Jamie's Blog

Lessons from a life of startups, coding, countryside, and kids

KISSmetrics’ Bizarre Pricing

I’ve been using the beta version of KISSmetrics on Shutter Scouts to track conversion rates. Frankly, this was more of an experiment as the site hasn’t really been promoted and opened up yet but I wanted the get the analytics infrastructure in place first. KISSmetrics allows you to track events in a user-specified conversion funnel with simple charts showing (for example):

KISSmetrics got a lot of publicity around the startup and web development blogs/news sites so it was understandable to have assumed that startups were their target market. This month, KISSmetrics came out of beta and announced their pricing:

  • $149 / month: 1m events tracked
  • $399 / month: 5m events tracked
  • $699 / month: 10m events tracked
  • No free plan
W…T…F?! Frankly, I was gobsmacked and shocked when I received the pricing announcement. What the hell was all this? Were these annual prices? Nope. Who was this service being aimed at? Certainly not any sort of bootstrapped startup business. I don’t mind the lack of a free plan (in fact, I think it’s a good move) but where’s the $10-20/month startup plan for < 10,000 events? And then I got angry. I’d liked KISSmetrics. As the name implied I thought it was simple. I wrote a Rails plugin for the service to help rails developers easily send events to KISSmetrics. I spoke about the service at my local Ruby developers group. I recommended the service. Now I have to go and retract that recommendation. Even on the “small” plan, KISSmetrics would need to give you insights that save your business at least $200 every single month and all within 1m events. I wonder how many other people will retract their recommendations for KISSmetrics?

If I put my cynical hat on, I wonder if KISSmetrics’ business plan is actually about extracting large wads of cash from the bank accounts of venture-backed startups… because that pricing is far too rich for anyone else. Though I can’t help feel that for every $149/month plan they sell now, they could have sold more than 15 $10/month plans. It also means I’ll be staying well away from their KISSinsights product (and anything else that team may produce) and we should all be more wary about using pricing-unannounced-beta-products in the future.