Pushbullet launched two years ago with a goal of bringing all your notifications and data from your phone to your laptop. Now, after millions of users, Pushbullet is starting to offer a premium tier to make money and ‘pay the bills’ for the startup. The company told users in a blog post it “makes money by offering features worth paying for.” The problem and buzz around the company’s new premium feature is: they’re start to charge for features that were previously free. They’ve taken these free features and started making users pay for features and service they’ve most likely used for years for free.
“Pushbullet costs money to run so the question is, how should Pushbullet pay its bills? We have chosen optional paid accounts because we believe this ensures the best Pushbullet for everyone.
We could have kept Pushbullet completely free, following the path of many free services by showing ads and selling data to make money. We don’t want to do that. We never want to hurt the Pushbullet experience with ads or betraying your trust by selling your data. Since Pushbullet must support itself, we want to do that by having you as our customer.”
The company calls the new premium account optional, but for many long time users they feel like it’s required to have the same experience as before. Popular Android blog, Android Central, is calling the new premium service a ‘shakedown’ and ‘appalling.’ And they’re right in doing so, because CEO Oldenburg does a poor job of explaining why they are going to start charging for things that have been free from the start. In fact he outright threatens users either pay or we’ll have to sell your data to keep the company afloat!
The new premium service will cost either $5 a month or $39.99, a $20 saving if you fork over the protection money ahead of time. Pushbullet isn’t the first app to use a subscription service to offer features and generate money, but they are the first to do so in a way that pives a large part of their user base. The company’s used ads, but we all know sometimes ads can be shitty and not pay that well. All that doesn’t mean a company can take away free features and start making longtime users start paying for them!
I’m not clear on what features will go premium only, but if they’re key features users use each day they might just have to upgrade to keep using an app that’s become a core part of their workflow. If you’re not an Android user, but an iPhone users Apple offers many of these Pushbullet like features on their Mac’s when paired with an iPhone. Changing to another platform is drastic and unwelcomed these days, but could be an option for users who are truly miffed.
Tell us in the comments below if you’re a Pushbullet user and if you are what you think about the company making this sudden and unwelcome changed!