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Another freebie bites the dust: LogMeIn pulls free remote access

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It may not be a flood, but it’s definitely a trickle. More software vendors are paring back “free” or freemium offerings. This week it’s LogMeIn(s logm) curtailing the free version of LogMeIn remote access. The more feature-rich paid “Pro” version is still available and supported, a spokesman said.

In December, Sugarsync announced plans to pull free storage and file syncing (check out the comments on this story to see how that went over.) Droplr followed suit in January. Mailstrom, the software that cleans out your inbox, is also moving to an all-paid subscription model. Most of these vendors continue to offer a limited-time free trial period.

For Boston-based LogMeIn, the rationale is that remote access is a mature market — there’s no need to seed it any more with free accounts. It’s unclear how many users this will affect. The company will continue to offer freemium versions of its web conferencing; Cubby file sync-and-store and Hamachi networking services.

This LogMeIn blog post explains the rationale with the gist being users of the free product will be migrated off of it starting this month.

Please note that once you log into your account there is a seven day window to upgrade. Subscriptions will include LogMeIn’s signature remote access to two or more computers, premium mobile apps for Android and iOS, and native Mac and Windows desktop apps. Additionally, all users who purchase a subscription to LogMeIn Pro will be upgraded to a premium remote access experience, with capabilities that include integration with popular cloud sync and share products like Cubby, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive, the ability to manage and transfer cloud and local files, remote printing and more.

Here are FAQs on the move.

The long and short of it is those who were using the free service will either have to move on or start paying $99 per year for access to two computers (pricing plans below.)

For web-age users who grew up using a patchwork of free services, this trend is bound to be unsettling. But it’s increasingly clear that free can’t last forever — well maybe for Dropbox with its $250 million war chest can, but that’s an outlier. How a given vendor handles the transition will determine how many of those legacy users will stay put or go searching for new free alternatives.

But really, at some point, you do get what you pay for.


67 Responses to “Another freebie bites the dust: LogMeIn pulls free remote access”

  1. Can’t say I’m impressed with this, been using the free service for years and I get a days notice to start paying????????

    I guess I will just have to start taking my work laptop home with me from now on lol! Bye LogMeIn…….

  2. ISL Online

    Another great remote access alternative is ISL Online: remote access to unlimited workstations, remote support (no-installation), file sharing, video conferencing, online presentations, meetings, live chat for website, unlimited user / workstation pricing, free trial (fully functional, no obligations).

  3. Michael Turner

    Lack of notice and unrealistic pricing: LogMeIn spent years building a good brand and many happy people as advocates of their products. Going from free to £289/year (£139 for the first year) for a service that I use to help family and remotely access my computer is a shock, and immediately makes me look elsewhere and downgrade the LogMeIn brand.

    Looking across the market it seems they are still cheaper than most competitors. However I do feel they’ve missed a trick here. It quickly becomes very expensive if you have more than two computers, well I have 8 the majority I rarely use – but I need there if that relative gets stuck! I probably only use 2 of them on a regular basis, but there is nothing in the pricing model to reflect this use case. Had they said that free accounts need to pay a yearly fee of £20 then I’d have said fair enough, but they are pricing it as if we are big companies rather than end users trying to help their families.

    I guess the next step is working out a way to make VNCfree work, or play around with TeamViewer free. I don’t object to paying something, but it needs to be realistic.

  4. LogmeinUser

    @Aaron Mahler

    I too he a logmein central account. However, as posted above, they lie or are deceptive. It is only a matter of time before hard concrete decisions on our Central Account will need to be made. They just did not want to piss us off yet, and have to manage that whole ordeal, but how will you install clients for you to manage moving forward, you will need to buy the new LOGMEIN PREMIUM accounts.

    So we have some time, but overall obviously the company has lost it’s roots, or has new Business Executives managing how to grow the tree. They need to be careful, ruin the roots or over water the roots, and the whole tree will fall over or rot, and die.

    This is a very dangerous cultural move by this company, they have a great product, but so does so many alternatives, and all these end users will move to other products with a bad taste in their mouth. Logmein will not be able to recover easily from this, as many free users of this product, like myself, also have sold it to many large Fortune 500 companies and Medium Size businesses, and now will need to review that decision also.

