Thursday, October 04, 2007

The End of Free is free again

Actually, The End of Free was always free, but the original domain has been picked up by a domain squatter so I moved it to for archival purposes. For the better part of 4 years, this blog chronicled the move to paid services by early web companies. Anil Dash and I were just talking about when Evan Williams started this blog that it was one of the first inside industry blogs on the planet. I thought there might be some fun things to see in the history of the site. It turns out that there are like this link to MySpace back when it was an online storage site. The archives start way back in March 2001 and ran through April 2005 with a lot of links to 404'd pages (guess the web isn't as permanent as it could be). I don't know if this will be enough to get the contributors posting again but in the meanwhile enjoy the past.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

[BusinessWeek] Will Meetup Users Pay or Leave?

"In a mass e-mailing on Apr. 12, Meetup told its 2 million members that it's time for their groups to pay up. Starting May 1, organizers of each Meetup group, of which there are currently 54,000 that are actively managed, will have to pay $19 a month, though existing groups will pay only $9 a month for the rest of 2005. Organizers then can ask members to chip in. [...] It's hardly Meetup's first stab at making money. Since it launched in June, 2002, the site has tried to make money at least three different ways, from charging local meeting places for group referrals to offering individual memberships. The privately held company won't reveal revenues but concedes that no income source has really caught fire."

Friday, March 18, 2005

[Advertising] 2005 Selling Subscriptions to Internet Content Summit: May 10-11 NYC

This year's ContentBiz event will feature 12 sites to present their case studies:, New York Times, Audible,, BeerNet, HighBeam Research,, Network Subscriptions, Time Inc, and Motley Fool. You'll walk away with a list of practical changes you can make immediately to improve your conversions and lower churn rates. $795 early bird special pricing ends today, Friday 3/18.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Seven Lessons in Selling B-to-B Subscriptions from Hoover's

Interesting case study, especially on how to let a fee-based content site surface in organic search engine results.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

[CNet] Friendster befriends blogs--and fees

"Friendster, a so-called social networking site of linked personal profiles, launched a beta, or test version, of Friendster Blogs, a section of the site that lets people post and archive the daily musings known as blogs. [...] Friendster Blogs, [...] underlying technology is provided by San Francisco-based Six Apart [...]

The default option when users sign up for a blog is Friendster Blogs Basic, for $4.95 per month or $49.50 per year. That option boasts extra storage and bandwidth.

Friendster Blogs Pro, for $14.95 per month or $149.50 per year, offers "expert control over HTML, archive types and unlimited Web logs. Perfect for advanced users," the company said in a statement.

Friendster Blogs Plus, for $8.95 per month or $89.50 per year, lets users create photo albums, keep up to three blogs, and personalize the look of the blog."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

[CNet] LinkedIn to introduce fees

"Social networking site LinkedIn will soon begin charging employers $95 per job listing [...] LinkedIn, a site geared to professionals that claims more than 2 million members, on Tuesday is expected to unveil its first paid product, the LinkedIn Jobs network, along with the LinkedIn JobsInsider browser add-on. [...] LinkedIn said it had 300,000 job listings and expected to top 1 million by summer."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

[Tom Evslin] Subscription Pricing

"Customers like subscription pricing. In fact, they are willing to pay a premium for predictability and simplicity. If you can find a way to price a service at a flat monthly rate, you can make a better profit per customer and attract more customers than if your pricing is based on reading a meter. You also save a fortune in detailed billing, dispute resolution, and issuing credits.


Back in the early days of popular use of the Internet, ISPs including AOL and MSN charged by the minute for dialup access with no cap. People were afraid to sign up because they thought they might leave their PCs on and get huge bills. Some small ISPs experimented with subscription pricing; all the access you could use for $19.95. When we started AT&T WorldNet Service, we borrowed that idea and popularized it with the still hugely powerful AT&T brand behind it. Some said we’d go broke; others that we would ruin the Internet.

To hedge our bets, we also offered a metered access plan. We didn’t want to lose out on people who planned to spend less that $19.95 per month. To our surprise, people typically converted themselves from metered access to subscription when their monthly bill was around eleven or twelve dollars. And their usage didn’t spike after conversion. People were paying a premium for predictability and simplicity. With a subscription plan, they didn’t feel they had to keep track of minutes to make sure they weren’t being overcharged and they weren’t worried about surprises."