WordPress is a perfect example. Recently, new themes have been created which look great, until you scroll down and realise they come with a $50+ price tag. Or their new feature allowing users to change their theme’s font style, for $30, a year.
This is not the only company that has implemented some sort of ‘premium’ features. For a couple of years, Spotify has encouraged people to join their service for free, making revenue through advertisements. To remove these ads, users could upgrade to a paid account, however, Spotify have recently cut back on their free services, so push people towards paying these monthly subscriptions. Even the BBC have suggested that a fee may be added for watching programmes through iPlayer.
So will companies be successful from this strategy? Will users stay loyal and pay the fees, or will they leave and find other free services? It is hard to say, however, we have all heard of newspapers such as The Times, who took this risk, asking readers to pay £2 a week to view their online content. Many people believed this would have a disastrous effect on the company, however, the results are positive! Although they lost a significant amount of non-paying readers, there were still a lot of people who chose to subscribe, which meant that profits were high. As a result, a number of other companies have, or will follow suit.
So where does that leave us, the consumer? As more and more companies adopt this strategy, will we be paying out even more? Will our favourite sites like YouTube and Twitter follow suit? What do you think?
I would love to hear about any other companies that have taken this approach as well.