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On Honesty and Choice of Words ("Devices")


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In recent years, there has been a remarkable habit of euphemism when introducing new plans that actually make it worse in certain respects. I know that fro banks, but obviously it has reached Evernote:  The advertising announces that Evernote Free, too, will continue to get better, while new functions being introduced.

What, in reality, one encounters is, that, wile until now, a "device" was a "device" (meaning something tangible, like a compputer, a tablet), now, obvoiusly, the internet itself has been defined as a "device" by Evernote's employees or, rather managers. (Or marketing people trying to cover up this decision.) This is not only an indcecent "stretch" if not violation of language, but also revealing above mentioned anouncement plainly as untrue.

For until now, in the free plan, I always able to work with Evernote on my notebook, on my tablet and on the web. However, rather obviously linked to the introduction to the new pricing scheme, now I can either have it on my notebook and the web or on a tablet and the web. This is by no means an improvement. In fact, it is a clear step back, making the whole offer worse.

While a company is entitled to do whatever it wants within the law, if a company wishes to betray its users of certain features they were enjoying before in one plan, they just should honestly communicate it. "We need more money to make Evernote still better." or: "We want more money." Whatever it is, however it is worded, it leaves a very bad taste and certainly not a constructive incentive to start paying to a company, that obviously tries to use re-definitions and dishonesty in order to profit.

Profit is fine - but dishonesty and disfiguring language are not.

I would like to encourage you to address changes which are to the detriment of the users openly, preferably with a good explanation. But every customer abhors lies. And many potential customers will (hopefully) think twice about whether to engage in a relationship with such a company, once he or becomes aware of such a stragy.

Turn back to truth, turn back to honesty!

Edit (after the first response): I only realised now, that the web version was started to be counted as a "device" already last year - with obvious vocal applause by certain members of the forum - as I had no need to use it since then. However, while I cannot attribute this, in contrast to my posting above, to the current change in plans, I do maintain that it is trickery to count the web-version as a device and would still not call that "honest". It rather deters me from starting to pay. Honest communicatjion, in contrast, would have a rather positive effect.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Dr. M. said:

But every customer abhors lies.

You aren't a "customer". You are a person using a free product.

Giving services away for free is not a sustainable business model unless a company is profiting from you elsewhere (e.g. mining your data for profit like Google, Facebook, etc.),  As such, free services are subject to change at the whim of the company. They don't owe you anything, even an explanation. When I'm evaluating software or services I always prefer to pay for something. In doing so I have the ability to hold the company accountable for their service and I'll take my money elsewhere. If enough paying customers take their business elsewhere, the company will be out of business. If enough non-paying users take their "business" elsewhere, the company benefits.

In the case of Evernote, the freeloaders are subsidized by the paying subscribers. I'm sure EN realizes they can only bleed a finite amount of money from us in order to cover company expenses and make some profit before we abandon ship and look for an alternative. 

Personally, I'd rather see Evernote have NO free tier and encourage EN to charge a more reasonable price for all plans. Give new users 30-days, or even 60-days, for free. Then charge something like $1.99/month for a limited plan - and then scale up from there.

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I am not sure you have entirely grasped what I wrote. I said explicitly that profit is fine. However you might see or dislike or define ("not a customer") those using the free version - should we just "shut up" because we are not paying? 

Just because I am using the free version, I still disdain dishonesty and lies of companies. 

If you dislike "freeloaders", it is your right to do so, but I do not see how your reply is contributing to the point of this thread - which is the dishonesty with which the change is marketed.

Why, instead of taking the road you did,  not help to make a company actually appealing?

It is not very tempting to me to support a company that does not communicate clearly what it does and that tries to colour regression as progress.

 

EDIT: Please see my edit in the first post above for the full picture.

Edited by Dr. M.
grammar, addition
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40 minutes ago, Dr. M. said:

It is not very tempting to me to support a company that does not communicate clearly what it does

Evernote's website at https://evernote.com/compare-plans shows (this is only part of that page)

130826099_Clipboard1.png.95aa91f62eee1811fac3e9f88709eeb0.png

Seems pretty clear to me. 

Whether or not "2 Devices" should include or exclude a web browser - which is now quite as capable of viewing and editing notes as are the desktop and mobile apps available - I'm unable to judge.  Previously,  the web access was much more limited than the installed apps.  Recently the various access options are more on par.

Given that some people have been using this service since its inception for free,  and may have stored and updated several thousand notes online without in any way contributing to Evernote's development costs during that period,  I'm not surprised that they're making the free product less accessible.  It makes sense to subscribe if you can - which I did less than 12 months after trying the service out - because you then have email support for any issues,  and - as @RacingGoat - you have a contract under which you can claim protection.

There have been many requests from Free account users for features which "if only they were available" would convert them into paying customers.  Increasing the number of devices allowed is the current favourite.  I doubt it will gain any traction.

This is,  by the way,  a user to user Forum.  Feedback to Evernote direct is available through the apps or https://twitter.com/evernotehelps

 

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You are on a free account out of your own choice - nobody forced you to use it. Unlike a subscriber you have no contract with the company. 

If you are thinking it through, you are living with your account off a chunk of the EN marketing budget.

Now many of your fellow users decided to test the limits of the free plan: Swapping devices, using several accounts, etc. So EN decided (my interpretation) to force everybody on the free plan back into its limits. 

