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Release 2.0 - restricting free plans, giving back with features and price reductions

Posted by Andy Singleton on Fri, Oct 17, 2008
  
  

Within the next day, we will be releasing a new version of Assembla.com that contains major changes to the subscription packages, and many improvements.

Subscription Changes

We will no longer offer free, private spaces.  If you own a free, private space, we will send you an upgrade message later this week asking you to buy a "Private / Professional" subscription, or convert the space to public permissions.  You can make a migration decision here.

[Editor's Note: we posted updated pricing here.  We posted instructions for free student projects here.]

If you run a publicly visible project, such as an open source project, we will continue to support you with all standard features, for free.  If you have a Commercial space, we will roll your subscription into the new, more flexible Private/Professional plan.  If you have a free private space and you do not respond, then we will not expose your data or remove it, but we will eventually set it to read-only.

Why are we making this change?  We enjoy working with developers and supporting the community, and we will continue to support the community with free public plans, and low-cost subscription plans.  We are grateful for the positive feedback and suggestions that we receive daily.  However, our free private subversion repositories have become so popular that we no longer have the time and administrative capability to support them at a high level of quality.  So, we need to ask more of our users to support the site with inexpensive paid subscriptions.

In return, we are offering a simplified payment plan that will result in a price cut for most subscribers.  The "Private / Professional" plan costs $2 per user per space per month, plus $3 per gigabyte of file and repository usage.  You can buy it for any space that requires privacy, improved security, or more disk allocation.

A lot of users told us that they had multiple spaces for personal use, or small teams, and they wanted to buy in smaller increments.  We heard you, and now we are giving you full professional support with this amazing deal.

If you have bigger teams and more spaces, the deal gets even better.  We are now offering the portfolio, branding, and staffing tools for free - formerly a $150/month value.  Just select the Manager and Employers package from our new catalog.  And, if you pay in advance, you can get additional discounts of up to 50%.

If you already bought the old Commercial subscription package, we love you forever.  You are probably getting a price cut, and you don't need to do anything.  We will credit the full amount of your last payment into the new "metered" payment plan.  Contact us directly if you want any other adjustments.

New Features

This release contains three months worth of upgrades, some very visible, and some more subtle.  Here are the completely new features.

Catalog: The first thing that you will notice is that when you go to create a new space, you select your configuration from a catalog where the various tools are clearly explained, and pre-configured.  We will expand the catalog over time with packages that contain code for popular development platforms, and with packages for other types of non-development collaboration. You won't have to figure out all of the new tools.  You just click and go.

Do you start every project the same way?  You can customize the spaces to make your own templates, and then use the "copy this space" link at the bottom for the same click-and-go effect.  You might even consider contributing your branded content and methodology to our catalog.

Integrated Subversion: We are piloting an integrated Subversion browser for looking at source code and changesets. The Trac code browser has served us well, but it doesn’t feel integrated, and it is missing some features from the best modern code browsers. Our repository support needs to match the best of breed. The new Subversion browser eliminates an additional login, includes full user names and profile links, and has nice features like “view” which will serve up HTML files with relative links. As soon as this is ready, we will apply the same design to upgrade our git tool with full support for branching and forking.  And, we will release it with a free open source license so that you can also run on local repositories.

Twitter tool: Send your team activity to Twitter and follow it wherever it goes.

Mylyn connector:  For Eclipse users, we added a MyLyn connector so that you can view Assembla tickets and track time inside Eclipse.  It takes advantage of continued API improvements.

Improvements

Tickets:  We improved the integrated Tickets tool with better formatting, reports, and export capabilities. My favorite new feature is a screen capture applet that pops up from from the Ticket attachments panel to capture a picture of bug in seconds. Get an RSS feed of changes and comments for any ticket report, including “My Tickets” (that is, your personal tickets). We upgraded the script that imports tickets from Trac, so that it will capture custom fields, type, resolution, and other fields.  We now capture and attach comments from svn, git, mercurial, and github, so it might be time to import and switch to Assembla tickets.

Chat: Now works through firewalls

Mercurial: Now shows commit events in the Stream and Dashboard.

Git: User keys are automatically resynced.

Wiki: Allows raw HTML, iframes (embed Google calendar, for instance), and has formatting fixes.

Have it your way:  Are you using a Trac wiki or a Basecamp or Google groups messaging system?  Wiki, Messages, and files are now optional tools.  You can strip a space all the way down to its essentials:  The "Team" list, and the "Stream" view of team activities.

Under the hood

"Under the hood" are invisible changes that will power a lot of improvements in the next few months.

We improved our architecture for adding “external” tools as new tabs. We have long supported Trac as an external tool. We have now integrated online services like Github, user-hosted svn repositories, and Twitter. More are on the way, and we are documenting a tool development kit so that you can insert your own team application.

Our most radical move was to build a new piece of infrastructure – the Event Hub – to let you see what your team is doing around the net. It collects events (code commits, ticket edits, new messages) from Assembla internal tools and displays them in the Stream and alerts.  It can ALSO capture events from external applications (for example, your external repositories), show them in the Stream and alerts, and ROUTE them to other external applications (in a simple example, Twitter). It’s like a permissioned friendfeed for a working team. With this improved architecture, email alerts will be sent as soon as the events happen.

Internationalization of many features will allow you to view the Assembla site using your native language, as soon as we build and test translations.

Get involved!

  • Work on translations to other languages.  Some users have emailed to offer translation services.  Now we are ready to use the translations.  If you want to write and test a translation, please send an email to info@assembla.com and tell us your language and your rates or payment structure.

  • Build packages for the catalog.  Do you have your own project templates on Assembla?  Are you a consultant who can package your platform or methodology into the wiki, settings, and code repository of a template space?  For example, if you make a living doing J2EE Web development, and you have packaged the initial documentation, code, and build scripts into a space, other users can benefit from that.  You can contact us about publishing and promoting your branded template space in our catalog.  It could be a great lead generator 

  • Add your tool or application to Assembla.  If you have a tool or application that Assembla teams can use, we might be interested in helping you package it as a tool in the workspace and promote it in our catalog.  We can even make sales and collect money at prices that you set.

  • Add your questions and suggestions to the forum.

Tags: , , , , , ,

COMMENTS

Hi Andy, 
 
being an open-source developer who hosts a project on Assembla, I am a bit disappointed about your move of strategy. As you may suppose, open-source projects (at least the smaller ones and especially when you're developing for niche areas) are not willing to finance their non-profit projects. Since I like assembla really much, I would really like to see a free option for open-source projects. 
 
Best wishes, 
Matthias

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 3:10 AM by Matthias Lechner


Andy, 
 
first of I can understand that your administative and financial capabilities are not enough to offer a free service with this quality you did up to now. 
 
I used asembla for more than one year now and was pretty amazed about what you offer (for free). The down side of all this is that I cannot afford it (even with your low prices) since I am a student and I do not have no financial capabilities either. 
 
Sure, I could convert my projects into open source, but for some university stuff this is not possible (and private stuff, too) due to copyright issues. 
 
So I wonder if one has a little time to clean up and maybe you offer the possibility to save trac tickets, commit logs, etc. - it would be pretty bad to be forced to pay or everything is gone. How long is it until we need to deceide pay or not pay? 
 
 
 
Anyways, thanks for the good (and free!) service up to now.

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 8:30 AM by Tom


Andy, 
 
 
 
I forgot to ask: Have you some statistics for each space which show the usage in storage space and repository usage (I guess this means the traffic?). 
 
 
 
Thanks and regards, 
 
Tom

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 8:40 AM by Tom


OK - so what's the minimum then? Is it $2/month for the first 1GB (or 200MB) + $3 per GB after that? Or is the minumum $5/month for 1GB? The pricing as it's worded now does not make this clear.

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 10:32 AM by Russ Painter


Is that $2 per user per space per month for every member of a space or just the owner?

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 10:46 AM by Janto


When is the deadline to decide if we want to Pay or go Public, before we see our sites transformed to read-only?  
 
Thanks! 
 

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 10:57 AM by Carolina


Andy, 
 
I think this could have been handled better. The switch was inevitable, of course, but this is the first time I became aware of this new development, and frankly, although the cost is low, I'm feeling a little more pressure to commit than I'm comfortable with. What's the timeframe for deciding?

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 11:02 AM by Matt Braun


It is a bad news for me...

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 11:25 AM by ratatat


for me, too :(

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 11:29 AM by eron


Yes it was good for univeristy projects.

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 12:35 PM by hp4r


Goodbye Assembla.

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 12:36 PM by .


