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Thread: Could Zimbra consider a-la-carte pricing?

  1. #1
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    Default Could Zimbra consider a-la-carte pricing?

    First off if I'm posting this in the wrong place I apologize in advance. I tried to select the most logical forum but I'm not sure if I did. . .

    If Zimbra would consider a pricing structure that makes some of the elements of the commercial package more accessible to small businesses (say, <50 users), they might actually get more paid subscriptions, for whatever that's worth. I'm thinking specifically of a la carte pricing for backup, outlook connector (per outlook user--I have 25 users and only 3 would use Outlook), and remote device connectors (also per remote device user) without all of the clustering and HA and stuff like that which we little guys can only dream about. . .

    I've spent more time than I like to admit on the Open Source backup forum, and a huge corollary message to the whole thread is that while ZCS is the greatest open-source email solution out there in a whole lot of ways, there are a few items that have been reserved for the network version only, that a whole lot of us would love to use but can't afford, while paying for the network version would enable a ton of features we wouldn't use even if they were free. I'm not asking, for example, that backup would be made free (sure, we'd love it if it were ) but in my case Zimbra is being compared to a hosted POP solution that costs my company $25/month. Zimbra network would cost me between four and five times that, and unfortunately that price point forces me to stay open source.

    Break out some of those particularly-useful features at a price point that we little people can afford, and I'm betting a whole bunch of little people will come forward with some cash! It's worth considering. . .

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    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmtractor View Post
    Break out some of those particularly-useful features at a price point that we little people can afford, and I'm betting a whole bunch of little people will come forward with some cash! It's worth considering. . .
    It's been answered before in the forums. The problem with that idea is the cost of providing support for users that aren't paying very much for the product. It's a great idea from the users point of view, not so good from the vendor. However, the pricing and availability of products/components is constantly under review. You might want to send your thoughts to sales@zimbra.com with a well resoned argument for your case.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    It's been answered before in the forums. The problem with that idea is the cost of providing support for users that aren't paying very much for the product.
    I will send them a note Bill, and thanks for your response. I would suggest that such a-la-carte pricing could still be sold with forum-only or a-la-carte support cases (which I believe is already an option for support) might address this issue.

    And I may be full of it. . .it's often true that the cheap guys are also the guys who demand the most for their $1.95 and I certainly understand that Zimbra needs to keep its business alive. I, for one, would hate to see the failure of a company that contributes so much!

    Dan

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    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    It is a very difficult balancing act to get right. We don't offer 'forums only' support as direct support (plus forums for everyone) is included in the price the customer pays but there are additional support levels, they're all detailed here.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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    It's definitely a valid question/argument-it actually mentioned a lot.
    The usual response is essentially that Zimbra has built up relationships with hosting partners (HSPs) & resellers (VARs) and it would be unfair/pointless to undercut their sales.

    They can mix and match different features: Backups, Attachment Conversion, Backup, Hierarchical Storage Management, Cross Mailbox Search & Archiving & Discovery; and they can change the quantity of MobileSync, ISync, & MAPI Connector (outlook connector) licences etc.

    (I'm sure you'll get a few PMs shortly from some of the vendors.)

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    The thing is, a three user license from zimbra is quite different from a three user hosting agreement with a VAR.

    Using a VAR the accounts and the server will be hosted professionally etc, but that's not necessarily what's wanted.

    Home users with just a few accounts who enjoy the power of zimbra and the control of their mail will not use a VAR to host their server for them. They will stay on the OSS version.

    The short story is there are people who would pay a small fee for the network edition software with no support, but that's it. It's not taking money away from the resellers or VAR's becuase their offering is different.

    If zimbra want this extra money from it's smaller users who will otherwise stay on OSS, then they need to offer zero-support-cheap-license-Edition. There's money out there guys.

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    Default Licensing

    Certainly makes sense to me. We are a small organisation that have about 50 or so users that need very basic email at an extremely low price-point. We are willing to pay a premium for the guys who need the full functionality of Network Edition but it does not make sense to pay these prices for all our users. We have a sister company in a similar position who have ditched the Zimbra option for this very reason and have gone to OpenMail who allow basic and advanced users to be licensed on the same server.

