Wow – there has certainly been a lot of discussion about the pricing on Informant 5. We have announced that we are moving to a subscription model and we had a lot of feedback. While many were very supportive (thank you for that!), we had a some who were not.   In fact, some people were pretty annoyed about us proposing a subscription model.  There have been a lot of questions and some uneasiness and I hope this post sets the record straight and calms some of the anxiousness.

First off, we did not take this decision lightly.  Our objective has been to run an ethical business that is profitable, and does right by the customer.  We think that customers want products and companies that will be in business for the long haul.  In order for us to be here for you, we need to build great products that you LOVE, and charge the right amount to continue making great software. … If you have been following our posts you will notice that we have been pondering it for quite a while

Blogs April 18, 2016:  The App Economy
Twitter Conversations: (Thanks @manfredell and many others)
Surveys (Thanks to over 500 people who participated in this survey)

Here are a few pillars that we based our decision on:

-The subscription MUST add value.  We don’t want to, and we don’t feel right about charging extra money just to line our pockets.  We have structured the subscription so that it aligns with ongoing value.

Free Mode: We wanted to make sure that our app could still offer a free version.  This free mode is a limited use version of the app that includes our essential calendaring features.

Some features require a subscription model.  There are some features that have underlying costs such as sync and weather. There are two parts to the sync equation – one is Google/Toodledo/Evernote sync that requires a continuous-ongoing engineering cost to keep up with changes that those services require of us: if we don’t keep up, sync stops working or starts behaving poorly. The other is Informant Sync which requires that we maintain a cloud based server to handle the communication between the sync conduits. Weather requires an underlying subscription to a weather service ( over $1000/month for that guy – and believe me we’ve looked at lower cost weather options, but they are substandard in quality).  We are basically allocating the costs of the ongoing subscription to the value added by these features and are calling it the “Connect Bundle”.

People like options.  With our new pricing model you will notice that we have given multiple price points($2.99, $7.99, $24.99)  and subscription terms (Monthly, Quarterly, Annual). The longer you commit to us, the less expensive the price will be.  As low as $2.09/month if you pay annually.

Ala Carte was overly complicated.  While it’s nice to buy just what you want, we we realized that many of our users were buying some services more than once, and others were missing out on features that they really could use.  We have simplified our product and now offer a Free mode and a Full Feature mode.

Some people just want to “OWN IT.  Some of us don’t like the idea of having the app taken away if the subscription expires or if the company decides to stop supporting it.  To solve this, we are giving the option to OWN the app outright with any Annual subscription purchase. What that means is that if you pay for the Annual subscription option ($25 for now), you will “own” the app immediately. That means that you will have 1 year of the Connect bundle features (Sync & Weather), and after that if you choose not to renew your subscription you will own the app and can continue to use it (without the Connect bundle features) for as long as you like. Apple Calendar/Reminders support will continue to work without the Connect bundle.

Change is difficult. We know that some of you will always prefer the old way so we will be leaving the Pocket Informant 4 version in the app store for a while. However, we will not be developing any new releases for Informant 4.  If you decide to make the move to Informant 5, it will automatically copy your data over from Informant 4 the very first time you launch.  After that, the two apps will maintain their data separately (changes in Informant 4 will not carry over to Informant 5 and vice versa unless they share a common sync account).

-The dynamics of the app landscape have changed dramatically. We have a lot of plans for the future of our app and and we want to be here to support you (and our app) for the long haul. The App Store does not (and we are now convinced, never will) allow for the traditional software model of “major annual release with upgrade pricing”. Subscription is the model that Apple (and many others) are pursuing as their future. The primary competing model is advertising – and frankly, we really hate the idea of selling your information or cluttering your calendar with ads.

  • We’ve had some questions regarding our macOS version. Rest assured – nothing has changed with the Mac version. Because we don’t sell it on the Mac App Store, we have the flexibility to use the traditional upgrade model. Informant for macOS is unaffected by this change and existing and new owners will continue to get free updates (such as the upcoming M9 and 1.0 releases) through 1.x. We will at some future date that we haven’t even considered yet have a 2.0 which most likely is a paid upgrade – but that’s a long time away.

-Yes, we are a company selling a product, but all of us are also consumers... We get (and felt) the initial tension with subscription. But we also realized that for the software that we really love – we buy it…and the next year when there’s a major upgrade, we buy the upgrade…there’s no practical difference until you decide to stop upgrading. This is ultimately how we came up with our final model that we feel like is really unique blend and beneficial to everyone involved.

-Value.  We are quite confident that Informant can save you $25 in gas by not having to make extra trips to the store. It can help you get that job promotion by staying more organized, it might even save your marriage (by reminding you to bring flowers home on your anniversary).  We hope that you think that Informant is an amazing value at any price and we certainly hope you feel that is worth $25/year.
Oh yeah…..Informant 5 will be available in iTunes on November 29th, 2016