Freemium: Time vs Use

I wish that freemium models would give up on the free trial by time/date limit. Freemium pricing would be more successful for those of us that evaluate a lot of software, apps and platforms for work if it were all based on number of uses instead.

One example is Sprout Social. I hear someone talking about it, and get interested in seeing behind the curtain – I think it might help a client. I sign up, set it up, then a (different) client project takes priority. I spend two weeks on actual work for clients, and not on a 14-day free trial. At the end of the “14 day free trial” I get the email message that I have a report waiting – this serves to remind me that I’d signed up for a trial and not used the service.

I sign in to see what the report says and get a note that I have to pay for the service.  Well, fair enough – if the Sprout service is awesome, I’d love to. But could Sprout have shown me the report first to entice payment, since I’d had no logins with the service at all during the trial period? Or could Sprout have made it a trial of “14 (fourteen) 24-hour login and use periods” instead of “14 days in a row”? That way I would have actually seen the program in action.

I realize this is a problem specific to someone who does what I do for a living that needs to be an early adopter of just about everything, but I can’t help but think that it would be helpful for the average user who also is busy running a business as well if all freemium models went to “uses” and not time frames for their trials.

What do you think? Is the freemium by time frame trial model broken? How would you change it?

One Comment

  1. Anika Okje Erdmann April 6, 2012

    You made a very good
    point in your article : 
    Everybody I have talked to so far, is not very happy about this nagging Freemium model – but they are also not willing to pay for the Premium version.

    Kachingle Premium has solved a big problem of the Freemium world, along with the power of Crowdsourcing — especially micropayments.

    Until now, no one has found a way to make micropayments efficient and
    user-friendly, and many Freemium app vendors are struggling with low conversion
    rates. The company, Kachingle,  has solved both problems with
    their patent-pending, micro-payment platform. (

    So the Freemiumuser will be easier converted into Premium ones and there will be no “nagging” anymore. 🙂


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