Beeminder Forum

Mega Feature List (and Premium Revamp Discussion)


#12

Zeno Polling Alternatives:

Escalating Reminders (or Intensifying Nagging) as deadline nears?


#13

I like Escalating Reminders quite a lot!


#14

But just the cheap $4/mo plan, and existing goals are grandfathered. And all autodata integrations will stay free.

Dead man’s switch means we eventually turn off your goals if you go totally inactive.

And thanks to @peppertoni for describing zeno polling just now. That’s a much more newbee-friendly term.

PS: Great point about customizable akrasia horizon. That’s going to take more work though before we can generalize that.


#15

If I understand correctly from this thread—I wasn’t able to find any more about this by searching, but that may be me—then the new setup means I’ll have to pay a monthly fee to track more than three goals.

I have Thoughts about this.

I’ve been using BM since late 2014, and all that time, unlimited goals has been the norm. I understood the revenue model to be that BM earned on derails, and on people who paid for monthly subscriptions that added additional features. But “unlimited graphs” was a basic, free-version feature.

As an existing user for whom that will now change, it means that what felt like a basic component of the Beeminder program is now being whisked away. Now I’m going to have to start paying for something I thought was part of the basic setup. That feels crappy. It feels a little like “welp, we aren’t earning what we need to on people derailing, so let’s add in a way to bump up the earnings.” It makes me feel less wildly happy about paying BM when I derail, too.

What I don’t know is how much of this reaction is because I’m an existing user. That is, if I found Beeminder six months from now and the model was “try it for free on three goals forever, subscribe to track more than three,” I honestly doubt that would be a problem for me. It only feels icky now because it isn’t what I’ve had, and I thought what I had was the baseline. So I don’t think it will scare off new users. But I’m not a new user, and my initial response—bear in mind that the only info I have is what’s in this thread here—is to panic and try to figure out a way to survive without Beeminder. Three goals aren’t nearly enough for me, making BM pointless unless I’m now willing to pay for the privilege of using it. (Again, I believe this is only an issue because I haven’t had to pay to use it before.)

I don’t know what the new pricing will be; what I’ve gleaned from comments in this thread is that I’ll need to pay $4/month to track more than three goals? So $50 a year, roughly, to keep doing what I’ve been doing. As a new user, I think that’s great value for money—as an existing one, though, right now it feels like a ransom. “Cough up $50 a year or you’ll never see your goals again.”

So those are my Thoughts. They are in no way data that support nixing this change; I think it’s a good change, and no new user will be bothered by it. They aren’t even data that support “existing users get to keep tracking as many goals as they like for free.” (I think the rules should be the same for everyone; you’re a company, not my best friend.) These Thoughts are simply data on the interesting phenomenon of differing perception based on perceived baseline. Or something. :slight_smile:


#16

Ah, glad you said this! It means we probably need to move the following assurance to the top of the announcement:

All existing goals are grandfathered!


Does that change your reaction to all this? That’s super nice of you to say that existing users should have the same rules but we’re super grateful to existing users so we want to be as generous to them as possible. (But also making more money is fact an existential imperative.)


#17

Sort of. But there’s still years worth of advice on these forums telling people to make many focused goals instead of large aggregate goals. E.g.


Or tracking certain things via meta goals:



Now these historical posts are actively bad advice for anyone who’s new. Unless we’re just going to assume everyone’s a highroller and will be premium (or that 3 is too few goals to do anything with anyway?).


#18

I’ve been thinking of it differently (like $4/mo should just be a no-brainer for anyone in deep enough to be reading old forum posts) but I’m thinking hard about your negative reaction. Like @grayson was doing, if you can help us separate your personal reaction with what you think is best for newbees, that will help. You’ve been a hugely contributing member of the community for years so we’ll obviously make sure you personally are happy (we’ve never totally comped premium plans, maybe not even exceeded a 50% discount, because, well, precedent/psychology/devaluing but we can also manually keep upping your free goals or figure other things out).


#19

let’s say a non-premium, existing user has 10 goals. his goals are grandfathered. he then archives one or finishes it and tries to start a new one. can he make one for free or is he forced to premium?


#20

I’m a relatively new user – only since May. But I think that limiting the number of goals to 3 before putting it behind a monthly subscription would have turned me away before I figured out whether it was something that worked for me. Right now, I’ve only been using it for personal stuff – weight, flossing, fitness – not for work projects or anything like that.

