Saturday, September 11, 2010

MyNotes - Free Forever? Get Real!

Here are some select notes from a blog entry, Free, Forever? Get Real and the comments that I found relevant to the discussion about Diigo going Premium. While I see Carl's (the blogger) point about free web-based services, I do think there was an understanding that Diigo was free for educators and that is why Diigo was embraced--along with its excellent resources for annotating a web site. The move to Education version of Diigo was to modify existing Diigo service to be more palatable to education users at no additional cost. Advertising was the money-making approach Diigo chose...and that approach has evidently failed.

Remember, this isn't Diigo-bashing. Diigo is an excellent product. Rather this is a call to educators reflect that 1) Diigo made itself free to educators; 2) Switched its pricing model to remove free features for educators AFTER it had benefited from the community of advice, publicity that came from making its product free for educators. Some might suggest that because it could not find a steady revenue source among "other non-Education users," it realized it had to charge its primary user base--educators to whom it had been offered free.

Did Diigo make this transition as openly and transparently as it could? In other words, did it just up and make a decision to charge what had formerly been free without telling anyone? If yes, is this a "Business 2.0" tactic that's appropriate or not? Or is this business as usual?

If no, why didn't more educators--users of Diigo--know about this with time to have this conversation? Where are the blogs, the tweets, the forum discussions that were scaffolded by Diigo?

Carl's blog entry points to the fact that not everyone knew about the transition. There would be no outcry if Diigo wasn't so wildly popular and people weren't shocked at the sudden change in policy. Remember, not everyone is on Twitter.

I'd also like to point out that if you download the upgrade to Diigo in Firefox, the "Go Premium" button now appears in the toolbar. Did we know that the upgrade would cripple certain features of Diigo before we downloaded it? Diigo has email addresses on file, does it not? How hard would it have been to send a notification? Or, better yet, "Folks, before you upgrade, here's something you need to know about the replacement Diigo add-on for your will remove certain features you may have come to rely upon."

Some may say I'm making too much of this. I'm sure Diigo folks aren't happy with my blogging about this. These are questions that we must ask as educators about the web-based and software services that come into our schools. If I don't ask these questions, then schools are open to the whims of commercial companies out to make a buck off limited education dollars available.

What are your thoughts? If the assertions in this blog entry are wrong, incorrect, remember, that's what the comment section is for...or blog it and leave a  link to your blog where you explore this issue in more detail.

  • Source: Free Forever? Get Real!
  • After Ning, (a social networking site), went to a paid model, there was lamenting and crying throughout the Web 2.0 education community. How dare they ask money for what was once free, after all, we are educators, (as if we deserve a handout). Now Diigo has gone to a premium account and moved some of what used to be free to the premium account area.
  • Those nifty applications we all like to use will either disappear, (probably within the next five years or less), or have some way to collect money to keep running.
    It would be advisable that any educator using Web 2.0 applications decide which ones are worth supporting and which ones aren’t. If you are not willing to part with some cash to keep a service running, then don’t cry when it disappears.
    my advice is that nothing can stay free forever on the web, enjoy those “free” accounts and  morn the loss when they have to change or disappear
  • John Robinson Says:
    I agree with you regarding the right for sites like Ning and Diigo to charge whatever they wish for their web sites. They do have a right to make money on their products, and I would not dare belittle them for doing so. At the same time, when decisions are made to “go premium” like Diigo has decided to do, they do need to consider very carefully whether users are willing to pay for the features they are offering. I lost nothing with Ning because I was not a user. I am a user of Diigo, and I want to continue to use it, but the developers of Diigo need not automatically assume that I will suddenly pay for their product. Their product may not be worth their asking price. As a user of the Chrome browser, their promises of future compatibility are not enough to make me fork out the $40 per year. We all have our preferences, and in the marketplace, if Diigo no longer meets those needs, we move on to another product. No one expects Diigo to remain free forever, but the bottom line is that if they want to suddenly sell their product, they had better give their users reasons to “go premium,” and based on what they published in their blog, and on their web site, I see nothing to convince me that their current product is worth $5 a month or $40 per year.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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