Off to SourceForge. 
 
Im frankly disappointed that this had to happen. You guys where *the* place for free closed-source hosting. 
 
I work on a non-profit project, but need to be secret until we had something to show to the public. 
 
Now that there is no where else for private hosting, i guess ill go over to SourceForge now because it has a more up-to-date SVN server, so i can Merge my branches.

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 3:38 PM by Dallin Wellington


Sure it is understandable. But it would be really interesting to see some statistics how our accounts have been used until now. I am interesten in how many traffic I caused and how many space I do use - just to estimate the costs. 
 
 
 
Thanks and Regards, 
 
Randy

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 5:20 PM by Randy


Good job killing your userbase

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 9:17 PM by Ben


It might make more sense to charge a fee per user (login ID) instead of per project space. If you have a lot of small projects, your new pricing can add up fast... You can also charge by the sum of a user's (all of their projects) disk space. What do you think?

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 10:00 PM by Mike VanZant


One of my university's lecturers specifically encourages us to use Assembla for our semester long group projects - that has to be kept secret (at least until submission) for obvious plagiarism issues. 
Isn't there some model that can fit in with this, without trying to charge already moneyless students large amounts?

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2008 11:07 PM by Southen


I was a free user storing all my small projects to be honest, but with the reduced pricing I'm happy to support the company by purchasing a plan (was a tad pricey for me earlier as this is just hobby work of mine) 
 
It would be nice to base the entire thing on per user/disk quota though, as others mentioned above, per-space adds up quickly, especially for  
hobbyists like me that have many small projects, and very few of them take up much room at all. Due to that I've been combining all my small projects into one big SVN space 
 
Anyhow, Assembla is great, and this was probably a wise move for you, I plan on staying, thanks for all the work!

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 1:54 AM by Aaryn B


This is great news. I've noticed performance issues recently (in New Zealand) and glad to see you are asking for a small fee to help maintain/support it. This is the real world after all. I was even going to request a better performing, small fee service. 
 
Assembla is a great. You have priced yourself reasonably. I don't see how anyone can moan.  
 
Make sure you offer a 30 day trial for newbies. 
 
Good work guys, and keep it up.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:02 AM by Dave


This is superbad. I wish you would've given some time to think about this! 
 
"Oh we're changing everything tomorrow thx bai!" Great way to ruin a weekend =( 
 
The payment scheme is pretty bad for me. I was planning on having several small spaces for each of my individual projects. Now I'd have to pay five bucks for each, even if their combined size is less than 100 megs.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:05 AM by Antti Rasinen


Common guys. It is the price of cigarette packet or of a bear. Don't smoke one day or do not drink one bear, instead support your project ;-). 
 
Price for disk space is calculated per 10Mb, so you will pay $0.03 per 10Mb, 30 cents for 100Mb, so for small projects with one team member you will pay $2.30. 
 
For university projects, each member can contribute with a small amount to support the project.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:52 AM by Vitalie Lazu


Like written earlyer I don't think I can afford to pay all of my (currently) 13 small projets - which sum up to about 200 MB. 5 of them could be made open, but the remaining not. 
 
 
 
I would welcome it to pay for the used space (200 MB in my case) and why not in 1GB steps (but smaller steps would be better :)). If I pay 5€ per space (as your plan suggests, $2 per user and space plus $3 per user and used space (per space I guess?)) I would end up with $40 (8 spaces with much less then 1GB - 5 would be made open). Sorry but as a student this is impossible. 
 
 
 
What do you think about a donation system? Many people would donate something for a good service as yours. 
 
 
 
And one again - could you please be clearer about if "repository usage" means traffic and used space? (and if this is calculated per space) 
 
 
 
There are many open questions about this...

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 5:30 AM by Tom K.


Well, it had to happen one day. It's a business decision, and I fully support you in this. 
 
What bothers me is, that you didn't just change the model for new users, but also decided to hit all your userbase (that's us) by enforcing this on us.  
 
I decided to use Assembla because it was free, yeah, and I trusted you so much to give you all my data, svn commit history etc because I thought it would stay that way. Opening access to my code and everything is no option. Now I have to pay for what I thought would be free forever or loose a big part of my data and invest hours and hours porting my data to somewhere else. 
 
Again, I support your decision to change your business model. But please, not for the old users that trusted you to not do something like that. 
 
And to add to previous posts:  
$2 per user is totally okay, but please get rid of the "per space" thing. It makes it impossible for small student or private projects to use Assembla cost-efficiently. 
 
So to sum it up: 
1. Don't change modalities for existing users. 
2. Get rid of "per space" pricing. 
 
Thanks, 
Jan

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 5:58 AM by Jan


Well, this sucks. I guess I'll have to set up my own SVN and Trac for next semester.  
 
Thanks a bunch assholes.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 9:47 AM by Peter


Peter, I don't think that's in any way appropiate. If 99% of their users are people like you, no wonder they don't care what happens to the old userbase.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 9:55 AM by Jan


yeah it was inevitable...it is unfortunate for students (like me) who will probably leave assembla. 
 
Thank you anyway for what you did.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 10:15 AM by aroux


I don't think it's a bad deal at all. But have you considered maybe an option to have ads displayed to cover part of the cost? These could be highly targeted to your users. Perhaps only showing these in the free service, or having an opt-in to get a price discount if ads are displayed?

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:31 PM by Russ Painter


Just for the record:  
I didn't say anything about 13 spaces, that was someone called 'Tom K. '. 
 
Andy, I totally get your point and understand how you came to the solution that you announced in this post.  
 
Perhaps some of my own usage examples will help to understand why Assembla was the perfect fit for me and won't be with your new plans (although their prices are totally reasonable for some other usages): 
 
1. Six students doing a project for 2 semesters (1 year), probably about 100 tickets and 500 commits that use about 20 MB of space. They also use the milestones, chat and scrum tool for project management and create about 50 entries there.  
This will cost about $170. And for them, this clearly is too much (in the country I live, don't know if students are richer in US). So no more SVN for them, but shared disk on some university server behind VPN and 3 proxies. 
 
2. I am developing lots of small tools, libraries and hacks for various things. I need good version control so I can work with all my PCs and when I travel, Trac and the other tools also are interesting for some projects. Because I'm a tidy man and like a structured environment I don't want to just use one SVN for all of them (mixed commit history numbers sucks) - so I will end up paying $2 many many times. Even for projects with only <50 commits per year and almost no space or other resources (like support!) used. 
 
I see that you compare yourself to other services, that I would never ever consider using for these things at all. But Assembla was perfect for such small things. And I hoped it would be in the future. Perhaps there is a way to, like spaces with multiple SVN accounts for seperate subproject history or things like that. 
 
And so you don't get the impression I am one of the "I need everything for free" people: 
I do have one 'bigger' project (that makes me money and is more serious) where I will pay the money without even thinking about it. Your system is perfect for developing it, it really uses some of your resources - so no problem. 
 
Anyway, it's your product, but perhaps you see why some people aren't happy. And please, just ignore this idiot calling you an asshole. Such people are on the internet, and sadly there is no way to mute them. But don't let it get to you. You were and are doing a great job with assembla.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:44 PM by Jan


PS: Bigger input textarea here in the blog would be nice ;)

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:45 PM by Jan


My first thought about this change was: "goodbye assembla, get another free host".  
 
 
 
However, after reading this, I just realized that how can I expect this kind of great service to be free? I don't agree with the people who are whining about this change - after all, Andy is paying the hosting of our projects. We owe many thanks to Andy and to other people who have given us the opportunity to use this great service. I hope you guys have enthusiasm to keep the service up. 
 
 
 
As a student, I am also a bit dissapointed that I can't really use this in my school projects anymore (since free projects are public -> plagilarism). But hey, how can I expect this, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Universities have the servers and should themselves provide a hosting for SVN and trac for their students, and not just recommend to use Assembla, and thus use Andy's money . You guys should propose to your university that they would provide this kind of service to those school projects.  
 

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 2:16 PM by Mikko


I *love* Assembla's features and site. 
 
I cannot stand how bad the communication is here.  
 
I have to come visit the blog and forums to find out about immediate issues? No emails? No long-term planning ahead? No warnings?! 
 
This is very unprofessional. You have an amazing product, but you guys really need to get it together from the business end. Did you change management or something? 
 
This makes me really worry that one morning I'll wake up and we'll be locked out because some last minute change that doesn't allow us time to react. 
 
Sorry to sound harsh. As I said, I have nothing but praise for your product, but you absolutely must change your communication policies, or we'll have to suffer through some other crummy project management site. 
 