It took a bit of experimenting to fine tune the goals that I have, and I think I’m only just beginning to understand how I’d like to use the minding most productively and how I might start to use it for work projects or more complicated goals. With just three goals, I think I might have lost interest before finding the right combination of things to mind. I found myself immediately reading old forum posts to try to understand the concept and the math better, so I definitely don’t think that it’s only deep-in users that read old forum posts.

My first reaction is definitely that even $4/month seems expensive. Not that it’s not affordable; just that it seems expensive for what it is when, for me so far, it’s really a habit-focuser, not a replacement for work stuff. But I can imagine that as I get more familiar with how it works and more comfortable with linking technologies, I might be more interested in using it for other projects that would make a subscription feel more worthwhile.

I feel like I may not be expressing this clearly, but those are my initial reactions.


#21

@apolyton, another good question. No, archiving or finishing a goal doesn’t give you back a free one. Deleting does. Of course you can only delete in the first week.

We’re going to be super generous about giving additional free goals for anyone bothered by this, especially as we’re figuring out if we’re actually shooting ourselves in the foot here. (Thanks also to @msjoanna just now for articulating this fear as well!)


#22

I don’t think so, given that I wouldn’t be able to create new ones without subscribing.

(Of course it definitely helps that I wouldn’t instantly have to pony up or lose access to what I already have. But for continued use, I don’t think it makes a difference in my reaction.)

One of the things I love about Beeminder is that I can add, alter, and archive goals as my needs evolve. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for that to be behind a paywall. For comparison, I happily ponied up for a year of Complice after a 30-day trial convinced me the value was there for me. So it isn’t the paywall per se that bothers me. (The only reason I’m not already a premium subscriber is that I haven’t wanted any of that functionality.)

That said, the apps I’ve been happy to pay for are the ones that have given me full-featured, long-enough trials that I can definitively answer the question, “Is this worth the money for me?” In line with @msjoanna’s post, limiting free users to 3 goals may not be full-featured enough for them to answer that question. Hmmm.

Maybe unlimited goals for a 30- or 45-day trial would work better? After the trial, the user can either stick with free (and pick the three goals she wants to keep) or subscribe if she wants to keep more goals active.

Though I think that might feel “restrictive”/“ransomy”…perhaps simply: after the trial you subscribe or you stop. Period. But the trial isn’t a limited version of Beeminder. I think that would work best for me, as a new user. Here’s a paid service; I can thoroughly try it out for a month or six weeks and see if it’s worth paying for. Never does the new user feel limited or restricted.

I’m curious what others think.


#23

And in that vein, I can recast “what do you mean I’m going to have to pay for what I thought was free?” as “Lucky me, my no-cost trial period was a year and a half!” :slight_smile:


#24

For what it’s worth, I think $4/month is absolutely affordable, and very fair. In fact, it’s at the perfect sweet spot for me where it’s a no-brainer (I start to get cheap at $5/mo and up, and especially after around $8/mo). And for those existing users who are feeling a bit “salty”, I’d urge to think be grateful for the time we’ve had Beeminder for free and consider how in practice that means we’re getting a huge discount and really paying something like say $2/mo. You’re getting an even better deal!

I think $16 and $32/month is a bit steep, but I’m not sure how many users will actually be using these plans (you mentioned 28 people are currently on $32/mo Beemium, do we have stats for the other tiers?). As it stands now, I don’t really need the Bee Plus power features, though there’s one goal of mine that I’d consider paying a one-time fee to enable autoratchet for. The problem is that it’s not enough to justify paying quadruple the money for that privilege.

I wonder if you might make more money by dropping the power user plan to $8/mo (I derived this from gut feeling, but it seems to match some others in this thread), or by allowing users to pay a la carte for specific goals (either a one-time payment or a slightly higher monthly subscription rate). Probably not if you get sizeable numbers subscribing to the $16/mo plan, but worth considering if almost everybody stays on the $4/mo plan.

As for the $32/month tier, I feel like this is the plan for people with a lot of money to spend and/or want a way to support the Beeminder developers. In terms of features, I feel like this and the $16/mo tier could be merged, but I understand why for psychology reasons you want to have three tiers, so I think that’s fine.

