Free beta, Pay later

"Free beta, Pay later" is a rhyme ... if you have a Boston accent.

After reading my Memo to Self posting, Jon Levisohn asks

So what's the catch with Jott? Is it advertising driven? Or is it just one of the altruistic businesses, created to serve us without any thought of making a profit? ;)

This is a good question (because I have the answer). Jott's website states: As of this beta, there is no fee to sign up and use Jott. Charges associated with phone minute usage, text messages, internet access, etc. may apply, and Jott does not cover those. Please refer to our Terms of Service for more information.

The next question in unpacking this web 2.0 offering is asking what does "beta" mean in this case? Wikipedia has a whole page of possible uses, and in this case it means: the first version [of the software or service] released outside the [company] that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world testing. So this is one reason why it is free ... it is still test software. Google is well known for keeping features in a beta state for years while they work out what to do with it. Once they think they have a revenue model, they take it out of beta and make it "general release" or "full production version" or the like.

Like all web-based services, I am sure Jott has some ideas about revenue for the future, but first they want us to get hooked (I am). My guess is they will end up creating a freemium (free to premium) model. You will get, say, 10 messages a month for free, but for more than that you have to pay, say, $5 per month. Skype has a freemium model - basic PC-to-PC calling is free, but additional services (voicemail, calls to/from regular phones etc) cost real money.

Also, they may add advertising to the emails with the note transcription. In any event, you can be sure this is not just an altruistic business. Sorry.

1 comment:

Ballut said...

From my understanding, Jott will always have a free version up. (thank god!) However, Jott will soon be releasing a business model of Jott and will charge for this service. How much? I have no clue! I'm curious to find out if Jott will have other versions besides a business model.