Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Any suggestion welcome

Do you believe that disabling new accounts on SIP Sorcery was the right thing to do?

Yes, but there were other options
No, but it was the only option
No votes
Total votes: 14

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by hmmwhatsthisdo » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:09 pm

I like the checkbox idea. However, since some people may be too lazy (or inexperienced) to know what it means, leave it checked by default. Those who use forwarding options are most likely advanced users, and will therefore know to check it. Those who simply use it for GV forwarding will not uncheck it because they don't know what it does (or they do, and they don't need it).

As for the modest annual fee, I dunno about that. I understand Aaron's resistance to fee-paying of any kind. However, it may be a necessary evil. However, I don't really care for the annual fee, though. I could deal with a cheap, one-time fee fairly well. Something like this:
LHM wrote:This should work.

All accounts established prior to July 25, 2010 will expire in 30 days.
To maintain your existing a account a one time membership fee of $35.00 is required prior to the expiration date.
Those who made donations prior to 25 July 2010 will be credited the appropriate amount towards their membership fee.

Problem solved. :mrgreen:
However, I probably wouldn't go with a fee as steep as $35. Even something like $5 would get a total of $15,000 for the SS project, which would be payable by most people with ease. The reason is that people who have nosy parents, siblings, roommates, etc. and use this service in conjunction with Google Voice may not have $35+ sitting in a PayPal account.

As for the sponsorship service, perhaps tap the shoulders of various VSPs, Google Voice-like services, etc., and see if they'd be interested in sponsoring SS.
Last edited by hmmwhatsthisdo on Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by zaheer002 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:38 pm

Can we increase the registration time to 3600s maximum for each registration, at the minute, people can put whatever figure they like so they sip providers/devices may be registering every 1sec or whatever. This may alleviate some of the problems as sometimes the server is slow to process a call. Secondly I agree that accounts have to be limited to keep the existing service going. Some of us joined 2-3 years ago, did beta testing, and contributed to the new server like myself. If if was a free for all again, then the service would be unusable by everybody and then everybody would be moaning that it is unuseable. If there are 3000 active accounts then maybe some of those people should think about making a small monetary contribution :idea:

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by jschwalbe » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:50 am

I know that there is a local version of SS available.. but it looks really complicated to set up!  :| There may already be some, but if there were some hand-holding how-to guides, I'd happily off-load my SIP stuff to a dedicated server I run, and I imagine others would too. Just a thought.

(As a P.S. question that doesn't belong on this thread, does SS Local Version run on Mac OS X at all?)

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by hmmwhatsthisdo » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:57 am

Well, the problem is is that you need the bandwitdh (and disk space + resources, I imagine) to run SS locally. What someone may do (hint hint!) is set up an SS server, and charge a $1-5 flat fee to gain access.

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by CraigTPE » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:44 am

hmmwhatsthisdo wrote:As for the modest annual fee, I dunno about that. I understand Aaron's resistance to fee-paying of any kind. However, it may be a necessary evil. However, I don't really care for the annual fee, though. I could deal with a cheap, one-time fee fairly well.
What about occasionally soliciting for donations via e-mail once in a while? I admire and appreciate Aaron's resistance to fee paying, but most reasonable people will understand that this stuff costs money and should be willing to voluntarily pitch in. I've never received an e-mail request for donation from SipSorcery and only recently read this forum because I switched from iPhone to Android, installed a different app and had to check my login information.

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by ian-chard » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:46 am

I think so too. We can look on ways to save so that we can still have free accounts. I bet one of the expenses in maintaining this is coming from hardware upgrades and web hosting needs and maintenance. I am half hearted on this one as i understand that such service can only come free for some time but be a paid service for better experience

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by ksittler » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:26 pm

As much as I like free, I would be happy to pay $15-20 per year to be able to be able to dial Google voice from my phone, especially if some value-add features were added to the package. I admire the idealism of the person who is running SipSorcery, but the bottom line is that it takes money to upgrade existing hardware and expand capacity. The current subscribers could be grandfathered in so that they would continue to have the same service (protect the customer experience), but new accounts could be had for a nominal recurring fee with different price levels based on duration. Different pricing tiers could be set up for different levels of service, if that is appropriate. I would hate to see this service go away because the current hardware could not be replaced. I know that brings in a host of other overhead options because someone has to run the financial parts of the operation and take care of non-technical stuff. I figure Sipsorcery's purpose is not to make money, so profit might not be a driving motive, but something has to keep the wheels running.

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by nesslookalike » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:04 pm

I'm just going to bump this topic as well instead of make a new one to express my opinion.

