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Old 29 Apr 2006, 04:53 AM   #1
rishi
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Fastmail Lifetime

Is something like this possible ?

Runbox had this option, ASO had it a few months back and Textdrive offer lifetime Accounts quite regularly to raise capital.
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 11:48 AM   #2
robmueller
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We thought about it and were going to do it, but decided against it. The Internet is a volatile place, so locking yourself into something "forever" is a bit precarious I think for a companies safety...

Rob
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 11:52 AM   #3
JasonWard
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Quote:
Originally posted by robmueller
We thought about it and were going to do it, but decided against it. The Internet is a volatile place, so locking yourself into something "forever" is a bit precarious I think for a companies safety...

Rob
Yes, I've never liked these lifetime offers, its selling a service that will cost the company forever but for which they once perhaps many years ago got a payment, just doesnt make business sense to me.

And in addition to that, every lifetime offer of service I've ever signed up to on the internet has ended being withdrawn or made unusable.

I would be worried if Fastmail offered this.

Jason
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 12:30 PM   #4
robmueller
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The usual theory with lifetime offers is that you create a specific set of service items, offer that for life without changing, the theory being that the cost of offering those items decreases over time such that the payment upfront is better than the NPV of the cost to provide it.

For this to make sense though, it means that if you bought a lifetime Enhanced account 3 years go, you'd still have an account with 150M of space, no file storage, 1 virtual domain, etc.

I think it's better for us to offer fixed time accounts, and upgrade those with additional features as they become completed and not fix the feature set at what you paid for when you signed up.

Rob
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 12:51 PM   #5
msulloway
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Yet you do with the member account - which I have purchased for myself & other family members. There is as much risk on the user side as the provider with any lifetime account. I am also pleased you allow one-time purchases of additional email space which allows the account to grow & does provide additional income to your firm.

Lifetime plans appeal to people like myself - which is why I purchased an ASO lifetime hosting acount.
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 06:20 PM   #6
janusz
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Quote:
Originally posted by msulloway
Yet you do with the member account - which I have purchased for myself
Hear, hear.... I also got one for myself.
Yes, there is no guarantee how long any lifetime offer will actually last. OTOH pay annually/monthly services come and go as well, on the internet and in the Real World (tm)
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 08:31 PM   #7
Aimlink
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Quote:
Originally posted by janusz
Hear, hear.... I also got one for myself.
Yes, there is no guarantee how long any lifetime offer will actually last. OTOH pay annually/monthly services come and go as well, on the internet and in the Real World (tm)
Hence the reluctance with lifetime offers. It allows the company to come and go, depending on conditions, profitability etc.

I've renewed for a couple years and transferred another domains control. My confidence is increasing.
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 10:34 PM   #8
robmueller
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True, we have done that with the member account, and not made any changes to it over it's life.

The actual original motivation for the Member account was as a stepping stone way to get people to pay for an email service. Yep, when we started the concept of paying for something on the Internet was still a bit radical I'd say

Anyway, back to lifetime full/enhanced, what would we do when we want to change one of the levels, do we:

1. Change the level, but leave all existing users with the existing feature set. Over time, we might end up with dozens of different definitions of a "Full" account depending on when people paid
2. Give the new level a new name. We'd need a whole marketing department to keep coming up with new names for each level as things changed! Or maybe we'd just have Full'02Q3, Full'02Q4, Full'03Q1, etc

Rob
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 10:42 PM   #9
Aimlink
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Quote:
Originally posted by robmueller

2. Give the new level a new name. We'd need a whole marketing department to keep coming up with new names for each level as things changed! Or maybe we'd just have Full'02Q3, Full'02Q4, Full'03Q1, etc

Rob
Would it have to be that complex. Would a lifetime accounts features have to remain fixed in all respects. If so, then I guess a new account type would need to appear each year.

The naming scheme you have there would be an interesting one to use.

When did FastMail actually start?
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 10:44 PM   #10
janusz
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My suggestions are (FWIW):
1. Revise (upwards !!) allocation levels. Existing ones, particularly for members, are miserable for a paid service.
2. Keep it simple. Nobody likes to compare, and chose between, twenty-odd plans with subtle differences between them.

Of course there always is a radical option of leaving everything as is
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Old 29 Apr 2006, 10:54 PM   #11
Aimlink
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Quote:
Originally posted by janusz
My suggestions are (FWIW):
1. Revise (upwards !!) allocation levels. Existing ones, particularly for members, are miserable for a paid service.
2. Keep it simple. Nobody likes to compare, and chose between, twenty-odd plans with subtle differences between them.

Of course there always is a radical option of leaving everything as is
Janusz,

Comparisons will not be as chaotic as you're saying. For each category of user for which there's a lifetime offer, there'll always be one account type available to new users. The only time there's need for comparison, is for those with a lifetime account which has evolved over time. The user then has to decide if he wishes to remain with his accounts feature set as they were when he subscribed for his lifetime account, or if he wishes to upgrade to the new feature set.

The account would therefore be kind-of like software. You keep your existing version. There may be minor enhancements which are free. A major change takes place which your own account will not receive because of the lifetime policy. The only way to get it would be to pay another one time fee to get your account up to status.
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 12:59 AM   #12
hadaso
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Quote:
Originally posted by curtis
The account would therefore be kind-of like software. You keep your existing version. ...
So I have my original WIN98 and WIN95 that are not supported. Not only are they not supported but at least with WIN98 there used to be an automatic update feature that ceased to work when MS stopped providing support for WIN98, so when I reinstalled I went back to the vintage version with no easy way to get bugfixes.

Can this work with an email service? Eventually changes would be made that would not be compatible with the legacy feature levels that have to be kept for those that signed up to lifetime accounts. So some offerings would have to be changed, and this would create demand for more. We already have here tons of posts asking that member level would be upgraded to become more "up to date" without additional payment.

I guess that Fastmail's best interest now is to have as many people as possible leave the member level, and only few subscribe at this level. Then when the number of subscribers at this level would become small enough then perhaps FastMail could offer more at this level and require a higher initial payment (like 1 year full or perhaps a bit more).
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 01:59 AM   #13
Aimlink
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hadaso,

Yes. The current way software upgrades work, could not work the same for an e-mail service, I agree.

I don't know if it would be practicably possible to have accounts stuck or kept at multiple levels of functionality based on quotas among other things, until the user decided to apply another one time payment to get the account up to date with all the current features and quotas.
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 11:26 AM   #14
541
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I'm not crazy about the idea. What if I don't like the service in the future, but feel forced to keep using it since I've sunk a bunch of money into this "lifetime" membership. The member level can't be compared, since it is only 14.95 and a lifetime at the extended level would have to be considerablly more.
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 10:31 PM   #15
Adrian Bell
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Re: Fastmail Lifetime

Quote:
Originally posted by rishi

Runbox had this option,
I remember it: Runbox - Free for life!

http://web.archive.org/web/200105152...ww.runbox.com/

Last edited by Adrian Bell : 30 Apr 2006 at 10:41 PM.
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