Recently, we announced pricing for Zoho Creator, which we patterned after Zoho CRM, blithely assuming that since Zoho CRM pricing was exceptionally well-received – indeed, I confidently predict that within 5 years, no one will be able to charge $50-100 per user per month for CRM! – we will do fine with Zoho Creator as well. Indeed, we started receiving customer orders literally within hours of the pricing announcement.
While we provided a Free Edition in Zoho Creator, what we didn’t realize, of course, was the diversity of our user base in Zoho Creator, the most passionate & vocal among them called the pricing Zoho’s first strategic blunder. We had non-profits, independent developers, casual users and so on for whom the Free Edition wasn’t sufficient, and the pricing we announced was just not right. In hindsight, we should have known this: even within AdventNet, Zoho Creator is used in ways that we didn’t anticipate when we developed it. The foremost example is apps being used to organize internal events like cricket matches or movie outings, for collecting information on various participant preferences and so on. These kinds of applications are simply not worth paying for.
We apologize for missing key parts of the Zoho Creator constituency with our first stab at pricing. Now we have revised it significantly, and put a second draft, explicitly recognizing the diversity of needs. I have posted it in the same forum thread and summarize below.
I want to emphasize our commitment to a) keeping a generous free edition so the cost of entry is zero b) affordable pricing, designed to vastly lower the cost of IT to business customers c) Running our own business efficiently enough to turn a profit with (a) & (b). At AdventNet, we have a 12 year history of doing just that, and we have grown organically to this level.
Zoho Creator Free Edition & Independent Users Edition: it is based on personal user accounts, and it will have a limit of 5 free applications and a total of 200 MB of data and a bandwidth limit we are working out, with no shared user limit. We expect to revise the data/bandwidth limits upwards based on usage experience and as prices for these fall. The applications can be private or public. Developers can use this edition to test out their ideas free.
In practice, this will work much like how Zoho Writer or Zoho Sheet personal editions work today, with no sharing limit for number of users. They difference is that there is no administrative relationship among users, while an organization account provides for such administrative relationships, and therefore policy enforcement.
Beyond the free limit, pricing will be based on per application basis, because number of users is not tracked.
Zoho Creator Business Edition: it is based on organizational accounts, as provided in Zoho Business, a limit of 5 free applications & 200 MB of data, with monthly bandwidth constraints to be specified. It will have a free user quota as well, based on Zoho Business Free Edition limits (likely to be 10 persons in an organization). The key difference is that unlike Free Edition, it will come with administrative policy options, and potentially some extra features to be decided in future.
Beyond the free user limit, pricing will be based on number of users basis, with bands of users. We will start at $5/user/month, and drop it to $3/user/month when we reach 100 users, with volume discounts. We will also announce a bundled package pricing along with Zoho Business when Zoho Business reaches general availability.
Once again, I would like to thank everyone who provided feedback. We don’t always get it right at first, but with your help, we will!
UPDATE : Here’s the new pricing model for Zoho Creator – http://sheet.zoho.com/publishrange.do?id=1427f0d4768347bb628851c41b67ad0c