Pro accounts tomorrow - will shave my beard

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16 Dec 2008 21:35

Tomorrow is the big day for and our Team — we will officially make Pro accounts available to our users.

So far Wikidot has been free and our revenue came mostly from online advertising. But obviously there are a few problems associated with the model of "provide free service, monetize the traffic":

  • You need to have very large traffic to generate large revenues; most of Web 2.0 projects do not have sufficient traffic to generate sufficient revenues, and this includes Facebook, Digg and vast majority of smaller services that need to rely on investors' money. Also connected with scaling, running costs, infrastructure etc. Wikidot is located in Poland which makes things a lot easier because many costs are much lower here.
  • In these "uncertain times" revenue from ads is not guaranteed to be stable enough, we cannot safely assume the today optimistic trend remains unchanged.
  • There are many users that require features that do not fit in the free model — like more storage, SSL or other features that consume significant server resources and cost us real $$. The most reasonable solution is to provide such services with a fee.
  • Psychological aspect: free = less responsibility and reliability (e.g. business users notoriously avoid free services). This is not really true in our case, because we do our best to provide highest quality of the service we can and I dare say we are quite good at it, but still many people do not believe you can get a quality service for free. Some people (and this includes me when using other services) prefer paid services because of better support, better reliability or even that sweet feeling of being special.

So, we are changing the model from free service to free service + paid extensions. We can clearly see that many people appreciate Wikidot as a free service. For the last two years being free was our key to success. But as I noted above, being solely free has serious disadvantages. What we will try to do is to combine the best of both worlds by offering:

  • free accounts and free sites — more or less as it is now, perhaps with a bit less features, but still perfectly sufficient for personal pages or even large forums.
  • Pro accounts and Pro sites — pay extra, get extra. If our free offer is not enough, our users can easily extend their accounts, create more sites, get several GB of storage for their data and much more.

Pro and Pro+ accounts are packed with useful features and extensions and we believe that people using Wikidot for serious applications will find the upgrade worth paying for.

I deeply believe the introduction of paid model will not only improve the experience of paying user, but will also let us invest even more money and work in the whole Therefore owners of free accounts should also benefit from this change in our strategy.

And now about my beard


When working on the Pro accounts we faced numerous problems, some causing frustration, other making us regret we live in Poland, where some simple things are enormously complicated. So many that I will describe them in a separate post. At some point, annoyed by the delays caused by various factors, I decided: "I am not shaving my beard until we launch Pro accounts".

There are several rumors about my beard and various opinions — from "you look great with this beard" (thanks Mom) to "kissing you is like peeling my face with a brush" (yeah, at least I can concentrate on my work a bit more) or "Daddy, where should I kiss you now" — "Try the forehead, dear" :-D

Now, unless something unexpected happens, we are introducing Pro accounts tomorrow, so I am going to get a brand new "shaving equipment" and restore my previous look.

It is late night right now — I will try to get some rest. Tomorrow is an important day, we cannot screw this. Expect a new blog post tomorrow!

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