    I would definitely consider replacing our Exchange server with Zimbra if this was an option but for now it is more cost-effective to stick with Exchange for the high-end users and Zimbra OSS for the low-end ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmorse View Post
    The usual response is essentially that Zimbra has built up relationships with hosting partners (HSPs) & resellers (VARs) and it would be unfair/pointless to undercut their sales.
    <snip
    (I'm sure you'll get a few PMs shortly from some of the vendors.)
    They can save their effort. . .I have an inherent bias against having too much of my data live on somebody else's servers for one, and for two the issues that got me going on Zimbra (or any host-my-own mail server) had to do with the desirability of bringing it in house (backup/restore, LAN-level access of mail, my ability to control the finer points of what my users get to see, among other things). No hosted service is effective competition for my needs or, I rather suspect, those of a lot of other small businesses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubuntu Warrior View Post
    Certainly makes sense to me. We are a small organisation that have about 50 or so users that need very basic email at an extremely low price-point. We are willing to pay a premium for the guys who need the full functionality of Network Edition but it does not make sense to pay these prices for all our users.<snip>

    I would definitely consider replacing our Exchange server with Zimbra if this was an option but for now it is more cost-effective to stick with Exchange for the high-end users and Zimbra OSS for the low-end ones.
    I know another user who's looked at Zimbra Network for a larger installation but is probably going to stick with Exchange because to go with ZN for all his users (even though only a few need wireless services) he told me "Upgrading Exchange would cost less than one year of Zimbra subscription, and then I have it." Zimbra's annual subscription model would wind up costing him significantly MORE than Micro$oft. That, my friends, is embarrassing! No product of this quality, and produced in the Open Source community, should be losing sales to Redmond!

    I reiterate the first point I made when I started this thread--by failing to have more affordable options for small business licenses that are NOT supplied by any VAR or hosting service, Zimbra as a company is leaving money on the table. Among the options that might generate additional revenue:

    (1) a small business one-time (as opposed to annual subscription) license that allows maybe one or two premium features--I suggest hot backup and branding--for a price small businesses can afford. Only forum support need be offered with this license--if you need more than the forum offers buy a-la-carte or subscription support. Perhaps in-version updates could be included in this license, but major version upgrades might require an additional upgrade fee (but less than the first license purchase).

    2) The ability to purchase subscriptions for single clients out of a much larger client base, to use wireless/mobile services -- again with forum-only support unless separate support packages are purchased.

    And seriously, sell this as "forum-only support" rather than "no support." First of all Zimbra should get a lot of advertising/attaboy credit for the substantial support provided by its employees on this forum, and second this forum is IMHO the most effective support forum I have ever used for any product. Answers are more complete, more timely, and more generally friendly than I'm used to seeing in support forums, and Zimbra should toot that horn for all it's worth!

    I'm serious, I would like to pay some $$$ for this product that my company is going to use and like, but we can't afford 25 users x $35/mo = $10,500 per year. So I'm open source and paying nothing at all. . .don't get me wrong, nothing is a nice price, but how many "nothings" could be converted to even $500 or $1000 per year? Dunno about you, but at no incremental cost outlay (remember I said forum-only support) that sounds like free money to me!

    Dan

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    Well, I thought I'd drop a line in here.

    Could we consider it? Yes, sure we could.

    There are many other issues here besides pricing. In general, we do not ust break Zimbra apart. It get's too complex for us to support.

    But the overwhelming issue for us, is that our pricing structure works, and it works very well.

    With 50% growth last qtr, and 100% growth in the edu market alone last qtr, the rule is:

    If it aint broke, don't fix it.

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    I concur with dwmtractor.

    I think there are lots of us running the open source version who would happily pay for some of the NE features. I think this would be just extra $$ for Zimbra and wouldn't affect sales of the NE or the business model of hosting partners or VARs.

    To many of us, one of the great benefits of Zimbra is running your own mail server and having full control over it. I have four servers running Zimbra OS (my own company and three clients) and I could easily envisage myself and each client spending say $500 pa for the backup and full mobile support.

    So say 10% of your OS installations spent $500 pa on average, I would have thought that would be some significant income for Zimbra.

    Rgds - Angus

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