Thoughts on Engineering, Photography, and Design.

Hey, I'm Ryan Heath. I design & develop things for a living and play with cameras for fun. This is where I share my thoughts on all of that — and probably more — along the way.

Pinboard's Pricing Model

With all of this talk of delicious going away, I too exported my bookmarks and decided to try out Pinboard. Before signing up I noticed there was a price, which I was not expecting. It was only a small one-time fee, worth the money alone just for safe-keeping of my years worth of bookmarks.

But what struck me the most was the fee itself: $6.47. It was kind of an odd number. After looking into it, I realized it’s actually quite smart.

Pinboard charges $0.001 times the number of customers it has, for each new user. And when you think about it, this works on a lot of different levels.

Spam protection. Immediate spam protection because spammers don’t pay. This keeps the system itself clean of spam-checking code, too. And not to mention serious users only. A win right off the bat.

Marketing. The longer you wait to sign up, the more it’s going to cost you. It gives you the “OMG I need to hurry” urge that brings out the impulsiveness in all of us.

Scaling. The more users they have, the more it costs to sign up per-user, hence, the more money they make to keep the service running.

One-time fee. I think most people would be more inclined to pay a larger one-time fee than a smaller recurring charge. It’s closure for customers and simplicity for Pinboard. Plus, even though it’s a one-time fee, the fee keeps going up, so in a way they’re still making money off of their other customers, but without charging them.

And I’m probably overlooking a few other things, but in general, I think that’s a pretty clever way to charge your users.