Introducing the Mikogo Freemium Model – Message from Founders

Four years ago, Mikogo was created from an idea by our company, Beam­Y­our­Screen which since 2004 has deve­loped and operated busi­ness desktop sharing solu­tions. Nume­rous private indi­vi­duals approa­ched our company asking for a free online meeting tool for personal use. None of the big corpo­ra­tions, such as WebEx, were offe­ring free solu­tions for personal use and we came to strongly believe that the private user was missing out. With this in mind, we decided to create Mikogo, a free desktop sharing tool for private users.
What started as an idea in 2007 has since deve­loped into a service soon to reach 1 million regis­tered users in 180 coun­tries world­wide. We are thrilled at how many people support our work and enjoy our soft­ware – thank you!

Today we bring you an important message about how toge­ther we will sustain Mikogo as a high-quality desktop sharing program. We will soon intro­duce a free­mium model to Mikogo. This is a big step for us and we ask that you please read the following blog post.

How Can We Sustain Mikogo?

Since releasing Mikogo as a free tool in 2007, we put our own money into Mikogo, inclu­ding deve­lo­ping the product, buil­ding and main­tai­ning the infra­st­ruc­ture, and suppor­ting the commu­nity in the best possible way. Moreover, neither Beam­Y­our­Screen nor Mikogo are venture capital backed.

At first this was no problem. But over time as more users found us, we were over­whelmed with the large increase in sessions. For a tech­no­logy company, there is nothing more rewar­ding than seeing our product being adopted and used regu­larly by so many people. This is the best proof that we created some­thing meaningful and bene­fi­cial, and we are very proud to see our work appreciated.

On the flip­side, this massive growth has led to substan­tial incre­ases in our expenses. Finan­cially spea­king, main­tai­ning and deve­lo­ping Mikogo has become a stretch espe­cially since we are still finan­cing Mikogo with our own money. We look forward to brin­ging you further new features while main­tai­ning the Mikogo infra­st­ruc­ture, but to make this possible we need to consider our future expenses. So how are we going to cover these costs?

Introducing the Freemium Model

Over time, we learned that besides private users a number of busi­nesses were using Mikogo. We talked to these busi­ness users and the value of Mikogo to them was clear – compa­nies can signi­fi­cantly reduce their travel expenses while incre­a­sing productivity.

Freemium model

So after many long meetings, rese­arch, testing alter­na­tive revenue options, and of course a lot of careful consi­de­ra­tion, we concluded that the best way to cover our incre­a­sing costs while conti­nuing to provide and develop Mikogo would be to ask those who benefit the most from Mikogo to support us in sustai­ning our product by giving a contri­bu­tion back – some­thing that in the long-term will benefit the Mikogo Commu­nity as a whole.

We have hence decided to imple­ment a free­mium model, espe­cially because this means we do not lose sight of our initial goal and mission – to provide a free desktop sharing tool for private use. We set out to address this need and we would like to continue this.

Based on the above, this is how we envi­sion the Mikogo free­mium model:

  • The Mikogo soft­ware will remain free for private use – the soft­ware can be down­loaded and used without any costs. There is no need to neither register an account nor provide personal details.
  • Commer­cial use of Mikogo – So we can sustain our busi­ness and our Mikogo product we will offer a paid version for busi­nesses, which allows them to use Mikogo for commer­cial use and provides them with addi­tional busi­ness bene­fits such as logo bran­ding and customization.

Why the Freemium Model?

Mikogo Freemium Ahead

The free­mium model was not our first idea. When we realized that we could not sustain the growing usage of the soft­ware by ourselves forever, we started thin­king about ways to finance Mikogo. At one point, we asked people to donate. Wiki­pedia, for example, success­fully did this but unfor­tu­n­a­tely it did not work for us. Next we thought about imple­men­ting an ad supported model. However, we did not like the idea of having ads displayed neither on our website nor in the soft­ware. We did not want Mikogo to become another piece of adware.

Besides the issue of covering costs, there is another important aspect why the free­mium model is the right way to go. As we continue to develop Mikogo, improve the soft­ware and server infra­st­ruc­ture, add advanced features, and respond to feature requests from users, we foresee Mikogo beco­ming a very powerful online colla­bo­ra­tion tool. By intro­du­cing a free­mium model, we can place more resources behind our product and speed up deve­lo­p­ment. We believe in our product and are not sales or marke­ting driven. WebEx, for example, spends tons of money on adver­ti­sing which is financed by their customer sales. We focus rather on product deve­lo­p­ment and infra­st­ruc­ture and this is where the bulk of our costs come from. This enables us to offer our free­mium licenses at a very afford­able price. For example, the price of a Mikogo license starts at less than $13/month.

A free­mium model will be a step in the right direc­tion for all those asso­ciated with Mikogo. As we receive a small amount for provi­ding Mikogo to busi­nesses, we can sustain our product while focu­sing on future deve­lo­p­ment. It should be a very exci­ting time ahead for all of us as we have some really cool and inno­va­tive plans on our deve­lo­p­ment road-map for the Mikogo users!

When Will the Freemium Model Start?

We are still working on some behind-the-scenes tasks to get all of this setup. We just wanted to post this today to keep you all in the loop.

Free Business Licenses for Translators

Thank You!

On a final note, over the last couple of years we’ve received a lot of support from people who volun­te­ered to trans­late the Mikogo soft­ware and website – take a look at our Hall of Fame. We appre­ciate this and would like to reward our trans­la­tors with a Mikogo license that they can use for commer­cial use. There will be more details speci­fi­cally about this in an upco­ming blog post – please look out for that.

Finally we thank you all for your support and under­stan­ding as we take this big step. You have all helped us in one way or the other: by using Mikogo, by giving us feed­back on both good and not so good things, and by sharing Mikogo with the world. Some have put their heart into Mikogo and helped trans­late the soft­ware into many languages – 35 to be more precise. Some of you have created videos or written blog posts about Mikogo. We are grateful for this outstan­ding support and we look forward to conti­nuing to provide a high-quality free desktop sharing program for many years to come!

Kind Regards,

Mark and Erik

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