If you are reading this, you probably use one or more freemium web services. One example of a freemium service is Flickr. It’s been my web photo service for years, and for the last few years, I’ve paid for a Pro account.
This blog is hosted at another freemium service: WordPress.com. I pay for some premium services, including domain mapping (which is the reason you’re seeing this site as changingway.org rather than as changingway.wordpress.com).
How much are you willing to pay for the premium version of a freemium service? Two prices seem particularly salient. One price reflects the value of the premium version, including the features in the free version and the features added by the premium option. A second price reflects the value of the premium features, ignoring the value of the free features.
There are other answers to the question, besides the two prices described. In particular, some people will refuse to pay anything at all.
That said, I think that a lot of people will answer the question with one or other of the two prices. So, at the risk of over-explaining, I’ll be more explicit about the two prices. The first price is value (free features + premium features). The second is value (premium features only). For example, in deciding whether $25 is a reasonable price for a year of Flickr Pro, are you thinking about what a Pro user gets, or only about what a Pro user gets and a user of the free Flickr service doesn’t?
Maybe I should use a polling service to gather response to my question. A freemium polling service, perhaps? It just so happens that I recently signed up for such a service: GoPollGo, “a social polling application” that I found via TechCrunch.
You can respond to the question about freemium pricing over at GoPollGo. Or you can leave your response to the question, or any other comment you want to make on the freemium pricing issue, right here.
I just read A Future History of the CD Revival. Ten years from now, there are clubs based around burning music CDs. The physical discs aren’t just pleasingly shiny.
Unlike today’s collaborative, crowdsourced, and automatically generated playlists, a CD’s tracklisting is fixed, and the CD-burning scene is an opportunity for music lovers to show their deep individual loves of music, its sequencing and presentation.
The article is at Pitchfork. I found it via a selection of the top music articles of 2010, which I in turn found via Largehearted Boy.
I appreciate LHB’s music and lit blog, especially his curatorship of the certain musical strands of the web. He often points in turn to selections, so we have multiple levels of curatorship here…
Yahoo has had a bad year. In a week or so, I’ll probably be able to update this post with a link to a timeline (I’m sure someone will do a Yahoo review for 2010).
The current month might be labelled the December of dumping Delicious, one of the hot social media properties when we used to call social media Web 2.0. A recent review at Mashable reminds us that Yahoo initially declared Declicious’ status to be “sunset,” then declared it to be for sale, but adds that a sale of Delicious might not be easy or even appropriate.
I use Yahoo for two things. One is email. I’d like to be able to get to my Ymail from the Android mail app, but since basic Yahoo mail doesn’t allow straightforward use of IMAP or SMTPs, I have to use the Android browser.
I also use Flickr. My Flickr Pro account is one of the few examples of my paying for a freemium service.
I’ve been very happy with Flickr, and have not been too annoyed since the Yahoo acquisition. So maybe my Flickr photo for this post about Yahoo is rather snide; or maybe Yahoo is like a precarious, storm-battered shack.
But my confidence is Yahoo has sunk below the point at which I can recommend Flickr. It has not yet sunk below the point at which I will use Flickr.
As we head into 2011, I’m regretting that each of the two Yahoo services I use is rather sticky. Perhaps it was silly to use an email address with a domain I don’t own (andrew at changingway dot org, now that makes more sense). I have thousands of photos at Flickr, some of which are linked to from this blog and from other sites.
Perhaps Yahoo will be the comeback kid of 2011. I don’t see that happening, though.
Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) with social media features. My wish to kick the tires was quickly granted, in the form of the verification of my signing up as a teacher.
I created a course on Schoology. I should clarify that. Do I mean I created a course about Schoology, or that I created a course at schoology.com? Yes, to both. What I created is very much a first version.
You can check out Schoology and the course by going to schoology.com and using access code GT24N-XBSBF. Hope to see some of you there. Since I need to approve registrations using that code, feel free to email me (andrew at changingway dot org) so that I can respond to your registration request promptly.
I’ve long been an admirer of 37signals. Today, Jason Fried announced the 37signals suite. The suite comprises 4 web apps: Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. The last of these is for online chatting, the first three for managing, respectively, projects, contacts, and stuff.
There are three pricing options, starting at $99/month. It’ll be interesting to see how and if that changes. 37signals like to keep things simple, while some of their clients will have “but I want more of this and less of that with price more like that” comments.
It’s interesting to see that this is not a freemium offering. There is no $0 small-scale or trial version of the suite.
37signals is the best example I know of a firm with a strategy. By strategy, I mean propensity to respond to requests with: No, that’s not what we do. In particular:
- 37s does not believe in losing money to gain clients. It has always priced for profit. There are $0 versions of the apps, but they are intended for trial, not for extended free-of-charge use.
In terms of my own use, I like the first of these things a lot more than I like the second. One of the reasons I stopped using Backpack was because my use outgrew the $0, but my inclination to pay didn’t. I do currently use Highrise.
