From Free to Freemium!

I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

You want the good news, eh? I admire your spirit …

I’ve decided to take this operation to the next level, that means incorporation, hiring other developers, and big plans for the future which will be revealed very shortly.

Now for the bad news, SlimTimer is going from a free to a freemium service.

That means that, like many other web 2.0 properties, there will continue to be a free version of SlimTimer but there will also be premium (paid) service levels.

Monetizing SlimTimer was always on the table but my original desire was to make SlimTimer’s premium tiers be completely feature based and not usage based. What I’ve found out is that there’s a reason almost all freemium services have some sort of usage component in addition to providing extra features: people don’t pay for features because they generally don’t know if what they’re worth it without using them first. Makes sense.

What I do I mean mean by usage component? Here are some popular web 2.0 tools and the usage components that figure into their freemium tiers.

  • Basecamp: # of active projects, file storage
  • Blinksale: # of invoices per month
  • Wufoo: # of forms, reports, fields and entries (phew!)
  • Tick: # of open projects

In addition, to a usage component there are a couple features that are pretty standard on premium plans like email support and SSL (on the higher premium tiers) which SlimTimer will copy. In addition, if we roll out integrations with other applications, such as QuickBooks, that may be something that becomes a premium only feature.

So you want to know what’s going to be limited in the free version of SlimTimer?

The truth is, I don’t know…. yet.

The obvious answer would seem to be that the number of active tasks should be limited.

Unfortunately in SlimTimer the number of active tasks currently reflects more about how people use SlimTimer (using many fine grained tasks vs using a task per project) rather than how much they get out of SlimTimer. Also, it has the undesirable side effect of incentivizing the use of as few tasks as necessary rather than being very granular. I find that to be unfortunate since I’ve always been pretty happy with SlimTimer being fairly agnostic about how you use tasks and letting you determine a system that works best for you.

Some other ideas (not saying they’re good ones) would be to limit the number of…

  • Reports Run
  • Hours logged per week
  • Entries created per day
  • Tags
  • Shared Tasks
  • ???

… but I’m not really happy with any of those ideas.

I even considered letting people name their own monthly price for what they felt SlimTimer was worth to them. I still really like that idea, but it’s creates a lot of overhead in the billing department and I’ve been told that I’m being too idealistic.

I’m going to go back to my lab and ruminate on this, but I’m really curious to see what you guys (and gals) think about this. How you feel about the switch tofreemium? Any ideas on what should be limited in the free version? Any other ideas that I may have missed? What’s fair?

I’m going to follow the comments here closely and post again next week with a resolution, hopefully! Also, stay tuned for the long awaited and oft mentioned “next big thing” post, which I’ve actually already written. 🙂

Thanks for being SlimTimer users. It’s about to get a lot more fun!

Read our update on this issue

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