On "Extra Perks"

This is to see what others thing of the new blog post and future updates on the way, specifically the introduction of paid features.

As for me, being a sad Openmailbox migrant, see this as a sad route to take. Albeit the differences, such as being non-profit or not limiting crucial features, making long awaited features completely exclusive and paid (and at points more expensive than many commercial alternatives) represents yet another Openmailbox incident. Note that I don’t use or need any of these features, but I don’t like contributing to a project that makes them exclusive for others who might need them (just to make it clear I’ve contributed nothing but bug reports to this point, so I can’t claim anything, but that’s because I’m simply waiting to make sure where Disroot is gonna head towards). As for extra space, it’s simple, more space requires direct costs so having that as a paid option is totally fine (and proposed price for it seems fairly reasonable for a small sized project), but a user adding an aliase won’t directly add any costs (of course those need implementing and thus time and effort, plus some hidden costs I might not be aware from the technical point of view like extra domains etc, but putting time and effort without much expectations in return is what being a community means, without accepting it you can’t expect others to contribute to the project, be it some coding or direct money), so not exposing them (at least in a limited quantity) doesn’t sound totally right and the best thing to do, and to me financial stability can’t really justify it, do a to it not differing much from what commercial services do, especially when no other options to gain that financial stability has thoroughly been discussed or experimented with AFAIK.

Although I would like things my way, I’m keen to see other points of view both from staff and users, to avoid prejudgments.

Hi @hapoofesgeli

We’ve decided to make alias feature a paid one for number of reasons. The main one is trying to stabilize financially. So far we’ve got nowhere near the costs of existing infrastructure. Last year we covered a fraction of it from donations, and this year if it weren’t for a benefit party, the situation wouldn’t be any better either. Since Openmailbox exodus (beginning of august) our user-base quadrupled and keeps growing. This means we will need to double the number of servers, and disk space really soon, and we the admins of Disroot simply can’t afford it to pay from our own pocket.

We see email aliases as a luxury feature. We (Disroot admins and others using the platform) lived without it happily for two years and we don’t see an urgent need to use it. However, if someone needs one, it requires quite some work from our side to make it globally functional, plus minor work to setup alias per person. We think adding such custom feature is a great opportunity to ask for donation (2euro a month is peanuts really, and not more expensive then any commercial counterpart) and it allows others who can’t afford building such self-hosted infrastructure to use it for free. This donation to Disroot would create steady stream of income that we can measure and be sure of, so we have a better overview on what’s our financial situation.
It is totally different from closing IMAP for instance, or posing any other limitation for people who want to use the service. Email aliases is a feature that was so far not available and is really not a necessity as we see it.
We would love to be able to count on user donations that don’t depend on any feature. Unfortunately this proves to be unsustainable. Such donations are irregular, and many people don’t acknowledge the cost that are tied to such service. At the moment we personally carry most of the costs of around 120 euro a month. Very soon this costs will double or even triple, this is something we really cannot carry ourselves. We want to make sure now, that we don’t have to close registration and that the current usage of the platform doesn’t suffer, due to the lack of funds.

We are of course interested to hear any other suggestions for a sustainable financial model that can be implemented.

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I understand that you guys have been and still are paying for everything, it’s not denied and really appreciated.

“We see email aliases as a luxury feature”, and same can be said to anything besides the email and basic storage support including all other services and Nextcloud apps etc, there will be no guarantee that this won’t happen to either existing and/ or other possible features coming later.

“Unfortunately this proves to be unsustainable”, maybe something this can also be thought upon? Openmailbox managed to do it quite a while (altough last year’s progress wasn’t updated in website) and I kinda got the feeling they managed to buy a infrastructure for their new commercial services only from those donations besides holding up the service. Maybe yearly/seasonally campaigns might do more good?

“suggestions for a sustainable financial”, having a regular financial aid for such projects unfortunately isn’t easy unless having a company backing you up which isn’t he case for such services, but there might still be other things to do to gain irregular aid, for example how about creating a crowdfunding campaigns based on features? e.g. we will implement aliases due to next month for everyone if we raise 1k euro (you can still charge users for irregular usage metrics, like people who need 15 aliases). This unlike your method won’t bring flowing contributions, and can’t be wagered upon, but if gets to work, 1/2 features will cover all or at least a considerable portion of the costs for a year.