I see where you're coming from Aaron. I read your post in the other topic that was mentioned earlier about the state of things, and apart from my thoughts that the prices for service are strange and a big jump from the $free that everyone has been used to for years, my main concern is the way beta users are being treated. I think that while it is admirable that you want to maintain free basic service for everyone interested for as long as possible, you should cut your beta users a break and offer special beta user pricing. By doing so, the chances of you alienating your beta users would be greatly lessened, as they would have a softer middle-ground between $free and $35/year to jump to for fine SS service. If you don't go that route, its very possible that beta users will just revert to free users and with reduced functionality and learn to live with it instead of ever contributing a dime to the site's uptime.

I can only speak for myself, but I wouldn't object at all to paying a reduced $12/year ($1/month sounds fair!) for the essentially non-business premium-featured SS service that we've all been used to for years. If you offered this special pricing to beta users, I'm sure most would jump on it. I know I would.

Just my thoughts. :)

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by Aaron » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:20 pm

Thanks for all the feedback on this thread but also a few others (such as viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2755&start=40) and also in comments on my blog. I read them all and put some lengthy consideration into all the different options suggested.

What the freemium approach boils down to is that eventually I had to make a decision about whether the sipsorcery project would continue on the same course with me working on it in my spare time until the day came where I ran out of energy, something else cropped up etc. etc. Or alternatively to turn it into a business and as the sales permitted start devoting more of my time to the project until I hopefully end up being able to work on it if not full time then at least part time. I believe there are benefits to be had for the sipsorcery project, sipsorcery users and also me personally if the revenue from sipsorcery allowed me to devote x days a week to working on it rather than the current situation where I fit it in around the demands of a 9-to-5 job, family commitments etc. etc.

Running the project as a business means it needs to make money. Projects like sipsorcery typically get about a 1% conversion rate on free users becoming paying customers so I can therefore run some numbers to determine what sort of price point the service needs to be set at to make it feasible. Coupled with that the price needs to be set at something enough users will be willing to pay. That's where the $35/year or $2.92/month comes from. At that price I'm hoping it will allow me to earn enough so that I can spend 1 day/week devoted to the project (that's one uninterrupted working day as opposed to a weekend with competing demands). With that one day/week I would hope to come up with either extra features or applications to generate revenue to get me to two days a week and so on. But the point here is that less than $35/year is unlikely to ever generate enough revenue to take the service anywhere and it would be better to not bother at all. Maybe the case in point here is Voxalot. Voxalot doesn't seem to have been able to grow and one possible reason is that the revenue model is wrong. Another reason may be that there isn't enough demand and that may also be a problem for sipsorcery but if the demand does meet my forecasts, based on current levels of interest and the 1% conversion rate, I'm confident the business and project will be able to grow.

For Beta users which include anyone and everyone who has used the mysipswitch and sipsorcery projects since 2007 and who has contributed feedback, posted on the forums, lodged a bug report etc. I am extremely grateful and it's fair to say that the project would not have gotten anywhere without their contributions and would long ago have faded away into some internet graveyard. I like to think that in most cases Beta users have gotten as much back from the project as they have contributed. In some cases that's definitely not true and some Beta users have contributed way more than they are ever likely to get in reciprocal benefit. During the last 12 months the core sipsorcery service has been running in the same, or very close to the, manifestation that it is running now. So in most respects the last 12 months has been a long final beta validation phase. For Beta users that could be viewed as 12 months of free service and I like to think in 99% of cases that works out as a fair reward for contributions. All that being said I do plan to offer a one off discount for Beta users that want to switch to the Premium plan as a further way of saying thanks but it won't be in the $12/year range and will be closer to a 20 to 30% discount on the existing pricing.

So there you go you have my reasoning. I don't expect everyone to agree with it although hopefully some will. The sipsorcery project is now a registered business and as such it will be treated like every other business with users and customers voicing their agreement to the pricing plan and the service with their patronage or lack thereof. I do regret that I couldn't keep the basic services free as I had originally envisaged but in the end the constraints on my time have become too great and this is now the path I have chosen. Again thanks for the feedback and if you are a Beta user thanks for contributing!

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Re: Disabling free accounts - Not the way to go IMO

Post by spartans » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:52 pm


You have done a great job, indeed all the ones whom have fine tuned this project into an successful outcome.

We the admirers support you and we would like you to prosper in new heights along with us whom are each and every users benefited from this services.

Have a small suggestion to make this much robust and user friendly based dial plans / wizards so that even any newbie can get on this , without proper dial plan or logic none will try this project.



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