With news that the cozy.co acquisition by apartments.com is resulting in an updated pricing model, many rental owners are seeing some of the negatives of ‘free SaaS software’. Yes cozy.co was free for a while, but now they’ve been acquired, all the deals have changed, and cozy.co is no longer free for many people. It will also be run by an entirely different conglomerate. Is this conglomerate going to have the same goals and values that cozy.co did? Not likely. The employees are now wrapped into the beast and may lose motivation to innovate and do their best work. We’ve seen this happen over and over to property management software and each acquisition kills another potentially great product.
What are some of the main problems of using ‘free SaaS software’? This is not discussing free software, as in, open source and free. This is proprietary software which is hosted by expensive servers, yet still somehow free to the users. There is an anomaly there and companies should be clear how it works for their users.
Bolt on Rocket Ship
If it’s not ad based like Google/Gmail/Facebook, it is likely running on Silicon Valley venture capital dollars. Venture capital firms inject tens of millions of dollars into startups to see if they can fly to the moon. This is like attaching a rocket engine to your bike. Most can’t take the pressure and explode. Some are acquired like Cozy. Only a rare few convert their bike into a spaceship and reach their destination. It seems to be even more rare in property management applications, for some reason.
These dollars don’t last forever. So what is the long term plan for the company becoming sustainable? Taking funding is fine, we’ve done it ourselves. But we keep an underlying strategy of staying alive by default. We don’t need more funding to sustain ourselves, so avoid getting into a situation where we must close another round to stay alive. Many companies who take funding have a great long term plan. Some have no plan. Make sure you know the plan of software you rely on.
Also make sure you know the roadmap of the software you rely on. Many of these rocket ships are zooming all over the galaxy searching for product market fit. As a user, ensure the features you care about are committed.
Monetizing your data
For ads or sleezy backroom data sale deals, your private data is monetized by many of these companies. You lose your privacy in exchange for saving a couple bucks.
Who gets access to your data? Is it being sold to 3rd parties? Especially for something as sensitive as housing data, you should be sure you know who can see these details.
Allen runs as freemium software. For people just getting started or not looking for the most advanced features, Allen can help you out. We hope you eventually realize the value we provide and sign up for a premium account. This allows us to power our servers and employees, and offer you a useful and reliable service.
It also means we are not selling your data to anyone. Allen holds your trust as a key pillar of our business, as anyone managing your sensitive data and communications should.