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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 11, 2015

Top 4 drawbacks in the freemium space

There is a lot to be said for freemium software, especially for small businesses. Why pay thousands of dollars for software that you may only use once or multi-layered software that only offers one tool? But, there are also drawbacks to the freemium space, and one expert offers insight into why freemium may not always be the right choice.

by Kristina Knight

First, lack of customer support.

"When you install new software into your business, you're always taking a risk. Change is hard for people. New software is annoying. And you always have that voice in the back of your head saying: will it work? Imagine that you have the free intranet software installed. Your employees are logging in, posting content, sharing files, and having conversations. All seems well. Then, while someone is uploading the sales presentation, the software gives you an error. Now what? Who do you call? When you go with free intranet software, you can't call anyone, there is no support. None. Nada. Unless the company offering the free software also offers a support plan. And in that case, you'll pay for the support. So, free isn't actually free," said Tim Eisenhauer, President, Axero Solutions.

Second, lack of updates.

"Your intranet needs to grow with your business. That means it will need updates, new features, and enhancements. Sometimes these free options offer updates, although many don't. So when you need to add a feature, you're stuck in the mud," said Eisenhauer. "With a reputable intranet vendor that has customers, you'll get updates and enhancements. Plus, you'll be able to talk to the vendor about your challenges. They want to talk because they want to improve the software."

Third, hidden costs.

"Most people don't realize that "free" software options come with hidden costs. This is a trick that software companies have been pulling for years. Limited features, a limited number of free users, in-app purchases, etc. When you factor in ...
• the lack of support
• little or no customization options
• no updates
... you'll have to migrate at some point anyway! So, is the free option free? Or could it even end up more expensive in the long run?" asked Eisenhauer.

Fourth, security.

"When you have sensitive information on your intranet, it needs to be secure. With these free options, you and everyone else, including hackers, gets the source code. When you have access to the source code you are able to find vulnerabilities. When you find vulnerabilities, you can exploit them," said Eisenhauer.

Tags: Axero Solutions, freemium software, online business, software trends

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