I received an email today from Sprout, a website which lets you create interactive Flash widgets which you can share with others on the web, place on your website and distribute on any other medium that supports Flash. Here’s something I had created a while back:
The email advised me that Sprout had closed off the ability to produce free Sprouts and launched tiered pricing ranging from $140 a year to $3000 a year, depending on the number of projects, storage and support options people require. The Basic service lets you produce up to 3 Sprouts but is only available to current users.
Now, I’ll be the first to insist that a company has a pricing strategy which can guarantee growth and sustainability, especially in today’s harsh climate. However, it’s always worth bearing in mind that free advertising can be valuable, as it taps into hobbyists and people experimenting with the medium. I have a friend who’s heavily into sports attire and I’m sure he’s geeky enough to try and put together a Sprout about NFL jerseys if he had the time and knew about the service.
I believe Sprout are making a mistake but not allowing a free aspect to their service. Even if it’s time-bound, it allows people to play with their technology, evangelise about their services and draw in more paying customers.
What do you think?