A bit of candor on subscriptions

Over the last couple of months we’ve been hearing with increasing frequency that you need more envelopes. Believe us, we heard you. =)

As you probably know from reading our “What’s Beta Mean?” note on the website, we’ve been trying to work out a way to sustain the EEBA service long-term. We promised that we would keep a “free forever” version (the only reason that’s in quotes is because “forever” is something that nobody can really promise… =) ).

We’ve landed on a modest subscription fee for those in need of extra budgeting power. In this post, I’d like to explain a bit more about why we chose what we chose.

Why a Subscription and not a one-time fee?

There’s a simple answer to this one. The problem with a one-time fee is that, unlike with an application that is downloaded where data is just stored locally, because EEBA is built to sync—and that’s one of the features that I think is most helpful—our costs for running the service (hosting, data storage, backup, etc.) are all ongoing rather than one-time costs.

Why Subscriptions and not Ads?

A number of you have provided various suggestions (thanks!) including supporting a free service with advertising. You can see the lively conversation over here.

We’ve ultimately gone with our original intuition to be upfront about what you’re going to spend rather than take in fees on the backend.

We wouldn’t say that we have a fundamental problem with advertising. But when you consider that lots of companies spend a ton of money on marketing in order to create desires that you didn’t even know you had and to turn wants into needs, we thought that we would give you a tool that works a bit in the other direction.

By providing you with constant feedback about where you’re spending, our hope is that EEBA will give you back some control. And we think inserting advertising into a tool like this is counter-productive.

This is, of course, a bit of a risk, since if enough people don’t sign up for the paid plan it would make it difficult to support the service as a whole. But we’re hoping that enough of you have found EEBA helpful that you will decide it’s well worth a cup of Starbucks a month.

About Our Pricing

You’ll notice that we’ve priced our plans in round numbers $3, $5 and $8 a month instead of $2.99, $4.99 or $7.95.

Did you notice how you thought that second set of figures was significantly cheaper? Gotcha. A lot of research has gone into the psychological effect that using figures likes 9’s and 5’s has on buying behavior. That’s part of what we mean when we say that the marketers have the edge over us little folk when it comes to buying.

We want you to know exactly what you’re paying. Basically, we’re not going to be tricky about it. So we’ve gone with no-nonsense, everything laid bare pricing.

We’re glad, as always, to hear your thoughts about this or any other aspect of EEBA. Happy budgeting!

2 Comments

  1. Hi I have been using the free version of your app and would really like to upgrade to the full version. Unfortunately its not available in India yet.

    When it is available in India, I would really like it if you adjust the subscription fees. The fees though quite reasonable in the USA, work up to really high in developing economies, because of the exchange rates. To put things in context, an average movie ticket in the USA costs 10$, in India for exactly the same kind of cinema, the cost would be around 3$.

    I wish you would calibrate your subscription as per the purchasing power of people in that country, and I would be more than happy to buy. Thanks

    • Hi Ganesh,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      When you say that the upgrade is not available in India yet, what exactly do you mean by this? The upgrade is something that can be done on the site. The app is the same version that is freely downloadable from Android Market.

      With respect to pricing, I understand your situation. Unfortunately our costs are predominantly based in the United States, including per-transaction billing costs, customer service costs, etc. This makes it difficult to calibrate our subscription costs to the purchasing power of different countries.