Would MUCH prefer to pay for the service!

A place for polls.

Would you prefer to pay for the service if it meant greatly increase reliability?

Yes, would pay up to $40 / yr
6
10%
Yes, would pay up to $30 / yr
2
3%
Yes, would pay up to $20 / yr
15
25%
Yes, would pay up to $10 / yr
15
25%
I wouldn't pay
23
38%
 
Total votes : 61

Would MUCH prefer to pay for the service!

Postby jbs » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:45 am

I've been using SG for years, and love it. It's become an indispensable part of my spam management routine.

Unfortunately, though, as the service has grown in popularity, it's declined in reliability because of abuse and misuse, and no doubt the tremendous burden of running such a large enterprise "off the sides of your desks".

I'd like to state publicly that I would HAPPILY pay at least $20 a year for the service, especially if it meant having access to a more secure, reliable and scalable service.

Anyone else?

--Jason
Last edited by jbs on Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SysKoll » Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:55 am

Wait a sec. Neither Josh nor I are going to abandon our day jobs. As far as I can tell, spamgourmet will remain free.

But the spamgourmet code is GPLed. Anyone can install it on a machine and start offering a paid service.

I think the notion to discuss here is not to abandon the free spamgourmet. The idea is to complement spamgourmet with another service, provided by different people, who would install their own instance of spamgourmet on a robust (read: expensive) server and maintain it with admins (read: salaries).

I, for one, would welcome such a service, especially if I could bitch about problems instead of being at the support end of complaints! :-)

Some people, including me, have grown dependent on spamgourmet to the point where it would be reasonable to pay for the convenience of a commercial support and a high-capacity, managed server.

So if you also are in this case, please vote!
-- SysKoll
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Postby jbs » Tue Dec 14, 2004 6:59 pm

As the originator of the post, let me elaborate a bit on my thoughts. I LOVE SpamGourmet. I think it's brilliant. But I'm about to start disengaging myself from it and just go back to taking my chances with spam filtering and whitelists, at least until I can come up with my own disposable email process.

The issue is relaibility, and right now I have no reason to expect high reliability from SpamGourmet. It's a free service, run by good, generous, (smart!) people just cause they are good people. So in spite of some users' angry rants about service, I recognize that as an unpaid service, there's only so much you can expect.

I've now been without most of my email for about 3 or 4 days. This is rough, since I *do* rely on SG (I know the FAQ told me not to! :D) So I would much rather continue to use it as a paid service, becuase I'm going to stop using it as a free service.

--Jason
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Postby gumpish » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:58 am

Where is the "No" option?

Don't get me wrong, I'd gladly shell out at least $10/year, but without a "No" option, who knows how many readers would NOT pay?
gumpish
 

Postby jbs » Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:55 am

gumpish wrote:Where is the "No" option?

Don't get me wrong, I'd gladly shell out at least $10/year, but without a "No" option, who knows how many readers would NOT pay?


Weird . . . when I created the survey (in another part of the support forum) I had 5 options, the last of which was, "Nope, wouldn't pay". Now I don't see that final option . . . You're of course absolutely right, the poll is much less useful without a No option.

I'm not sure whether it was a casualty of the move here to the Polls section (where I should have created this in the first place). I can't seem to add that option -- perhaps one of the moderators is able to?

--Jason
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Postby Paranoid2000 » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:02 pm

SpamGourmet has becoming increasing indispensable to me so paying for rock-solid reliability is a no-brainer. However a tiered structure (e.g. free for first 50 aliases, $10/year for up to 250, $20/year for up to 1,000, $30/year for up to 3,000, etc) may be a more appropriate way of matching charges to peoples' usage.

My main concern would be about payment method. Credit card is the only realistic option for international payments but PayPal's past "issues" makes them a no-go in my book. SpamCop use VeriSign's Payflowlink which seems to work well. A lot of the other "shareware vendors" like RegNow or ShareIt do have the undesireable habit of adding Value Added Tax (with rates varying from 15-20%+) for European purchasers - since SpamGourmet is a service rather than software (and presumably has no EU presence making VAT payment optional in any case), this would be an unnecessary extra expense.
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Postby SysKoll » Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:47 pm

Guys,

Again, it is highly unlikely that SG would turn into a commercial service. But some other web site might decide to install the code and offer for-pay accounts with commercial support.
-- SysKoll
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Postby Paranoid2000 » Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:58 pm

SysKoll wrote:Again, it is highly unlikely that SG would turn into a commercial service. But some other web site might decide to install the code and offer for-pay accounts with commercial support.
But the effort involved in moving SpamGourmet accounts to such a commercial service would be significant for long-time users with many aliases (notably registering the new domain for corresponding websites). Having a commercial "option" in SpamGourmet itself however should benefit all users if it meant access to backup connections, fallback servers, more admin staff, etc.

