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Alfredo Pinto

Hi,
Even if it is a beta right now, I see before that a lot of people get out of business when they first give for free the product and then try to charge for it.
Maybe with advertise for a personal use and a non-advetise pay version.

EricB

Scott,

From what I am seeing with Attensa Reader for Outlook, I am happy so far. Sure it is a beta and has some bugs to be worked out, but overall, I think the product shows a great deal of promise. If I didn't, I would not continue using it, posting to the forums, or even commenting here.


As for pricing, I am VERY glad that you are identifying 3 "markets".

This is very encouraging to me since I don't care about the "online" version - either web base reading or synchronization. If I need/want to sync between 2 machines, then I can easily Export/Import OPML files since I want all of my feeds on both machines.

One of the reasons I started looking at Attensa in the first place is that with NewsGator 2.5, the product became a "subscription" rather than a product. I don't care if I get 2 free years of subscription, I don't want it or need it.

As far as pricing goes, I would suggest something along these lines:
1. Attensa for Outlook RSS reader
$19 - $29 would seem fair to me - although, feel free to price it lower if you wish :). I would expect bug features and "minor" updates to be free of charge. This would not be out of line with other readers that I am aware of.

I also am a fan of "lifetime" licenses. When I purchased UltraEdit, at the 2nd upgrade I paid an additional $45 (I think) for a "lifetime" license. Same thing with PowerArchiver. If I like a product well enough to purchase it and to purchase an upgrade, then I'll probably stay with it until the vendor screws it up :)

I would also like the license to allow me to use Attensa for Outlook RSS reader on both my laptop and my desktop machine for a single license. I am the only one that uses either of these machines.

2. I am not sure what is fair here, and don't really care since I am not interested in this option.

3. I would suggest something along the following:
a. Reader is same price as #1, but online fee is less than #2 (?? a couple of bucks a month??)
b. Reader is free with a xx year commitment to online (paid up front of course) - cell phone plan

4. You didn't mention it, but you might consider having different editions... some people may only want a reader, and not care about being able to post. This could be tricky and messier than you want to deal with, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

My "philosophy" is fairly simple... I want for you to make a profit and enough profit so that you keep improving the product, but don't try to make your entire yearly profit off of me alone.

My personal feeling is:
($(lower price = more sales) > $(higher price = fewer sales))

As you are not doubt aware, after all of the above is said and done with, you (as a company) must meet the financial goals that you have set for your company. Also, Pricing is one of the areas that you need to look at carefully... do you want to be Wal-Mart... low prices & more sales, or Tiffany's... high prices & fewer sales? What are your competitors doing (don't forget to look at Open Source and freeware because there may be a similar product for free).

If you want more input from me, let me know... I am always glad to give my opinion. If your blog "comments" don't get RSSed into your feed, you may have to"ping" me via email.

Later

EricB

P.S. My fee for this "consultation" will be, strangly enough, the same price as #1 ;>

P.S.S. The textbox for typing in comments is way to narrow.

c barksdale

While unemployed I am loath to pay for anything and appreciate the ability to utilize this impressive (even if you can't post to blogger yet) piece of software.

Once I get my teaching position I will still have little cash but the RSS (blogging, podcasting & vlogging) phenomenon intrigues me enough to be willing to pay for the software.

As was mentioned before, you need to decide an appropriate price based on your corporate survival. I too am not interested in the online version but if pressed I would be willing to pay something under $20. Anything more than that and I have to ask permission to spend the money. ;) As one who has spent many years in the non-profit field an education/non-profit discount always gets my attention and I almost always will purchase a somewhat lessor piece of software in order to support companies that support the social service and education fields.

Free, of course, would be my first vote!

Keep up the good work.

Robert Banghart

I am confident that you are spending an incredible amount of time trying to figure out an appropriate pricing scheme for each of your three prospective use models. I would be too in your shoes.

When I look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_news_aggregators, I see an ever expanding list of RSS aggregators, several of which work within Outlook. I can only imagine the number going up exponentially as RSS becomes ubiquitous.

When I look at sites like http://www.intravnews.com/, I see:
“Keep up with hundreds of websites and have RSS and Atom news items delivered into your Outlook folders, as easy as email!
With the powerful interface of intraVnews you get total control over your feed subscriptions on the Internet and your intranet.
intraVnews is FREE again!
Starting June 25, 2005, intraVnews is free for personal use and use within charities and non-profit organizations. Get your free Personal license here!
What's happening at FutureGlue?
RSS is moving forward at a rapid pace. At FutureGlue, we are excited that this technology is now finally becoming mainstream!
We're currently testing our first Podcasting support features and you should see it appear in our intraVnews for Outlook version soon.
Our desktop RSS engine is now being used in thousands of locations worldwide by people who live in Outlook. Our engine complies with all RSS and Atom and HTTP standards and implements all popular bandwidth saving measures.
On the desktop, the intraVnews engine outperforms NewsGator's Outlook Edition and Attensa RSS Reader for Outlook. You can easily subscribe to up to 5000 feeds simultaneously with intraVnews and use Outlook 2003's search folders for filtering.
A standalone version of intraVnews will be available later this year with additional support for filtering and new RSS extensions.”

When I read “RSS Goes Corporate” at http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=12664&hed=RSS+Goes+Corporate, I don’t see the mention of Attensa at all – which I consider rather sad actually. I do see that besides the single user market and the enterprise market there is the advertising market.

