Paying (or not) online

The continuing – and ever-more raucous – debate on paid content online got me thinking about what I pay for and why. Here’s the list:

  • MobileMe – not sure why I pay for this, except that I was caught up in the hype and haven’t got round to doing anything about it. There are probably better services like Dropbox, but there you are…
  • Flickr – I’ve been a Pro user for a long time, inspired to pay extra to remove the monthly upload limits.
  • Remember the Milk – I upgraded to paid status in order to sync this excellent to do list program with my iPhone
  • MindMeister – an online mind mapping tool which is really superb. I upgraded to remove the cap on charts which I could create and share.
  • Evernote – a brilliant note application . I was managing fine with the free account until it became really useful and I found myself dangerously near my monthly limit. I was happy to upgrade
  • Wall Street Journal – just because….I have subscribed for a long time. Would I miss it if my subscription lapsed? A bit I suspect…
What’s interesting about this list is that with the one exception on the end of the list what I pay for is functionality rather than straight content. In all those cases the services offered have many competitors but I was tempted to eventually pay be trying the service out, often for a long time, and really getting used to the value it provided.

All these services offered rich functionality, but there was a restriction which would only become an inconvenience if I was getting a lot of value (and use) out of the service – but not until (that is the important point). Those services which tried to get my money by crippling the service until I paid, didn’t convince me to become a customer as I never got beyond the (irritated) experimentation stage.

I’m more and more convinced that this kind of model is the one with the most legs on the web right now, and I expect we will see a lot more currently free services offering this kind of “freemium” model, described so well in Chris Anderson’s recent book . This is the model that, in the content world, the FT is trying with its article limit.

It’s a model well worth studying more.

Posted via email from jmuttram’s posterous

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