Why Mailstrom Is Becoming a Subscription Service

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Mailstrom has been generally available since October 2012 — first as a beta product, then on a free trial basis. We ramped up through explosive growth in the spring and have continued to grow since then.

This fall, we began testing paid subscription plans. Based on the strength of these tests, today we are pleased to announce that Mailstrom will become a paid service, beginning in January 2014.

In these heady times it’s a common expectation that all products should be free; and while a free product can sometimes allow for massive growth or for network effects to take hold, most often, it just doesn’t work that way.

We set out to build something of real value that is truly sustainable. To do that, we knew that subscription revenues would be a big part of Mailstrom’s DNA.

Since the beginning, we have been asking our free trial users how they would value a service like Mailstrom.  Surveys have consistently indicated that about 45% would pay at least $5 per month; and about 10% of those would pay at least $20 per month.

When we began validating subscription pricing this fall, these numbers were supported. We have seen consistent buy-in at $4.95 per month and $49.95 per year — a very reasonable price point (and discount for annual subscription) when you consider the true value that Mailstrom provides to so many people.

We have ambitious plans for Mailstrom that include many more features as well as expanded mobile support. Doing what Mailstrom does is hard and it requires the tireless contributions of many talented people — whose families don’t live on rainbows and unicorns.

We need the financial support of the people who find value in what we aim to provide. There are about 4 billion email users in the world and their inboxes are growing bigger all the time. It’s a growth market.

So we believe this is the beginning of something big and important — and a vision that goes way beyond the inbox. Building out that vision will take time. Creating a strong, sustaining revenue base is the right way for us to keep challenging the status quo and build tools that provide real value.

Here are a few questions we have received as part of this transition:

  • Does Mailstrom work with Yahoo Mail yet? We have been in close contact with the Yahoo Mail team and have been assured that we’re at the top of the list for new changes that they are making to support Mailstrom. We expect they will be ready in the next 30-60 days.
  • Is there a way to continue using Mailstrom for free? No, not right now. However, we will continue to evaluate options that can make Mailstrom available as widely as possible.
  • How did you choose this price point? We chose $4.95/month (or $49.95 per year) based on a variety of factors, including cost analysis, extensive user surveying, and several months worth of market testing. For people who have the problems that Mailstrom solves, it’s a tremendous value, and nothing else comes close.
  • When can we expect mobile support? Mobile support is one of our very top priorities and is something we expect to roll out in 2014. We’ve recently made several improvements for iPad (and other tablets.)
  • When will we be able to analyze other folders besides for the inbox? This is something we expect to add in 2014. It turns out to be extremely resource intensive to do properly, so we want to take the time to do it right. We’ll announce it as soon as it’s ready.

And to all of you who have already subscribed to Mailstrom, thank you for your support and many kind words! We’ve helped people clean up 312 Million emails so far and can’t wait to hit our first billion! Onward!