Converting a paid service to a free service


Are there any examples where converting a paid service to a free service caused issues for subscribers?

Imagine a startup with a paid service, that is acquired by a large corp who lacks a subscription model for consumer services / products.

I hope this is a useful scenario, but either way, my core question is about the ramifications (e.g. perception of value, etc) of converting a paid service to a free service.

Subscriptions Business Model Acquisition Free

asked Aug 21 '13 at 22:49
New Alexandria
221 points
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1 Answer


I don't imagine an angry client complaining when he doesn't have to pay anymore.
It should be important to ensure the users/clients that the change doesn't mean that the project is going to be terminated. Nor that the support will be reduced and so one. If the quality remains and the service become cheaper/free I can't imagine any negative impact (with the exception of some exclusive or luxurious services that people buy to "be different", to "show it's not for everybody" or to "show they can afford it")

On the contrary, this kind of change can be well exploited by the marketing : e.g. if the service will in be in a portfolio of services, just tell to the clients that they are important for the company so they will be offered a free service now... and in the meantime, they can check the other proposed (paid) services (so they can spend the money they save by the service that become free).

One important thing: it would be very bad idea to come back to the paid scheme later again. That would surely be damageable for the company image and the trust between the company and its clients.

answered Aug 22 '13 at 00:00
Data Smarter
1,274 points
  • My concern is customers asking "how does the company make money now? Are they selling our data instead of charging us?" Regardless of whether that is the new business model, and we clearly state that their privacy remains the same. – New Alexandria 9 years ago
  • And what about just telling them the TRUTH? I think that this approach would be the most appreciated. If you are honest with the clients, they will feel it and they will not have the reason of asking such a questions. So be faster and don't give them the opportunity to ask themselfs this kind of question. Even if it's not always obvious, the honesty always pays at the end. – Data Smarter 9 years ago
  • Hopefully someone will reply with market examples of this scenario; not best-guess. No offense – New Alexandria 9 years ago

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Subscriptions Business Model Acquisition Free