I hate subscriptions

by @edent | # | 5 comments | Read ~252 times.

Look – I get why your app or service wants me to pay a subscription. Recurring revenue is useful for a business. Your ARPU KPI is OMG to your VC. And, no doubt, there’s research showing how people are more likely to eat a kitten than cancel a subscription.

But I hate it.

I resent having to expend mental energy to keep track of my subscriptions. Making sure they’re still good value for money. That you haven’t sneakily upped the price.

I detest your constant, pathetic whines to “TRY ONE MONTH FREEEEEEE!!!!” when I know you’ll ask for my credit card and make it as hard as possible to cancel.

I don’t want your staff bullied into trying to turn every conversation into an upselling and conversion opportunity. Looking at you, British Banks!

I’m not committing to buying a crate of wine or beer from you on a regular schedule just because you have some kooky branding. I want to be in control.

I can’t commit to playing every brand new video-game. And I certainly don’t want to play with abusive kids online. I’ll buy a new game only when we’ve finished the old one. Get off my lawn!

I like music. But not so much that I’m prepared to buy my way out of advertising. A crappy Grammerly ad isn’t as annoying as not having a tenner a month.

Your brand is not my entire lifestyle.

What I do subscribe to

There are some things I do pay a regular fee for. I’m going to list them in an attempt to explain why I’m happy with a subscription – and where the experience could be better.

Smol – laundry and dishwasher capsules.

I do all of my shopping online. I’m quite happy picking up a tub of washing tablets every few weeks. But the smol ones are cheaper. That’s literally the only reason why we get them. The fact they drop through the door regularly doesn’t enter into it.

If anything, the way they’re sent out is slightly annoying. I estimated how often we’d need them, then they’re sent out regularly. Every 17 days, I receive an email saying they’ve been dispatched. What I’d really like is an email saying “We’re going to dispatch these tomorrow. Click here to cancel or rearrange this order.”

It’s also a bit of a pain to pause delivery when we go on holiday.

Interested? Here’s a referral link.

Trade Union Fees

A small monthly fee gets me dedicated legal advice and solidarity.

I don’t need the extras they provide – discount insurance, a monthly magazine, cheap car parking – I get why they do it, but it provides no value to me.

Amazon Prime

Yes, I know you think Amazon are evil. But your little boutique store can’t guarantee me same / next day delivery. That’s all I really want Prime for – the shopping convenience.

I wasted many blog posts trying to get Amazon to unbundle their shopping from their TV service. But, a few months ago I caved. I figured if I was paying for it, I might as well use it.

Prime TV is basically fine. There’s a lot of crap on there, many dodgy apps, and it is constantly trying to trick me in to buying more content.

I’d rather go back to paying just for delivery. If the Prime TV service was decent, I might pay for it. But it isn’t a compelling proposition.

Online Grocery Pass

£35 a year to get free grocery deliveries whenever we spend more than £40. Normal delivery fees are £5. On average, we get shopping delivered every 2 weeks.

We only have this subscription because it saves us a chunk of money on a really useful service. It isn’t packaged with anything else – they don’t give us a magazine, or a lifestyle portal, or some bullshit unrelated service. It’s just a pure discount.

Mobile Phone

I could use PAYG. But I’m paying a tenner a month for basically unlimited everything. And a cheap deal on roaming. Again, a hell of a lot cheaper than PAYG, and I don’t have to worry about topping up.

Or course, I paid for my phone outright. No monthly fee for that!

What else?

That’s it. Obviously I have utilities and insurance to pay – but they’re not really subscriptions. I’m paying for exactly what I use. I don’t want to subscribe to your idea of what my lifestyle should be.

I buy what I want, when I want it. I’m sorry (not sorry) if that screws up your company’s monthly revenue targets.

5 thoughts on “I hate subscriptions

  1. Neil Brown says:

    I agree with this, and I dislike subscription software, but I am happy to pay for major revisions to software.

    It bugs me when I see complaints that someone paid £x for an app they use every day three years ago, so why do they have to pay again, and they’ll just stop using it.

  2. Completely agree, especially where software really doesn’t make sense to be subscription-based (e.g., @1Password, @Office365). Same thing is happening in gaming with IAPs, season passes, micro transactions etc.

  3. Stefan says:

    Whilst I don’t like it, Office365 being sub based makes sense to me.

    Instead of yearly-ish big updates where I have to shell out triple-digit sums to stay current, Office is receiving regular updates, I get OneDrive storage as part of the deal and the Office web apps just work.

  4. .@pactcoffee is a good example of a subscription with great UX. You get an email two days before shipping and these buttons in the email just work, no login required. You can of course pause and cancel deliveries in a couple of clicks, and the coffee is great! (5OFF to save £5)


  5. There are things that we want, that we opt to not get, purely because its behind a subscription and we also hate them. Let me buy what I want when I want dammit!

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