Announcing Beeminder Premium Plans: Bee Lite, Plan Bee, Beemium, and Beekeeper
We’ve been improving Beeminder at a brisk pace lately. First, just as you can reduce the amount you have pledged on a goal, you can now get rid of a goal altogether. Press the Archive button in the goal’s settings and a timer will appear, counting down until the goal disappears in a week. That also means no more need for “temporary test goals”, so those are gone. Phew!
We also added a limit to the number of new goals you can create without adding a pledge. We call those pledgeless goals Freebees. Creating a goal with no pledge isn’t really in the spirit of Beeminder, it’s just needed so people can get acclimated. So you can now create seven such pledgeless goals (don’t worry, long-time users, we grandfathered your existing goals). If you don’t want to be limited in that way, that brings us to our big announcement…
“Some people are so hardcore and self-aware that they can predict that they’ll shrug off those $5 and $10 pledges.”
Believe it or not, Beeminder is profitable just with our crazy revenue model of collecting people’s pledges when they derail. Users pretty much invariably feel that those payments work out to a fair fee for the service Beeminder provides. Namely, keeping you in line. And, the pledges progress along an exponential schedule that tends to make people who need Beeminder more (and thus get more value out of beeminding) pay us more. It’s beautifully win-win. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people are so hardcore, not to mention self-aware, that they can confidently predict that when the chips are down they’ll shrug off those $5 and $10 pledges. They want to be immediately bound by more meaningful amounts. A few months ago we introduced the ability to pay us directly — half the current amount pledged — to jump to the next pledge level. In theory that solves the problem but it’s a painful thing to do. So we now have a less painful option: the ability to jump to any pledge level you want if you pay a subscription fee for Beeminder.
Yes, amusingly, we have premium plans both for people who don’t want to pledge money on goals and for people who want to pledge more money on goals.  But wait, there’s more! We also have premium plans for power users and for those who want actual lifecoaching, centered around their Beeminder goals.
Free Plan ($0/month)
Just to re-emphasize, you don’t need no stinkin’ premium plan to experience the full awesomeness of Beeminder. We’ve always said that Beeminder is entirely free if you never fall off your yellow brick roads and we intend to keep it that way.
Bee Lite ($5/month)
Fitness tips. We’re proud of our collection of hundreds of fitness tips that we add to the bot reply emails. Some are dirt simple suggestions or pointers to Lifehacker articles, some are pointers to our own blog posts, some are pointers to handy xkcds, and some are mini blog posts not published anywhere else. They’re inserted randomly so you’ll tend to see repeats before you see them all. In fact, you’ll probably never actually see them all.
Custom goals. The main attraction of Bee Lite, though, is being able to tweak the crap out of your goal settings. You probably only want this if you’re a power user (the plan was almost named “Powers That Bee” but that was rejected). Even for power users it’s rare to need to do these things, but here’s what you get:
- Exponential roads, which can be handy for weight loss if you want to, say, lose half a percent of your bodyweight per week. It’s not too onerous to approximate this by periodically dialing your road, but it’s a cool feature in some circumstances. We use it on some of our meta roads though those tend to be retrofitted, i.e., we’re not truly beeminding most of those things.
- Choose how multiple datapoints on each day are aggregated. For weight loss we default to the minimum and for Do More goals it’s the sum. But with custom goals you could choose the mean or the max or the first or the last. We’d be happy to throw in any other function, like median, if anyone had a use for it. UPDATE: Someone did and we obliged.
- Choose whether to plot all the datapoints or just the aggregated one.
- Choose whether to enable the fancy odometer setting.
- Change other settings like which is the good side of the road, though changes like that can easily break your graph.
- We’re currently debating on Akratics Anonymous whether custom road width should be exposed as a setting for custom goals. UPDATE: We bowed to the pressure! This is now live.
Plan Bee ($10/month)
Each plan subsumes all the previous plans so Plan Bee also gets you fitness tips and custom goals. The main feature of Plan Bee is unlimited Freebees.