Thanks.

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:14 PM by Matthew


Trust.  
 
I think that almost everyone understands the situation of Assembla and agree that a solution was needed. But the way this change is happening will end on destroying the trust from your clients. Assembla has a good service? Yes. The new plans are cheap? Yes. But will we trust your service after this? I don't know. 
 
This problem should have been solved since the beginning. 
 
I don't know if we are going to stay in Assembla, but I really doubt it - we would need around $60, and we aren't even a company yet.  
 
Anyway, thank you for everything. Your service was really great. Assembla was a great help to entrepeneurship. 

posted @ Saturday, October 18, 2008 5:29 PM by João Saleiro


Thanks for listening to us. Shows real greatness.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 6:15 AM by Jan


Ok, whilst I see and understand the need for you to have ways of covering in your costs for hosting such a fine service, this was a blow below the belt buckle for me. 
 
I have enjoyed your services for a quite some time now, I've managed to persuade quite a few users to it, and we've all been very happy with it. Our projects are non-profit, and our members are spread all over the globe. Before Assembla, it was a nightmare having to wait for people to come online to give you a modified file, and if some of you couldn't get there in time, things got even more delayed. Since our projects are reliant on 3D models and textures, they also take up good amount of diskspace. 
 
I'd happily host a server myself, but the ISP doesn't allow me, and I don't have enough money to get a compliant computer running for it. 
 
As I said, I understand the costs and all, that's fair enough. But although I work, I have a very low salary. My wages barely covers my monthly rent and food. That in itself is a blow to me. But you need your rent and food too, it costs you to host such a service. That's fair enough. 
 
What I find is a blow below the belt buckle, is the fact that I first get no personal notification whatsoever of the SVN move, followed up by no personal notification whatsoever of the pricing issues. I found out about this today, since I hadn't checked Assembla the last few days (it's a voluntary project, not my daytime job... I don't check it each and every day). Luckily, a friend of mine noticed and warned me. Have you ever heard of e-mail notification? That could have at least prepared us for this move, and given us a proper chance to look at how we should approach this issue, instead of what we're doing now, having a crisis meeting. 
 
It's a real shame that you have such an otherwise great service, manage some insane amounts of projects, complex tools, etc., but you can't for the life of you send out a small, global e-mail to us whenever something is up. It's pure luck that made us notice, nothing else. 
 
I'm sorry if I'm being harsh, but this is a very harsh blow for us, and we didn't even get any proper notice, which is in my book unprofessional no matter what.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 6:24 AM by Kristian


So what about an advertising based income. If your free project spaces did this at the least, you should get a good bit of cash in. Lots of free services survive (even make huge profits) this way (facebook).

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:11 AM by Russ Painter


I don't mind paying for private spaces, but I have several (public and private) projects with different team members. Can we please have a different cost structure than just on a per space basis? A few of my projects are embedded software projects don't use much space (<10 MB) but I depend on your subversion service. If you can make it storage space, user based, or provide a better deal for users with multiple small accounts, I would appreciate. Else, I'm going to have to figure out how I'm gonna integrate some and move the rest to sourceforge.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:39 AM by Ruibing


Oh and if you can provide plans for universities, I can talk to a few of my project advisors here at Cornell University ECE department. I know a lot of projects here that could use project hosting. We have been planning to use Assembla for this year's AmbuMedics project.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:41 AM by Ruibing


Oh and if you can provide plans for universities, I can talk to a few of my project advisors here at Cornell University ECE department. I know a lot of projects here that could use project hosting. We have been planning to use Assembla for this year's AmbuMedics project.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:42 AM by Ruibing


Oh and if you can provide plans for universities, I can talk to a few of my project advisors here at Cornell University ECE department. I know a lot of projects here that could use project hosting. We have been planning to use Assembla for this year's AmbuMedics project.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:50 AM by Ruibing


Oops, sorry about the repeat.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:56 AM by Ruibing


Uhm, first of all - thanks for being so generous to us all this time. Many many thanks.  
 
Second - I got a suggestion. Most of my freelancing friends are using Assembla like very-advanced-basecamp for their projects. Those projects has non-linear activity, like once done - they're frozen. Please can we have ability to "archive" projects like those with disk-quota based payments?

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 9:32 PM by Dmitri


P.S. Please get me right - it is ok to pay for those projects while they're active (price will be included into the bill ;-)), but once they're done - it is not much sense to keep paying for those, so my model of Assembla usage is screwed. I'd liked to pay decreased fee for an archived project, with no activity, but keeping it private and amongst my spaces.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 9:38 PM by Dmitri


P.P.S. (sorry) It seems we already have an alternative to 'archiving' projects - non-upgraded projects will be set to 'read-only'. Sadly, it seems this will work only for existing projects. 'Read-only' looks great for me, so if you'll keep it for new projects as well, or even introduce decreased fee for 'read-only' private projects - that would be fine (speaking for myself).

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 10:14 PM by Dmitri


Please update that link to MyLyn connector - it's forbidden atm.

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 10:51 PM by Akira


So lame. Especially the per space charges. Why can't I just pay for my storage?

posted @ Sunday, October 19, 2008 11:09 PM by dirtyfilthy


I can understand the move, but I also understand complains about the "per space" payment. May I suggest (even if it could be a little bit tricky) to allow to manage subspaces within a space, so that you may charge per space/per user/per GB but allow people to manage and work with more than a single project in one space. Companies or individuals may buy a private space, include as many people as they want for $2/month, usa as big space as they need at $3/GB/month and organize this stuff in as many projects as they want.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 4:34 AM by Eugenio Vacca


I think most people here aren't complaining about the price (assembla being free always seemed to me a bit too good to be true), but because: 
1. Your post seems to imply that we only have a week to make a decision to migrate or be locked out. From a reply you have given, this seems to not be the case. However it would be nice if this was formally noted. It should also be sent via email and put as a notice on assembla, eg "assembla no longer offers free service. You can continue to use any existing spaces for free until Jan 1, 2009, then you will have to upgrade to continue usage". I know you are worried about sending bulk messages, but this is a really important message. 
 
2. The prices you are offering are exceptionally good if you are doing large spaces (and by large I mean > 50MB). However if you use many very small (< 10MB) spaces, which was encouraged by assembla due to the ease of creating new spaces, then it is quite expensive. I'm not sure why there is such an overhead for each new space, since in a small project the cost of the space ($2) would dwarf the disk cost use ($0.03). Perhaps you should consider raising the disk space cost, and reducing/elimiating the new space cost, or have 10 free spaces with every account. 
 
3. You should note that there will be tools available to export existing data, so that it doesn't seem like you are blackmailing us into paying by holding our data to ransom (I know you didn't intend that, but noting the export tools would ease some fears).

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 5:39 AM by nanothief


Since we're all saying what we don't like: for me it's that I have to pay for each user. Some of these users will just be customers or testers who won't be checking in files, and rarely if ever accessing the site (although they'll insist they need the 'option' to see what's going on). It would be nice if there were different roles. For example: "customer" and "tester" can only add/edit tickets. But these would not be contributing to source repository and would only be using the website. These accounts could be paid for by advertising.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 6:09 AM by Russ Painter


Changing terms for existing users (regardless it's free) is NOT fair. I call it a dirty trick. I'm leaving assembla and if I have to pay, I'm going to do it somewhere else.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 9:31 AM by Kolik


We are not students and we are not complaining about private and paid in principle, what my company is complaining about is the complete lack of professional communication coming from Assembla. They desperately need someone to get their communication strategy into shape. 
 
I want to second the statement made above: 'It would be nice if there were different roles. For example: "customer" and "tester" can only add/edit tickets. But these would not be contributing to source repository and would only be using the website. ' 
 
There needs to be a separate class of user because we really need "light" users who only deal with tickets during betas, etc. It really reduces the value of the service if I have to cut out everyone to only the core development team. Even if these users were like $.50 a piece, it would be better than paying full price for them.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 10:08 AM by Matthew


I'm leaving assembla and if I have to pay, I'm going to do it somewhere else. 
 
Well, I go where I get the best service for the money. (Probably still Assembla) But that's just me...

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 10:27 AM by Jan


we are small developing studio and I have already paid for commercial space but it gave me nothing in advance...your new pricing policy eliminates the freedom (now I cannot add more people just to test, to see, cannot start a test space..) 
 
 
 
We have no problem in paying - what more, we would like to pay! but we want something back - the paying and not paying has'nt so far made any diffrencies - no premium services and no extra tools.. 
 