    Not a good management decision by Logmein, but only time will tell on this matter.

  5. Donald Armstead

    I guess ill have to get off my fat ass and walk into the other room to access my files. I think this is complete bullshit. I paid like $15 for the ipad app and $7ish for the android app for my phone. Now I have $22 worth of stuff to delete. Kinda pissed.

  6. Anytime my mother is having troubles with her computer, I can log into it with LMI and fix the problem. same with my boss or need to quickly move some files from work. I use it only once a month or so.

  7. I love all these people who have not paid anything or, $30 at most, advising a company on how to run a multi-million business.

    – Most of the biggest whiners never paid a dime.
    – Your time is, by your own admission, worthless. If you were actually worth something, you would have no problem paying a couple of hundred dollars a year. Imagine: 54 cents a day for a service that until 10 hours ago, was the greatest thing in the world.
    – LogMeIn Free is going away. So, seven days after your next log-in, you won’t have it for free anymore. No data is being lost. No photos, no music, no documents. The only thing you won’t be able to do is access a computer. You can’t figure out an alternative in a week??? The truth is, if LogMeIn gave you a YEAR, you’d still bitch.
    – For those of you accessing a bunch of computers: buy LogMeIn Central. You get unlimited computers for $300/year. Not worth it? Then why would YOU be worth anything to LogMeIn?
    – You are not CUSTOMERS. You are users. You have no more right to continue using a service in perpetuity than you do to get a free car wash forever if you had a coupon for a free one.
    – LogMeIn gave this away for 10 years. Business changes. Get on with your miserable, cheap, self-absorbed freetard lives.

    • Michael Turner

      The issue is that they announced it without ANY notice, although once you logon to the account it says 7 days grace period. However 7 days notice is not enough notice! If you are accessing a remote system there is a reason you are using remote control. For example, my Granddad is away on holiday, the lack of notice means that I either have to drive to his house when he gets back to change the remote control software OR pay for LogMeIn Pro. This makes me feel cornered in to a decision by LogMeIn. Give a month of notice at the very least would have been reasonable given the number of years the service has been available. Sure people would still complain, but at least it isn’t a decision made in blind panic, which is what they’ve created. Remember many people use this to help family infrequently when they have problems.

      I have no problem with paying something, but obviously if there is a free option that works for what I need I’ll take it. I don’t blame LMI for charging, but they’ve handled it very badly! Why spend years building a user base then chuck them all out in a way that only damages your brand?

      Also your pricing is miss-leading, By my calculation I’d need to pay £0.79/day ($1.27/day) to continue my service, based upon their suggestion that I get the Pro version. No mention of Central in anything they’ve sent/shown me. Event then Central costs £0.67/day ($1.07/day), Why they didn’t offer a basic pricing package I don’t know, something that says, hey free customers pay us £20/year for the basic service of up to 10 computers, rather than the £289/year they’re asking me for to go Pro.

  8. Bad strategy. First they’re saying ‘get lost’ to a potential customer base by hurriedly implementing a 7 day deadline. To win over customers they should have made it 3 months.

    Next their base consists of both business & home users so pricing should be accordingly.

    Businesses who can afford more and use more features should pay more while home users should be offered a reasonable price around $20 per year.

    I believe thousands of previously free users would join for $20 a year including myself and that would mean a steep increase in revenue as opposed to ditching all your customer base which you spent years building up.

    Once they lose these customers to other programs they WON’T get them back. A disastrous blunder that anyone with some common sense can see very clearly.

  9. wkearney99

    Their pricing is way out of whack. $49/year for 10 might have been acceptable, given most of the free users are probably just doing tech support for grandparents with it. The missing element in their pricing isn’t how many clients are connected, but how often they’re used.

    So now instead of having free customers that “might” convert to paying, or bring in paying, they’ve succeeded in pretty much guaranteeing the existing users will bail. And then tell everyone else to AVOID LOGMEIN entirely. Sure, freeloaders aren’t making you any money, but the negative press they’ll generate won’t be something the company stands a chance of recovering from, even at double what the free users might have ever cost to carry.

    I’ll be asked if I want to buy during the my next login. Um, no. I’m just hear to connect to a few remote machines so I can install something else on them. Buh-bye!

