As of January 21, Log Me In, one of the (if not THE) world’s largest remote services company decided to stop providing its basic free remote service.
Over the last 10 years, millions of users have taken advantage of the service to connect their work and home computers or even create mini virtual networks of remote computers.
The announcement while not in itself surprising, was a shock to most users due to LogMeIn’s decision to execute it without notice. There was no build up or press releases to announce a particular date or timeframe but rather an email to registered users on their first login of the day that the service is now no longer free and existing users have 7 days to pony up $50 for a license or be terminated.
Sufficed to say, this type of hit took many by surprise and prompted many of our own users to suspect spam or hacking attempts on their accounts.
Once we confirmed that it was legitimate, we watched the news feeds for more info.
As stated, the announcement was not a surprise in itself. Having millions of users using your resources for free can be quite frustrating. The decision to switch to a paid only model makes sense in that even if they lost 99% of the free users, that remaining 1% would fork over the money to continue using what they already had in place and relied upon.
Whether the gamble will pay of financially for them is yet to be determined as the reality of handling something like this in such a poor manner could be catastrophic for their PR.
We can only imagine how many of those users jumped over to Teamviewer or one of the other services still offering free remote services.
In the PC world, there are many many free tools for remote services including Microsoft’s built in Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). In a worse case scenario, users of LogMeIn free are going to have to spend some time to switch to a different product instead of paying the new fee.
Why? you may ask. The reason is simple: It was free. Users of free software generally will put up with small ads or the occasional email in return for continuing to operate on the free model. There are of course, those who will pay because they don’t want to change, and there are those who will pay because they don’t know any better but our prediction is based on knowing about the market since we have setup many users with LogMeIn in the past.
The other question we have gotten as a result is “If we switch to Teamviewer(or other product), who is to say they will not switch to a pay only model as well?”
The answer is that we don’t know. Our feeling is that the other companies will wait for bit while the accrue new free users before they leverage any change.
In the mean time, there are other products that are not web based such as VNC, gotomypc and comodo as well as cheaper paid systems that can do the job.
We are not saying we don’t like Logmein; on the contrary we use the LogMeIn Rescue and pay a premium price for our IT techs to help our clients. However, the way they handled the situation and the pricing structure they are jumping immediately too may be too off putting for the general public.
Should you have any questions about this article or any other remote technologies, feel free to contact us anytime.