On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 12:29 AM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
My thesis [when I started Groups.io] was that I could create a good business around it.
The per-member pricing structure ... aligns revenue with costs.
Okay, well in that case, I think we can be clear that the purpose of Groups.io is to make money
, and free groups have a limited and specific set of purposes, namely (a) it allows people to play around with the system without paying, (b) it serves as a bit of marketing in that it shows the groups.io brand to a few more people and (c) it offers a way for groups to temporarily go into a type of hiatus without the need to recreate everything when the group starts back up again.
To put it differently, free groups are not the main reason for Groups.io, and the purpose of paid groups isn't simply to help subsidize free groups.
Having come to terms with the above, I would then suggest a different pricing structure:
- Bronze group: no credit card required, 100 members max, 1 GB storage, basic group.
- Silver group: credit card required, 100 members free, plus $0.05 per additional member per month, 10 GB storage, basic plus collaboration and donations.
- Gold group: $10 per month for up to 250 members, plus $0.05 per additional member per month, 20 GB storage per 250 members, all premium features.
- Platinum group (i.e. Enterprise, with an entirely different pricing structure)
Additional notes or ideas:
- My reasoning for the silver group is to allow groups who might want to be come larger or use more features to be able to do so without a very sudden change in pricing. Also, allowing donations for such groups would allow the owners to start gathering money for a potential switch to gold.
- For silver and gold plans, allow owners to set a preferred maximum annual payment (e.g. $10, $20, $50, etc.) and then receive warnings when that amount is approaching (or the calculated average of it is approaching), and/or when the chosen amount is reached, the group is switched to no-mail (i.e. posting by mail allowed, but reading via web only) and no further uploads to files and photos are allowed until the owner updates the limit.
- I suggest giving bronze groups a "limited" collaboration suite, i.e. 150 MB files, 150 MB photos, 150 rows database, 15 pages wiki, so that they can get used to using these tools and get to see the advantage of paying for it. Silver and gold groups get the full collaboration suite (i.e. up to their respective maximums).
- Another way to reduce bronze groups' cost is to always convert attachments to links (silver and gold groups can choose to have attachments delivered).
- An alternative way of pricing gold groups would be $10 per month for every 250 members or part thereof (so that 300, 400 or 500 members would all be $20 per month). The advantage of this for group owners is a more predictable cost at the end of the invoicing period.
- Let users be counted as members only if they are members for more than 10 days. This allows people to join a group, look around a bit, and then leave again, without affecting the group numbers or costing the group owner any money.
- An alternative arrangement is to set the free number for silver groups at 50 instead of 100. This means that you get money from silver groups quicker, but it is still advantageous for silver groups because they get more storage and they get collaboration and donations. The fee structure should encourage groups that are willing to pay to start paying as soon as possible, without making it too expensive for them initially or when they're a small group. Or make both the bronze and silver group's free limit 75 members (it's just simpler).
- 10% discount for annual instead of monthly payments on the gold plan (I don't see how that can work on the silver plan).