 
 
now it might be really disappointing for many people. 
 
 
 
for example - I love assembla and I want to put team even with time tracking, but even in commercial space I CANNOT FILTER THEIR REGISTERED TIME in desired period...so what to use the time tracking for?

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 10:47 AM by Adam


It seems everyone here is happy to pay. What we need is open discussion about payment plans. 
 
Clearly, they should be activity and/or disk-quota based. 
 
Of course you can push currently published plans, Andy, but in this case many of us will stay on Assembla on free accounts (although willing to pay) and will move to more flexible alternatives for paying accounts... Like, on unfuddle I'll get 4 open accounts and 4 archived for 9usd / month, so if i have more than 5 small projects - it makes sense to migrate. But i don't want to! Assembla spaces are so incredibly flexible, we just need payment plans with flexibility like that of spaces. =)

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 10:56 AM by Dmitri


Well, I've paid my initial subscription. But maybe you can make me feel good about my decision. Someone mentioned unfuddle. You didn't mention them in your list of competitors. Are you not trying to compete with their service? It seems if I have 2 devs and 4 testers working on 2 projects, then unfuddle is going to cost me $9/month, but your service will be 6 users * 2 projects * $2 + $0.30 storage = $24.30/month 
 
 
 
Am I missing something?

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 11:14 AM by Russ Painter


As many have agreed, this is a very nice service. I know that I felt that this service was "too good to be true." Turns it out was. I think the primary emotion most people feel is disappointment and perhaps a bit of betrayal. In a sense, we have been baited and switched. 
 
Andy- I think that you knew all along that you would have to eventually charge for this and thus it was inevitable that this blow up would happen. So, your mistake in all this was offering private spaces for free in the first place. You were offering a valuable service, deserved to get paid, and should have stuck to it from the beginning. You may have grown more slowly, but at least you would have been honest. 
 
Others providers (and consumers) of services should learn from this. 

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 11:43 AM by Daryl Richter


Please let me know if I got this wrong, but the plan page says $2 per user/space, and $3 per gb. So, it seems to me that the current minimum price is $5.00 month (1 space/1 user/1gb). 
 
This seems a little restrictive. My projects are personal, I don't get any money from it, but sometimes I have a friend helping or looking into something. I know you have a lot of tools and apps there, but I would rather pay only for the minimum. 
 
You could come up with some packs, like Unfuddle has. I'd rather pay $5 to use half of the space but allow more users, or more projects. 
 
Thanks.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 11:59 AM by Natan Vivo


It is not about being cheapest - it's about being flexible to suit user's needs.  
 
Its not question of price, really - in current price model one part of users (those with lotsa small private projects used as personal portfolio or alike) will be paying for others (with big commercial intensively active projects), its just unflexible and... uhm, unfair. 
 
Assuming all spaces are equal and should be payed as such is not looks quite right for me... Paying on per-space basis doesn't reflect actual activity (and costs to maintain) in any way.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 12:15 PM by Dmitri


Moreover, those who's willing to pay for open projects (like me) has no motivation to do so.  
 
Privacy costs the money, of course, but binds the whole pricing model to privacy so tightly is kinda.. not flexible, imho.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 12:19 PM by Dmitri


No doubt your pricing is very generous. But atm its more generous to bigger companies/projects than to the 'small people'. I'd like to see exactly the opposite position, especially these 2.0 days... =).  
 
P.S. Sorry for mistakes - english is not my native language, as my name points out ,)

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 12:24 PM by Dmitri


@Dmitri, 12:15 PM:  
That pretty much sums it up. It's small subsidizing big instead of the other way around.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 12:27 PM by Jan


Andy, @12:41 - everything of that is very true. 
 
Still, people are concerned about small subsidizing big. There's no such concerns in case of 37signals/unfuddle/S3/etc, because people has the feeling they're paying for themselves, not for the other guy. Everyone's got the same amount of service for the same money. 
 
Assuming current assembla price model, small projects are more expensive than big ones. It is not a question of money, its purely psychological: on one hand I have a feeling that someone is paying for me, when I have big active but open project. I'm willing to pay but have no stimuli to.  
 
On the other hand, I have a feeling that I'm paying for someone else, if I have a lot of small private portfolio projects. Ok - personally, I can balance it out, but its still very uncomfortable model for the customers.  
 
Price and 'fairness' aren't the same thing.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 12:55 PM by Dmitri


Andy,  
 
I would prefer 10 times paying $20 for 800 Mb and have as many spaces/users I can, than paying for space/user. You can say the plan you're currently offering it's cheap, but I think it's very unfair to small but VERY organized companies - like Webfuel. We have one space for each library/archived project and we are 6 developers + freelancers. What about offering two different plans, one that gives a full service for a fixed amount/space, and another one of $2/user/space?  
You can expect that offering two solutions will result on less money - since users will just buy the cheapest one for their case - but remember that this way you'll be attracting more clients, than scaring them off to competition. 
 
I can always install Trac+SVN on our VPS, but I would prefer to pay for having someone to take care of that service. I could go to Unfuddle - which would cost me $24 for 2Gb/10+10 projects and 20 users - but I would prefer keeping my current service at Assembla, where I feel happy. I just don't feel that the plan you're offering is fair, at least for companies in our situation.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 1:20 PM by João Saleiro


Just one thing. Correct me if I'm wrong: 
 
Assembla: $2/space/user/month + $5/Gb 
Unfuddle: fixed price of $24/m for 10+10 projects/20 users/2 Gb. 
 
So the equivalent price in Assembla would be: ((10+10)*20*$2)+(2*$5)=$810. Or for 10 projects (since 10 of the projects on unfuddle are "archived")=$410 . 
 
Have you done something wrong or you're comparing $410/month to $24/month and saying that your service is cheaper?  
 
Also, we are a small company! One day we'll get bigger and survive with one or two SaaS solutions, but right now we live with several small projects. Which is DAMN expensive at Assembla!  
 
By the way: you could feel that the people posting here are "bashing" you or being unfair. But remember that if I took the time and effort to post here instead of going directly to Unfuddle is because I respect you and I want to stay on Assembla. I am just trying to find a solution that is fair for both sides.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 1:28 PM by João Saleiro


I don't understand why you say that small projects are more expensive.  
 
Because there's very little difference in price for small library with size under 5mb, and serious project with size nearly 100mb. There's no difference between inactive project and very active project.  
 
We have reduced the minimum charge to $2.30. If a venture capitalist was lurking here, seeing me argue over $2.30, he would laugh. It's silly. Enterprise buyers are paying us 2000 times more.  
 
Well, your pricing IS EXTREMELY cheap. But small projects are just MORE expensive THAN big ones. It has nothing to do with absolute numbers. It's like taxing small business and extremely cut taxes on big corporations. 
 
Our metered billing is almost exactly the same as S3. You pay for what you use at the end of each month. S3 has a minimum sized slice with a minimum cost of $70 per month.  
 
No, it is not almost exactly the same. S3 is taking money for a space and traffic, i.e for real activity. Imagine them taking money for the file count, and you'll get S3 version of Assembla pricing model. 
 
What is your specific suggestion? 
 
My personal suggestion - activity based, like S3. Traffic usage (including svn) will take care of users doing nothing only handling tickets and inactive projects, and space usage will take care of small projects. Maybe it makes sense to giveaway a limited number of free projects per paying user.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 1:37 PM by Dmitri


Problem with Unfuddle is that they're trying to mimic 37signals pricing model 'for dummies'. Maybe Basecamp is for dummies (casual managers), but services like Unfuddle / Assembla are not.  
 
Unlike 37signals pricing model, one of S3 is much more attractive for a regular developer - he's not buying that 'get our unique offer just for $24.99' crap, he want to see every Mb counted and to pay no cent more. Especially he doesn't want to pay for other guy from competing company.  
 
Of course S3 is not the cheapest storage around, and I'm using a couple of others, but enjoying to pay (and doing so) only to S3. Others services are used on free accounts and I have no plans to upgrade them. I don't want Assembla to became one of those. 
 
BTW, with S3-based pricing model it will be much easier to you to balance and estimate income and your expenses.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 1:56 PM by Dmitri


Andy, that's a move in the right direction. 
 