I do think that maybe for newbees, a time-limited trial with unlimited goals (both number and type, though I understand the concerns about some types being confusing) may make more sense. Yes, it might feel like you’re holding user’s additional goals ransom, but it should be fine as long as it’s extremely clear the entire time. For example, in the dashboard/gallery view, you can have a dedicated section for your three “free” goals, and then a separate section for the rest (either “premium goals” or “temporary goals” or something), and let users drag-and-drop goals from one section to the other.

One potential issue is that, depending on a user’s goals, a free trial may take a relatively long time for users to fully grok Beeminder, so I can see an argument for a free trial that lasts say 3 months. Forgoing those months of revenue may be well worth it though if at the end of the day you get a Beeminder convert who will pay $4/mo for several years, vs. trying to monetize users too quickly and only getting them for a few months or losing them altogether.


Spoonfuls of sugar for the premium plan changes
#25

Hugely appreciate the vote of confidence, @andrewlu! We’re also thinking hard about the more, well, cautionary feedback and have a veritable laundry list of ways we’ll soften the blow of this. You’ll see when we deploy it. Which I’m ready to hard-commit to doing by Monday.

Yeah, 88 Bee Lite and 151 Plan Bee.

The idea for the Beemium tier is it’s where the revenue-impacting features go. Like fully pledgeless graphs.

Btw, one thing that’s emboldened us a bit is that we learned from A/B testing that users have no problem entering their credit card info after creating just one goal. Actually paying for a monthly subscription may be a whole other ball of wax but maybe at $4 enough people are like you and that’s no-brainer territory.

I also like to think that auto-canceling subscriptions will make people feel much better about trying it. But that may just be me. Personally I’d feel infinitely better about paying from the start but not having to worry about canceling than having a free trial where I have to stay vigilant to keep from accidentally getting charged forever and ever. :slight_smile:

Thanks again for all the help thinking this stuff through, everyone!


#26

It would probably be best to explain this to users when they perform the related action on the site rather try to satisfy the angry ones that bother to mail support afterwards (as opposed to feeling dissatisfied and potentially leaving) :slight_smile:


#27

I’ve just had a new idea which might explain why I am struggling so much with this. I think there’s some part of me that wants to reject a setup where the regular system doesn’t work for me but I get grandfathered into some kind of discount. As in, if premium scheme X is optimal for Beeminder and the majority of Beeminder users, but I need special casing to be happy under scheme X, it is sort of admitting that I’m not representative of typical users (or else X wouldn’t be optimal in the first place). This may very well be true! But I think it is causing me some cognitive dissonance to internalize it.

To be clear, I’m not saying I wouldn’t appreciate a discount. Because I certainly would! But I think this is a long winded way to say I haven’t had success at separating my concerns from the hypothetical newbee concerns. :slight_smile:


#28

I have been reluctant to sign up for premium because to help think of beeminder payments as punitive I specifically withdraw them from an account that is otherwise reserved, separate from regular bills and other useful things.

That makes sense. The best ugly hack I can think of is to set up an automated transfer of the subscription amount from your regular account into the account you pay Beeminder with. So it’s as if the money is coming from a different account.

Logically it solves the problem, but whether your System 1 will accept the arrangement is something I can’t answer.


#29

@chriswaterguy: Smart. Or what about using the exquisitely fair slider to make the premium payments infrequent enough for it not to matter. (There’s even the option to buy lifetime premium.)

@drtall: Makes sense about the cognitive dissonance there! This is all experimental so it remains to be seen how different you. Also there’s more than one “typical” for Beeminder users. Like how some people view Beeminder as a quantified-self tool with a nifty commitment device feature and others, like @philip, view the QS stuff as just a nifty way to implement flexible commitment contracts.


#30

I only started last week, so it seems I arrived just in time to grab a free odometer goal. :slight_smile:

Overall, this seems like a reasonable pricing model, except I’m not sure about limiting goal types. The odometer reading goal really made me see value in your data-driven approach. This particular goal type has forced me to keep reading the same book. I tend to otherwise read 10 books in parallel… I would not have realized the benefit of this without trying it. I think limiting the number of goals makes sense, but how wise is it to make stuff non-free that people might not even realize they want?


#31

As a user on one of the old premium plans, what happens to us? I haven’t seen a single word about that?