“and not more expensive then any commercial counterpart”, I’m not going to list places, but as an example where I live (probably due to weaker currency and cheaper labour compared) with the 126 euro needed to use ones own domain plus 50 GB storage, I could get not only more than 100GB space on a VPS (of course not a pro one, but good enough for managing personal things) but someone to set it up the way I want, and I might as well be left with money to contribute to the projects I tend to use.
I don’t really enjoy the burden of having a VPS or home servers, but that option seems to be look far more appealing as things go…

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Replying also to @sanunova here

Thanks guys for your feedback.

I would like to set some things straight because it hurts seeing words like “freemium” and “commercial” in regard to disroot. especially since we added those features that weren’t available at the first place to ensure the survival of a free platform. We had a lot of meetings and discussions before coming up with this solution.

What you both seem to overlook is the fact that disroot is not a business trying to compete in the market. We do not try to lure people to use our services so we can make more money. We created disroot because we needed it and then we though others might need it too. And now we find it important to keep it going and make sure the people that are using the platform can keep doing so without worrying about it shutting down or slowing down. If you rather have your own VPS all the better, as long as you use open federated software so we can still stay in the same free network :wink:

It is also perfectly ok if people don’t feel the need to purchase extra domains and are using instead multiple accounts, in fact I do that too. Maybe that is why I don’t see the necessity in having aliases. Like i said it is not about making profit but surviving. Yes, we have the little dream of being able to pay a volunteer fee for our own work on disroot - after contributing to all the projects we host - but we know that this is a far fetched reality and that it will still be a while before we actually stop paying for the infrastructure ourselves.

Splitting our time between disroot, work and our other projects, we don’t have the time and resources to run a crowd funding campaign every time we get into financial trouble. and personally I also don’t think forcing people to back us through a campaign so we reach a certain goal is better then asking people to contribute for an extra feature.

That said, obviously we are listening and considering all the remarks and might adjust things accordingly with time.

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We see email aliases as a luxury feature. We (Disroot admins and others using the platform) lived without it happily for two years and we don’t see an urgent need to use it.

And that’s a legitimate point of view. But if one wants to use the DR account as primary account, and wants to keep it for several years, having several alias is not only a way to organize the correspondence (quick example: one could create filters to send mails to/from alias 1 to folders X and X1, to/from alias 2 to folders Y and Y1, tag them separately create reminders, notes, etc, all independently of the sender, subject, etc) but also a way to not needing to close old mail accounts and open new ones with so much frequency: when the alias you use to buy on online shops becomes an annoying “repository” of spam you just delete it and create a new one; when your social networking alias keeps receiving mails from networks, forums, etc, from hwere you deleted your account but they keep bothering, delete the corresponding alias and create a new and clean one; or you can have all your alias configured in you desktop mail client with one identity for each alias and also folders for each one, but you may not be interested in using some identities on your mobile device, then you configure your mobile client to not synchronizing the mail folders you don’t want to see on such device.
These are some examples, but I’m sure there are many other use cases that other users find useful. But I agree that most users won’t probably need all this, so they could live happily without alias at all, or in case they want one or two, they can open a couple of mail accounts well in DR well in any other provider, so those users aren’t goint to pay 24 € a year. Users who would make a regular use of the alias feature… well, neither would we. As said in my other post there are other providers that grant (or that’s what they say) privacy as much as it is possible nowadays, and cost the half.

I’m willing to buy some of your packages but even if I like the idea of having 10 alias, I’m not instered in having my own domain, nor paying 36 € a year, not because it would cause my financial ruin, but because I don’t think it’s worth it. The same about paying 24 € just for having 5 alias. What I find very reasonable is the price for extra space, which I’ll most probably buy, but I think I keep using several accounts instead of alias, even if it’s slightly less handy than having all my mail in a single place.

In the post I mentioned before I suggested to add some features that could be very interesting for many of us. Those would add added value and could be included in your paid plans. But I don’t know if my suggestions will interest much more people besides me; perhaps other users won’t be interested at all ergo won’t think that then it’s worth to pay those ammounts.

