With version 2 of HelpSpot almost ready I’ve been turning a few extra mental cycles to pricing. For the last year and a half (that’s all it’s been?) since HelpSpot launched the price has been steady at $179 per user and $49 per year per user for support and upgrades after the first year (which is free). I’m thinking of raising it, but at the same time I really like how sales are growing and I don’t want to damper that. We don’t get a lot of complaints on pricing and I agree with Eric Sink that that may be a sign of the price being too low. At the same time broadening the customer base is very important, especially with how advertising goes in the help desk world. It’s simply too expensive to do any real advertising (think $30 per click), so a broad customer base increases our word of mouth sales and secondarily can help our search engine rank via portals which leave the “powered by” links as well as customers with blogs.
One area we do hear some complaints on is support costs. Percentage wise they are high at around 27% of the license costs, most software is around 20-25%. However, most other software require you to purchase major version upgrades where we include them. So far our conversion on customers renewing support has been very good, so it might not be a huge issue. If the license price was raised though and the support price was left the same then the percentage would decrease. So for some potential customers the price may actually appear more appealing even though it’s in fact more expensive.
My main hangup is that v2 delivers a whole bunch more value. There are some highly requested and very powerful new features in there and so a price increase in conjunction with v2 makes a lot of sense to me. On the other hand, I couldn’t be happier with sales and a part of me doesn’t want to mess with anything 🙂
Right now I’m leaning towards no change, but it’s something I’m going to be giving a lot of consideration to. Especially over vacation while sipping on some margaritas 🙂
David of Lakeview Church has a nice post with his initial impressions of HelpSpot. I love these types of posts, you can really learn a lot about your product and the marketplace if you pay attention.
One of the most surprising markets HelpSpot does well in is churches and other religious organizations. I have to admit I never realized how much IT infrastructure is involved in these organizations. Somehow HelpSpot has really hit the mark in this market because we get a lot of sales there.
Really interesting post and comment thread on Terry Chay’s blog.
Nice to see him defending PHP, though for small ISV’s I think it’s still most important to use what you know best. From my perspective the biggest issue with Rails continues to be it’s small install base which makes it impossible to build commercial downloadable applications around it.
On a side note, I am still alive!! Just trying to get v2 wrapped up before I go away for 2 weeks in June. My goal is to have v2 complete and when I return do a bit more testing and then start the beta process. Towards the end of this week (hopefully) I’ll be posting a v2 preview page and the beta sign up form so keep your eyes open for that.
A few days a week I work a half day at Starbucks (or similar) and don’t purchase the internet. I go totally offline to focus on whatever mentally intensive tasks I’m currently working on. For the most part this works out well, but one thing I miss when programming is easy access to PHP documentation. I’m addictated to using the quick search on php.net (www.php.net/fopen, etc). I found this little app a while back which makes the docs available offline, including the comments. If you’re in need of such an app I highly recommend it. What’s best is that it’s super simple and doesn’t go too far. It’s OS X only so Win users are out of luck.
The PHP Function Index
Alex King did a nice little review on HelpSpot. Alex was a big inspiration to me in developing HelpSpot. His family of Tasks apps are first rate, and a model I studied in developing a commercial PHP application.
Looking for an idea for your first app? Here’s one. An ad server. Banner ads, text ads, rich ads, etc. Aren’t there a million of these you say? Yep, but they all stink. Every single one I’ve looked at is horrible. Thrown together by some code monkey, no aesthetics, overly complicated, horrible websites that make you scared to give them your credit card. The market is wide open for a clean, simple, moderately priced solution.
Andy’s doing a nice series on promoting your software. The first one is here:
Every time I read this type of series I always think the author is finally going to give me the super secret idea for selling millions of copies. Surprisingly I always end up disappointed. Never the less it’s a good read if you’re starting out in the biz.
I don’t know if I’ve ever done a post dedicated to a consumer (non software) product, but I’m so insanely impressed with the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX computer speaker system that I figured this was the time to do it. I just purchased these babies from Amazon a few days ago to replace my $20 tin boxes. I listen to music on the computer a lot and also use it for general home background music often so wanted something decent.
Well these are some of the best speakers of any type I’ve ever heard. I’ve had a fair number of audio setups both for home and car stereo. I’ve never been this impressed especially considering the price of these on Amazon. The best $129 you’ll ever spend.
The highs are crystal clear and the bass… oh the bass. The little 8″ enclosure is amazing. House shaking amazing if you push it and I have yet to hear any significant distortion even at levels too loud to actually sit next to (heh).
So if you’re in the market or just hate your neighbors they’re definitely worth checking out.