What still bothers me:  
You talk about VC, investors, salesforce and stuff. That's your situation, so it's completely understandable. And there < $5 a month are laughable. But some of your users are, for example, just code monkeys at some business doing their small projects in the evening. For fun, for learning, for their girlfriend - or for later rollout as a startup. But at the moment the only thing they need is a decent version control and perhaps a bug tracker, and so that they can access it from everywhere they chose Assembla. They also have no big VPS or something, but 500MB of webspace somewhere where they deploy their stuff, so selfhosted is no option for them. These are the people where $2/user/space would really hurt.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 3:18 PM by Jan


While I certainly understand your fiduciary responsibility and running a cash flow positive business, I am surprised by two things: 
1) The lack of notice given. I run a bootstrapped startup. We make plans based on costs. And using Assembla was one of those plans. Considering we're going live in several weeks - we have very little choice here. I am not happy with this decision - any costs are too much for us at our stage. 
2) No option to grandather users in or to give us ample time to switch providers. We certainly could have used an alternate free service - but we chose Assembla because it was the best of those free options.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 3:39 PM by Marc


@ "I am not sure how it would be different if we told people before we released.
 
1. You: 
Hey, we have a new version and will have to change the subscription model to ... because of ... What do you thing? 
 
2. Us: 
[All what was discussed and stated above and even more] 
 
3. You: 
Well, this and that and because of and so we will do this. Better? 
 
Us: 
[Goto 2, repeat] 
 
You: 
Voila, then it is xyz. Action will be taken on 99/99/9999. Mailing with notification will go out now and 2 weeks before that date. 
 
Us: 
Wohooo! You rock! 
 
Or something like that ;)

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 4:23 PM by Jan


The fact that you do not recognize you made a mistake (in multiple situations I've read your comments) makes me the most worried about the future of Assembla. 
 
It's one thing to accidentally handle your customers improperly, and it's an entirely different thing not to recognize your mistake when they're crying at you. 
 
As I've mentioned, your features rock. Your service rocks. But you've got to improve in managing expectations with customers. I think you're misunderstanding how important Assembla is to some of us. It's our entire project life managed by you. 
 
Step outside of what you see day to day-- you have to do that as a business owner. 
 
Imagine you are putting all of your software eggs into a single basket. Imagine how comfortable you feel when everything is done with plenty of advance notice, no surprises at all. 
 
Now imagine what happens if you're being surprised in strange ways, and the bedrock of your entire company/project is shifting under your feet. To top it all off, the management isn't understanding or apologetic-- they even go so far as mention about their VCs laughing at the plights of their customers. 
 
Again, I love your features. I've even paid a year in advance already because they're simply too important to me right now and the price isn't bad. 
 
But you must resolve the communication issues because right now I can't recommend this company to any other colleagues. This is based solely on your company's behavior and decisions and not your software. Last week, I was recommending you again and again to my friends. Now I'll get to look bad to them if they took me up on that. 
 
People are betting their livelihood on you. Respect that and put into place practices that keep us all happily unsurprised. Your VCs aren't going to be laughing when your customers have lost faith in you. Don't let that happen!

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 4:28 PM by Matthew


Ok, I fully support your decision to drop free plan, but I hate the way you did it. 
I have a lot of small closed projects, which don't really generate much traffic/server load. In fact, they are very lightweight. And it's not projects that bug your tech support, it's people. So I don't really understand why should I pay $2 for each space! If I have 100 different spaces I'm still one person and generate as much traffic as one person does! 
It would make much more sense to charge monthly fee per-user (I'd say $5, but it's up to you) and monthly fee for disk space usage per project (and bill per 10MB or so - I think you already do so). 
It's really disappointing for me. I have quite a few small projects and they aren't very active, but I'd have to pay a lot to keep them on your servers. Pointless! 
 
So please consider a per-account fee. I'd be more than happy to support you this way, as I really like your service. Otherwise I'm gonna have to move to some place else, maybe not as functional and usable, but just enough to host a few small projects.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 6:46 PM by Robert Nasiadek


Oh MY GOD Let it GO!!! 
 
The guy is asking for $ 2 BUCKS!! 
 
You better be thankful that you got an Incredible service, for FREE for Years. 
 
I live in Latinamerica, for me USD 2 are about 6 bucks in local money. Still, I think its a fair price. The services are awesome, and never passed more than a month without noticing improvements. 
 
... 
 
@Andy, thanks for all the time we got the service for free. I felt rather bad about this announcement, but after reading you here, I changed my mind inmediately. 
 
Thanks also for that, beeing here, talking with us- thats also priceless. 
 
Oh, one more thing: I dont believe in such thing as "human nature", rather I think it always is "human choice". But in this case, I think it was neither one. 
 
The problem was about common sense: you didnt put any limitations to the free service, and neither stated some clear message about supporting Assembla. Till now, I though it was owned by a big corp! Given that, I cant imagine what motivations anyone could have to pay for a service you were giving for free. 
 
As much as I can think thats your strategic error, its nothing about the mythological "human nature". However, this is only about a philosophycal perspective, on the matter itself, I'll support your decision. 
 
Cheers! 

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 6:51 PM by Novack


I have two Assembla spaces. One of them is public and free. Other is closed and was a commercial project once. (I've started to use Assembla as personal portfolio/archive space). I'm not about to upgrade private space, because it won't be active in any foreseen future, and switching it to "read-only" suits fine for me. 
 
But I'm willing to pay / support Assembla and only way to do so atm is upgrade my public space, although I don't need it. 
 
I've just upgraded it to support Andy and to show my gratitude.  
 
So we want to pay, but, Andy, pls tweak your pricing plan a bit =)

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 7:50 PM by Dmitri


Er, is there an option to stop paying for a space?

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 8:02 PM by Dmitri


Nevermind, already found it. 
 
Can we have an option to set ex-payed space to archived / read-only state? I'd even payed for maintaining those.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 8:08 PM by Dmitri


Wooohooo!! Thanks, Andy, $8 is just great, no problems with that.  
 
But what if I'm using Assembla as portfolio and inviting someone to take a look at my private space? And, like stated before, it would be hard to convince someone to pay for visiting dev page if he's already paying me for doing job... Is there any way to move those payments on project owner? Many people using Assembla not only for dev2dev but also dev2client communication...

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 8:29 PM by Dmitri


I've been using Assembla for over a year ! you have excellent support and availability.  
 
I always wondered ! HOW COULD YOU GIVE SUCH PLAN FOR FREE, WHERE PAID HOSTING DOES NOT HAVE THIS PLAN FOR THEIR PRO LEVEL PACKAGE. 
 
It was a great experience with Assembla. I hope it will continue to serve as pioneer version control hosting. 
 
GOOD LUCK

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 8:48 PM by Hossain


Great job guys on the upgrade and website. Assembla was too good to be true, now it is just a website that hosts great services. 
 
The prices are too great for students who are paying all their extra cash on living expenses and tuition. 
 
I would take the advice of 2$ per user. The user is able to join infinite amount of projects. Otherwise the price is outrageously high IMO. Especially hosting an environment for people who are TECH SAVI (Usually) They can host their own open source project management solutions /w SVN on a cheap 4-5$ a month VPS. 
 
I respect your decision, but my teams are off to VPS land.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 10:56 PM by Joseph Cooper


I've got to say, the one thing that worried me was that per space thing. I was just about to create a bunch of tiny one time use spaces for more atomic rights management on new users. I really like the solution. May I suggest updating the original article to give this a really positive spin? Hopefully that will prevent anyone else from having the heart attack moment the rest of us did. I notice people are still asking about the pricing structure, which means they aren't reading all the comments. 
 
$2-$8 for a single user blows the competition out of the water. The space charges are also outrageously low, anyone taken a look at what salesforce.com charges for extra space? You don't want to know. The rates here are more than reasonable now that the per space thing is capped. You should take advantage of your generous rates in the way you market this service. 
 
Now, I want to see Assembla maintain that 8x annual growth. That is a truely fantastic growth rate. I also want to see you get your money out of it. Your growth was based on offering free private spaces. Most of your competition offers some level of free, so if you kill it altogether, you will be at a disadvantage. Your competition however generally places the free cap at 20 MB, which is useless, even for a small, short term, personal project. The disadvantage of your competition's space cap is that we aren't stupid. People know they are getting on a treadmill, where they will eventually end up paying that $93.26 that they see on the comparison chart. This isn't comforting. You also have to pick something for the free end that is small enough that using it for anything serious is prohibitive, which prevents it from being a useful tool to attract serious users...your bread and butter. What if you continue with the generous free hosting, but limit it by TIME, rather than by space? Spaces for new users are free for, say, 6 months, at which point you pay. I'm going to get some retaliation for saying this, but I think that should NOT apply to your legacy users. We already got our free ride. 
 
