I've seen on home page that normal users no more can start one group for free. Why that decision?
Hi @marcogiustini - It's now free to try Loomio with all the features, then after a time or number of members or threads, we ask you to pay - then if you do not have any funding, we'll give it to you for free.
We made this decision because we're still trying to find the right business model.
Hopefully it is clear that we still provide Loomio for free if you are unable to pay - but now you just have to ask if you grow out of your trial.
And of course, Loomio is open source, so you can always host your own instance for free too.
@robertguthrie I can understand your choice but I disagree that this is the only possible solution to address your funding problems. Personally I think that a better business model is the complete integration with Wordpress. Actually in the worldwide most used cms we have no community online decision tools at all. Imho Loomio could have a significative role in the Wordpress community offering a tool for communities' internal decision, both profit and noprofit. Wordpress is more popular than the softwares with which Loomio actually integrate and you could use the Wordpress worldwide popularity to make economically sustainable Loomio, making money also with the Wordpress integration. You could create a plugin with basic and paid features that integrates with Buddypress, so to have Loomio groups synched with Buddypress groups. One group free, more groups paid. Imho that business model could work better than closing the access to the most of people. Keep in mind that Loomio is the only SAAS (software as service) provider worldwide that offers a collective decision tool as web service for free. Imho you have to enhance this specificity offering this service to the Wordpress users community, almost free for one group and paid for more than one. If you're interested in that proposal we may discuss also the funding aspects. We could try to access to Horizon2020 European Union funds as other free software projects accessed before.
We have not seen any change in the number of signups we get since we've changed the pricing plans. We get about 2 or 3 applications for "free" (ie: community groups) per day and we approve almost all of them, and some we offer our "member supported" rates, particularly if they already pay for similar services, we find it's much better to know who is using it for free, because we can tell our social impact investors about what impact Loomio is having. (You can see an increase in stories on our blog, which helps drive more awareness for us)
There was no way of doing this before the change. We do still offer a free service, and it's a better service than before, but we will not give it away for free, forever, to groups that are making a profit while using it.
This model is working better for us than the last model.
I'd be happy to discuss exploring the wordpress market with you.