Evernote changes its pricing plans and users worry

Evernote, the popular note-taking app, has raised its prices and limited its free service. Users can bail, or simply shrug and accept it as a cost of doing business.

evernote with money

Evernote, the note-taking service that has become part of a large number of lives, has notified its users that it plans to increase the prices of its Plus (from $2.99/mo. to $3.99/mo.) and Premium (from $5.99/mo. to $7.99/mo.) tiers, and limit its Basic (free) customers to having the app on two devices.

The usual pushback by annoyed and worried users has ensued. However, being one of those annoyed and worried users, while I can understand any company needing to increase its revenues during these uncertain times, I also am trying to figure out how to respond.

Here's where I stand personally: I've been using Evernote since it first went into beta in 2008 (I just found a copy of the original "Welcome to Evernote!" note) and a good deal of my professional and personal life is saved there: years of meeting notes; photos of documents, business cards and notes; old to-do lists; notes on where I put something two years ago; etc., etc.

So far, I've been a Basic user. With everything I have there, I have only once or twice gotten even close to the 60MB monthly data limit, and while I've missed a few features that have been withdrawn from free accounts over the years (mostly, the ability to send email to my account), it's really not affected me much.

And I could adjust to this as well. Evernote has a web interface that is not as useful as its app, but is usable, and I could adjust to just having the app on my phone and one computer. But it would be inconvenient. And there is that nagging guilty feeling that I should be paying for a service that I've used for so many years.

Not so long ago, that feeling was satisfied by the ads that used to flash at me from the lower corner of the app. While Evernote has said that it is raising these prices as an alternative to advertising, it is not that long ago that the company showed advertisements in the lower area of its sidebar, mostly for products by its partner companies.

That strategy must not have worked out. The ads are no longer there, and users are now trying to figure out whether they want to upgrade to keep features; downgrade to save money (on Evernote's discussion forum, I saw several users wondering whether they should go from Premium to Plus); or move to another app, such as the free version of OneNote. (And yes, Microsoft is making it very easy to move data from one to the other.)

As pointed out by Lifehacker, the yearly cost of $69.99 for Evernote's Premium plan is equal to the cost of a yearly subscription to Office 365 Personal -- which, of course, includes OneNote. However, like many widely-used apps, Evernote has amassed a following of users who have come to depend on it for organizing their business and personal lives.

For the most part, I expect they -- we -- will simply adjust and stick with it. For now.


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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