Will You Pay for HootSuite?

Earlier this week, HootSuite announced that they will begin to charge for advanced features of the service, starting next week. The newly-introduced pricing plan provides a number of choices from a Freemium plan all the way through Platinum for $99.99/month.

Here’s the breakdown of the new pricing plans:

Here is some of what HootSuite had to say about the new pricing model:

Most of you will continue to use HootSuite in much the same way you do today. Additionally, power users and enterprises with teams can confidently rely on HootSuite for critical campaigns knowing there will be continuity of service from a stable company.

Impact for Regular Users

The free plan, which HootSuite anticipates will be appropriate for 95% of users, includes basic stats and analytics, five social network profiles and one RSS feed. The Bronze package for $4.99/month makes the jump to unlimited social networks and 10 RSS feeds.

It would appear that the Basic and Bronze packages will be more than enough for regular users who make HootSuite their tool of choice to manage all of their social networks and RSS feeds.

Impact for Power Users

If you’ve heard any grumblings about the new pricing model, it’s likely been from HootSuite power users who have made use of the team collaboration functions. This new pricing model takes away all of the team features for the Basic or Bronze plans and forces users to move to, at a minimum, the Silver plan that includes one team member for $19.99/mo.

The hardest hit goes to users who manage social media accounts for clients, for example, many virtual assistants. They currently have the team functions set up and running like a well-oiled machine, helping them manage all of the relevant social network profiles for their clients.

This introduction of the new pricing model will certainly require a change to how they are managing their accounts, and possibly require that they create a new account for each client. Or, as many have said, they may leave the service entirely.

What’s Your Take?

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of HootSuite as I’ve written a number of posts about it over the past year. Personally, I’m just fine with the Basic or Bronze account (depending on how I want to handle my RSS feeds), and I have no problem paying $5/month to use HootSuite.

While I think we need to get past the perspective that we’re entitled to get access to a multitude of online services for free (we pay for offline products and services that we find useful, online should be no different), I do see the point of team-based users who say it’s simply too expensive to pay $600 or even $1,200 per year to keep their accounts functioning as they currently are.

But, what’s your perspective as a HootSuite user? Will you move to a paid account? Are you considering leaving HootSuite for another service?

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  • WebKarnage

    I’ve never run it. More than I need as it goes so far. I like my streamlined apps where appropriate. I’ll be interested to see what other options power users opt for.

    with best regards,
    Karn.

  • Candy

    I’m one of those that refuses to pay $240, $600 or $1200 for a small software application. I am a bookkeeper and that kind of outlay of cash is only for QuickBooks and other accounting packages. I realize all the rage is online apps and SAAS, but Hootsuite WAY missed the mark on their pricing. I’d be willing to pay $50-$75 per year for the same functionality I use, but that’s really about it. Hootsuite is far from perfect (no unified columns, no ability to clear columns would make it perfect for me LOL) but it is great, but it is replaceable. As of now, I’m back to Seesmic Desktop. At least I can get my unified columns back.

  • craigshipp

    Are there any hootsuite alternatives that are still FREE?

  • cqwagner

    I really like Hootsuite, and I also agree that we need to stop expecting great services for free.

    In fact, in that same line of thinking, I am shocked at the amount of complaints people have about free tools. Paid services are one thing, and you can expect a certain level of service, but free is free.

    Overall, I will continue to use Hootsuite even if I pay $5.00 or $20.00 per month. I don’t need the larger plans, at least for the foreseeable future, but if you are truly managing many clients social networks, it may need to be added into the billing. If you were managing it for 5 clients and paid the $100.00 per month fee, would it be hard to bill out $20.00 per month per client?

  • Carsmosis

    I’ve been trying a multitude of Twitter clients for my online automotive directory Carsmosis (sorry shameless little plug there). One of the best is without doubt Hootsuite. I have no problem paying for it, but wouldn’t it make sense to charge $10 or even $15 to the Bronze majority (as per their numbers) and give the agencies a break? At the end of the day, (in my humble opinion) these things will bring about one of two things: 1. People will use one of the other 10 billion clients (Pluggio is my new fave), and/or 2. Social media clients will have to shell out even more to our vendors to pay the difference.. PS, some printable reports (ex Google Analytics) would be a great addition too; I would totally pay for that feature.

  • Terri Zwierzynski

    I’ll be using the Bronze plan with my two Hootsuite accounts (one is for me, one is for clients.) I did have to drop all my team members and give my login info to my entire team though. It’s worth it to keep away from the $20/mo. plan imho!