And it's doubtful they'd keep the same look... :)
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Postby jbs » Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:36 pm

SysKoll wrote:Guys,

Again, it is highly unlikely that SG would turn into a commercial service. But some other web site might decide to install the code and offer for-pay accounts with commercial support.


For the record, I wouldn't move to a commercial service if it meant losing the current SG domains that I use (mostly xoxy.net).

I'd happily pay for a more reliable service, but if I had to change the hundred or so email addresses out there with every little website I've ever signed up with, I'm pretty sure I would just change them over to my own domain and set up filtering to accomplish the same thing.

To be honest, the auto-expire part of SG is not the most useful to me, and not what I'd be paying for -- it's the unique addressing part that I value, and that's something I could replicate fairly easily on my own.

--Jason
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Postby josh » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:15 am

OK -- I added the "I wouldn't pay option". So far we have 7 votes out of nearly 80,000 user accounts, so I don't think we've warped the statistics yet :)

Spamgourmet is currently running in the red -- google ads paid for it from the time we got our expensive server and bandwidth contract up until about the time they went public when for some reason the payout fell off (coincidence ? :)). Recently cost has been one or two hundred dollars/month more than intake (including donations).

*I think* we can restore the reliability (that we never promised) by refactoring the software to run in-process with sendmail. CPU is our limiting factor now, and we've long known that our code (*my* code, in this respect) was running stupidly innefficiently. We're going to look at doing that soon. When we upgrade, there'll probably be more problems -- sorry in advance -- that's the software business. After that we should be OK for awhile.

If we offered a paid option for the current service, we'd need to provide some features that were inaccesible to free accounts (maybe unlimited forwarding). What would suck is if, like in many of these scenarios, we had to cut back on what was currently offered for free and move that into the paid catetory. Some sg users now are in the extreme category (one address shows that it's forwarded over 11 million messages!!!), so I wouldn't mind putting large but reasonable limits on things like number of addresses and the like. It seems doubtful that most paying users would want the ability to do the things that these folks are doing, though.

In any event, the paying subscribers would be subsidizing the non-paying subscribers, and so would need to get something extra (we already accept donations, and thanks!!! to everyone who's donated -- they don't add up to a whole lot, though). So if you voted that you'd pay for spamgourmet, I'd like to ask you to be specific about you'd be paying for.


My main fear about charging for the service is administration. It's a lot cheaper to be free than it is to be cheap, at least so it seems to me. Merely keeping track of who paid for what and for how long would be a big task -- doable perhaps, but worth considering.


Beyond that, if there's a payment, there probably needs to be some level of guaranteed support. And insurance... And accounting... - you see the quandary here -- merely accepting a payment in exchange for something creates a bunch of cost that we don't currently have, so if we did it wrong, it's possible that doing so would cause the service to, counterintuitively, lose a whole bunch of money (then it would be very hard to justify to our wives!). I guess I'd just say that any movement in this direction needs to be *very* carefully considered.

Syskoll's idea about a separate paid service avoids pretty much all these concerns -- like the rest of you, I have a lot of existing sg addresses, and so I'd hate to give those up (I guess we wouldn't have to?). Does it seem like there's enough demand to support salaried personnel? It'll take more than 7 subscribers :)
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Postby OhmAlone » Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:52 pm

Please note that you need to log in to vote
Ohm Alone
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Postby cold-steel » Mon May 16, 2005 12:05 am

i am totally against having to pay for it. SG is free and should remain so.
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Postby zooloo » Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:09 pm

My main concern would be about payment method. Credit card is the only realistic option for international payments but PayPal's past "issues" makes them a no-go in my book. SpamCop use VeriSign's Payflowlink which seems to work well. A lot of the other "shareware vendors" like RegNow or ShareIt do have the undesireable habit of adding Value Added Tax (with rates varying from 15-20%+) for European purchasers - since SpamGourmet is a service rather than software (and presumably has no EU presence making VAT payment optional in any case), this would be an unnecessary extra expense.


For the case a paid sg-clone is going to be created at all:
moneybookers might be worth consideration. That's an universal international email-to-email payment service functionally similar to "big brother" PayPal (that is, not specialised to b2c or the like), but without those "issues". I've been using it for more than 3 years now, albeit I don't even own a credit card. As far as I can tell, moneybookers works secure, fast and inexpensive.

zooloo
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Postby mika84 » Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:27 pm

Because I'm ready to pay, I already made donation. So isn't it that so simple?
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Postby SysKoll » Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:46 pm

Thanks mika84!
-- SysKoll
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