[wp-edu] Akismet pricing

D'Arcy Norman dlnorman at ucalgary.ca
Mon Nov 28 18:04:44 UTC 2011

Thanks for the update, Pete. That definitely sounds workable.

I understand the frustration and confusion about the ability of edu-institutions to pay. In my case, I work at a billion-dollar-a-year institution, but have a budget of $0 for the blogging platform. It only exists because I snuck it onto a server and support it on my own. I'm working to have it more properly managed on campus, but that's how things like this happen, and why it's often difficult to find funding for tools and services to support the effort.

- D

> -----Original Message-----
> From: wp-edu-bounces at lists.automattic.com [mailto:wp-edu-
> bounces at lists.automattic.com] On Behalf Of Pete Davies
> Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 10:59 AM
> To: wp-edu at lists.automattic.com
> Subject: [wp-edu] Akismet pricing
> Hi all,
> I work with the Akismet team at Automattic, and given that the topic of
> Akismet pricing came up earlier on a different thread, it reminded me that it's
> long overdue that I let you know what we've tried to do for educational
> institutions and pricing.
> First, a little background: long before spammers started getting as
> sophisticated as they are now (and Akismet didn't cost us much to run) Matt
> and Toni would offer academic institutions free use of Akismet in return for a
> link promoting Akismet in the footer of every page that it was used on. We
> did this pretty much on trust, and we had no resources (or inclination) to
> enforce it. But it's been clear that the informality of the arrangement hasn't
> stood the test of time: API keys have been lent to non-academic projects, re-
> designs have abandoned the footer and perhaps critically (for us) supporting
> the weight of spam on .edu sites has become pretty expensive.
> As we gave Akismet more resources, we also revisited the signup and
> subscription processes. We tried to simplify and make clearer to those that
> get real value from Akismet that they should actually pay for the service. We
> had an Enterprise plan that was based around the number of sites, and an
> API plan that was based around the number of API calls (basically the number
> of comments submitted). Allowing users to pick between the two meant
> that almost all of our users could find a price point at which they were able to
> use Akismet, while contributing to the costs of running it. With one glaring
> exception...
> Academic WordPress installs do tend to be unique because they spawn huge
> numbers of individual sites, many of which are used for specific projects and
> are then abandoned (attracting lots of spam). This means that these installs
> tend to have (a) a lot of sites and (b) a lot of API calls.. making Akismet
> prohibitively expensive. But the misconception has been that we don't care
> about this: it's really not true, we just struggled to figure out a good solution
> for a while.
> In fact, the Enterprise (site-based) pricing didn't seem to work as well as we'd
> hoped for some companies too. Thinking about the edu/multisite problem
> and also the issues that some companies were having, we decided to simplify
> the plan altogether and said that for the Enterprise plan ($50/month)
> customers could now use Akismet on as many sites as they liked, but with a
> limit of 80,000 comments per month.
> So here's the exception: for .edu domains (only) using Akismet, we're
> waiving the comment limit restriction. So you can use one API key for a many
> sites as you like on your TLD, for $50/mo or $550/yr. So you can have as many
> sites using Akismet as you like, so long as they're hosted on either a
> subdomain or directory of [yourdomain].edu. There's one small caveat: we
> simply don't have the resources to manage invoicing, checks and Accounts
> Payable departments for this kind of
> price: so we ask that you/someone pays by credit card or electronic check.
> (You could also help my closing comments on unused sites.) So -- that's the
> situation as it is now, and hopefully goes some way to setting the record
> straight. It saddens me when I hear that Akismet is unaffordable for
> academic institutions and they've had to move to Typekit Antispam (if the
> age of their homepage and that Arrington quote is anything to go by, it's not
> getting a lot of love these days) or, worse, Captchas. Hopefully $50 a month
> makes it considerably easier than it used to be. I know that it won't work for
> everybody, but it might at least allow more of you to use the service.
> Happy to answer any questions and hear your feedback.
> Best,
> Pete.
> --
> [ Pete Davies | Automattic Inc. | http://about.me/petedavies |
> pete at automattic.com | (415) 475-8007 ]
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