Freemium to Premium and back again

Freemium to premium and back again

This weekend I went thru a deep dive into a folder that I call ‘accounts’.

My objective was to sort thru the signups I have.

There is no absolute checklist. I intended to sort thru the procrastinations of ‘do I want this? /does it have a value to me that does not exist in its freemium iteration.’ These are the signups that exist in that grey area in-between the must haves and the ‘do I really want or need to continue this’. It’s a gut call.

Quickly down the list (because I just paid their fee and filed their billing statement) Vizify:

Background:

  1. I learned about Vizify from a tweet that a friend sent out. I was in a taxi; saw the tweet ‘check out my Vizify profile’. Logged in using a social profile, connected my accounts, clicked a few more things and long before my short trek was over, I completed the entire set up process for the free(mium) product. I showed it to my dinner guests and they loved it. It has/had a certain novelty and perhaps a cache to it and the entire sign up and install was an awesome experience and a great payoff.
  2. After a few days I wanted to tweak it a little with some optional (and still freemium) miscellany. Items like my favorite quote, music, recent pictures and make it a more complete ‘selfie’.
  3. Here the experience slowed and became tedious. I had work to do and it was very trial and error and painfully (for me) slow. To get my Vizify profile the way I wanted was not automated in the same way the signup was. Noted, the info I wanted to include doesn’t draw off the Twitter social graph or LinkedIn API so it couldn’t be repurposed to Vizify.
  4. I tweeted back & forth with their staff. They were immediately responsive and helpful about some small routine things such as pointing me to a configured, complete Vizify profile.
  5. After doing some polishing on my blog site, I thought it would be an interesting way of presenting, or accessorizing, my bio page with a Vizify profile. In order to do this required embedding the code. I go premium, $4 a month.

With that context here’s what happened in this instance

  1. I see that I have paid 2x for continuing the monthly premium service. There has been no other contact from the company that distinguished me as a premium consumer. They did send some emails saying ‘now is the time to update your twitter visuals’, which I did. However, that alert went out to all the users, free and paid. Why am I paying?
  2. I feel like they try and let me forget that I am paying a monthly fee. There is no regular email that reiterates the value/proposition or tells me best way to use it. Instead I just get a bill. I feel somewhat like they’ve built, at least for now, a revenue model built on breakage.
  3. Vizify is not an indispensable utility. There are other services that use the TWTR graph and LinkedIn API, etc., such as Resumup. Vizify in discretionary spending. I’m renting it.
  4. Netflix sends me an invoice each month but they also regularly communicate with me by email to remind me that I might like this or that program. And, every once in a while when I re-examine my ‘accounts’ folder, and come up to Netflix, I also reference the emails they sent me. I don’t watch “orange is the new black’ but I know it’s there because of their pings.

I cancelled Vizify (premium) service. Here are my takeaways:

I loved the initial customer service and quick, helpful responses. I appreciate that good quality, intimate customer service is a premium product and this made me more willing to spend. But with each bill I need a reminder of ‘why’ and I don’t feel I got that.

It always felt like an experiment to me. Whether I paid $4 a month or $10 a month was immaterial. How can a person precisely distinguish the value differential between such small amounts for a ‘compulsion like’ purchase? It was instead, a thoroughly read National Enquirer.

I am a salesperson, we like being sold and we appreciate paying premium for premium service/product. So, it wasn’t the money, nor was it, or would it be, aggravating to me to continue payments indefinitely. When I engaged with premium I considered this as a continuation of a due diligence. There’s something about freemium to premium that doesn’t engage me from the get go. Even though the ‘sale’ is complete, I still feel like it’s a trial, just this time a paid trial. That means I always had my finger on the ‘cancel’ trigger