Thursday, June 17, 2010

Free to paid through obstacles

I'm facing a dilemma here and would like to ask for some advice.  

Say, I'm operating a resource, which was free for some period of time, has established community of users and monetizes through other means (ads, sponsors, etc).  Management has decided to start offering paid plans to users (although, with no good sounding plan on table, yet).  Meanwhile, I've spent some time researching the needs of visitors and came up with a list of things that would definitely make users happy.  

However, I'm hesitating to proceed with those changes, as the management is afraid that some of those changes (most of them being minor though) might be used as a tool to push users towards a paid plan.  And once they are offered free, the users might be less happy moving into paid, and would be angry to know that we're taking something away from them.

So, the question is

  1. How should we deal with taking away something that was free (for a while) and making it for-pay, and 
  2. Should we consider bundling up minor changes to make a good reason for people to upgrade their plans, while not offering much else?


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