We provide a free test for new users. However, we do ask that the user have a valid credit card. Although we don’t charge the credit card (we simply make sure it’s valid), a couple of our prospective customers have been upset that we ask for a credit card at all. We agree that in the world of free, or even freemium services, it’s unusual to ask for a credit card.
The problem is this: for many web services, the marginal or operational costs are close to zero. That is, a new user does not cost the site very much because they’re just taking up a negligible amount of hardware and bandwidth resources. For example, our sister site OpenHallway provides free services. However, at TryMyUI we pay our testers regardless of whether we have given away the test or not, so there is a substantial operational cost associated with each test.
We do believe in “try before you buy”, and are happy to accept this cost for real customers. But unfortunately, when things are free a lot of silly things happen. For example, we have signups by people who enter one-use email information and public URLs like YouTube, Amazon, blogs or inappropriate sites for their test URLs. We see that they abandon the test when they have to enter their credit card information.
We understand that some legitimate customers are annoyed, but the lower we can keep our costs, the lower a price we can offer on our usability testing tools for our current customers.
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