How to Prevent Ugly Pricing Surprises

Don’t Break the Piggy Bank

At Fog Creek, we build products to last. Fogbugz, our task management tool, for example, has been our flagship product for over 16 years. Our newest creation, Gomix, is built to last the same way.

Over the years we’ve found that a key to building a sustainable business is supporting our users, both with functionality and simply by listening to their needs. Our customers are often pleasantly surprised by our commitment to them, and by how much we care about their success.

One area where we don’t want our users to feel surprised is pricing. We never want to make the typical mistakes that companies often do, like suddenly charging for features that used to be free or putting constraints on the ways people can use our platforms. Making money on a new product is tricky and the road to success is littered with failed attempts. Lucky for us, we’ve been around a long time, and we’re confident that we know a couple of principles about what not to do.

One pattern we’ve seen arise in with other platforms and software is introducing a product with great features, then putting those features behind a paywall once they’ve come to be relied upon by their users. That kind of interruption can be detrimental to getting work done, and can cause real, tangible pain to users.

We’ve also learned not to complicate the process of buying things by adding too many a la carte purchasing options that overwhelm. To be totally honest, that’s a mistake we’ve made in the past. We learned from our users that part of making people’s’ lives easier is creating a painless buying experience that’s easy to immediately understand.

That brings us to our next step: collaborating with our community to figure out the best, most sustainable business model for Gomix.

We plan to consult with our users well before we’ve introduced payment options for Gomix. We’ll be working to see which features have the most value, and what’s worth paying for. That information will help decide how we ultimately let people pay for Gomix. We’ll start by proposing some models that make sense, but we want to hear your feedback at this early stage, too — even before we begin building our full payment infrastructure.

You can help start our conversation by joining our support forum: and starting a thread, or talking to us on Twitter, showing us what you’re making, and letting us know which features are adding value to your experience. Just as importantly, we’d love to hear about new capabilities or platform features that you’d be willing to pay for. Together, we’re gonna make great stuff. We can’t wait!

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