One thing you buy with something like 6 months free is the ability to continue to snag many of your standard user base. (For example: 6 months is long enough to get them through a full semester (almost 2) so the professors can continue to advocate your service. You might even be able to avoid the headache of academic pricing.) At the same time, there is an absolute moment of truth, where a person must decide to either pay the measly $2.30, abandon the project, open their source (which brings you traffic and can be monetized), or attempt to cheat the system. They won't leave, since that is painful, they owe you one, the product is awesome, and you are the cheapest option. Your current model isn't bad at all; you have 800% annual growth! You just need a model to ensure that people can't ride forever. Again, this argument isn't for me, start charging your current users right away, [braces for the inevitable backlash] but don't throw the baby out with the bath water. You want to keep that awesome growth.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2008 11:04 PM by John


Thanks Andy for the new pricing model for 'serious' users with the cap, now just for me to go about splitting up all of the projects I had crammed into one too hastily! 
 
Disk Usage is something I'm completely fine with, and with the new cap on the user/spaces I don't need to worry about 'minor' hobby projects adding up and starting to take a big chunk out. 
 
While this is my first time using an SVN service, the amount of communication you have with the customers is amazing, and I can't foresee myself leaving the service in the coming years :)

posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2008 4:17 AM by Aaryn B


Andy, thank you very much for introducing the upper limit for the per-user fee. Now it really makes a lot of sense and will let me (with my private projects) and my company (with commercial projects) stay and promote Assembla among friends/clients :-) 
There's still one issue mentioned that would be nice to solve (maybe it already is?). I want to give access to my space to my client and I want to pay for his account, so that it's seemless and as easy as possible for him. So basically I'd really appreciate a feature that lets me use my credit to pay for other account. Other than that I'm totally satisfied. Thanks again! 

posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2008 5:37 AM by Robert Nasiadek


I want to be able to pay for my co-workers. It doesn't make sense that they pay their accounts, since this expenses must be covered by our company and not by themselves.

posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2008 5:41 AM by João Saleiro


thinking it over and over again - I looked at my assembla spaces and half of the people are rather inactive, I just added them for monitoring, testing, knowing. 
 
so what will soon happend - people will start creating shared email accounts and accessing the spaces through them. 
 
assembla will not get money and working will become harder and more obtrusive.

posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2008 7:19 AM by Adam K


Hi, I am a faculty member at a university who teaches Game Development. I started using Assembla for my student projects this year as it provided us with excellent capabilities to manage projects, perform version control, and allow the instructors to help the students more easily. 
 
I'm sure we would be able to find money in our budget for a University plan that would allow access to the service.  
 
I would be more than willing to get this going as soon as possible. I have a large student project beginning in a couple weeks that I  
would like to use Assembla for. 
 
I could see a few options for payment: 
(a) University wide annual plan - unlimited numbers of members but restricted to students 
(b) Course-wide annual plan - enables the instructor to create the spaces and assign 4-5 members per space. 
(c) student semester plan - enable the creation of 3-5 spaces per semester and can allow up to 5 members from the registered university to the space. 
 
If you would like to work with us to make this happen, please contact me through email. 
 
Thanks,

posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2008 10:04 AM by Andrew Hogue


Andy, 
Just to put in my two cents. I also have absolutely no problem paying; however, like others I have worries about charging "per user" 
 
1) As a project manager, like others, I often invite people to the workspace sometimes just to take a look at the code or wiki pages. If they are inactive I usually remove them. 
2) I think managers will eventually just create one account and just email people the username and password to get around paying for multiple users.  
 
If there is a weakness in a system, it will be found and exploited (as you said, human nature). 
 
You also mentioned that you think that charging per space would be too much for users. I respectfully disagree.  
 
I would not mind at all paying $3 dollar per month per 100 MB. I think that could be a fair system. After all, the more space someone uses the greater cost to your company. 
 
You said 45,000/50,000 projects are free accounts. I know this may not be possible due to competitive privacy, but can you give us (or even publish somewhere... which could in itself be a cool little stat feature on assembla): 
 
* Average number of users per project 
* Mean, medium, and mode space used per project. Or if possible, a graph or table showing in groups of 50 MB the number of projects using that amount of space. For example, 0-50MB: 15000 projects; 50-100MB: 12,000 projects; etc... 
* Active user percentage (number of users who have logged in the past 2 weeks divided by the total number of users) 
* Total page views per project 
 
Having all this information, I'm sure the community and your company can think of a good solution. 
 
However, as I mentioned before, I don't think charging per space instead of per user would distract users. 
 
Also, if you consider advertisements... While many people may not use the web client, a LOT do. As Assembla grows so will this revenue stream. 
 
Lastly Andy, I don't think you should consider a single dimension of revenue collection. Offer multiple plans (plans per space, plans per user) as well as showing text ads/adsense ads on open source/public spaces. You'll eventually find that one of those methods is more effective than the others and can shift your business strategy towards that; a form of business-oriented-ant-colony optimization on a P=NP problem =).

posted @ Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:31 AM by Danny Miller


Well it was too good to last. The thing is that bandwidth is getting so cheap, and with dyndns ect.. it really isn't difficult to set up your own svn server w/ mantis and other tools. I guess I'll miss having the professional feel of Assembla, but we can't expect people to give us free stuff forever :) Thanks for the last yaer of free hosting assembla, and please do consider making a way for us to export all of our assembla stastics, logs, ect.. 
 
 
 
When I need features that I can't host on my own, I'll come back to here to buy my hosting.

posted @ Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:59 AM by Jonathan


Andy, 
First, know that we have been admirers of Assembla and it has become the focus of our development activities for our research project. Also, know that we plan to make our efforts open source in a few months. But until that happens we want to keep our code under wraps. 
 
I absolutely understand the need for you to sustain Assembla's progress by charging for some functionality and services. Since we love Assembla we will have no problems in making the small payments that you are placing on the services. 
 
However, the way you are going about it seems a bit unfair to me. All those who signed up for the free service did so with the assumption that the same terms and conditions would apply as long as they met the conditions for such services. Changing the service conditions midway will cause problems for many underfunded/non-funded projects. 
 
I suggest that you keep the same terms and conditions for those who have already signed for the free service. 
 
As a way to increase your revenue, you can also market "buy one get one free" offer. This way the free project developers will help get some clients for you - hopefully fat ones. 
Just my two cents! Keep up the good work.  
 
Thanks, 
 
Hemant 

posted @ Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:23 PM by Hemant Shah


For whats its worth... 
 
I have been a free assembla user for a few months and I fully support your decision to make it a fee-paying service. 
 
At the end of the day, you have (HAVE!) to make this a sustainable business, and if that means charging a fee, then thats what you have to do. 
 
I will support you with a commercial subscription. 
 
Oh, and dont worry too much about the people that whine about wanting a free service...they are not the ones paying your bills at the end of each month.

posted @ Friday, October 24, 2008 8:01 AM by Jon


For whats its worth... 
 
I have been a free assembla user for a few months and I fully support your decision to make it a fee-paying service. 
 
At the end of the day, you have (HAVE!) to make this a sustainable business, and if that means charging a fee, then thats what you have to do. 
 
I will support you with a commercial subscription. 
 
Oh, and dont worry too much about the people that whine about wanting a free service...they are not the ones paying your bills at the end of each month.

posted @ Friday, October 24, 2008 8:01 AM by Jon


I have just started to do research on switching SVN hosting companies. See my blog post with reviews and research I've done on Assembla SVN hosting alternatives 
Assembla, thanks for being free while it lasted, just wished I would have known you were planning on going paid when I signed up. 
Jeremy Zerr

posted @ Friday, October 24, 2008 6:05 PM by Jeremy Zerr


Hey, 
 
First, I wanted to thank you...I just signed up about a month ago because I was incredibly impressed with your service.  
 
I know this would be hard to regulate, but several software companies offer a certain license for "educational", "research", and "commercial", etc. Would a similar pricing system be a possibility here?  
 
Basically, if you are going to make a profit off what is done using the system, you should have to pay a good deal of money (a commercial license). $X/company +$X/space, where X is a relatively large number. Of course, small companies won't be happy with this, but frankly, you are offering an awesome service that helps that small company out quite a bit. Yeah, they are cash strapped, but, so are you! 
 
Also, if you a providing a service to a university, they should have to pay as well. It seems to me there are two cases: they use it for research, and they use it for classwork. For research, they should have to pay...that is what grants are for! For classes, it is a service they should provide the students, thus you are saving them time and money...colleges should have to pay for your service! Here, maybe $x/university+$x/space could work.  
Maybe this could be based on expected use, perhaps restrict the total number of users, or maybe restricting total number of projects...whatever would work out best for you. But hearing college profs suggest that their students use assembla for free seems a little wrong. 
 
