Future Freemium Model for SIP Sorcery

It’s been almost a year since I moved the SIP Sorcery service off Amazon’s EC2 and onto a dedicated server. During the intervening period the dedicated server was filling up at a rate of knots so I was forced to limit new accounts by auctioning invite codes on eBay. I’ve received the bill for the renewal of the dedicated server which coincides with the thinking I have been doing regarding the future direction of the service. There’s also been a number of different views expressed on the forums and it’s great that people actually find the service useful enough to care about what happens to it.

The decision I’ve come to is to move the SIP Sorcery service to a freemium model. That means there will be a level of service offered for free and a charge for a service which has more advanced features or greater resources. The details of exactly what will be in the free service will be announced when everything is ready but it’s likely to be along the lines of unlimited SIP accounts, a single SIP provider and a single dial plan. The paid for service will be unlimited everything and likely to be priced around $35/year. Those numbers aren’t cast in stone at this stage but I expect them to be close.

The main motivation to switch to a freemium model is that without it sipsorcery is likely to stagnate and then probably slowly die. The combination of donations and auctions would probably bring in enough to keep one or even two dedicated servers running but as more servers get added the administration overhead goes up and I find myself spending most of my time keeping things running rather than coming up with anything new. For example it’s taken me nearly 6 months to come up with a user interface for Mike Telis’ popular dial plan. The hope is that if demand for the service is great enough I’ll be able to devote one or two full days a week to development and keep the new features coming.

As for anyone who has previously donated or purchased an invite code that will be taken into account. On top of that thanks go to everyone who has used the service over the last nearly 4 years. For the first three years the mysipswitch and then sipsorcery services were very experimental and people had to invest a lot of time, effort and sometimes frustration to use them. Their efforts and feedback enabled the service to get better and I’m very grateful to them. In the past I did state that the basic service would always be free and my hope was that additional applications such as things like the switchboard would generate revenue to cover the service’s running costs. Unfortunately it’s become a bit of chicken and egg situation: I spend most of my free time maintaining the existing service and less and less on new applications. I’d rather it had worked out that the basic service could have stayed free but at the very least most people who have been using the service have had it free for up to 4 years.

I’ll make further announcements closer to the time and nobody will have their existing service affected without lots of notification. The freemium model will not be coming into effect for at least a month and most likely two or more.

  1. James’s avatar

    Many of us knew this day was coming…I’m one of the guys whose been exploiting the benefits of MSS/Sipsorcery for those 4 years, starting back when I was in college and penniless. I remember about this time last year when Aaron made a fundraising effort to explore a more stable option after the headaches of EC2, and when I got word that it wasn’t happening and refunds would be issued it was a heartbreaking moment. I’d love to see this service, and Aaron, succeed in the deepest way. That said, I’ll have to think a minute about $35/yr as that prices it more than my MagicJack….But god, is this service fun to play with! Just wanted to say thanks Aaron for all your hard work. Best of luck for future success.

    Reply

  2. The Chosen One’s avatar

    So, for someone like me who only uses SS for a GV bridge and therefore uses DIDs in favor of SIP providers and one dialplan (and happens to be too young to have a reliable way of paying recurring online subscriptions), will I need to pay?

    Reply

    1. sipsorcery’s avatar

      If you’re only using a single dialplan and one or no providers then you won’t have to pay anything.

      Reply

    2. eviljafar’s avatar

      I guess I can’t complain, it was great while it lasted. I joined many years ago in the early days of mysipswitch because my SPA-3000 won’t handle two (incoming) providers. I’m not a heavy phone user but I have friends and family in two countries so two providers, especially two DiDs, is a must for me.

      I got to use a really great service for free and therefore I was happy to help people in a couple of on-line forums with the basics of using mss and ss and helping them with stuff like dialplans. I also hope my feedback on problems with MyNetFone, Pennytel and Callcentric have been helpful to developing the service. Yeah it was frustrating at times but you always managed to fix everything.

      I’m not sure if I could justify spending $35 a year though as I’m a light phone user and that would be a large increase on my yearly phone bill.

      Maybe there is room to consider allowing two providers in the freemium model? Maybe I meet the threshold for “special treatment”? 🙂 In any case, thanks a bunch for the awesome freebie Aaron and good luck with whatever the future holds.

      Reply

    3. Trimline’s avatar

      This is a good evolution. With the functionality of SS and the popularity of this service, I just can’t imagine shouldering the entire financial burden by yourself.

      I for one will, with out a doubt, support this.

      Cheers.