Freebees are goals that don’t have a pledge attached to them. If you derail you still have to pledge (not pay) to unfreeze. Normally Freebees are limited to seven to close the loophole where you create a new goal each time you derail so you don’t have to ever pledge. Like “weight”, “weight2”, “june-weight”, “for-real-this-time”, etc. It’s not in the spirit of Beeminder but if you’re willing to pay us $10/month then knock yourself out.
UPDATE: Enough people misunderstood “unlimited freebees” that we decided to make it more in line with what you’d expect if you only read “unlimited freebees”. Namely, if you have Plan Bee (or higher) you still have to add a pledge after derailing, but you can immediately (subject to the akrasia horizon) drop it back down to $0. Normally you can’t drop your pledge amount below $5 once a pledge is added.
Fitness tips, custom goals, unlimited freebees, and…
Free short-circuiting. Now we’re getting elite. Free short-circuiting means you can immediately jump to a motivating pledge level, without paying at each jump. We’re very impressed with people who have value for this — we’re not sure we do ourselves! Beemium subscribers are highly akratic and have the foresight to know what will motivate them. We’re highly akratic, no question there, but we’re always a bit delusional about it. “Maybe this time $5 will be enough to keep me on track!” We’re pretty enamored with our exponential pledge schedule but some of our most hardcore users can save money by paying for Beemium so they can jump straight to commitment contracts that they know will keep them on track indefinitely.
Real-time support. Since Beemium is so super elite we’re also letting those folks hang out in our developer chat room where you can ask us questions and often get an immediate response. Danny, Bethany, and Andy are usually there all day every day. We’re on Pacific time, though that doesn’t always mean much for some of us.
Fitness tips, custom goals, unlimited freebees, free short-circuiting, real-time support, and…
Here’s where it gets really interesting. The Beekeeper program, first introduced in our anniversary post, is still highly experimental but we have a few life coaches on board to partner with. We’re going to figure this out as we go, but if you think that in principle you’d pay $200/month to have someone personally holding you accountable to your goals, helping you keep your roads dialed in, entering data for you, calling you to make sure you’re staying on track, and deciding what things to beemind in the first place, then by all means, sign up. As with all the plans, we’ll give you a full refund if you’re not thrilled with what you’re paying for.
But wait, there’s more! All premium users also get priority email support. We have a long list of potential premium features so the above will change, though we’ll try to keep each plan at least as good as what we’ve just described. But there are also some things about the plans that we want to commit to…
No Carrots For You
Seriously, we are all about the stick. We do not intend to hold important features as dangling carrots. Premium plans are still an experiment but we’re committed to keeping the non-premium Beeminder a highly functional tool for maximizing the awesomeness of humans prone to procrastination and other forms of akrasia. In fact, the only things that we’re going to charge for are:
- Features that directly thwart our revenue model, i.e., unlimited freebees and free short-circuiting (or in the future: choosing the beneficiary of your commitment contract )
- Things that may confuse newbees (we’re not sure yet whether customizable retroratcheting and auto-ratcheting fall in this category)
- Goodies that are incidental to the process of beeminding, like fitness tips
- Things that cost us money to provide (we may make the SMS bot a premium feature for this reason)
UPDATE: We were so enamored with our auto-canceling subscriptions that we turned this section into its own blog post. The short version is that if you stop using Beeminder, we automatically stop charging you for your premium plan!
UPDATE: Same with our super nerdy discount slider, which you can also get a taste of in the sampler below.
Beeminder Premium Sampler
The above is just to re-cap the plans (and demonstrate our Exquisitely Fair Slider, as we call it). The features shown in brackets are currently live but rather experimental. Again, if we change them we’ll try to replace them with things that are at least as good. So if you’re sold, head to beeminder.com/premium!
Image credit: Altered By The Sea
 Choosing the beneficiary of your commitment contract would be very sensible as a premium feature. It’s surely due to selection bias but our existing users generally feel it works out fine for all involved that Beeminder is the beneficiary, as utterly twisted as that sounds to outsiders. We discuss the seeming perversity as well as the behaviorial economics of different choices of beneficiary in previous posts.