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How much would Premium subscribers pay if non-related (and very expensive) Market Items stopped production?

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I have been an Evernote Premium user for 3+ years and have loved Evernote every second of it. It was a pioneer of its kind. Unfortunately, I recently discovered, after perusing evernote.com, that this corporation has come up with a line of trivial products to Evernote. Backpacks? Wallets? Paper journals? The last one gets me because Evernote is specifically pointed toward those of us who embrace a mostly paperless lifestyle.


In my eyes, an equivalent gesture to these items being made/advertised by Evernote would be like Dropbox.com using subscriber's money for making/advertising a line of sushi rollers...instead of using the money to reduce storage costs.


My question to the forum is multi-faceted:

  • What % of our subscription money is going to the design, production, and advertising of these products? Or is Evernote being paid to advertise these products?
  • If these directly unrelated items to the Evernote software stop in production, would subscriptions cost less? And if not, would the funds be re-allocated towards making Evernote software better, quicker? There are a laundry list of items that Evernote can improve on, but implementation of is slow.
  • Have you or do you ever plan to buy anything from the Market?
  • General thoughts? I'd like to know.

Edit (11AM 5/29): Phrasing and grammar

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  • Level 5*

Hi.  We're a user forum,  and though developers do read these posts,  its pretty safe to say that no-one here is likely to be able to answer your first two questions.  


My 2c on the list would be that:

  1. I don't think Evernote is actually making a profit from anywhere at the moment - the market is intended to help keep subscriptions down,  not increase them.  Evernote will no doubt have made the point to its suppliers that with its access to 100 Million users,  just getting their products onto a web page is valuable advertising.
  2. Few,  if any,  developers are likely to be involved in selling backpacks.  Evernote could easily have outsourced the whole operation to an experienced online shop.  Stopping the sales wouldn't improve the software faster and might have Evernote doing a Springpad on all of us.
  3. No - do I look crazy?
  4. If you're running a company and want to remain employed you have to explore all possible ways of channelling cash into the company coffers.  Some of those projects might be Edsels,  others might be iPhones (and look how reliable and cheap they turned out to be) but you need to try everything you can think of and stick with the ones that work.
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Reasons for the Evernote Market






edit: And my $5 stainless-steel money clip / credit card holder beats the $100 Evernote wallet hands down.


PT Barnum had a saying for the folks who think it is cool to buy a $100 wallet and Evernote is taking advantage of that famous quote. As is pointed out in the first link.

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Also, I bid you a welcome!


I agree with Gaz!


It appears to me Evernote does not produce/manufacture any of the products they sell.  Other companies do that, such as the Fujitsu manufacturing the Scanner.  Evernote has developed a partnership with these companies to produce products specifically for Evernote, with Evernote's branding.  This has proven to be a great venture for many companies across the world to supplement their revenue.  I would imagine if the ventures are not producing a profit for Evernote, they would not continue the program.


I support any company to be creative in their efforts to be financially stable.  If Dropbox would do a similar thing, I bet their profits would increase as well.


What does this mean to the development side of the company?  Well, I don't know, but if I were Phil Libin, I would put some of that profit to use with the development team.  I can only hope that is what is occurring, because I too am disappointed in the slow development of some features.  But at the same time, I would like the new features to work correctly when they are published.  Program development is not cheap, particularly in the US.  I have often wondered how Evernote could afford a team of developers purely on the annual subscription fees.  You can do the math with 100 million users X annual fee, but also do the figure for the cost of employing developers.  Whew!

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What a strange thread - do you think that the same people who build out the complex server side sync process are the same people as that figure out which back-pack to sell?


The market seems to have been remarkably successful and as such can only have a positive impact on the business as a whole.


With respect to whether the items that are sold themselves are worth what they cost, as always that's a personal choice. There are often threads on here that suggest that $45 a year is way too much to spend on an Evernote premium subscription. I'm guessing that you think $45 is good value and that's why you pay. Some people obviously feel the same way about the items in the Market.

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A couple additional observations:

1) I HAVE bought something from the Market (The Jot Script Stylus). Despite the many complaints on these forums, it performs as well as I would expect a stylus to perform. 

OF NOTE regarding this: The address on a recent warranty replacement for the stylus was to a location in the Midwestern United state, not their California or Austin locations. This suggests, indeed, some significant (spatial and personnel) distance from their core staff. People typing code in Austin/California are not also taking orders and fulfilling shipments. 


2) Having been a subscriber for three years, you will have noticed that your subscription cost didn't go UP when the market was launched. I don't think the market has a huge impact on subscription prices, although as Gaz pointed out, it is another revenue stream that might keep subscription prices from increasing. 


