Why SaaS applications should provide pricing information

Everyday new online services are launched and must of us don’t even notice but a few of them. I’ve found that the majority of these few start with a freemium model or a beta test mode to attract users and subscribers. I don’t find anything wrong with this, but personally, the first thing I do when exploring a new service is to find the pricing page to check if I can afford it.

For me, there’s no personal benefit to subscribe and start using an application day on and day off, configuring the service, entering my data, so when the owners think they have a large customer base, publish the pricing information and I end up without being able to use the application. It has happened to me before. Now, when I can’t find the pricing information, I just don’t sign up and let it pass it by.

Why everyone should you have a pricing model:


Even if you need a year for beta testing your product, at least publish how you think the business will make money. It shows potential customers that the company has a plan and also, when the time comes, you’ll know how much you’ll need to pay. Also the company has (or at least has think of) a business model. Most start ups just die because they can’t find the right model to generate cash flow. This gives some kind of assurance to customers.

The right customers

Every potential prospect subscribed has even more probability of becoming a customer when the application exits the beta testing phase. You can increase conversion even more by giving a discount to beta tester for their efforts.

One of the first thing we did with LicenseSpot, our license and software protection service, was to define a pricing and a business model and then built the website and all collateral information. Even though we’re live, any new prospect can check how much the service is worth and if it fits they’re pocket.

Do you provide pricing information on you web applications?

Should there be a partnership or a buyout between mobile operating systems?

A lot has been written about how the top three mobile companies should configure themselves. I’m talking about Apple, Google and RIM. Which one is better and which one is worse, who should die first and who’s second.

I think all those views (although have some degree of veracity in them) are too absolutist in the sense that things are not black and white. But also, it depends on the point of view of each person and their own experience.

All platforms have their own strengths, if they didn’t, neither of them would reach to the place they’re right now. Some value is the end user getting from them.

Here’s what I think in short words:

Blackberry OS

Is the oldest of the big three (even though Windows Mobile has a long history) but that doesn’t make it a looser. Been the oldest brings a lot of experience to the table. One of the biggest and strongest fields of Blackberry is their enterprise market capabilities. It has lots of good features built in that satisfy big companies like the White House. Lots of features has been incorporated into Apple’s iOS trying to get into this market, but adoption has been slow. As I said in the beginning, Blackberry has lots of experience in this field.

Besides been a leader in the enterprise market, Blackberry has fair good market share of the consumer market. This comes by a good reason: there are features that millions of people feel attracted to when buying Blackberry, one of them being the BB Chat. See as this simple and common capability, available on the Internet since its own birth, is one of the top features. Again, experience. I still don’t know why Apple didn’t launch the first day with a feature like this.

Apple iOS

It has a domination of the consumer market. The ease of use makes it a winner between people that have never had a smartphone.

Also, one of the biggest advantages is their App Store that has thousands of good applications. And more coming in with innovative features. This makes it a winner for usability and in the area of solving daily issues.

Adoption in the enterprise market has been slow, advancing a in small steps, but it’s coming.


Also the usability here is a big winner. A fast growing market of applications makes it look interesting against Apple and Blackberry.

The biggest advantage of Android might be their price. As it’s an open source platform, carriers and phone makers don’t have to include royalties in prices bringing the phone’s total cost of ownership down.


I think all three has their own pros and cons. Neither of them should abandon their technologies for adopting the other. They have their own bright spots.

Even more, there could be some partnership between them if they want to consolidate and reduce costs. For example, a partnership between Android and Blackberry could integrate Blackberry enterprise features into Android giving it the experience and technology know how to become a unique platform that combines consumer and business capabilities.

Who you think should partner with who?

Upload multiple files using jQuery and ASP.NET

A few weeks back I needed a control that allowed me to upload multiple files to a SQL database going through an ASP.NET ashx handler. Also, the whole control needed to be implemented client side and the best option if using jQuery.

I spent lots of time trying to find some good control that didn’t used Flash. Most of the controls available out there were pure based Flash applications or a combination of jQuery + Flash. None were pure jQuery and supported the option of multiple files. Then I found Andrew Valums jQuery upload control. It was pretty easy to install and configured. The only drawback is that uses iframe for uploading the file, but this is transparent to the end user, so I decided to give it a try.

Here’s how it works:

Download the control

Go the website and download the control. Keep in mind there are two versions: one GPL and another one with the MIT license. I went with the one with the MIT license. You can download it here.

Place the control on your page

Use the following HTML code to place it:

<div id="uploadRegion">
<input id="button3" type="file" />
<p>Uploaded files:</p>
<ol id="infoUploadedFiles" class="files"></ol>

jQuery code to create the control

new AjaxUpload('#button3', { action: 'filehandler.ashx',
name: 'myfile',
data: { '' },
onComplete : function(file, response){
var fileResponse = $.parseJSON(response);


ASP.NET code to handle and receive the file


HttpPostedFile file = context.Request.Files[0];

string name = Path.GetFileName(file.FileName);
string ext = Path.GetExtension(file.FileName);

byte[] fileContent = new byte[file.ContentLength];
file.InputStream.Read(fileContent, 0, file.ContentLength);

After receiving the file in a byte array proceed to save it to the hard disk or a database, as needed.