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Old 26 Apr 2006, 03:06 PM   #1
rjlov
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Thin end of the slippery slope as hell freezes over

Hey everybody. Just curious, do we have many fastmail guest users frequenting this forum?

If so, you may have noticed that you've started getting advertisements for fastmail features on the web interface. We're currently running a trial to make sure our infrastructure is working, and once we're happy with it, then we'll start showing links to actual advertisers.

We're only showing ads to Guest users, and in fact I think we've always said that we were going to show advertising to Guests, but it's only now we've got around to it. Paid users don't see ads.

Also, Guest users won't see advertising for the first month after they sign up - this is to facilitate the use of Guest accounts as a free trial, before upgrading to a paid account.

There's a new FAQ section here:
http://www.fastmail.fm/docs/faqparts/Advertising.htm


Richard.

Last edited by rjlov : 26 Apr 2006 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 03:15 PM   #2
David
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Richard: You might want to check that url.... (to the FAQ)
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 04:36 PM   #3
bradpottinger
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Richard,

I am a guest user, I'm not sure how long I've been on exactly, probably around 3 months. Anyways, I don't think that the advertisement is a big issue. And I'm one who hates anything that detracts from the main reason that I am at a website. I do like the fact that you label it as "advertisement" and don't try to mix it in.
I am one of the Bluebottle.com converts, and have been very satisfied with Fastmail. I keep my bluebottle account for things that require an email address, and had to laugh because recently BB has decided to include Google (aka BS) advertisements on the side of the accounts. This is especially funny because as everyone familiar with BB knows, they tout themselves as being the only real secure spam protected email server, yet, the ads that pop up are all advertising for alternative spam-free email servers. Very amusing if you're one for irony.
Anyways, thanks for a great service, it's nice to switch to a reliable source. Cheers.

Brad
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 05:26 PM   #4
hadaso
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Holon, Israel.
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I am a "Guest user" (on one account I now use mainly to be able for testing as a Guest) and it seems nice.

Perhaps you would want to try to monitor the effect of the current advertisement of FM features and see if it correlates with account upgrades. You might want to continue serving your own advertisements among 3rd party ads in the future.

One "problem" that can arise is that constant income from advertising on guest accounts might make them more profitable to FM than Member level accounts that pay once and see no ads.
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 05:53 PM   #5
Sherry
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
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Just checked out the "Ads". They are showing a lot of FM features that Guest accounts can use. (like the link for using IMAP) Gave me an idea...

I'm thinking, just maybe, FM would do good to keep advertising itself by having ads that take them to a "Feature" that the Guest accounts don't have. Something like:
"Need another email address to help avoid spam? Use an FM Alias"
Then the ad link would go to a page showing:

Aliases:
Guest - 0
Member - 1 (same username with different domain )
Full - 7
Enhanced - 33
Then an explanation on Aliases and how to set them up.

Another ad could advertise the photo gallery with a link to one and an explanation on it. Once a Guest starts to use the little room that's there they may want to ad more pictures and may just upgrade for that feature?

Also an ad for using (and how to get) their own domain to use with FM with an Enhanced account. Many don't know anything about getting their own domain.

FM has a "lot" of features for paid users that I'll bet most Guest users don't even know exists. By showing Guest all of their features just might entice some to upgrade to use one or more of them?

Sherry

EDIT: Ok, I looked around the ads a little more and see a lot of links for using features for the paid accounts and my suggestions above are probably already in there somewhere. So far, most of the links just go to a section of the FAQ or the pricing table. If you keep advertising FM features I would think an individual page for that feature, with pictures, would do much better than the FAQ does?
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 06:23 PM   #6
BritTim
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I do have friends that use guest accounts. My only concern with ads is that they potentially slow down the interface. IMHO, the speed of a web application has a huge impact on how the application is perceived. There is a danger of creating a poor impression. I do note the intention to have guests ad free for the first month.
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 07:06 PM   #7
Sherry
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Quote:
Originally posted by BritTim
My only concern with ads is that they potentially slow down the interface.
I don't think that ad line slows things down at all... What I like is it will take on the color of the StyleSheet you are using so it doesn't "stand out" like a blue link would. For those without a Guest account you can see the ad in the screenshot below and you can see it uses the red of my stylesheet. I think it would show as brown if I used my brown one etc.

