We’ve been at it here at Timeglider for a long time, in the scheme of things. Timeglider turned 5 years old this year, having been launched in 2008.
From the get-go, we’ve offered a free account to anyone, with special attention being paid to students. Since then we’ve had about 100,000 users sign up, the vast majority of whom have been students from around the world. In addition to the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., we have students using the app from Colombia, Cambodia, Nigeria, China, Poland… just to name the first ones that come to mind.
With the educational ethic in mind, we don’t badger Free users to upgrade, either in the app or with emails; rather, we simply leave indication here and there that certain features are only for Plus (now called “Basic”) users and higher. Likewise, feeling that it’s unctuous, we do not host advertising on the app or on published timelines.
To keep this app going for a long time — and to keep growing it so that there are more features, devices, and so forth — we need to start charging non-student users. You’ll notice on our sign-up page now that we’ve renamed “Free”, “Plus”, and “Pro” accounts to “Student”, “Basic”, and “Group” — with a checkbox being required for the free, student version indicating that one is an undergraduate or younger student.
To make it possible to test the app under the rubric of the Basic (formerly Plus) account, that account now has a 7-day trial period.
For a long time, we’ve been planning a “Pro” account, but as it was finally baked, we saw that it offered no additional features except for an administrative dashboard. Clearly, this was an account meant for schools or companies needing multiple Basic users; hence the “Group” name. Rather than having “Pro” accounts, we’re looking into “feature packs” that will exist as separate subscriptions –add-ons, if you will, for the Basic account. This might entail extra bandwidth, mapping or graphing capabilities, or access to APIs such as Basecamp or Twitter. We can also create custom-tailored plans to meet specific needs (users, features, bandwidth, images, etc).
There’s a lot on the proverbial stovetop that we’re excited about: a freestanding version (for self-hosting); a huge U.S. History timeline that will be the basis of a larger offering of content; more features like drilling-down, themes, mobile views, and more.