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How is Spruz Freemium Sustainable?
Category: Community News

At Spruz we understand the concerns former Ning users have about using another free DIY website platform. Community centered website platforms will always have a huge advantage over open source, self hosted CMS software or static HTML pages. Spruz provides an ease of use platform while offering a central support structure,  server side security, a community with a wealth of knowledge, and technology that's kept up to date in real time. Spruz adds new features and improvements regularly and on demand, all without you having to hire a tech guru to setup and operate your site.

Allow us to explain exactly how the Spruz freemium model is sustainable as compared to other providers in the market. This information is vital to understand how we're able to offer the value we do to both free and premium users.

The fate of Ning did not come as a surprise to Spruz, we just didn't think it would happen so soon (I guess $120 million doesn't go as far as it used to). We've watched this same scenario play out many times in the past; a business promises the world in free features, only to one day announce that its users should pay or leave. Many startups today raise a fortune of investment dollars based, but the problem is it's all "theoretical dollars"; a gamble if you will. The prevailing mind set is, "Let's get as many people as we can on our platform and worry about a revenue model later." This has resulted in more startups failing than one can keep up with, and creates an environment that where it's hard for compaines with real business models to compete.

The Spruz revenue model is solid and simple. We're able to say this because balancing the free and premium portions of our service has always been a priority. At Spruz we know the key role free websites play, and believe that free site owners should be able to keep their website for as long as they desire. The reason for this is that it allows our clients to grow a community on a limited budget, while at the same time providing us with a relatively low cost marketing mechanism. This is why we have the trademark "Grow Yourself ®".

We understand if you're still a little warry, allow us to outline exactly what makes Spruz sustainable.

  • Spruz is self funded and profitable. We take the old adage "Slow and steady wins the race" to heart. The fact that we're 100% free of external investors provides us with some advantages that we wouldn't give up for the world, in that we aren't pressured into making moves we feel would harm the community. Compare this to Ning, which raised and spent $120 million dollars. From an investor's perspective, Ning needs to bring in $100 million a year to sell at a price that would allow a reasonable return on investment. Right now Ning is $95 million short of that milestone.
  • Video Uploading/Downloading is a premium only feature. Our video features rely on You Tube for free websites, which is important to ensure we can sustain our offerings for free websites. Video is very expensive to host and very difficult to monetize. A quick example: if you have a 10 minute 80MB video and 1000 people view it, that would use 78GB of transfer (a whole sale cost of $6.28 to serve the video). This would mean on free plans a website provider would need to find advertisers willing to pay more then $7 per CPM for advertising on videos. This isn't realistic by any stretch of the imagination since a website provider such as Spruz can not find ad buyers for individual networks.
  • Free sites have two advertisements per page. The additional advertisement makes a big difference on over all revenue. We provide very reasonably priced upgrade packages so they can be removed, giving you the ability to add your own so you can monetize the website yourself.
  • We have a page limit for free accounts. DIY Social platforms store page info in a database and serve them on demand. The more pages that are in a database the more resources required to display a page to a website viewer. By having these limits we encourage more people to upgrade, thus feeding our premium module and keeping free sites from becoming too costly.
  • We delete inactive/low traffic websites regularly. Even sites that sit unused cost resources. This is why we delete sites the sit for long periods time without member log-ins (no logins for 30 days) and/or low traffic (less than an average 1000 page views per month).
  • Free Tiered website file space. File space is one of the most often abused areas in web hosting. We are able to control this by doing 2 things: we have a file size upload limit of 10MB per upload on free accounts (500MB on premium accounts), and your file storage is Tiered. This rewards websites with traffic growth by giving them more file space as they need to continue their growth, while at the same time preventing people from abusing high file space limits.

Keep in mind, this balance did not come on it's own. It took trial, error and some sacrifice to find a balance that works. Millions from investors can never replace practical application, and the story of Ning proves just that. Our formula allows us to ensure free websites will always have a home at Spruz.

Spruz's goal is to provide great features, superior support and growth potential for your website, be it free or premium. Grow yourself with Spruz!


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