moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Andy Wedge

On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 12:25 PM, Chris Jones wrote:
With all due respect to Mark I think that the proposed charging scheme is messy and unduly complex
I don't think it's complex although I do think some intermediate group priced between Basic and Premium would soften the blow for those that was to grow their group beyond 100 members

not improved by the addition of the Donate function.
It is now called Sponsorship (if we're talking about the same thing?)

IMHO a large part of that messiness and complexity is down to the the intention of maintaining grandfather rights to all the Basic (free) groups created hitherto and I honestly believe that nice as though those rights are they are no longer sustainable, and will become even less so as time passes.
I tend to agree that so called grandfathered groups effectively represent a financial hit to at the moment. It has been pointed out that over time, the number of grandfathered groups as a percentage of the total number of groups will diminish over time.  It will be important to attract new groups in order for this to happen and an attractive pricing structure must also be in place therefore.

In large part that is why I suggested the introduction of a charge per Account in the previous thread on the subject. As then mentioned the sort of charge I was suggesting was in the order of $5 per annum (or its equivalent in other currencies) which (if you think about it) is less than it costs to buy a newspaper every day for a week. Hardly unaffordable I would suggest; Dave mentioned hobby - based groups and $5 per annum is certain to be a great deal less than people spend on their hobbies.
My group is for a club which is a registered UK charity and has just over 1000 members.  We moved to for a number of reasons (including no tracking and no advertising) from a number of disparate Y! groups that previous members had created over the years, and over which the club and Committee had no control.  Each club member pays a membership fee and the cost of our Premium group is taken from club funds. We are currently 'grandfathered in' and so pay $110 per year.  Under your proposal of charging account holders of $5 per year, that would mean our costs would jump from $110 to in excess of $5,000 (approx. £3,700) which is simply not sustainable for us.  We could turn around and say to our members that an additional $5 (£3.60) is required from each of them to cover the costs but given that probably two thirds of them are email only, there are probably quite a few that will baulk at that just to receive club based emails and participate in email based discussions when they view email as free.  The net result will be that instead of 98% of our club members being on (the majority of email based users do not equate this with having a account) that percentage will reduce substantially and defeat the main purpose of us moving here in the first place, that being a simple and effective communication platform that can reach all members (everyone has email).

Some have argued that "people will leave if charged"; well... let them. Why should Mark or anyone else have to subsidise a group of people who expect a service such as to be free in perpetuity? What right have freeloaders (for want of a better term) to more or less demand that Premium or Enterprise Groups pay for them for ever?
I don't believe that Premium and Enterprise groups should subsidise free groups in perpetuity either and for that reason I would rather see a small charge for Basic groups from the outset. A small charge from a large number of Basic groups may mean that price increases for Premium and Enterprise groups are less substantial.  I think this, combined with an Intermediate group price point and perhaps even individual pricing for items in the Collaboration Suite would provide a more flexible approach and give group owners a smoother step up to the level they need to effectively run their group. The Sponsorship feature just introduced will provide some financial support for group owners but on its own, I don't think it's final solution.  Although Mark has, until now, managed to maintain grandfathered prices and features based upon group creation/upgrade date I don't think this will be sustainable in the long term. If prices need to rise to cover costs then it's probably better to start sooner and do it in smaller steps to avoid sudden shocks.

  I honestly believe that an "Account Charge" is the cleanest and best way forward, ensuring that has sufficient income for the future;
For the reasons stated above, I disagree. Even an account charge of $1 would see a 10-fold increase in our current costs. Unsustainable for us and I suspect many others. 


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