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Vitalist Jacks Their Prices

A couple days ago, the Vitalist team made an announcement about downgrades to their service. Previously, Vitalist was free with no restrictions. However you could support Vitalist by buying the premium plan, which includes no ads, file attachments, and SSL security. Even though I did pay the $5 monthly to support them, the free version was featured enough for most people.

Now, the free version has a limit of 5 projects or contexts. They also jacked the price of “Premium” plan to $10 a month, and popped a “Basic” plan in the middle for $5 a month, that has the same features of free, just with a 25 project/context restriction instead of 5.

This is complete  bullshark. I think I can speak for most students when I say that we cannot afford $10 a month for an online to-do list! I don’t know what their target user is, but it sure isn’t the cheap and low-budgeted student.

I’ve made it clear with several posts that I love Vitalist, and personally think it is the best GTD app out there.  That said, I don’t think it is worth $10 for an online app that evidently can change their prices at any time.

So it is official now, I am on the hunt yet again for a good GTD app. I thought I found paradise in Vitalist, but it was obviously a mirage. The only reason I still have an account is because they are giving premium to past customers for only $5/month. Even though this means that the price change doesn’t effect me, I do not tolerate the concept of charging me for something that was previously free, and so I am going to leave. If I’m lucky, I’ll find another app within a month, and be long gone. I am eagerly awaiting GTDWannabe’s post about her favourite app.

So Vitalist, if you are reading this, here is what you must do to keep me, and many others as subscribers to your service.

1. Offer something original. Vitalist is an awesome GTD app, but it doesn’t have any special features other than a nice interface.  Remember the milk has it’s offline capabilities, and Toodledo has it’s scheduler, but Vitalist doesn’t have any trademark features. Personally I would love to see offline capabilities via Google Gears. This would make it worth the $5/month.

2. More competitive pricing. I don’t think there is a GTD app in existance that charges more than $5/month.  Neptune is $5/month, but that is for an unlimited plan, not a less-limited one in Vitalist. Toodledo’s premium plan is only $15 a year, which works out to a bit over $1 per month. If Vitalist isn’t 10x better than Toodledo, why should I pay 10x more?

BLABLA

3. Student plans. I suggest Vitalist does something like Pzizz, where if you register with a verified educational email address, you can sign up for a cheaper student plan.

4. Offer an ad-supported plan.  I understand that you aren’t making $5 a month per account by displaying ads, but I’m sure you were still bringing in quite a hefty sum. A nice ad-supported account that sits somewhere in between the 5 and 25 project/context limit would be nice. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind if they took the route of Gmail, and used a robot to scan my actions and display relevant ads.

5. Don’t be greedy. I know that you put a lot of work into developing Vitalist, and I know you have to eat. But don’t expect to rake in the bling from it. You won’t become Bill Gates from selling an online app. Microsoft sells very advanced software, and they are priced accordingly. You charging $10 a month (that is $240 over two years, which is the price of most expensive software) for a to-do list application is ridiculous!  That’s like Microsoft charging $4000 for a copy of Microsoft Word.

So I ask you, the reader, what would you do in this situation?

Official Vitalist Announcement [Vitalist Blog]

Fare thee well Vitalist [Black Belt Productivity]

Online GTD Applications: The Rest of the Story
[GTD Wannabe]

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5 Responses to “Vitalist Jacks Their Prices”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I’m currently on the hunt for a new to-do app as well. I like Vitalist, but it’s not worth a recurring monthly charge. I’d pay a one-time fee, or maybe a yearly fee, but not $5/month.

    They did hear our cries and change things a bit: Update and Revisions to Pricing Plans

  2. Laura says:

    I think if apps/services ever want to charge they should charge from the begining. Charging for something that used to be free is just a surefire path to really unhappy customers, especially when theres tons of competitors offering the same product for them to go to.

  3. Howlbeck says:

    Partly agree – same happened to my favourite Todoist, which comes in a premium version for 3 USD/month now (at first Amix wanted to charge 5 bucks/month, too – but he listened to the users). As far as I understood, they will keep the free version, but it won’t get updates anymore.

    However, I will stick to Todoist as I’m very optimistic the money is being spent the right way. My reaction was pretty much the same than yours at first, but I do use it for business and private purposes, and every good service sometimes comes to a point where you have to get even. In this case I prefer a fair plan rather than a free beta service like the milk where you never can be sure if it remains free or simply disappears some time. I used the milk a lot, too and was very happy with it, but I stopped using it in favour of the more intuitive Todoist.

  4. Howlbeck says:

    Just saw a small article over at downloadsquad which pretty much sums it up:

    http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/08/20/the-trouble-with-relying-on-web2-0/

  5. Brad says:

    Hey Guys,

    I’ve been on what seemed a never ending hunt for the ultimate ToDo app. I wasn’t looking for bells and whistles, just something that actually helped to improve my productivity…

    I thought I found the solution in ‘Things’ but then they wanted to slug me $AUD 80 for the desktop app! It’s nice… but it’s a To Do list!

    So off I went again, and found myself back at Vitalist (after 12 mnths), found they’d updated… but all they’ve done is made it even more complex!

    I spent a very late night trying all of these..
    http://mashable.com/2007/07/27/gtd-ninja/ – still not there.

    Then I found the comment above mentioning Todoist…

    I’m gob-smacked. It’s so so brilliant, so intelligent, simple yet so powerful and clever and intuitive and and…

    Anyways, Thanks Howlbeck. At $3 a month its a shoe in.