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Ask HN: Total Dick or Totally Awesome
8 points by cyberpanther 1712 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite
I recently turned my hosted Google Drive code editor, https://neutron-drive.appspot.com/, from being free to $3.99/year. Many people think I'm a dick for switching from free to paid. But something has gotta pay for the hosting and development time in the future. I also gave all existing customers a free year. So is this a total dick move? Or am I totally awesome for trying to make a sustainable product? Also what alternative ways of generating revenue are there if this is too much of a dick move?

I think it's a good thing. $3.99 per year is really affordable, and not just in the US. It's better to have a sustainable model than having to stop development on an awesome product.

Some alternative revenue suggestions:

- A "pay whatever you want" model, where people set their own price. They could set it to 0.0, but I don't think they'd want to.

- A free version with a limited set of features, but this can be a pain.

I like the idea of a free version but think it may take long to generate revenue. For Evernote I think it takes on average one year to convert a customer from free to paid. If I had investment I would probably do it because you grow your audience and then eventually make money. But for me I'm hoping this will be smaller audience who can make this a solid small business.

Good article about the possible pitfalls for freemium: http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/14/3647410/punch-quest-goes-...

I think freemium actually works but you have to give some time.

Why aren't you charging more for this? Serious question. Does the value your service provides your users equal $3.99? More? Less?

What line of thought resulted in $3.99/year? Are you interested in this being a business or is this just a hobby?

[edit: explanation] I ask this because there is no way I would pay $3.99/year for something like this. At that price, you have no real reason to keep the service running and thus I wouldn't risk becoming dependent on it. I will use free things from Big G and company but if I am going to use a niche service, I want to know the developer is motivated enough to make it better and keep it alive.

I couldn't agree more.

I'd actually be happier paying $3.99 a MONTH if the tool was in any way important to me.

If you're feeling guilty about charging, a) don't - it's your time you're using up to make this thing! and b) spend, say, 50% of the money you make on improving the tool.

3.99 is because I want to generate some revenue in the short term, but still have it basically free. In the long term there will be premium features that will cost more. Once these become popular I may even go to a freemium model. But for right now I want it cheap to get a lot of users but also try to generate revenue to at least fund part time development. Right now I'd rather have more users then fewer at a higher price.

This is also all subject to change as I'm just trying to find out what works. But right now my thought is this should be as cheap as an android or iphone app.

$3.99/year is nothing. I can't believe people would hate on that.

In my experience it's common for a significant portion of developers to undervalue their skills and the value of the stuff they make. So - no, it's a not a dick move, and the large majority of people will get why you did it. Now as for the rest - there's always someone who responds to any change in a negative way. Ignore these people (almost always). Only get worried when you make changes or do 'something', and no-one seems to care; even a negative response is indicative of interest in what you are doing.

$4/year is obscenely cheap. In fact, you could probably charge an order of magnitude more.

It's not a dick move.

you are not a dick and have nothing to be sorry for. You are not charging enough quite frankly.

Anyone who bemoans what you are doing should be embarrassed.

Ok this is an awesome idea. I'm a student and really cheap and I don't really like using my credit card to buy things online but this is awesome. This is what I was searching for for about a week last year. Google docs/cloud based code editor. Great job.Does this support collaborative coding? Awesome man. I was looking for exactly the same thing wow.

Right now it does not, but if Google release an API for this I'll be on it.

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