locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Samuel Murrayy

On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 06:22 PM, Ellen Moody wrote:
I am told in this one these changes are "industry standard,"
so these pricing strategies were known originally.

Although Mark did mention a per-member or per-user pricing structure a year ago, I don't think your logic follows.   Mark's comment that per-user pricing is "industry standard" is just his personal opinion.  There isn't really an industry standard for services such as Groups.io.  It all depends on how you classify Groups.io.

If you classify Groups.io as a messenger service and further classify it as a business-to-business or company-internal messenger service, then yes: per-member pricing appears to be the norm, but that makes sense because the employer pays for his employees to be able to use the service, or because the group owner or group members make money from using the service (i.e. they will make less money if they don't use the service).  However, my impression is that in 99% of cases in Groups.io, group members are not the employees of the group owner, nor do the group owners or group members have any reasonably quantifiable financial benefit from their membership, so it can be argued that this classification is irrelevant to Groups.io despite it being a "messenger" service.

I have sympathy with Mark -- I speculate that he was hoping that by adding business-like services to Groups.io he could exploit Groups.io in that particular niche, but if he intends to go that route, then he needs to ensure that customers who can pay do pay, and this means reducing the value of free or basic groups to a level that makes it unsuited for any such commercial purposes except in the miniature.  The problem with Groups.io is that there is nothing that distinguishes the community use from commercial use (although Mark did try, by removing certain barely business-like features from the free groups), and you can't just rely on people's honesty that they will register a "business" account when they [start to] make commercial use of it.

I see a lot of posts here about donations this and donations that, but I'll wager Mark's main problem isn't getting money from basic groups that are truly communities, but rather getting money from basic groups who are free-loading in a community habitat for non-community-like purposes.  I mean, solving the problem of how to give donations isn't going to solve Mark's main problem of how to get money from people who are target users for paid services.

To get back to your original comment: while it may have been known to some that some kind of per-user pricing structure was in the pipeline, "these pricing strategies" were not "known originally".  I don't think many people here considered that Groups.io would change the pricing structure to one that essentially kills it as a "community".  But perhaps the writing could have been seen, if you look at the history of basic, premium and enterprise groups on Groups.io:

In 2015 and 2016, premium groups were essentially the same as basic groups, except 10 GB of storage instead of 1 GB of storage, and enterprise groups were envisaged as some kind of privately branded Groups.io service (own domain name, own home page, presumably own branding, essentially unlimited control, and more storage).  By 2017, business-like features began to be added to premium groups -- RSVP tracking, membership tracking, direct adding. By 2018, premium groups also got API access, locking groups, banning domains, reposting, editing members, so the shift was clear that while premium groups previously were simply community groups with higher limits, now premium groups got more aimed at business use.  2019 saw calendar sync, event summaries and "donations" added to premium groups.

Then came the whole Yahoogroups closure and with it some emergency pricing changes (the price for moving groups increased 20-fold, and this had [unintended?] knock-on effects on premium group pricing), but the nature of basic, premium and enterprise groups remained the same.  I suspect that this sudden increase in membership prompted Mark to rethink his business model and focus more aggressively on coaxing basic groups to choose to become premium.  April 2020 saw subgroups become a premium service.  May 2020 saw size limit increases for premium groups.  A big change came in September 2020 when files, photos, wiki and database got rebranded as a "collaboration suite" and removed from the basic groups altogether.

Perhaps Mark thought that stripping basic groups of services and making these same services available in premium groups would convince many basic groups to become premium groups, but the sad fact (that Mark must have realised in the end) is that most basic groups have no intention of paying... ever.


Disclaimer: I don't know Mark personally, and my conjecture about what he might have been thinking is just that: conjecture.  The same applies to my impressions about what other people might have been thinking.

Join main@beta.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.