But there’s a doubt in my mind about paid accounts: how can one buy a plan anonymously? To distinguish a paid account from a free (gratis) one the payments must be obviously associated to said account. Do you plan to use bitcoin or something similar?

P.S

it hurts seeing words like “freemium” and “commercial” in regard to disrootit hurts seeing words like “freemium” and “commercial” in regard to disroot

I repeat that I would not have anything to object if you decide you want to make Disroot your job, your means of life; I support completely that workers have the right to earn their life from their work and it’s perfectly legitimate to offer some basic features for free and then sell others because we all have bills to pay.
I was a paid user of Openmailbox until the support team stopped even answering my questions and bug reports. When I saw that they didnt respect their users I decided not to renew my paid account (intestingly, they are sucha disaster that in the new Openmailbox they keep me as paid user even if they haven’t get a cent from me in almost 2 years. Go figure how well do they manage their stuff :-/ ). So, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in saying: «Hey, we have these cool features. Try them and if you realize that you have been losing the opportinity to make your life better, and think that it would be even better with more of said feature, you can have it bying some of our paid plans, because, dude, this stuff costs money and takes lifetime from us».
If DR only need incomes for mere survival, it’s perfectly right too, of course. In any case, I didn’t want to sound harsh. Sorry.

Grrrrr… ‘freemium’, ‘paid plans’,‘paid accounts’, this lingo gives me the shivers.

Think of it rather this way. Those are perks for re-occuring donations.we will treat it and implement it this way most probably.

LOL…

Call it how you want but if you pay for a service (alias, domains, whatever) you become a buyer, a client, not just a donor, and your account becomes a paid one (sorry to make you shiver x-P ). This isn’t a problem for me and I think that neither it is for many others, but if you think your euphemism sounds more firnedly, it’s ok. :stuck_out_tongue:
Anyway I’ll keep an eye on how you implement it. As I said, I’m willing to contribute to the project with some euros (wanted to contribute with some documentation too, but someone was quicker than me and has already posted howtos regarding the KDE desktop).

Enjoy your swimming and all those things you want to do on your vacation. I hope when you come back you can also consider to implement some nice features like some “read it later” and music straming app or let paid users re-occurring donors administer their Nexcloud space. :smiley:
I think DR has a lot of future: open source and “cyber rights” friendly mail providers, based outside the US and UK, there are more each day; open source and “cyber rights” friendly mail, cloud, social network, modern chat and calls, etc, providers, I can’t think of many.

BR

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This has quickly become my favorite platform. It’s a sufficient drop in replacement for google services on my phone (which I don’t have google services on, lineageos no gapps).

I am looking forward to helping sustain costs on this platform and also get ‘luxury’ features in the process.

That being said. Google service are free because you are their product which they sell. Last figures I heard (which were old when I heard them) they make ~80usd a month off every google subscriber. It’s worth it to me to pay 5 - 10 (either usd or eur) a month to help sustain a service that doesn’t offer me up as a product.

Hi @muppeth, I saw the annual report from last August, and found it very interesting, as a document, and as a process. I recommend it to anyone using Disroot.

The donate page has a widget to show current donations, but it does not indicate numbers that would help people understand how their contribution relates to the service concretely:

(Is it really zero or is there some bug? Note the dontation spelling error that looks like a Freudian slip.)

This, from the report, might be more telling:

There lies a psychological trick that I learned the hard way with Lorea: we used to ask for 2 EURO per person per year, based on a simple calculation of the yearly service maintenance costs on the basis of 1000 users per server. What happens is that people, indeed, think that 2 EURO is peanuts really, so they believe not contributing them will not affect the system so much ; when you have 2 EURO in your pocket, would you rather buy another beer to your friend right now, or anticipate the server costs of your collective infrastructure? Besides, 2 EURO at the time was quite hard to pay online since micro-payments were not as easy as they as now (but still, it often comes with transaction costs.) So I suggest “bumping” the value to its yearly cost, 24 EURO, so that it becomes easier to grasp and doesn’t conflict with a beer :wink:. I’d go even further and propose 20 EURO, the value of a single note, that relates to something concrete. Then the donor has a direct link from mind to hand, and the perceived benefit of a two-months discount. We too often underestimate the importance of human psychology.

Heh, I recall you have a state :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: which could as well be called status.