[wp-edu] Akismet pricing

Matthew K. Gold matt.lists at gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 18:21:36 UTC 2011

Thank you, Pete. It has been great to talk to you as you've worked through
this process, and like D'Arcy and Jim, I'm happy with the result. I do
wonder how many thousands of calls are going to be generated by a single
CUNY-wide Askimet license . . . . but I guess we'll soon see, since I've
already put in the request to purchase one!


Matthew K. Gold, Ph.D.
Advisor to the Provost for Master's Programs & Digital Initiatives, CUNY
Graduate Center
Assistant Professor of English, City Tech | Interactive Technology &
Pedagogy Program, CUNY Graduate Center
Director, CUNY Academic Commons | mkgold.net | @mkgold

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM, Pete Davies <pete at automattic.com> wrote:

> 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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