Crossing the chasm - your advices for single guy moving a product from free alpha to paid beta stage


I'm a developer and I work in my spare time on a small mac app: Current stats:

  • 15K users (who are updating the app with every new release)
  • the web
    • ~500 daily visitors on product page
    • ~1000 daily visitors across whole
    • ~4K peaks on release days
  • ~1000 blog subscribers, ~700 twitter followers
  • v0.9 release planned in a few days
  • going to start selling v1.0 beta in few weeks for $15
  • want to go with FastSpring for license generation and payment processing

I'm new here and I saw some nice mentoring answers under other questions. As being one-person-wannabe "startup" I quite feel I'm losing focus and lack feedback. I'm going to charge for my product for the first time so I want to avoid obvious mistakes... which more experienced of you may see.

What would be your advice for me to focus on at this stage? Thanks.

Pricing Application Beta

asked May 2 '10 at 19:01
148 points
  • Your product is one of the first things i install when i re-install mac os x. Thank you for such a great app :) – Herr K 12 years ago

2 Answers


Your 0.9 version is the beta. The 1.0 will be the first release. You don't typically charge for betas at this scale. If there will be code changes between .9 and 1.0 release a .95 that is code complete for 1.0.

It is unfortunate that you already are displaying a price of $15 as I'm assuming you did not do any market research or customer survey. You might have 20% fewer people willing to pay a 40% higher price. Keep that in mind next time.

Focus on having great docs, FAQ and forum as you near release. It sounds like you have some good numbers going. You should be off to a good start. Make the product great so you have good word of mouth. As you get user feature requests going forward don't just take what the user asks for straight, but make sure you are understanding why they are asking, what it is they are trying to accomplish, because you may be able to find a better solution than what they suggest.

Good luck!

answered May 3 '10 at 02:01
236 points


Moving from free to paid is going to be a cold shower.

I'm glad you're doing it; now you'll be a real business. But expect a big backlash and angry customers.

In short, this switch is enough "focus" for now. You'll know when you're out of the woods when the emails fall to a trickle, at which point you can consult these new paying customers about what they need in the next release.

Better yet, collect emails from people who said "I'll only pay if..." and see if you can make some of that come true.

answered May 3 '10 at 10:45
16,231 points
  • Thanks for your opinion, but I don't expect a big backslash. The installer states clearly from the first version that it will be a paid software when it gets to 1.0. – Darwin 14 years ago
  • @Jason do you really think it's a good idea to rely on that kind of feedback. I'm always a bit worried about asking people about that. Because it's kind of misleading to believe them. – The Dictator 14 years ago
  • @Darwin I think Jason is right currently it's free, if it's free they'll use much as they can. One advice keep the buying process as easy as possible. Many people don't want to deal with 5 minutes process to pay $15 – The Dictator 14 years ago
  • @fx - Yes I agree with you that people *saying* they'll buy if is different then them actually buying and then asking for stuff; the latter is much stronger. But if that's all you have to go on.... – Jason 14 years ago

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