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FREE! Feedback from The FREE! Summit

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Last week, we had the pleasure and honor of attending The FREE! Summit as one of the featured Greenhouse companies that received tons of FREE valuable feedback from the fellow-attendees.    Mike Masnick from Techdirt emceed the event and Chris Anderson, editor in Chief of Wired and the author of The Long Tail, keynoted & shared many FREE! nuggets of wisdom (“If you don’t offer FREE! somebody else in your space will… the only way to make money is to monetize scarcity”)  regarding successful Free-mium models (e.g. Nexon, Club Penguin).   Then, Ooma‘s CMO Rich Buchanan, Yousendit‘s CTO Ranjith Kumaran and  Robert Rowley of Practice Fusion, presented their respective, extremely interesting company Case Studies.   Next, it was four different companies (, AD-village, and us, Phonevite)  sharing challenges they face with FREE.    We each gave our 5 minute pitch, and then we, the presenting companies and the whole crowd, were broken up into four different lunch rooms, where we shared lunch and Phonevite was treated to some great advice by the many sharp people present.   Phonevite’s session was kindly moderated by Tami Bhaumik, VP of Corporate Marketing of Ooma.   Rich Buchanan, from Ooma, and Ranjith Kumaran, from Yousendit, also shared the table with us, and we appreciated theirs as well all the amazing feedback we received from all the tables.     Tami was kind enough to write down and send us some of the ideas we were given:

1)     How do we overcome skepticism over “free?”

  • Problems accepting a “free” in any business model is generational.  Quite simply, older people are more skeptical.  Younger are more in tune with getting things for free.  They are willing to take a chance until they get burned.
  • Offer up front payoff as to how you are offering something for “free.”  Be transparent.  No hidden agenda.
  • Perhaps offer:  “How are we able to be free?”
  • Cite up front how you make money
  • Free only works to a point
  • Expand PhoneVite services to other sites to extend viral opportunities
  • Cite customer case studies up front for top tier targets to visually grasp how it works and how it might work for them.
  • At the end of the call, in order to position yourselves in a positive light, say “PhoneVite is concerned about your privacy…” making you seem more legitimate and trustworthy

2)     How do we convert more to Premium and reduce churn?

  • Differentiate the service more
  • Reduce the number of free calls. Give them a taste and then get them to pay.
  • Perhaps allow customers to use unlimited calls for 30 days and then pay.
  • Refine target audience segmentation focus for those that are more apt to convert.
  • Know your current users backwards and forwards.  Conduct a survey to see why they are using it and what they like about it.
  • You must define your user group pods.  You cannot effectively market to everyone.
  • Move your value proposition above the fold and reduce the amount of clutter on your website.

3)     Pricing on tiers?

  • Potential elasticity testing.  Price high with couponing to test price elasticity
  • Pre-paid testing
  • Subscription Model testing
  • Offer a certain amount of time for free and then turn on paid model.

Now, we must get busy executing these concepts.   Thanks everyone.


Written by johnnahm

May 19, 2009 at 9:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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