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:
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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