Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goodbye @Diigo You Ain't for Me Anymore!

Jeffrey Thomas (Tech the Plunge) points out that Diigo has Gone Premium. He writes:
Unfortunately, as I was bookmarking today, I noticed the Diigo capture option was grayed out!  I started fiddling around and found out that it is now a premium feature!  (Diigo Releases Premium Accounts)  I really liked the capture feature and now it’s gone!  Great–another one bites the dust!...What I don’t like it this bait and switch technique-remember Ning?- that seems to be going on.  At this point, I don’t trust any free applications.
As a long-time user of Diigo, the question I have to ask myself, am I going to keep using Diigo if they switch all their neat functionality to a pay service? In other words, do I want to pay $$$ for Diigo?

Chances are, probably not. While I appreciate Diigo A LOT, creating DiigoNotes isn't impossible. There are other tools that can be used for annotation purposes (Evernote comes to mind). And, though you can't blame Diigo for wanting to make a buck, the fact is, I have a small amount of disposable income to spend...can I honestly encourage teachers who are hard up to pay for Diigo when another service is available for free?

What's more, looking at the features available, the main feature I'd miss is the annotation. Why not use Delicious and Evernote (also premium edition available)? Or eschew annotation altogether and encourage teachers to bookmark and blog?

Whatever the choice, it's time to take a fresh look at the options available and ask, "Is this something I'd buy for teachers as an organization?" Depending on your answer, Diigo may be the right tool...or just something else teachers won't use imposed from above.

Diigo has come a long way, though, especially from the time I wrote these two articles:

  1. Slide Thinkfinity into the Curriculum with Diigo Slides
  2. Diigo the Web for Education - From TeleGatherer to TelePlanter with Diigo

And, I guess I'll have to excise Diigo from my article on Build Your PLN. Sigh. Change is work, no matter how much fun.

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Joel said...

We will have new policy for teachers next week.

Russ Goerend said...

I'm confused when you said you'd miss the annotation. For free accounts, you get 50 annotations/month. For Education Basic accounts, you get unlimited. When I click on the "go premium" link with my educator account, that's the feature-comparison chart I see.

Carl said...

I posted this before I found a link to your blog.

Jennifer Carrier Dorman said...

I still think that for educators / students, Diigo is a great option. For non-educators, the cost may be a consideration, but the free educator accounts and the functionality available through them is outstanding.

Miguel Guhlin said...

@Jennifer When a vendor can remove functionality that was once available for free, that means educators don't need it.

If, as Russ points out, free accounts get 50 annotations and Education Basic accounts get unlimited, then sure, it's still worth using.

Educators need to give a second thought to services like VoiceThread, Ning, and the myriad other free services that offer a lot free up front to "hook" customers, then switch to a pay model after gaining 1) Free advice from the Community to improve the product; 2) Free advertising and being featured in countless workshops for educators (how many have you done, Jennifer?) to support a free tool for educators (although it costs money for other groups), then to see those features taken away or reduced...that's problematic.

Maybe I don't have my facts straight. Maybe we'll see a policy change with Diigo next week.

But how long before Education Basic price is added on?

Now, let's remember...Diigo is a business, not a non-profit or free open source product being developed by all, for all. We can't fault Diigo for being true to its principles...but *I* can certainly ask, why should I continue to use a product that I might lose access to "my content?"

If you are comfortable with the answers you get from those types of questions, then great, keep using Diigo. If you're not, dig for your wallet or find an alternative...or do without.

Miguel Guhlin said...

@Carl, thanks for sharing. The problem is that what you characterize as whining can sometimes call attention to the simple fact that Diigo WAS provided free to educators and that their policy has changed.

The question is, as you point out, whether those of us who have advocated Diigo's use in the past as an alternative to Delicious should continue to do so now that it costs money. There is a gap between an application that is worth paying for as an individual to one that is going to be strategically deployed in an instructional setting.

I would suggest that most Education users of Diigo may never achieve the institutional support from their organization need to deploy Diigo.

Michael Walker said...

I'm with Russ on this one. I understand that companies can't give away their product for free and continue to exist. I also think that companies like Diigo, Prezi, and Voicethread would not be as successful without educators. I am grateful that they continue to provide robust products for teachers and students to use. I think Ning stripped down their "free" product too much.

Russ Goerend said...


Does your "go premium" chart show something different from the one I linked? Do you have an educator account?

It seems some facts need to be straightened out before we go making statements like: the simple fact that Diigo WAS provided free to educators and that their policy has changed.

I have not lost any of the student-account creation tools for my educator account. I still have unlimited highlights. Where has the "free for educators" policy been changed?

Miguel Guhlin said...

@Russ, I was looking at the chart Jeffrey Thomas posted on the referenced chart. I do not--to the best of my recollection--have an educator account. It very well could be that my info is based off the wrong chart.

Let me take a longer look at the charts you've linked to.


atw said...

I like the bookmarks in Diigo, but for website "snapshots", etc. I use zotero. They, too, have a premium service but that is to host documents on their servers. I am surprised you don't mention zotero as an option.

Miguel Guhlin said...

@ATW, I haven't used Zotero. Thanks for the tip!

Daniel Rezac said...

I think that we're beyond the point where we are assuming that anything will stay free, so this should come as no surprise. If you make any assumptions, make this:

1. Any tool that is new, is looking to get bought (just look at Edmodo [free for now].)

2. If there are less than 3 developers on any Internet Web tool, you can assume that they are hoping to get sucked up by a greater entity. That is never good educators. But always look at that fine print.

3. Never assume free. If you like a tool, be prepared to pay for it. Google is free because they can afford it, and that's buit into their business model. Most of these tools cost very little anyway. I've spent my own cash on Voicethread and Easybib subscriptions, and paid, what, $20 a month? For someone who worked in a poor school in Chicago it was absolutely worth it.


Kim Caise said...

By annotations do you mean bookmarks? If so bookmarks for all accounts are unlimited. For highlights, free accounts get 1000 per year and the other accounts have unlimited highlights. The features that differ mainly are:
Cached Page
Screen Capture and Annotation
Save Image From a Webpage

To obtain an educator account you have to request the account and be an educator working with students or get approval to have the teachers console from the Diigo creators. Those are my interpretations from their chart listed at

I use Zotero for citations and citing sources/bibliographies in MS Word. It was INVALUABLE when I was writing my capstone paper and a huge timesaver. I can't recommend Zotero highly enough.

For screenshots, I use either the Windows 7 screenshot tool or Aviary. Both make taking and saving screenshots super easy. For bookmarking, I will stick with Diigo all the way.

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