37signals has announced a new twist on Basecamp, intended for small-scale personal projects, called unsurprisingly, Basecamp Personal. It’s basically a partially degraded version of the mainstream Basecamp project collaboration tool, taking out a number of fairly central elements, like the calendar, progress timeline, and profiles. It’s also limited to 5 users.
The real innovation here is not the software, but the pricing: a one-time, non-recurring fee of $25. I recently reported on Transporter (see Transporter: a social backup and sharing solution), which also has a one-time fee model. However, in that case, since Transporter is a peer-to-peer backup and sharing model, the company doesn’t dedicate any storage to the users, where Basecamp is allocating 1GB per account forever. I guess they are betting that the price of storage from people like Amazon (Basecamp runs on Amazon’s S3) will continue to fall toward zero.
It will be interesting to see if more tools companies start to transition to a pay-once fee model, and only charge monthly for premium services. Definitely could create more lock-in if you’ve paid a one-time fee, and have no future expense to stay.
Note that Personal is currently only being made available to existing Basecamp users. This suggests they are trying to stop users from wandering off to experiment with other competitors’ tools on personal projects. Maybe they should just give every Basecamp user one free Personal project, and charge for any others.
[Basecamp was reviewed in the recent 2013 Task Management Tools Market report.]