Perceptions and Expectations

So, SixApart finally introduced the long-awaited version 3.0 of Movable Type with a new “we’re a real company and need revenue” pricing scheme, and the users are unhappy.
Jason Kottke could have taken these thoughts from my brain, but he elucidated them eloquently: The End of Free

In exchange for lowering the price on the [high-end personal uses], you get community goodwill and, more importantly, you get people using your software in a freewheeling way. When people, particular the power users that will be attracted to MT, have the freedom to use your software however they wish (and not having to choose, for instance, between paying $50-$90 extra and not having guest authors on their site or not starting that extra weblog to keep track of the books they’ve been reading), you get a picture of what your software is really for. And since MT is ultimately the backend for TypePad (a for-pay service), that knowledge is valuable. My feeling is that susidizing freewheeling personal use of MT is an investment that will pay off handsomely in the future.

The problem with the pricing scheme is not that it is more expensive, but that it offers much less perceived value.