When Free Site Monitoring Turns Fee

Does this sound familiar? You’re a website owner, and you’ve been subscribing to a free service that monitors your site and checks for all kinds of things that can go wrong from the end-user experience, for example, denial of service, slow ISP, error messages. You get the picture.It’s been working great, but all of a sudden, you get a notification from them that they’re going to start charging you. Well, depending on how much revenue you’re pulling in, and how many sites they actually monitor for you, this could be rather unwelcome news.

That’s exactly what happened to Joe Rawlinson, an e-Commerce strategist and owner of 12 websites. Rawlinson got a notice from his monitoring service that his longtime free service would now begin charging for all but three of his sites. Joe writes about what it’s like to be a customer on his blog, and, if you read this post, you’ll see that he’s less than complimentary about this particular marketing tactic.

As I’ve said many times in this space, reliable monitoring of websites, transactions, servers, networks, etc., is extremely important these days. And it goes a long way toward assuring hesitant businesses to migrate their apps and data to the cloud.

And I think that using a free monitoring service is a good way to get your feet wet and experience limited aspects of full-featured monitoring – which, down the line, you may want to sign up for.

In the meantime, to protect yourself, it’s important to check whether the free monitoring service you’re currently using is only offered for a limited time before you’re required to start paying. The best monitoring services will offer you both free and fee options. In other words, they could provide a free service that’s community-based and community–driven – and that’s good for analytics, individuals and low-budget organizations. Alternatively, they could also offer you a professional version – for mission-critical monitoring.

Mon.itor.us offers a free hosted service, which means you don’t need to maintain an in-house server, install and configure complex software, or spend time on maintenance. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection. But we also offer more full-featured versions for larger, more complex monitoring – providing a professional, premium all-in-one monitoring service that integrates application performance with backend infrastructure with cloud-based monitoring.

If you think I’m tooting my own horn here, think again. Guess who Joe turned to when his limited-time free monitoring service expired? You guessed it — Mon.itor.us.

“Instead of paying, which I assume was their plan, I jumped to another service which is still free,” says Joe, in his blog post. “This alternative service, Mon.itor.us, makes money by showing ads and having a premium service to support their free accounts….”

Thanks for your business, Joe, and your plug! More importantly, thanks for writing about how end-users feel when a supposedly free service suddenly goes fee.