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is it me or is it a little bit pricey in the mid range? 1 million page views is nothing, and then you are stuck in a $999 plan without actual traction to monetize.

And there is no reason to be stuck on a $999 plan on a shared server, if for $300 bucks more you can get unlimited + dedicated server.

Seems like the $999 plan should be $499 instead, and the $1299 plan should be $999.

And come to think of it, the pricing seems pretty high. Let's face it, the software is very simple and could be duplicated very quickly. Why pay $999/mo, when you can have a few hackers code it up in a couple of weeks for a few grand.

Hell, someone should do it here, would be a decent startup idea, copy them, but charge $29.99/$59.99/$99.99 for your plans.

Why pay $999/mo, when you can have a few hackers code it up in a couple of weeks for a few grand.

The long road of our industry is littered with the corpses of projects which would only take a few programmers a couple of weeks to program. But technical risk isn't the big worry here for a startup.

Hell, someone should do it here, would be a decent startup idea, copy them, but charge $29.99/$59.99/$99.99 for your plans.

That hypothetical startup would be:

a) Trying to market the product without having a successful reference implementation available and without having Joel & Jeff to bootstrap the reference implementation.

b) Be aimed squarely at the low end of the market. (i.e. penny-pinching pathological customers rather than enterprises for whom $1,000 is inconsequentially cheap if it brings projects in on time) This buys you some very fun customer support duties.

c) Need to sell minimally several dozen companies on a quirky knowledge-base type product per FTE they wanted to support.

d) Get to compete on search advertising with someone who can afford to outspend them ten-to-one for customer acquisition.

The first part, I wasn't talking about building it. I was talking about a customer, who is stuck paying $999-2500 a month, for a product that can be built by a few programmers in a few weeks.

That hypothetical startup wouldn't need to give customer service. You want customer service and like paying large fees? Go to stackexchange, you want a working solution at a huge discount? You come to the hypothetical startup.

Basically its the case of Stackexchange playing the role of a big pricey inbred company, and you giving them the 34signals option


3 programmers * 2 weeks * $100/h = $24k

Or, the ability to run this right now for 10m to 2 years.

To be fair, the average programmer is not earning $180-200k per year, not even the average contractor.

Correct. But the total cost of hiring a programmer is easily estimated as 3*salary. $200k/year is a fairly cheap full-time programmer with overhead.

Don't forget to include all the office space, gym membership, soda, insurance, maternity leave, matching 401(k) contributions, hardware, software, internet access, telephone service, tech support, sysadmins, office managers, etc. necessary to support that one programmer.


>> the software is very simple and could be duplicated very quickly

As is said so many times in what we do, if it's that simple why don't you hire a few hackers for a few weeks, build it, and then compete with them? SE has a very polished platform, unbeatable service (presumably, since it's backed by Fog Creek), and a great sample implementation that you can look at to see exactly how much information is exchanged/value is added to your network. They've also got Joel and Jeff, two very prominent voices in the space.

As for the price point, I don't think they're going for small five-person shops. My guess would be that they've got two markets targeted:

* The internal company knowledge base. In this, they'd be taking a run at a small part of Confluence, and the price point doesn't really matter. If you're in this space, $3K/month is nothing if it makes a production team more efficient.

* Support/community building for a third-party product. Most company support forums are, after all, basically a way for people to ask questions to fellow users/administrators. So why not optimize on a system that's designed specifically around asking and answering questions, as opposed to a form that's meant for discussions? What immediately comes to mind, for example, is BlackBerry third-party software development. It's not bad once you've got the hang of it, but it has a lot of tricky parts to get going and optimize. So RIM would get an SE site going and say "we encourage everyone to ask their questions here, and we'll have a team of a few community relations people hang out here to do what they can." Gives the community a focal point, and in a way that promotes getting things done, as opposed to complaining. Think of it like a version of GetSatisfaction for technical support.

Funny, I thought their pricing was too low, given that it essentially includes hosting and support keeping it up.

With their software and administration, you need nothing other than web-browser-commenter skills to get these sites launched.

$129 PER 1,000,000 page views.

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