Just read an interesting comment at Tara Hunt's blog where someone wrote about MovableType and its pay model. I’ve never actually used it since WordPress is so spot on super perfect for me, but anyway.
These days, making users pay for web apps may be the beginning of an end if you’re not specifically developing for business/corporate/advanced use. On a personal level, there’s not much I would pay for on the internet considering how much great free stuff there is. (Oops.) Of course, things are never black and white. What about the grey areas?
If the particular service or application requires heavy server power or a lot of maintenance, then that needs to be payed for. If your service is way better than anything else out there or if you’ve got something completely new and clever, then maybe you want to set a price because you can.
You get my point; there are reasons. And it makes business sense to charge for a service you’ve spent time and sometimes money on creating but what are your personal beliefs? We need to take those into consideration here as well and not sell ourselves out completely.
Many people seem to go for a free version and a premium version. That’s the Web 2.0 way of doing things, right? I like it, I really do, because we can encourage people to use the application without any cost involved. It’s about providing something of value to someone. However, monetization is needed to keep the wheel spinning and I do understand peoples financial motives.
I’m working on one of those personal projects that keep piling up in my spare time - you know how it is. My idea is to be provide a free version for personal use, generous with features and specs. It’s important to keep these users happy and be as useful as possible to them. While this makes business sense, my personal beliefs are also that people shouldn’t have to pay to make their life a little easier. Within reasonable boundaries.
However, there’s the commercial/business/advanced users that for some reason need a little bit more. It makes sense that if these people need more specs/features than everyone else, they can pay a small (or large) fee. Especially for commercial/business users that actually make money and save time by using the application.
Of course, there are loads of complications along the way to the perfect pay model. Just like in politics, there’s a large amount of factors to consider. I guess you could say that this is part of the business politics and as usual you can never really satisfy everyone.
Then again, I’m not a professional in the field just yet so I may not be the worlds most credible source. But I believe a good business model is one that mainly focuses on encouraging people to use your app, not pay for it - even though the latter is most often a necessity.