What is “Educator” Pricing?…

Ning Lucy Gray and I have had an interesting "conversation/exchange" over the last two days regarding the current (still unconfirmed by Ning) possible "Free Networks – Pay Up or GO!" move that was reported a few days ago.

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Going along with my other post regarding free networks, I know that this amazing education community is still searching for answers, guidance and information from Ning itself, and for alternatives. When I hear the word "alternatives" regarding a service that was free, would be to find a "free" alternative. But our (Lucy and my) exchange got me pondering… When we think "educator" pricing, what do we seriously consider is a viable cost for a service such as Ning's?  Before we throw out a number I believe that there are a number of factors to consider:

  • Is this a monthly charge or annual or lifetime (although the "lifetime option is fraught with peril).
  • Is it purchasing the "service" or just an instance of the service? (i.e. wikispaces vs. Zoho or PB wiki – Do you get to create as many of "X" as you want or do you have a limit on the number like creating 5 free wiki's but when you want a 6th or another 5 is costs more…)
  • Are you purchasing a tiered service for storage… (i.e. $5/mth for 1GB, $10/mth for 20GB?)
  • Are "basic" service at one cost and premium services (beyond just removing ad's by the way) an additional cost? (i.e. Zoho Project – The first project is free and you get some basic services along with that like a wiki, unlimited users, and a couple of others. But, if you would like project document storage, time tracking, etc there is an additional cost.)
  • Is there a "per user" cost associated? (we have about 100-150 students each year that need some kind of access…)
  • How do you handle year over year? Simply create a new "X"? Or "clear out" your old "X"?

I know that some educators maintain 7 or more Nings.  Is the cost we are looking at for an "educators" pricing per or as a whole?  This could get real expensive real fast…  Some of the organizations I work with provide 5% – 35% or more off as a discount.  Others give away some features "free" but ask you to pay for upgrades to provide additional capabilities.  Some give limited amounts / access but charge for additional.

I know that there are a good number of educators out there that pay for services already? Is anyone willing to respond in the comments what service and how much you pay?  What would be a good "educators" price, and what level of service / capabilities should be included in that price?

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3 thoughts on “What is “Educator” Pricing?…

  1. I’m going to make this brief (I hope). My thought on this goes to what Lucy said earlier about members contributing to cost. I did a little math (not my strong suit); but with with close to 40,000 members of Classroom 2.0, Ning could charge $800 a month. If each member contributed literally their 2 cents per month, it would cover the cost. Now would this work for a smaller community of $100 users? I doubt it. Would I pay close to $100 a year to maintain my Classroom 2.0 membership? I don’t think so. The plus side of this is what Lucy already alluded too. An educational “fee” would start to weed out and eliminate some of the clutter that exists in the Wild West of Web 2.0. Additionally, such a structure would only work for online communities. This would not work for a “Tool” like Aviary. While you are still talking about determining value, it would be difficult to assess how many licenses you would need to purchase to make the structure work. But I think that this is what companies in the cloud need to consider – If they are going to charge an educational price for their product it will need to be on some form of sliding scale that allows them to still turn a profit based on the number of new users they are bringing to their niche in the market. I would never expect Microsoft to sell me an educator Office license for 2 cents, but I wouldn’t expect to pay Open Office $70 for their product either. I think this is going to be the challenge in the near future as we try to put a price on computing in the cloud. We have always had something tangible that we could say, “see this is what we spent that $100,000 on” and now the world is asking us to put a pricetag on content creation tools in the cloud that allow for the amazing data that is being created everyday by students world wide for free. OK, that’s all I’ve got for now.

  2. Sorry, been a busy day and evening! I think “what would you pay?” is a very subjective question. I think the bigger question is what is the data or tool worth?
    Many years ago I ran a sports memorabilia business on the web – I let my payment slip when I got busy with other things (kids, work, etc.) and had to pay a couple hundred dollars for them to restore my suspended account from backup. It killed my database structure and I basically lost my site, but I continue to pay the hosting fee so that I have access to my data and maintain my domain name – just in case I decide to have a “grand re-opening!”
    So the question becomes what are you willing to pay for your data/easier way of doing something. If you are a user who has invested years into a project, that data has likely become extremely valuable. And that is the question at hand with Ning. I guess we will just have to wait until May 4th to find out. You missed a fascinating Elluminate session and as soon as the link is available I will send it to you. What was most shocking was the number of people looking to Google sites or groups simply because it was free! When will we learn that if we put our data on the web (as Tim Berners Lee would have us do), that the data must be hosted on our own or at the very least portable! The danger of Web we 2.0 is that it is always in flux but it is human nature to get comfortable and complacent. I have a lot to digest but I hope my point is in there somewhere.

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