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20 Comments

Should I be charging for my extension?

I started working on TabSorter2 in 2017 because I was frustrated with my chaotic tab life. I had up to 300 tabs open daily. I couldn't find anything that would help me with this problem, so I decided to write my own extension for personal use. 6 months later, I had about 500 users along with requests for features and bug fixes. People were appreciative of this tool, so that motivated me to keep working on it. 5 years later, I had about 2,000 users by pure organic searches, still an influx of custom feature requests, and only $15 on the app donation page. I love working on this app, but what started as a fun side project has become too time-consuming with little reward to myself for the continuous work put into it.

4 months ago, this app was taken down from the Chrome store for permission issues. People wanted it back, so I spent the next few months rewriting close to 75% of the app while adding new features amidst working my full-time job. I am almost done rewriting it and would like to release it to the public. In order to keep maintaining and improving it, I am thinking of charging a small monthly fee of $3.99. Knowing that people value my work enough to pay for it would motivate me to keep maintaining this app and to create more Chrome extensions geared to productivity. I am curious to know if this is reasonable and if people would be willing to pay that amount.

How much should I charge?
  1. Free
  2. less than $3.99
  3. $3.99
  4. more than $3.99
Vote
  1. 3

    3.99 monthly, $19.99 annual, 29.99 lifetime

    1. 1

      This comment was deleted a month ago.

  2. 3

    I have not used the extension, from your explanation I would say a freemium model would help. I would strongly start charging for the app, so you can know how people value it.

    I also had similar doubts before putting a paywall on my extension. I was initally thinking of $5, then though will start with $20 and bring it down. Surprisingly, many people are ready to pay even $20.

    In my experience, these are the most important factors that decide the value:

    • The apparent value. The value needs to be apparent to them.
    • The customers have an habit for paying for extensions like this.

    The second point is the most important. Your app could provide a ton of value, but if the user only has an habit of using free apps, then they will not pay for it. Hope this helps.

    1. 1

      Thank you for your insight, that second point definitely makes sense, I can definitely foresee losing some users, but I will try grandfathering as many of my old users (so long that I can find their emails...)

  3. 2

    First, I want to validate that it's perfectly reasonable to charge for your extension — it's hard to maintain something when your interest and passion has worn down! It feels like a slog. Income definitely helps my motivation and it sounds like it will help yours.

    I agree with other commenters that a freemium or free trial model seems right here. Without a really strong value proposition or reputation it's hard for people to know how much they'll like the extension without trying it for a while.

    As for price, I also suggest experimenting. What I've seen happen with other extension makers is that they start somewhat low, see if they get sales, then gradually increase the price. With extensions with an existing userbase that go from free to paid, it can be a little hard to tell what price point is good because you'll likely have an initial flood of existing users upgrading at the beginning then a drop-off.

    Speaking of existing users, you might want to consider how you handle existing users upgrading. A minority of people can get really pissed when something they like goes from free to paid and your extension rating can suffer from those users posting negative reviews . I like what @GorvGoyl did with Notion Boost — existing features before the paywall version are free and can be used by anyone but any new features added require payment. That way existing users can stay happily using their features but upgrade if they find something they want. Even if you don't do this, I would definitely try to take steps to explain yourself honestly to your users — most will be sympathetic from what I've seen.

    (Btw I saw you signed up for ExtensionPay — nice! Please let me know if you need anything.)

    1. 1

      Thank you for your reply, I will definitely experiment a bit a do more research on general pricing models.

      Also, I really like how easy ExtensionPay is, and I do have a few questions regarding what I'm trying to do. if I want to provide multiple price points like:
      monthly, and yearly subscription and onetime Annual.

      Do I need to register multiple extensions? and if so would I need to make 3 calls to const extpay = ExtPay("ext_id_test")?

      1. 1

        Hey! At the moment there is no way to have multiple price points, but it's a no-brainer to add it. In fact, it's the next major feature I'll be adding! The back-end already supports it.

        I'd say for now if you want to continue using ExtensionPay just pick a single price point that feels about right and I'll let you know when multiple price support is ready.

