the ad free.
But it all could be because i admire Fred Wilson and he favors the model as well.
So Freemium it is for me. with a side dish of features if i may.