      Reply

    4. cantaloupe’s avatar

      @eviljafar

      Maybe it could be two providers and one dial plan with a lower rate than 35$ but not free…?

      Reply

    5. Sanjeev’s avatar

      I am mostly a hobbyist trying out different things with this service and I must say i love it. $35 sounds a little steep. Why not explore some “do not make me think prices”? Like, an insginificant $0.99 instead of a free offer and a $9.99 for the premium offer.

      Reply

    6. sw’s avatar

      I have multiple sub SIP accounts, one dial-in plan and one dial-out plan for all the sub SIP accounts and I should be able to merge in and out into one dial plan. All sub SIP accounts are linked by IPComm DIDs and they do not need a “Provider” in SipSorcery so I should still enjoy the free service, right?

      Reply

      1. sipsorcery’s avatar

        Yep.

        Reply

      2. hok’s avatar

        I also believe SIP Sorcery should move to freemium model instead of limiting new accounts simply for the sake of growth. While free with unlimited SIP accounts, a single SIP provider and a single dial plan is very nice, and $35/year will be unlimited for everything is understandable, I believe there should be something in between. I would suggest, each additional SIP provider will be $2/year and each additional dial plan will be $3/year up to the maximum of $35/year that will be unlimited for everything. This way, average users would not have to pay as much as $35/year for just few SIP providers. After all, PBXes offers free accounts with five SIP accounts and five SIP providers with a single dial plan.

        Reply

        1. sipsorcery’s avatar

          That’s a fair point. I’ll definitely think about a “micro” plan for something in between the Free and $35/year plan. Ultimately my plan would be to trend the price of the $35 unlimited plan down if/when more business oriented applications like the switchboard gained a bit of traction.

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        2. sintoo’s avatar

          I love the idea of Freenium. I hope the admin (Aaron) can get some compensation that he deserves all those years. I should know. I use only 2 DialPlans and I know I had spent hundreds of hours improving them. So I know it takes a lot more time to Manage, Maintain, and Improve Sipsorcery. That’s a big job.

          If I might venture to ask for something, I would say: Is it possible to still keep my current SIP Providers (Non-Registered) in the provider-list, although from now on, only one can be registered (with a check-mark) at a time.

          I have many providers (VoipMS, CallCentric, LocalPhone, IPcomm, etc) but, for my case, they’re just there for testing or when one provider is down. I would turn Off a provider (for example VoipMS, then turn On another one (e.g: LocalPhone). But I do understand it could mean more work for the admin just to code it.

          Reply

        3. Qub’s avatar

          HI. I like the propossition of HOK. to 2 dlls per year for each sip provider until 35 dlls that would be unlimited.

          but I d like to add this since I would be paid I would like you to add more features to the core sipsorcery. like something like pbx funcionality that is like swithboard for siposorcery. be able to make a call in MOH music on hold.

          CID prefix a easy way
          timing calls events
          hope this can be accesible for the sipsorcery I hope the unlimited sipsorcery would cost 25 dlls or less

          Reply

        4. Seth Wisely’s avatar

          _

          oh noes!

          Will legacy free users be able to wield their power freely? or in a slightly less costly manner unconstrained by freemium? I tinker.. sometimes. I recruit, engineer [conjure] sippy features from itsp, wax and occasional apologetics.

          I have multiple in/out plans, but really only ever use one dial-in and one dial-out plan, I have three SIP providers: one popular soho group bent on self improvement, and two not soho providers including the nice large scale canadian folks. A side project through the canadians funds my small usage of DIDs and peer/trunks, but not enough to cover the new premium model. I hope the micro plan will cover my tinkering.

          thanks for all the fish: MSS, SS, IVR

          I look forward to blending jabber and simple [iptel].. :-} and maybe janlge and IAX2 (vzw:droidx)

          thanks also to the others who have provided dev support to various related technologies. I wonder how this hobby knowledge will be put to use in this new turn of life..

          Reply

        5. krp’s avatar

          Does the freemium model include a single registered SIP provider, with unlimited non-registered providers (similar to the demo), or is it one SIP provider whether it is registered or not?

          Reply

          1. sipsorcery’s avatar

            It means one provider registered or not.

            Reply

          2. yangfeng’s avatar

            can I still apply for the free account? Thanks!

            Reply

            1. hok’s avatar

              Yes, it appears that without any mentioning anywhere of discountinuation of free account; there is no where one may sign up for a free account now. 🙁

              Reply

            2. sipsorcery’s avatar

              Free accounts aren’t being offered any more. If you want to test out the service for a up to 7 days we can offer an evaluation.

              Reply

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