The web client was declared to count as a device after v10 was launched - because of feature parity. I use a Free account beside my subscription, and I was informed.

And since some months (from my observation) EN is cracking down on exceeding the device limit (which in fact is more a client limit, but that is plain wording).

About communication: EN published a pretty comprehensive help document to answer all questions. You just need to go to the help pages and easily find it:

https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/218558068

Wrap up: EN can change the Free plan whenever they want, and they can do this without considering subscription periods. It was IMHO properly communicated.

If you like what you get is entirely up to you.

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PinkElephant, you are missing my point in the same way as RacingGoat did.

(Else, one thing might be there to correct: To the best of my knowledge you are wrong in that free users and Evernote do not have a contract. But, then, I am only a non-U.S. jurist and have not really studied U.S. law, so feel free to elaborate if you are an expert in U.S. law or know better anyhow... I wonder whether this obvious U.S. lawyer is also wrong here, then, in your eyes?)

Gazumped, thank you for pointing me to Twitter in case I should want to contact Evernote there. 

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2 hours ago, Dr. M. said:

I am not sure you have entirely grasped what I wrote. I said explicitly that profit is fine.

I grasped what you wrote perfectly fine. Perhaps I didn't convey my message properly. I understand that you have no issue with a company making a profit - which is great because otherwise there would be no companies and certainly no competition otherwise. What I was trying to say is a for-profit company owes nothing to a non-paying user of their service. The company does not need you and , in fact, you are costing the company money.

Evernote is providing a charity service to you (and other freeloaders). It's not out of the kindness of their heart - but as an attempt to convince those users to actually pay for higher levels of service with additional benefits and features.

 

2 hours ago, Dr. M. said:

If you dislike "freeloaders"...

It's not personal at all. EN offers a free service and it's 100% your right to use that service. I also use the term "freeloaders" not as an insult, but as a shortened version of "users currently on the free plan" which gets tedious to write. But the term is still accurate whether you like it or not ("a person who takes advantage of others' generosity without giving anything in return").

 

2 hours ago, Dr. M. said:

Why, instead of taking the road you did,  not help to make a company actually appealing?

I'm not on Evernote's payroll and it's not my job to make the company "appealing". If they want to hire me on as the VP of Marketing, I'd consider their offer.

 

2 hours ago, Dr. M. said:

It is not very tempting to me to support a company that does not communicate clearly what it does and that tries to colour regression as progress.

Lets be honest here, you have no intent of "supporting the company"... e.g. paying for a subscription plan. If so, you'd already be paying and not concerned about device limits.

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18 minutes ago, Dr. M. said:

To the best of my knowledge you are wrong in that free users and Evernote do not have a contract.

 To be legally binding as a contract in the United States (where I studied law), a promise must be exchanged for adequate consideration. 

Evernote has provided you a promise of their current "free" service (subject to change). As a non-paying user you are providing no consideration (e.g. money) to Evernote.

Thus, no contract.

 

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48 minutes ago, Dr. M. said:

PinkElephant, you are missing my point in the same way as RacingGoat did.

(Else, one thing might be there to correct: To the best of my knowledge you are wrong in that free users and Evernote do not have a contract. But, then, I am only a non-U.S. jurist and have not really studied U.S. law, so feel free to elaborate if you are an expert in U.S. law or know better anyhow... I wonder whether this obvious U.S. lawyer is also wrong here, then, in your eyes?)

Gazumped, thank you for pointing me to Twitter in case I should want to contact Evernote there. 

Maybe I am missing a point you try to make (less words sometimes convey a clearer message).

To have a contract you need to have an exchange of value. Typical is product / service for money. A free user of a service invests no value from his side, just uses a free offer from the service provider. Both are bound by general law, but there is no contract. The provider of the service can basically change the terms of the free offer without asking, and since there is no contract, can do this „as of now“ (unless he promised something else).

To contrast this: Provider and subscriber have a binding contract for the period of the subscription, and (putting „force majeure“ aside) the provider is obliged to serve the contract until the subscription expires.

It is wrong for reasons that I have explained that EN did not communicate adaptions to the free plan. They did, and the changes were minor compared to the full range of the plan. They might have exchanged the word „device“ for „client“ to make it clearer, but honest: This semantics is splitting hair, a discussion really beside the point. Adults may fight about stuff like that after some pints of beer, or when they are lawyers and can charge 500$ an hour over the struggle.

My impression is something else: You have played it nice and cool to stretch the free plan to every corner, and made it cozy for yourself. I couldn’t care less, when EN offers such a space for free they may do it, and it is legit to use it. But you have to accept (and you don’t) that your cozy little place can be less cozy within of a blink. And you have to accept that you have no basis to claim it must be set back to where it was.

My personal view is that the free plan should be modified: A maximum of 5 years (enough to finish every university course for a student), or restricted to the exclusive (!) use of notebooks and notes shared to the free user by a subscriber. After 5 years it would be up or out, because if you couldn’t decide for a subscription in that period, you will probably never do. I would give everybody who already is on Free for more than 5 years one year to decide - and then pull the plug on the trailers. 

So better be happy that you are at the mercy of the people you blame of lying and taking advantage of you - you wouldn’t like me at the helm at all, and I couldn’t care less.

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