When you add in what one reads at such places as http://www.attensa.com/company.php and http://squick.typepad.com/rss/2005/07/the_attensa_net.html, one realizes that Attensa’s aim is greater than simply providing an RSS aggregator that works within Outlook. If I read these tea leaves correctly, Attensa for Outlook is but the tail on a very large dog.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million office users. I think that both NewsGator and intraVnews have seen the enterprise as their major revenue sources and I think that is the intent of Attensa as well. Despite the fact that NewsGator charges for individual licenses and intraVnews does not leads me to believe that they, like Attensa, view the reader as a necessary offering but not a major source of revenue.

Given that NewsGator has a rather nice lead in this still incredibly nascent market, if I were in your position I would be thinking about how to knock off NewsGator on the paid side and intraVnews and any future siblings from the free side so that I could capture market share of the individual users, have them work as evangelists inside the enterprise (in the same manner that IM went from outside to inside the enterprise) and then move to take over the enterprise side with appropriate pricing.

In order to do these things, you are going to have to provide the end user with a better user experience than the competitors at a lower price point. Assuming you execute on your anticipated feature set, beating NewsGator on price isn’t going to be difficult. Beating the free of intraVnews and what I see as yet-to-be disclosed competitors is only possible when you offer the product to individual users free and offer a better feature set than intraVnews, et. al.

While I agree with commenter Alfredo Pinto that it is difficult to take a product from totally free to totally charged for, the IM model shows that breaking the market between enterprise and non-enterprise gains massive and fast adoption while leaving an apparently limitless upside.

As for adopting an advertising model, I couldn’t think of a faster way to kill Attensa. Might as well start dusting off your resume now if that were the plan.

As for EricB’s suggestions, I think he often has very good ideas and is someone who should be listened to. I second his statements that, “My "philosophy" is fairly simple... I want for you to make a profit and enough profit so that you keep improving the product, but don't try to make your entire yearly profit off of me alone.
My personal feeling is:
($(lower price = more sales) > $(higher price = fewer sales))
As you are not doubt aware, after all of the above is said and done with, you (as a company) must meet the financial goals that you have set for your company. Also, Pricing is one of the areas that you need to look at carefully... do you want to be Wal-Mart... low prices & more sales, or Tiffany's... high prices & fewer sales? What are your competitors doing (don't forget to look at Open Source and freeware because there may be a similar product for free).”

I think his suggestions 1 and 3 might work well if we were only talking about throwing one more aggregator into the ever-expanding sea of aggregators. I don’t see that as Attensa’s strategy and therefore I don’t agree with his pricing schema.

In no event would I suggest that you adopt the different editions idea he tentatively propounds in suggestion four. I think the aggregator world is moving toward more blogging capability from within the aggregator rather than less. And those features all appear to be part of whatever singular pricing scheme that is offered.

I note that EricB is not interested in Attensa for Outlook used with Attensa for Web. I think that Attensa’s intent to provide that “both access points will use the Attensa RSS engine and our multi-directional true-syncing capability to ensure that articles read, filed and deleted are treated consistently across all of the clients” is completely in line with present enterprise market needs and the needs of an ever increasing group of individual users.”

A thought that is germinating in my mind is that while I would price Attensa for Outlook at zero and Attensa on the web at zero, I would consider charging for the synchronization. I haven’t thought this part through enough yet. If and when I do, I’ll let you know.

I continue to wish you the best!


Kay Ballard

I would pay almost any price--if all the bugs were worked out. I love Attensa, but continue to experience annoying problems. It is difficult to complain, however, when the product is free.

As far as pricing, obviously you will have to be competitive. However, I am a big fan of value based pricing--and your product will have enormous value to me if and when you can get it to work more consistently.

I have much good will for your company and wish you every success.

Kay Ballard

I would pay almost any price--if all the bugs were worked out. I love Attensa, but continue to experience annoying problems. It is difficult to complain, however, when the product is free.

As far as pricing, obviously you will have to be competitive. However, I am a big fan of value based pricing--and your product will have enormous value to me if and when you can get it to work more consistently.

I have much good will for your company and wish you every success.

Ross Hammer

Regarding final pricing on Attensa for Outlook, I recommend no more than $30, with between $15 and $25 being preferable. Can you stay afloat at that rate? I don't know, but I do know that there are plenty of free alternatives, so as much as I enjoy the excellent Outlook and browser integration, it's not worth more than that.

I have an additional side note, too. You don't mention anything about multi-seat packaging. Professional use in the work place is likely to incorporate several users. A small office five and/or ten seat package with a minor discount attached to it would be a good idea. Anyone looking for larger should be encouraged to contact you for customized sales assistance.

-Ross

Robert Banghart

Steve Rubel, over at Micro Persuasion, has a post entitled, "Is the Long Tail is (sic) Killing Paid Online Services?"

Despite the superfluous "is" in the title, Steve correctly points out that, "It's very difficult to survive as a paid service in a Long Tail environment."

Those competing in that environment should read his post at http://www.micropersuasion.com/2005/08/is_the_long_tai.html before settling on their pricing structure.

Joshua

I can't speak to the pricing of the 2nd or 3rd packages (web and outlook/web integration), but I can say from behind my desk (at a very large software company) that the Outlook-only reader should not surpass the $14.95 mark.

I think you have a great tool, but I do not believe that a reader would justify a $20+ price tag. Consumers have a lot of options, including "free"; at anything over $20 in an RSS reader, I will personally begin to consider testing other alternatives and more seriously weigh my price vs. functionality priorities.

Just my two sense, and I am wearing my consumer hat (not my enterprise licensing hat) in this comment.

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