Then, there are the nonprofits, tinkerers, hobbyists, etc. These would be the people who just want to use the features of the service, but don't really have the money to pay much (but I can imagine they would still be able to pay something). Maybe you could make the pricing for this category based on $x/administrator +$x/space (but allow unlimited projects within that space).  
 
Naturally, this would be difficult to regulate, but any serious company or university would pay money rather than risk legal trouble.  
 
Just a disclaimer: I am a MIT student, and I plan to use Assembla for the Battlecode 2009 competition, for 1 month in January. Naturally, I would love to just get one month of private free service, but I am perfectly willing to pay a reasonable price for one month, since this is such an awesome site.

posted @ Sunday, October 26, 2008 12:42 AM by Jerry Richard


Forgive me, my last post was unclear...$x/disk space, unlimited "spaces=projects" within that disk space.

posted @ Sunday, October 26, 2008 12:47 AM by Jerry Richard


Hey! $5 per month is not a lot of money, How much do you spend in beer? I like assembla and if i have to pay i will. 
 
thanks to all

posted @ Tuesday, October 28, 2008 8:35 AM by ichramm


I did not get any message about converting my private space to public (from Assembla). You just did it. And it very suck. I realized it accidentally. Not happy with you :(

posted @ Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:19 AM by Kirill


Kirill, 
 
they didn't email me neither, i realized like you, accidentaly. They will do send the email someday, that is what this post says. 
I suppose that they will give as a few weeks after that. 
By the way, my friends and me were thinking to create our own svn server for personal use hehe :)

posted @ Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:46 AM by ichramm


Problem really existed.  
How it was: 
I found that wrongly commit confidential information in to snv. Then I tried to access it via web(different browser, never logged in to assembla with that, no cookies...etc..), as result I was able to open that file. Check also on another computer, same resut. I was sure that space was private, but I went to admin page to check for: what it had in "non-members access" and it was something like "read-only(view?)", then tried to switch to "none", but system did not allow( message was like: only paid service allows it, bla bla). Then I just downloaded my files and removed the space :).

posted @ Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:19 PM by Kirill


@Andy, I understand why you guys are doing this, and I support it. I enjoyed the free spaces while they lasted, but I like Assembla and I am not going to dump a great service just to save a pittance.  
 
I will gladly pay the reasonable rates.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 11:25 AM by Jason Dean


Guess it's time to move over to google code. Very, very disappointed.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 11:31 AM by Dave Hauenstein


Andy, 
 
I see why you've gone down this route as it's profit that drives your business. However, for new user's signing up, they will at least have the option to make the decision of whether they would like to choose your company for the fees quoted. For us existing users, we didn't get that choice. Your existing user base, the ones who recommended you to others (and no doubt indirectly got other customers to sign up with you), are the only ones who have been punished by this strategy. 
 
By going down this route, I feel you have probably alienated your existing customer base (or at least a fairly high percentage of it) and I expect there will no doubt be some bad publicity because of it. I'd urge you to rethink, or at least take into consideration, some of the comments here (such as the one at "Saturday, October 18, 2008 5:58 AM by Jan" that suggested keeping your existing customers happy, and letting new users make their own minds up on what to do). 
 
Thanks, 
Mark

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 11:34 AM by Mark Smith


Thanks for keeping the open projects free, and I guess we can always self host of required. 
 
I also look forward to the new web browsing svn client. 
 
Anyway I spotted you said that svn comments are parsed for Tickets and I was recently surprised by the fact that the status of one of my tickets changed when i used a comment like 'fixed #22'. The problem was it should not have changed to status fixed but rather testing in my flow. 
 
Anyway can you point me at the docs of what you parse as I can't find any.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 11:37 AM by Steve Lee


@Mark Smith 
 
I can't agree with you more. Yes, the service is great. Yes, it may be worth a fee. But no, we were not given a choice. And that's the major issue here.  
 
We are nearing launch and moving systems is just not an option - for now. So we're forced to pay for a service we assumed was free when we signed up. Having a way to "grandfather" in existing users would have been a wise and conciliatory stance that would have saved some goodwill. A bad experience what resonates with me now when I discuss Assembla. 
 
While users express surprise that people are upset about the charges, that they say are a mere "pittance", are sadly uninformed. In fact, Andy even wrote back to my last comment telling me to forgo an extra pizza for my team to pay for the monthly fees. What all of you fail to realize is that however small the fees, this puts us in an economically disadvantageous position to the one we were in yesterday. The costs of all of these "trivial" expenses add up. We aren't bootstrapping because we want to. We'd love to have funding. But it's just not possible. I'm working on this full time. I don't have an income. I'm sleeping on my friends couch - and have been for the last year. And you all want to tell me that these costs are trivial? Sure, they are to some of you... but not to all of us.  

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 11:50 AM by Marc


Stab in the back, now that we moved almost all of our projects to assembla. It is pretty good but definitely not worth the money.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 12:04 PM by Jebac


@Vitalie Lazu, since you're giving up a pack of cigs and/or a beer, could you do the same for me? I live on a disability check that just barely covers my rent and meds. May I ask how I'm supposed to pay for this when I can't even afford food for myself? I spend most of my time volunteering for a number of churches and organizations around Charlotte. I also do coding projects for tips trying to make some money during the month. That five bucks you're looking at is 2-3 days worth of food for me. Am I supposed to give up meals for that time period? Sure you can live without your smokes. I'd rather not have to give up eating. 
 
Thanks Assembla. I had been looking for another resource due to previous poor customer service from your company and not getting emails returned about the problem. Guess this was just the final straw for me.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 12:29 PM by Dr. Mike Wendell


@Andy, thanks I just spotted them ;-) 
 
Eh-hmm I think I've just blown away my SVN repository for DKey and would appreciate a quick response on the forum.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 12:33 PM by Steve Lee


There must be a ton of people bailing as I can't even run an export right now. It ust times out.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 12:37 PM by Dr. Mike Wendell


Andy: 
 
Thank you for keeping your fees reasonable. In reading some of the comments above it's amazing what people expect for FREE in our Web 2.0 world. I'd much rather pay the price of a few StarBucks mocha's a month than have to deal with a screenful of ads or have to admin our own svn setup AND know that some fellow developers are making a decent living Best of luck.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 2:11 PM by Terry Schussler


Andy: 
 
 
 
First, thanks for the good service. Assembla made it possible for us to really get our project off the ground, and the trac system increased team communication and idea exchange by 3000 percent. 
 
 
 
What exactly does "public" mean? Does it mean public SVN access? Can they see our trac? 
 
 
 
I have no problem with people seeing our code, but downloading a half-finished product is not so good... even if we do intend to open our code upon release.

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 5:06 PM by gb_remake


Andy, do whatever you think is good for your business. You're not running charity. There's always leechers who want everything as free. And the most amusing thing is, they don't care at all about you. See their comment, it is about them and not about how they can help you to get the service running. Go man, just ignore them, at the end of the day, you need to put food on your table. 

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2008 8:48 PM by deman


It would be only fair that the new policy is applied to new projects. I really don;t know what to do now. Seems like a BIG SCAM. Promising something for free and then once people get hooked you ask for money.

posted @ Tuesday, November 04, 2008 1:31 AM by Jebac


Andy: 
 
When I thought the new pricing model was just a per-user subscription fee and paying for the disk space used I was completely fine with it - but having to pay for each user per space (granted, its capped) ruins the cost/benefit for small projects. 
 
Why not extend your plans to 3 pricing models: 
 
 
Public (free) 
Private (pay for diskspace) 
Private with Support (pay for diskspace and users) 
 
Then you can also support those like myself (and a majority of the people commenting above) who like the outsourced trac/svn hosting but are now being scared off by the silly per-space pricing model. If support costs are such a big chunk of your costs then bill them as such - you have customers that will pay for the product, but that fee needs to fit with their usage - as you can see from these comments, there are a great deal of people that think its ridiculous.

posted @ Tuesday, November 04, 2008 7:03 AM by Chris


Andy, could you explain what exactly "public" means?

posted @ Tuesday, November 04, 2008 11:15 AM by gb


OK, I see. Thanks. Last question: Does this affect the visibility of the Trac tickets, i.e. will others be able to read them? I guess not?

posted @ Tuesday, November 04, 2008 11:49 AM by gb


Most of my projects here are for the benefit of small non profit orgs, and are not open source (although some may be at some point). There is no budget for this I can promise. I'll have to look for something else...

posted @ Tuesday, November 04, 2008 2:31 PM by Rob


Visibility controls affects all the tools of your space, including Trac.

