Having said that there are those who are unrealistic at the other end of the scale, charging way to much for way too little functionality. I came across an example of this the other day. Getballpark is a nice little application that, rather than being an accounting application, is all about invoicing. Getballpark was created by MetaLab who seem to have a real pedigree of creating nicely designed, nicely built web sites and web apps – but nicely designed and built does not equate to having a good business model.
Getballpark is entirely built around enabling businesses to estimate and invoice, and to capture the discussions around those functions. It’s got a feature which (curmudgeon that I am) I see as little more than Web 2.0 madness gone to extremes – this feature allows dialogue to be created around invoices. The example Getballpark gave was around a discussion about an invoice that the business had sent out. The discussion was an excellent example of the vacuous Web 2.0 at its worst – providing little value beyond the ability of everyone to say something, whether or not it was of value.
I’ll have to admit I like one feature that Getballpark has, the ability to view notifications of when an emailed invoice has been viewed – kind of useful in some situations.
This post however is not a product review, it is a pricing review. Looking at the Getballpark pricing I see that it costs USD12 for one user to be able to send five invoices per month. What? Compare this to some fully fledged accounting systems. IAC-EZ runs $20 pr month, Clarity account $10 and even Xero, arguably the most fully functional small business offering runs to $29 per month. Bear in mind that we’re comparing accounting with general ledgers, fixed assets, P&L and the full double entry engine with…. invoicing.
Now comparing Getballpark to FreshBooks, arguably it’s most direct competitor, we can see that FreshBooks has a plan that for $14 per month gives a single user the ability to manage 25 clients and send unlimited numbers of invoices. But this is FreshBooks, the king of online invoicing who’s partner page boasts literally dozens of integration partners – from accounting engines to time tracking, from project management to CRM. Getballpark on the other hand is a new app with no integrations thus far.
So I’m a little torn here – while it scares me to see start ups price their applications so low as to ensure there is no chance for their success, so to does it worry many when pricing would seem to destroy an apps chances before it even starts to get tractions.
Bottom line – I really believe that Getballpark has some work to do on their go-to-market strategy. Unless of course there’s enough Web 2.0 evangelists who see immense value from social media-ising invoicing…