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15 Websites / Services I'd Actually Pay For

One measure of a service’s utility and stickiness is its ability to charge for usage. Consequently, I regularly find myself asking, “Is this important enough to me that I’d pay for it?”

Here are some of the services / sites where that answer is yes… And what I’d be willing to pay: Gmail: I’d pay to keep my Gmail account more because the switching cost is high than because of the functionality. That switching cost is painful enough that I’d spend $75 to prevent it. I will likely end up paying for increased storage too.

Google Maps: Love Google Maps for my Blackberry. Telenav is $9.99 / mo and offers greater functionality – I’d likely pay $10 to download Google Maps or some nominal monthly fee. If Google Maps added navigational directions, I would pay $10 / month. The benefit of blogging with WP is so significant (SEO, functionality, flexibility) that it’s well worth paying for. I’d probably pay a $200 for an installation… which makes me realize how much I rely on the product.

Google Analytics: If Google analytics weren’t free, I would unhappily pay a monthly fee to install it ($10) because, despite my disdain for the interface and lack of real-time metrics, it really is a necessity.

Google Analytics w/ Real Time Data: I would certainly pay extra for real-time Google Analytics.

Slimstat: Slimstat is a free Wordpress plugin that delivers real-time analytics. I would pay $40 to install it.

Slimstat “Premium”: … And I’d pay a lot more if Slimstat offered a model with unlimited data capturing / storage (the basic one shows the last ‘n’ records). I would pay $100 / domain.

Mint Analytics: I gladly paid $40 to install Mint on my domains. Great data and great interface.

Craigslist: I would pay for premium listings on Craigslist (if they introduced some sort of featured ads format) and I’ve paid the jobs listing fees before (many times).

Amazon Prime: I spend enough on Amazon that they gave me Amazon Prime for free when it first launched. Considering that I buy my groceries, toiletries, electronics, dog food, etc on it – I’d pay for Prime if Amazon forced me to.

iStockPhoto Premium: I love iStockPhoto – but it’s a pain to purchase credits. I’d pay for a premium account that enables power-usage. MLB is the only major sport that has truly adopted the web and their radio and video streaming is fantastic. I already pay for the service (estimates: $14.99 for radio broadcast of all games,$99-$179 for video)

Podcasts / On-demand Radio: There are certain podcasts and radio shows that I would pay to be able to download in entirety. For instance, I love The Thundering Herd on ESPN Radio but it streams too early on the west coast for me to catch it – and the Podcast only captures 30 minutes of the broadcast. I would pay $5-$10 a month to listen to it on-demand, in its entirety (price depends on whether or not ads are in the broadcast). The same can be said for Tony Bruno and JT the Brick.

eLance: I love eLance. Use it all the time. They choose to charge the service provider – but if they reversed it, I would pay on a per-listing basis. The price depends on the project, but a nominal amount ($5?).

ESPN360: It’s the only way that I can catch Duke games without leaving work at 3pm pst... I’d pay either per game or per month ($5-10) for the service. I’d pay a whole lot more if they could include MLB, NFL and NBA (would start to challenge my Comcast bill).

Comparing TeleNav GPS and Google Maps Mobile - Why I'm Canceling My TeleNav Account

I have been a TeleNav subscriber for close to a year now and have turned many friends on the service. I also have had Google Maps Mobile installed on my Blackberry since it launched. I find myself using them at different points and for different needs - and while I prefer TeleNav, I am actually canceling my subscription to the service... here's is a breakdown of the services and why:

- Google Maps is free; TeleNav is $9.99 / month

- Google Maps gives you directions from the inputted location; TeleNav gives complete directions based on your movements. Directions come with street view maps, are spoken clearly by the application and adjust based on traffic / routing

- Google Maps is a smaller application and consequently runs faster; TeleNav often requires system restarts and can take a while to load

- I have never had a problem with Google Maps GPS; Telenav's GPS seems to require a system restart 25% of the time (which kills the instant gratification of these features)

- While TeleNav routing is far superior, Google Maps' business search is much more effective

- Neither mapping system provides a GPS system for walking or biking - which kills me. They route for vehicles

At the end of the day, I prefer TeleNav's routing system enough that it warrants $9.99 / month... assuming you use it enough. While vacationing, I use TeleNav with regularity; but since moving to San Francisco, I've found myself walking and biking daily (while not using my car on a weekly basis)... as such, Google Maps is sufficient.

Perhaps TeleNav should release a lite version or a pay per usage. I would even reconsider if they offered non-vehicular routing and solved the "weak GPS" errors that occur more-and-more often.