FM Ad

Sherry
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 07:19 PM   #8
Edward Velo
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It seems Fastmail is pushing people towards higher account levels much more lately, compared to the previous years (no virtual domains on full level anymore, and now more advertisements on guest level). Is there a new business plan? Can we expect higher prices soon?
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 08:44 PM   #9
robmueller
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No new business plan and no plans on increasing prices. I think it's just a realisation that we've made the whole upgrade process too complex for people to work out "why should I upgrade?" and "what level should i upgrade to?"

Making those things more obvious is really the aim here (why upgrade = advertise features, what level = simplyify service levels).

It will be interesting to see if the ads do encourage more signups. It's just so annoying this upgrade bug got introduced, but glad we caught it before the main US daytime. Hopefully Richard will have it fixed soon.

Rob
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 08:59 PM   #10
Heartz
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Would have been great if this applied to all users who upgraded in April . I upgraded over the weekend and well...

Sigh... Could have gotten 10bucks off my purchase had I waited a couple of days.
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 09:10 PM   #11
hadaso
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I think to get people to upgrade you don't necessrily need to advertise features that are available only on higher service levels. Getting people to utilise what they have at their on service level and letting gradually grow into slightly heavier users that know exactly why this service is worth paying for can bring some subscribers.

Another more "sneaky" reason to include advertising of FastMail's own feature among 3rd party ads in the future is "training" the users to click on ads, because they often lead to useful info. More clicks would mean more income. Of course it needs to be well balanced to work.
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 09:17 PM   #12
hadaso
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Quote:
Originally posted by Heartz
Sigh... Could have gotten 10bucks off my purchase had I waited a couple of days.
Perhaps if you look for sales in stores around you you'd find something that lets you save more than $10. Then if you buy it you get your $10 back!

(I think $10 is less than what I "saved" yesterday on the supermarket by buying the things on my shopping list that happened to be on sale.)
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 09:25 PM   #13
Edward Velo
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Quote:
Originally posted by Heartz
Would have been great if this applied to all users who upgraded in April . I upgraded over the weekend and well...

Sigh... Could have gotten 10bucks off my purchase had I waited a couple of days.
Actually, the News item says:

"26 Apr 2006: Full/Enhanced special price for Apr/May"

Seems a bit strange to say "april and may" on the 26th of april... But since you paid in april, you should get the reduction - if you take it litteraly...
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Old 26 Apr 2006, 10:27 PM   #14
robmueller
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A lot of the ads are for features at all service levels (eg + folder addressing, immediate email notification via FastCheck, etc). Some of them are a lot more useful at higher service levels (eg publish files to a website at http://yourname.yourdomain.com, etc). It's partly to let people know that there's probably more stuff than you realised available at FM...

Well, I was going to wait till the start of May, but actually wanted to get this happening ASAP, so started today. Maybe I should just put "May", and it so happens that it started early... I'll do that.

You can't have saved $10 on one account anyway, it's only $5 on all accounts. I guess if you upgraded 2 accounts Email Kurian, I've told him to add $5 to accounts that upgraded in the last 2 weeks if people ask...

Rob
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Old 27 Apr 2006, 01:28 AM   #15
Heartz
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Quote:
Originally posted by robmueller
You can't have saved $10 on one account anyway, it's only $5 on all accounts. I guess if you upgraded 2 accounts Email Kurian, I've told him to add $5 to accounts that upgraded in the last 2 weeks if people ask...

Rob
Thanks a lot Rob. While you didn't really have to do that, I thought it's great that you did. 5 bucks back to me earned you like a gazillion bucks worth of goodwill and loyalty . I'm telling everybody to get FM accounts now.
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