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Web App Service Plan Subscriptions

Derek

We’re working on our subscription plans for Scout. While working on the plans,
we took a look at what other subscription-based services are charging for access.

There are some definite similarities, but a couple of peculiar differences.

Below is a quick sampling of what we found:

Service

Plan Options*

Credit Card Required?^

Free Plan Generosity

Basecamp

			Project Management

Free
$12
$24
$49
$99
$149

Yes

Gives you a solid overview. You’re walled into 1 project, can’t upload any files,
but you can invite unlimited people, create todos, send messages, etc.

Highrise

			Contact Management

Free
$12
$24
$49
$99
$149

Yes

Very limited. 2 users, no file storage, and a single case (a way to group items together). It’s difficult
for us to judge it unless we’re all using it to share information, and we
can’t do that with the free plan.

BlinkSale

			Invoicing

Free
$12
$24
$49

Yes

Very nice. Only major limitation is 3 invoices per-month.

FamSpam

			Family email, photo gallery, and archive

Free
$12
$24
$49

No

Free Plan is pretty open – 4 family members, 10MB of storage, 100 photos.

Wufoo

			HTML Form Builder

Free
$9
$24
$69
$199

Yes

It’s enough. You’re limited to 3 forms, 3 reports, and 10 fields per/form. No file storage.

FogBuzz on Demand

			Bug Tracking

$25 per/user

No

N/A

CrazyEgg

			Web Analytics Visualization

Free
$9
$19
$49
$99

Yes

Very generous. Track 4 pages, limited number of visits. Stats are updated in real-time, limited tracking and sharing.

 * - All prices per/month ^ - Only applies to paid plans 

All of the services but BlinkSale and Wufoo are dramatically more useful with more people. Why then does Highrise’s
free plan only allows 2 users (initially it was a single user)? 37Signal’s older product on the list, Basecamp, has unlimited users on
the free plan.

37Signal’s pricing model is widely copied (free/$12/$24/$49).

FamSpam and FogBuzz on Demand allow you to signup for a paying plan without supplying a credit card. I assume after 30 days you need
to enter credit card information. It’s an interesting idea because sometimes you don’t know if you need an advanced feature until you try it. The
tricky part about this strategy is handling accounts that don’t decide to pay. Do you suspend all functionality or just parts of the application
that paid plans can’t access? How to you handle access to data they may no longer have access to on a free plan?

On the surface, CrazyEgg appears to be the most generous with their free plan. Many people may only want heat maps on a couple of pages anyway and
how often the data is gathered may not be a major factor. There are a lot of people that could use their free plan perpetually.

Being too generous isn’t necessarily a good thing. It takes time and resources to support free accounts, and that can take away from
enhancements and service offerings to paying customers. Blinksale may have the best balance. You get most of the features, and if you’re willing
to pay for an invoicing solution, you’re probably sending more than 3 invoices a month.

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