  4. 2

    I would highly recommend testing it out. Don't even think to ask other people, you won't get accurate results here. Why? Because you don't know how much value your extension is bringing to the users. So if the value is high enough they will pay a price whatever you call, if the value is low, they won't pay you anything. Just test it out, if no one wants to pay for your time, so it would be better to move to something else. The earlier you figure it out the better for you.

  5. 2

    Absolutely start by charging.

    If people won’t pay, is this something you want to work on for free?

    How much money does it need to make for you to commit time to this instead of picking up a new framework, or contributing to a major open source project? (Don’t undervalue the potential long term impact of cross training dev skills!)

    Another possibility is to release this and immediately go to work on another extension that lets you reuse what you learned in this recent re-write.

    Don’t be afraid to compete with another existing extension.

    1. 1

      These are good questions, I need to think about that some more.

      I actually have been working on 2 more extensions but settled for using them locally only to avoid a similar situation until I figure out how I should proceed.

  6. 2

    Apparently you nailed a niche and found users, it could be perfectly reasonable to monetise it: you will maybe lose most of them, but some of them will pay. It's your call :)

    ADD: I normally prefer one single price point with all the features, like the canva.com approach (iirc).

    1. 1

      Thank you for your input! I will check that out!

  7. 2

    Try to do it!
    I prefer the freemium model for my extension. The main features are free and additional features are paid. It allows to increase free users base and convert them to pay after a while.

    I can recommend distributing your extension to all browser marketplace Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari. It is not hard to do, because all browsers now support common WebExtension API with some restrictions.

    Also, make monthly and annual subscriptions plan with discounts. In my case, many users prefer to pay it annually once. Hope this helps.

    1. 1

      the freemium model would actually make sense here, I will look into how to implement this.

      I have a lot of custom code for chrome to fix some existing bugs on V8 - not sure how much would be involved in porting that to Firefox and Safari but this is in my timeline

    2. 1

      Do you find good traffic from Firefox, Edge, and Safari extension marketplace? How would you compare with Chrome extension - Manifest V3.

      We have a Chrome extension that gets good traffic, so was wondering if other extension space are worth it?

      1. 1

        Yes. It is not large, but good enough for me.

        I have featured my extension in Safari after launching. There is traffic like in Chrome(500-600 new users/day), but it has some leaks on the onboarding step. I haven't detected it yet. I track a redirect on the page after installing, but the next step users are lost. Maybe because Safari WebExension supports only > 14 versions, but I'm not sure.

        In Firefox my extension has included TOP-100 it gives me 2K users/month. In Edge, I have featured in one category and it gives the same 2K users/month too.

        I have not migrated on the manifest v3 yet. All my browser extension version works on v2.

        1. 1

          Wow, this is really surprising. Safari has same amount as Chrome? Those are really good numbers. Congrats.

          I was searching around, is there a good way to search for Safari extensions? Wanted to do some analysis about the effectiveness of safari extensions. Like, the Safari extension store seems to be so unfriendly to search. Is there a good way you suggest?

          Did you also find the Safari users to be more willing to pay?

          1. 1

            Yes, the same, but I have a high user leak. Maybe it is related to Safari < 14 or users can't enable permissions. Apple makes Safari users enable additional permissions in my case: https://yousub.info/success.html?utm_source=safari It looks hard for my user.

            There is a Safari Extensions category in App Store. You can use it for searching extensions. Also, appannie.com supports Safari Extensions. So you can monitor their position in App Store, for example, my app: https://www.appannie.com/apps/mac/app/1533703891/app-ranking

            1. 1

              Thanks for the feedback @nabok. This is very helpful, will try that :)

  8. 1

    The typical product pricing and packaging components are:

    • Price point
    • Billing term (one-time, monthly/annual subscription, on-demand etc)
    • Pricing model (Freemium, free trial, paid only)

    Start with identifying the goals that you're trying to achieve with the particular product. Your business goal priorities can help you identify which price points, pricing models and terms are appropriate and effective.

    If you need help with pricing, subscription management or invoicing, schedule a free consultation here https://payproglobal.com/

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