What should 37s do next? Well, what I’d like them to do is a Learning Management System (LMS). A ruthlessly uncluttered LMS would allow focus on learning from the course, without wasting cycles navigating the LMS. But I don’t think that an LMS is on the 37s radar, and so I’ll keep on writing about other LMSs.
Netflix is now a digital video streaming company first that happens to also offer DVDs by mail, observes Forrester’s James McQuivey at Paid Content (via RWW). Netflix is starting to deliver more content by streaming than my mail.
That’s mostly good news, although it does rely on Netflix being able to stream. It was down a few minutes ago (but is back up right now). Netflix does downtime less gracefully than a certain whale-watching site I could mention: it blamed my computers, got stuck on at the license stage. It didn’t own up to having problems, and it didn’t show me a cute animal. Then again, Twitter has had more practice with downtime than has Netflix.
That suggests a couple of games. The first is to come up with a mascot for Netflix downtime. I suggest the Netflix narwhal, but will leave the artwork/implementation to others. Then there’s the Netflix version of rock-paper-scissors. Downtime beats streaming, which beats discs, which beat downtime. I hope that streaming wins…
If you ask most students and instructors what they think of Learning Management Systems (LMS), you’re probably going to get one of two responses: “What’s a Learning Management System?” or “I really hate the system we have to use.” (Typically, there’s a company name attached.)
Blackboard is the typically-attached company/LMS name. It’s the LMS I’ve had to use as teacher and as student, and the above paragraph reflects my experience. The paragraph by Audrey Watters at RWW. It opens an post about Schoology, “a startup that seeks to address many of the pain points of the LMS.”
Schoology apparently has the look and feel of the social networking sites with which students are familiar. That sounded interesting, so I signed up. I wanted to kick the tires right away. I signed up as a teacher, and went into verification limbo. I hope to be able to get going soon. It would be possible to start learning about Schoology right now, through relatively passive means such as reading blog posts (such as the recent post on updates to the service). But, as usual, I prefer more active learning.
I’m hoping that Schoology is a real LMS, focused on learning and on the student. Blackboard always felt to me like a TMS – a teaching management system – focused as much on the teacher as on the students.
Mashable Ben’s recent op-ed on Facebook, Twitter and The Two Branches of Social Media prompted me to ask two of my favorite questions. How does this fit in with what I’ve posted? How does WordPress fit in?
Ben’s two branches are social networks and information networks. They correspond respectively to connection and content. The correspondence isn’t exact: for example, I see connection and content as two elements of that mix in different ways in different social media tools, rather than as separate branches. I agree with Ben that the distinction between social networks (which emphasize connection) and information networks (which emphasize content) illustrates a fundamental difference between Facebook and Twitter.
WordPress is more about content than about connection in that it’s more for building information networks than for building social networks. But of course, WordPress is a platform on which you can build pretty much what you want, and social networking has already been built on top of it, in the form of BuddyPress.
I’ve long thought of the web as being about two things: content and connection. According to research by Forrester, connection is growing, while content creation is flat. I find this rather sad, since the ease of publishing is one of the things I like about the web.
There are posts at GigaOm and at Mashable, each of which provides a table showing that the percentage of web users considered Creators has dropped a little over the past year in both the USA and the EU. Neither post links to a post or page at Forrester. It seems strange that there isn’t a post at the Groundswell blog, since Groundswell seems to have provided the framework for the research.
Update, the following morning: there is now a post at Groundswell.
You’re reading this on some kind of client: a laptop, a desktop, a smartphone. This post, along with the software that runs it, lives on a server (operated by WordPress.com). There’s probably a connection between the client and the server at the time you’re reading this.
How big is the client? How is work split between client and server? These are questions addressed at GigaOm by Michael Mullany of Sencha.
In the mainframe age, data and application state were stored at the server tier, and the client device was a stateless (and therefore cheap) terminal. But in the client-server era, application logic moved down from the server-side to the end-user workstation…
In the web era, we returned to the mainframe model of thin clients and fat servers…
But now, HTML5 heralds the return of state and application processing to the client-side device.
The argument is that parts of the HTML5 standard describe means of storing web pages and data at the client side. The pages can then be used at even when there is no connection between client and server. This part of the standard will soon be implemented in browsers.
This means that the client will get fatter. In particular, it means that part of the (server side) cloud will be condensed into a client side puddle.
If (and I won’t go into whether that’s a thin or fat if) this comes to pass, it has several interesting implications.
- There’s a need for excellent heuristics to populate the client-side puddles. If the locally-stored page links to another page, does that other page get stored? What about its links?
- We are a way away from ubiquitous high-speed connectivity. If and when we have that, clients can go back to being thin again. If we had it now, we wouldn’t be interested in client-side puddles.
- Good for the browser that implements this part of the standard. Perhaps not so good for apps?
- Good for the operating system that exists mainly to run the browser, such as Chromium OS.