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mcarrara

Open Letter to Evernote

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I have been a user and an evangelist for Evernote for many years.  I have presented at educational conferences in Wisconsin and New Mexico, extolling the virtues of Evernote.  I have made presentations to staff and students in the districts I have worked in letting everyone know that Evernote was a great resource and ad supported so there was no cost.

 

Then without warning, BOOM! I get an email saying that the key feature of Evernote, emailing to a note was gone.  While you have the legal right to do whatever you want, and modern businesses take advantage of legaleze, the way you made the changes was very poor.

 

I would have liked some warning, say 30 days.  An email saying something like: this great feature you are using is going away soon, you may want to consider upgrading.  That’s the way to treat customers.  Not, fool pay up now or stop working.  Being held hostage is not conducive to good customer relationships.

I have yet to upgrade, not because I don’t see value, but because I don’t trust a company that mistreats its customers.  Once lost, trust is hard to regain.  I may eventually upgrade, but I know I will no longer rave about Evernote, I will no longer present at conferences on Evernote and I will caution anyone who asks me.  So I guess if your purpose was to alienate customers you did a good job.

 

Mark

Mark Carrara

IT Director

Amy Biehl High School

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Hi.  This is a user forum,  so you are preaching to the converted - as you'll appreciate of you looked at any of the other long threads on this.  On a point of detail Evernote announced the changes at the end of April and didn't actually limit email into basic accounts until the end of June,  so I think they gave it as long as they thought reasonable...

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Why someone would promote Evernote as  "a great resource and ad supported so there was no cost" is beyond me. I'm positive that's not how Evernote wants to be promoted.

 

Also, Evernote is not ad supported. It does not advertise 3rd-party wares. It only ever promotes its own products... to both paying and non-paying members alike. 

 

It seems that the reason for most of your angst is that you put your own name on the line, having made presentations far and wide - promoting Evernote primarily as a free piece of software. If you want to call yourself an Evangelist, promote Evernote in a way that benefits the company... not in a way that gives people the wrong idea. Teach people to value the products they use, enough to support them. 

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evernote has had communication problems in the past, but i don't think this is one of them, and the decision has nothing to do with legaleze. they made a change to their service. it happens all the time to every service, right? twitter just removed your wallpapers, facebook... well, it's messing around with stuff every day. i don't pay for them, except by baring my digital soul in a faustian agreement with them, so i can't complain. besides, they aren't terribly important to me.

it seems to me that you consider evernote to be important to you, but you are treating it like all the other "free"ish services out there that are sucking you dry of data and selling it to others or inundating you with ads. evernote isn't that.

i don't consider emailing to be a significant part of the service, especially for my use case. you do. that's why they made the change. they figure that if people are using a feature, they'll be willing to pay for it. the free version isn't supported by ads at all, as was already mentioned, but by users who are paying for what they use.

by refusing to pay for what you are using, you are voting with your feet, which is fine, but it is unrealistic (in my opinion) to expect anything free to remain free. there are people working on this, they have families, mortgages, and and so forth. their salaries don't materialize out of thin air. if you don't pay, the service dies. it's as simple as that. or, worse than a clean death, it might be infected by the data mining or ad dealing virus that inhabits so many regions of the internet.

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I have been a user and an evangelist for Evernote for many years.

. . .

 

I have yet to upgrade, not because I don’t see value, but because I don’t trust a company that mistreats its customers.  Once lost, trust is hard to regain.  I may eventually upgrade, but I know I will no longer rave about Evernote, I will no longer present at conferences on Evernote and I will caution anyone who asks me.  So I guess if your purpose was to alienate customers you did a good job.

 

You call yourself an "evangelist", yet at the first bump, you bail.  Sounds more like a fair-weather friend than an evangelist to me.

 

I get it that if you have talked a lot of people into using Evernote for free, and now they might have to pay, it might be an initial shock.

 

There are at least two things you could do to mitigate this change:

  1. Communicate with the people you convinced to go with Evernote, and reassure them that Evernote is still a GREAT value a $3/month.
  2. If you have a large number of students/teachers/educators who are using Evernote, contact Evernote directly and see if you can work out a deal to lessen the burden

Good luck.

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I have made presentations to staff and students in the districts I have worked in letting everyone know that Evernote was a great resource and ad supported so there was no cost.

 

As has already been pointed out, Evernote is not and never was ad-supported. The free tier exists to entice customers to eventually upgrade to a paid tier. Not only has Evernote not made any secret of this, the company has actually used it as a selling point: unlike Google, Evernote doesn't share or mine your data for the purpose of selling you ads. Evernote makes money from subscription fees and in return the company respects its users' privacy. In fairness I think this was a misunderstanding on your part rather than an attempt by Evernote to bamboozle you.