  • JR

    I’m as appalled as Candy is over the pricing model, though I made the move back to Seesmic within about five minutes of trying Hootsuite, as I found it beyond slow and entirely unusable. I suspect that within six months, they will have drastically lowered their prices, laid off most of their staff, or filed for whatever the Canadian equivalent of a Chapter 7 is. Such are the lessons of alienating your userbase.

    I don’t think users need to get over expecting services to be free at all. I think businesses need to realize that this isn’t 1952 anymore and there are new ways of doing things. Once upon a time, the only way your business made money was to shake down customers at the door for all you could get out of them. Now, that’s not the only way anymore – you can give your goods away 100% free and still make enough money to buy up every innovative upstart on the horizon.

    Google gives away all but a few of its services absolutely free. I use Google extensively and other than the standard % for receiving Google Checkout payments, I’ve paid them exactly $20 in the past 10 years, for changing two Google Voice numbers. And yet, Google made $23.6 billion last year and has 21,805 employees. Why? Because they get how the world works.

    Do you think Hootsuite is ever going to make $23.6 billion by selling premium accounts? Do you think they’ll ever need 20,000+ employees to provide “priority support”? If they make *any* money whatsoever – and my Magic 8 ball says “Don’t count on it” – it’ll be off the ad supported accounts. People click ads – $50 billion worth a year – not “pay for what you could get for free” buttons. If they want to end up listed as anything more than an also-ran, they need to get with the program.

    • JHig310336

      I second that.

  • JHig310336

    I’ve only been using Hootsuite for 2 weeks. Its a great service but its not perfect. My reasoning for choosing Hoot was it support, my personal & business twitter acct, personal & business facebook profile, business facebook fan page, and my personal linked in page, and multiple users/posters.

    I have a hard time understanding why Hoot would charge for services other providers offer for free? I give their pricing plan 6 months before they’ll either lower the price or offer most features in in the free version. No user would pay to post on Twitter/Facebook. Corporations might. But a lot of corporations don’t use Hoot and I don’t thing a fee structure will move them over to Hoot.

    Anyway, good luck to Hoot as I believe this will be the beginning of the end for them. I’m moving back to Seesmic, Tweetdeck, or the other 100+ Twitter/Facebook services.

  • cqwagner

    I am sorry to disagree with most, but where did we get this mentality that we DESERVE everything on the internet to be FREE? If people make a decent product of service, should they not be paid for it? Yes, I use free services (i.e. Gmail), but honestly, I would be happy to pay for it as it gives me value (I pay for Evernote not really because I need the premium features, but I want to support a great service).

    How many of you pay for TV (something that used to be “FREE”? Or pay for radio? Do you pay for that nice computer that you access the internet on, or pay to have a fast connection?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like free as well, but I think with the internet we need to stop this idea of free all the time. If we want people to continue to innovate on the internet, they need to be paid for their work.

    In saying this, I am not sure I agree with Hootsuites exact pricing plan, but they obviously had a reason they came up with it. In addition, it seems as if most of the people complaining and leaving could stay on the free plan anyways.

    • JR

      It seems that, somewhere along the line, the vast majority of people lost sight of the fact that cash isn’t the only form of payment. Just because you don’t hand over your credit card doesn’t mean something has no cost – indeed, non-cash payments are much more lucrative for business than cash ones.

      When the vast majority of people open up their email in Gmail, they see a strip of advertisements to the side. As soon as they look, even glance, at one of those advertisements, they’ve paid Google for using Gmail. If they actually click on an ad, they’ve paid they even more – every one of those clicks earns Google money, and billions and billions of clicks ad up to billions and billions in revenue. (You don’t have to take my word for it, it’s all in their 10-K.)

      That’s what makes Google different than a company like Hootsuite – they realize they’ll never sell billions of dollars of paid email subscriptions, but they *do* sell billions of dollars of advertisements. We pay for Gmail and all of the other Google services by paying attention.

      The same is true of television. The cable company doesn’t make it’s money by selling you monthly service – it makes its money by selling your eyeballs to its advertisers. Magazines work that way too – the sum total of “Only $1 Per Issue!” subscriptions *and* the newsstand revenues would barely pay the printer’s bill. The printing goes on because advertisers cough up tens of millions of dollars to get you to pay attention. Your morning newspaper? Yep – advertisers, not your 50¢ a day, pay for it to land in the bushes every morning. The only reason there is a subscription price on any of those things is 100% psychological – nothing worth having is free, you know, and the more it costs, the more people will want it.

      I put a premium on my time, and I know know much it’s worth to providers and the advertisers that keep them afloat. Put whatever value you like on your own attention, but please don’t devalue mine and that of the rest of the population.