Partition IPVM Tools Into Its Own Add-On Feature?

I have to say John, the "Tools" section of your website are becoming quite invaluable. Have you ever considered partioning that off into its own add-on feature?

NOTICE: This comment was moved from an existing discussion: I Need A Camera With These 12 Features


Mark, I can always charge you more personally for them :)

No, it's an interesting idea. In particular, we are getting a lot of demand just for the Calculator, and as that continues to improve, maybe we offer it separately for those who just want that. One idea might be just $99 for the Calculator / tools, without access to the tests, reports, discussions, etc.

My main concern is that I do not want to make the pricing or packaging too complicated (or else you risk a Milestone X number of days processing to get a software license :)

Let me know what you (or others) think.

I had the exact same thought last week John, but you know your clients and subscribers better than I. Another useful revenue stream was my thought. It could work for you or against you, so that would obviously be your call. I find high value in the entire product.

One thing I have thought of is to create a separate site just for the calculator / tools. Some people don't care about the tests or business stuff, they just want the tools and that would make it easier to simply market them.

Nothing planned short term but if people have ideas, I'd like to hear them.

How many people would be the type who would really want and use the tools, without wanting access to the rest of the content? IMO, it would seem that they kind of person who would use the tools enough to pay for a subscription would want the rest of the site as well.

Probably people who (1) don't care about industry trends and (2) don't care about getting educated. These would be people who just want to get their job done (i.e., I need to do a 15 camera install, I need some tool to map it out, print out a pretty report).

That said, I think quite a number who start out just looking to use the tools would take advantage of the rest of IPVM, but it might provide a lower cost, simpler entry points (might, I am not convinced).

Also, could be some companies don't want their people being polluted by IPVM criticism of their products / partners and might be happier just signing them up for tools only (something we discussed in chat yesterday).

Personally, I don't really use any of the tools other than the camera finder a couple times just to compare features, and I've played with the Maps thing a little out of curiosity... given my CURRENT usage I don't think I'd miss them if they were separate...

BUT!

What if tomorrow the need suddenly arises to use one of them, except now I have to go through the hassle of setting up a separate subscription, and until that's done I don't have access?

What if someone who never tried any of the tools was suddenly inspired by a thread like the one this was split from, to actually go see what that tool is about... but couldn't because it's a separate subscription?

Or going the other way, what if someone used the "tools" subscription but never read the articles or discussions... but then in using the Camera Finder, decided the listings didn't give enough details on the two or three models he'd narrowed it down to, and wanted to look up some bench tests or actual user reviews/discussions on those cameras... but again, couldn't because it's a separate subscription?

Sure, in either case, they can add that subscription, and wait for it to get processed... at which point the moment has passed and they've found suitable information elsewhere.

I mean, I suppose you could set it up so, for example, if you had ONLY a Tools subscription, and you look up a camera, and click a link to its bench tests, you'd have full viewing of ONLY that test and not the rest of the discussions and articles... but that could get to be a logistical nightmare from an administration standpoint.

I suspect splitting the two features of the site out like that would open a big can of frustration for John and for a lot of users, beyond just needing to track the two separate subscription types...

"except now I have to go through the hassle of setting up a separate subscription, and until that's done I don't have access?"

What do you think we are Milestone or ADI? Any upgrade or change in plan would be done automatically online, just like any modern web service.

Again, this is not something we plan on doing right now but segmenting features / functions into different plans or prices and enabling automatic selection / payment is web 101 stuff in this day and age.

...except now I have to go through the hassle of setting up a separate subscription, and until that's done I don't have access?

Also, a slightly limited, but mostly functional, and totally free, version of iTools is available to non-members, so there is still a safety net to get one thru any membership lapses/licensing delays.

Or is this planned to be phased-out?

The tools are designed to be 'freemium'. For example, the Calculator lets anyone do everything except add multiple cameras or select specific camera models. Everything else (setting PPF, resolution, AOV, distance, width as well as selecting scenes and exporting) are available to all. We believe the 2 member only features are critical to anyone who wants to use the tool professionally, so that is why we restrict them.

Any upgrade or change in plan would be done automatically online, just like any modern web service.

Again, this is not something we plan on doing right now but segmenting features / functions into different plans or prices and enabling automatic selection / payment is web 101 stuff in this day and age.

Fair point.