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Freemium to Premium

By April 19, 2010 No Comments

“If it’s free, it’s for me.” – Gilbert Thomas Hall

But what happens when it’s not free… anymore? This was the case for thousands* of people last week when Ning announced that the service was no longer supporting free sites. Which leads to questions about people changing the rules on us mid-stream.

Are we more ok with having web start-ups change the rules on us and make their once paid site, free. Is it more upsetting when entire call centers getting outsourced?

For clarity, we can turn to Wired’s Chris Anderson who talked with Matt Bowman of Vator.tv about the implications of Ning moving away from a free price:

I’m a huge Ning fan (and a paying customer) so I support this move. Freemium worked well to get them to their current size (large and growing) and I don’t blame them for focusing on their paying core now. Now that they’ve reached critical mass, they may not need the free components anymore to get awareness.

That’s one take on the situation, another could be that they really need to make money… It is interesting to think, though, that free to a point may have been Ning’s actual business model all along once they reached a certain number of customers. If it were, would Ning have done better by their users to let that cat out of the bag from the start?

* may actually be more or less than thousands if I were to research the number