3) Evernote does advocate for "paperless-ness", but they have made numerous statements that there are, inevitably, times where paper is important or necessary. So their paperless philosphy is rather pragmatic. While this isn't the quote I was looking for, it sheds a bit of light: http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2013/09/26/evernote-and-post-itr-notes-partner-to-give-your-favorite-paper-product-a-digital-life/


For us at Evernote, Post-it® Notes are a Hero Product. We strive for the sort of flexible, instantly-understandable usefulness that draws hundreds of millions of people to purchase Post-it® Brand products. There is one drawback. As ubiquitous as they are, they’re also, well, attached to stuff. That’s where Evernote comes in.

Evernote is giving Post-it® Notes a digital life and whole new set of tricks.

If I find the other statement I am thinking of that is more to the point I'll post it. 


But the major point is, people still need to write stuff on paper and Evernote wants to help you capture that stuff digitally. I use various notebooks on a regular basis for my field work, including a Moleskin Smart Notebook, and nearly every page is scanned into Evernote. 


4) The moleskin smart notebook far pre-dates the market.  Moleskin I think was really the one to take most of the lead on the smart notebook thing. In fact, posts around here from staff regarding the books suggest that Moleskin handle all of the production and distribution, for example, to book and stationary stores (I bought mine at a Chapters). 


Price Point

Another thing to consider is that while the price for premium hasn't dropped, the number of features available to premium users has grown. In other words, the price remains the same but the value arguably has increased. For example, there is now indexing of .Doc files, there is now business card scanning, just to name a few of the recent additions to the premium feature set. 


I honestly don't think a drop in Premium price would entice considerably more long-term subscribers. Lets think about price point here. First of all, lets rule out a $20 or $25/year fee. While dropping down to the $20 price point MAY open up to some new subscribers as it is a meaningfully lower pricepoint, it would constitute a 50% reduction in revenue. You'd need to DOUBLE your subscriber base just to make up the difference. I don't think a $20 price point is enough to double the subscriber base, and even then you'd simply be matching your old revenue, having lost significant revenue in the intervening period. 


So lets think of a plausible lower subscription rate. Lets try $35/year, that's $10 less than the current rate. It seems like, if Evernote were to really want to, they might be able to pull off that price (with some sacrifices, like any possibility of future growth, perhaps). Is $35 a meaningfully lower price compared to $45/year? I would say no. I think you are pitching to the same set of potential subscribers whether you are pitching $35 or $45. I think most people who can manage $35/year can ALSO manage $45 per year. (Put another way, anyone who CAN'T swing $45 per year, likely also can't swing $35 per year. So you aren't really tapping a new market). 


So to really hit a new pricepoint, you'd need to drop, probably below $30, to say, $29.99/year. But again, the increase in subscribers required just to make up the difference in revenue would likely far exceed the number of subscribers the new price would actually attract. 


Ultimately I think Evernote is competitively priced. I mean, look at some of the other services at the $5/mo ~$45/year pricepoint. Feedly and Pocket, for example, are RSS and Offline readers, respectively. Subscribing to Feedly offers faster subscription refresh, within-feed search, and some additional sharing options. Pocket offers some additional (kind of neat) archiving features, and some additional organizational features.  Both charge the same as Evernote, and while their services are definitely valuable, I'd argue Evernote offers much better value given the sheer flexibility and diversity of features. 

There are plenty of other examples I am sure, but these were two at the tip of my tongue. 


I'm just kind of brainstorming here, but honestly, I have to say Evernote is competitively priced, and the above is why I think that. 

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Thank you for all the insightful responses!


As a person who has never managed a business, nor even has general wherewithal of how a company even thrives, I appreciate the information here. jbenson2's post (below) that included relevant links as to why Market was created and how well it has fared, in particular, is what I consider the closest answer that I was looking for.


@ScottLougheed (regarding your second post on price point): That's very reasonable thinking. I do not think a $10 price drop in yearly subscription costs would attract enough new premium subscribers to justify its induction. It also gives me the idea that Evernote could theoretically bring in a new tier of subscription type (much as Apple did bringing in the iPhone 5c to compete on the smartphone mid-range price front) that would have some features that the high-premium users are paying for and some features that the free users do not have to attempt to goad those free users into upgrading their experience.


Let's all keep learning!



Reasons for the Evernote Market
edit: And my $5 stainless-steel money clip / credit card holder beats the $100 Evernote wallet hands down.
PT Barnum had a saying for the folks who think it is cool to buy a $100 wallet and Evernote is taking advantage of that famous quote. As is pointed out in the first link.


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