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I consider Evernote's "freemium" model to be a better and more workable version of shareware.  Shareware suffered when people tried it and never paid.  As it stands now, Evernote lets people try it for free and if they sign up that's awesome but if not instead of kicking them to the curb they let them tag along at a reduced featureset.

 

So, how many companies are like this?  I've signed up for hundreds of services over the years and I can't off the top of my head recall any that let me continue past the initial trial.

 

All this free service they give to those who don't go premium still cost them!  They are paying data storage, connectivity fees, peripheral costs like electricity, and as GrumpyMonkey said - livlihoods for I don't know how many hundreds of employees.  This stuff costs and they have been letting you keep your information on their system for free - I don't see the gripe.

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Getting your funding right is (vague pun intended) fundamental - anyone remember Springpad?

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Getting your funding right is (vague pun intended) fundamental - anyone remember Springpad?

 

Exactly. It just so happens that I got an email today from a publisher I've worked with in the past. They just went bankrupt. Go figure. Great product and a great history of publications, but I guess they didn't get the money right. It doesn't matter how great anything is if it can't stick around.

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So many thoughtful replies, let me clarify my post.

 

We can argue is ads for items in the trunk or marketplace or whatever is ad supported or not.  To me it is.  There is a box that shows marketing content, to me that is ad supported.

 

If the decision was announced in April, I never heard it.  The first I heard of it was when I got a notice that the email I sent was over the limit.  I know I never got an email from Evernote telling me of the change.

 

I was an evangelist, I did love Evernote.  This was not the first bump.  I have been using it for five years, I have lived through crappy spell check, UI changes and other changes I didn't like and screwed up my work flow.  This was not the first bump, but the straw that broke the camels back.

 

Will I continue to use Evernote?  Of course.  Will I upgrade?  There is a better than 50-50 chance I will.  I have been trying to use Evernote without the email feature for two weeks.  Can I get my work done?  Yes.  Am I less efficient?  Yes.  Is there an alternative to Evernote?  I don't use Microsoft if I can avoid it, Google already has too much of my life, so no I don't think there is an alternative.  Am I happy about the way this was handled?  No, not one bit.

 

In the end this is just my opinion. We all make dozens of choices everyday.  We have to select our priorities, evaluate pros and cons and maybe listen to others.  Is my opinion of Evernote correct?  To me yes, to others no.  I can live with that.

 

Mark

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I sympathize with Mark, but I also get what others are saying.  It is a great product and I decided it was worth paying for Plus to get the enhancements.  My problem is that there is so much bait and switch with software.  The cloud was free, now it will start not to be. Microsoft wants you to lease Office in the cloud, and soon, the whole Internet may cost us more.  It is annyoying, but not sure I should have expected anything else.  Nothing is free.  It was just nice while it lasted I guess.

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Exactly... who has not paid for a Microsoft product? If you've ever bought a Windows PC/ laptop... you've paid for a Microsoft product. At the very least. OneNote is not free. It's part of the package. Where does Evernote get compensated, except with Plus and Premium upgrades... plus their store?

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We can argue is ads for items in the trunk or marketplace or whatever is ad supported or not.  To me it is.  There is a box that shows marketing content, to me that is ad supported.

 

Unlike Google or Microsoft, Evernote doesn't derive any revenue from advertisements. Whether or not that sways your opinion of them, I think it's an important distinction to make.

 

Also bear in mind that many services that are truly free and ad-supported have also discontinued features or even entire products. Unless a company has signed a contract with you agreeing not to do something like that, they can pull out the rug at any time. I remember people complaining bitterly about many changes Google has made but I don't think Google even blinked. Personally I like a company like Evernote which derives revenue from subscription fees. I think it gives us customers a bit more clout.

 

I would suggest that anyone keeping information in any kind of electronic solution should do regular backups and have an exit plan if the service ceases to be to their liking, or disappears for whatever reason. There are a couple options I'm aware of with Evernote (HTML and ENEX backups). I find both of those a bit clunky (I can't think of any services that can easily import anything exported from Evernote but it is what it is.

 

I am not so much trying to sway your opinion as to add my own. I have found that people tend to speak up more when they have an axe to grind, but rarely if ever does anyone call the cable company to tell them "great job" because they turned on the TV and the service was working. (Not that I am apt to praise my cable company for any reason -- but that's a topic for another forum). There are many of us who are happy with Evernote and I just want say I am one of them.

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