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 6:04 AM by Sergio Romano


Thanks Sergio.

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 10:15 AM by gb


Very disappointing, sad to see a great service consumed by money hungry hogs. Keep up the good work pickin' on the little guy. Time to move everything to my own server.

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 2:15 PM by Mike


I don't get it. This was a great service and I brought several projects and colleagues here. There are loads of other free wiki/lighthouse/git services out there, so there's no incentive for us to stay. Assembla is a fantastic site, but my projects aren't private, so we're out of here.

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 3:54 PM by Peter MacRobert


There they go, the users you never wanted anyway ;)

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 5:00 PM by Jan


Andy, 
The only problem is the feeling of bait-and-switch which we get by this move, which another commenter has also referred to.  
 
We had this idea that all those who stayed within the 200 MB space would always get free service and Assembla would get its revenue from bigger projects. 
 
Now, it seems midway you changed the rules.  
 
As I have said before, I do agree that the charges you have proposed are reasonable and fortunately we are in a position to pay for the services. We are also quite happy with the service which makes it easy for us to shell out the money. 

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 6:14 PM by Hemant Shah


Sorry, my mistake, my projects _are_ private.  
 
I repeat, Assembla is a great service, and I'm sure you have a lot of satisfied users. But I think the pricing model is incorrect. There are lots of free services out there, and the paid-for services have more bang for buck. 
 
Basic, private hosting should be free, up to certain bandwidth and space limitations. Otherwise, your users may as well get a slicehost account and set up git, trac and dokuwiki themselves for $20 a month, with tons of bandwidth, virtually unlimited users and lots of storage thrown in. 

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 6:19 PM by Peter MacRobert


Another one bites the dust. 
 
So long Assembla, you -were- a great service now I'm moving everything outta here and not looking back. 
 

posted @ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 7:22 PM by Mitch


Peter, now go and do the math: Choosing a hosting provider, installing and modifying all the tools you need, updating them every time a patch becomes available, developing your own version of a svn browser, unified account login system - this will cost you a lot more (in money and time - and time is money). 
 
With Assembla you pay a little more than for your slice (or perhaps less if it's only you), but you get everything else for free. Not a that bad deal, isn't it?

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 3:20 AM by Jan


What Andy and crew should have done is gone after those using the service so that users making a profit would have been the ones who had to pay. Andy mentions that up there himself. Instead he's gone after everybody. 
 
I noticed that GMail was marking the sites email as spam as well. I didn't correct it. 
 
Jan, I ask again. How am I supposed to pay for this? I get my webhosting for free as a trade off for services provided. I help the guys clients and he in turn helps me out. 
 
The reduced features for private for free would have been a better route. I was never going to use 500 megs anyway. 
 
And please stop going on about your "great" customer service. I found it rather lacking. I had issues that were never responded to. 
 
And I never did get my backups. I finally gave up and deleted them.

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 8:58 AM by Dr. Mike Wendell


Having our trac public is the killer argument against a public space. Our entire internal communication is in there. It's "open source", not "open developer".

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 9:03 AM by gb


@gb, hmm now that is interesting as IMHO there is much more to open source than just making the code available on a OSC approved licence. It's all about active community working on the code and that is largely the discussion on bugs. Otherwise it's just dead code and not an active open source project. My 2cs

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 9:43 AM by SteveLee


There is much more than bugs in the trac. Also, we haven't released yet, we're an embryo if you will. And we have 4 team members who are actively working on the project, and anyone is invited to join. It's a game project, which involves much more than talking about bugs, as you can imagine. The majority of it is actually artwork and level design, not code. Artistic vision enters the picture (which is the most discussed topic in the trac, which we have found to be the perfect place for that). Bottom line, we're not in a released-and-bug-hunting-phase yet. If we were, I'd agree. Not all open source projects are equal. We're prepared to pay btw, that's not the issue. Maybe here, maybe elsewhere.

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 10:55 AM by gb


dead code 
 
 
 
No. An SVN repo isn't dead code. I'm only talking about trac here. It's our good right to keep our decision making process out of the public, and invite only the people who are interested or whom we are interested in. I thought that was common practice. Depends on how you use your trac I guess. Philosophical question.

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 11:04 AM by gb


Thanks Andy. Thanks for proving you and your company lacks customer service. If you had asked, I would have been happy to point you to where my concerns had gone unanswered. I also point out that you asked to not be called an 'asshole.' I'm so glad you feel no restraint on name calling towards others. If you're not providing support, why have the support forums then? 
 
I never said that Assembla was spam. Please reread how I and another poster stated that GMail was calling you a spammer.  
 
Considering that I spend most of my day online making positive contributions to many open source projects, all you had to do was ask for assistance from me if you needed. I would have gladly found the time to do so. 
 
All you've proven is you and your company's lack of customer service. I've been polite. Why can't you be, Andy? 
 
Thanks for your rudeness. Thanks for proving that moving elsewhere is a good thing. 
 
What's really sad is that six people emailed me to offer to pay for my account here. I'll pass on that.

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 3:29 PM by Dr. Mike Wendell


Suggestion: Please make this reply box bigger. It's a pain typing in such a small area. I'm actually having to write this in Wordpad and then copy and paste. 
 
Andy, please get your stories straight. At no time did I tell you that I was not willing to discuss the issues I had raised previously. It appears you have a problem reading what folks are telling you.  
 
For reference, here's what I wrote you in my last email: 
 
"Andy, I'm not interested in dealing with you or your company anymore. I'm going to leave it at that." 
 
I stated that I was no longer willing to deal with you and your company after you called me a jerk and sent me a highly insulting, nasty, and rude email. I will no longer deal with you as a client and I will encourage others not to do so either. As I noted previously, I would have been happy to bring those issues that got missed to your attention if you had asked. You chose instead of asking to throw insults at me. That request should have been in your first email. If customer support is so important to you, why wasn't the request in there? 
 
As to the contact page, I've stated up above that I help with many Open Source projects. Wordpress, one that I used to assist with, is one that I no longer do so for personal reasons. Folks have continued to email me about it even though I've asked them not to. The fee, which I have never charged anyone for, is an attempt to get folks to go to the correct place for support. My blog isn't one of them. At last count, I still help over 2 dozen platforms. In fact, I still help folks for email me for WordPress support. I just ask them not to do so again.

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2008 7:11 PM by Dr. Mike Wendell


Be calm man. Andy has his own reasons. Although some of us don't agree with him, we at least should support him. 
 
Anyway, it's a bad new.

posted @ Friday, November 07, 2008 5:02 AM by Lan Tra


@db, we're going a bit off topic here but I guess I did not chose my words carefully enough. I believe you get the best from an open source development when a project is as open as it can be from as early a time in it's life cycle as possible. The more brains working on a project the better, and who knows who may drop by wit ha great insight or comment. I understand you may need to restrict access if you feel you need to keep market advantage. 
 
I was using 'bug' in a generic way, for ticket and sort of assumed it covers any issue like feature request, docs, design discussions, and definitely not just code ... I know some projects don't like to track discussions on the tickets but I think it keeps everything in one place an in the open. as you say mostly a Philosophical question. 
 
Out of interest when you say discuss on trac, do you use the wiki, the tickets or both for active discussion. I've done both before.

posted @ Friday, November 07, 2008 5:22 AM by SteveLee


Well, it's been a nice ride. Thank you for free Assembla.  
 
My real reason for writing this comment though is some advice for Andy. Don't ever ever ever engage in the sort of argumentative, irresponsible behavior you exhibited towards Dr. Mike in the previous few posts. It's not important whether he is right or wrong. What's important is how you run your company. And how people view the CEO and your company policies. 
 
Posting personal comments about his activity off Assembla? Engaging in a tit for tat fight, in front of your community! I found that absolutely unacceptable, regardless of whose side I was taking. 
 
If you want to run a successful company, you should learn to act the role of CEO. Hopefully this was a learning experience for you. Unfortunately - this was enough for me, and I'm sure others, to pack up shop. Best of luck.

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2008 8:23 PM by Marc


Thanks for the update about the dissing of your customers. 
It would have been nice if you gave us a link to backup our files in our accounts. 
By the way, perhaps it would have been a good idea for you to start a conversation with your clients about this billing BEFORE the decision rather than just sending them an email telling them to move to unfuddle. 
Like Marc, I hope this has been a learning experience for you.

posted @ Monday, November 24, 2008 10:00 AM by William


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