    Seems like a desperate measure on the company’s part, anyone hear the deck chairs being rearranged?

  10. RubixCube

    Also pretty upset by the pricing model. I was offered 50% off for being a longtime user, but even at that price for ONLY 2 computer is absurd. Will look for alternatives, even if it means setting up a VNC-type service.

    I also just installed their Cubby service and was thinking of actually paying for it, but because of how this was handled (such a short notice and crazy pricing), I’m going to look for another similar service since I dont want to all of a sudden be told “PS, We’re reducing your paid capacity by half, in 2 days”

  11. My bet — they are for sale.

    — A little more juice on the top line.
    — Boot off all the unprofitable customers lowers costs
    — Net net, the bottom line improves.

    The acquiring company then gets a profitable business without a bunch of legacy no revenue customers.

    Like most of you, I didn’t enjoy waking up to his email either. And, I’m having a hard time rationalizing the cost so that I can fix my kids or my dad’s computers without actually having to be there.

    I think I’d be happier paying for a number of hours vs. a number of computers. I’d happily part with $5/hr and say maybe have to by time in 10 hour units.

    What do you guys think alternative but equitable pricing plans would be?

  12. I control one remote computer only, so 100$ a year for about a dozen connection to it per month ? Yeah, time to move on. I can understand the need to make a profit for one’s work, but sadly not everyone has the finances to pay for the smallest of things.

  13. justdoit917

    I would not mind paying a small subscription to manage friends and family computers remotely – but their pricing structure is too expensive. All I need are simple Remote desktop access to help them out on issues they face which happen once in a while.
    If I need to use them – it needs to be like $20-$30/year for a group of 10 computers. They are offering $49 for 2 computers which turns out to be too expensive and only 7 days before they turn off. LOL.

  14. I have a client paying them $15 per machine and $150 for central by calling sales and negotiating price.

    $50 per computer???

    They should have something like a lite version for $10 per machine with volume discounts from there with the basic features you used to get for free.

    I have a lot of different client machines in multiple individual accounts for each client. I setup each client with a separate account because you could send an invite under users while you had a central trial license to allow access to their list which I found nice so I could keep all the client machines separate in an email they control if they ever need to get in. Now it all goes away, going to have to go back to using VNC and VPN connections or consider getting central on my account and moving all the machines into my own account to maintain access and then assign clients folders in central with invites to their email addresses.

    Definitely need more than 7 days notice to get that much changed. More like 60 days notice for clients I only see occasionally. Many machines may not be online all the time so I cannot just reach out and manage them.

  15. I manage several hundred computers and pay for logmein central. I have maybe 10 logmein pro accounts and a couple backup licenses. I cant find how this is going to affect me.
    My central account is up for renewal on the 28th… so someone better let me know! I am looking all over the site and cant find any verbiage on this!

  16. Aaron, while the “service” is free, many of us have purchased the products they sell in order to access the free service. There are many other options that don’t require a monthly/yearly contract to use. In the past I’ve used a free VNC app to connect and control my Mac, but it wasn’t a good app, which is why I bought the expensive ($130) LogMeIn app – it was worth the money as a one-time investment, but not an ongoing $250/year to connect to a few computers a few times a week.

    A lot of us are also taking issue with the way this was presented. An email sent the day the service is retired isn’t a good way to retain customers.

  17. I’m curious commenters — how many of you would pay a one time fee for this sort of service versus recurring subscription? and how much would you pay?? The bigger story is: when are you willing to go from free to paid for any service? plse comment below or DM me on twitter @gigabarb

  18. Aaron Mahler

    I just logged in to see what my subscription options would be (I have about nine machines listed – mostly friends/family tech support, so not something I will pay $250 to maintain). My account is listed as “LogMeIn Central” and there’s not only no sign of a fee yet, but the FAQ says LogMeIn Central is unaffected. I know I purchased an app at some time in the past, so perhaps that’s how I ended up here. I honestly don’t quite know yet what’s what and whether I will ultimately be affected or not. Feels like borrowed time now.

    Whatever the case, I’m sorry to see this happening. Just the other day I was recommending them to someone, but I’m sure their use case doesn’t justify the cost now either. They certainly should keep offering a non-pro, basic level of remote access to a larger number of clients in the $30 – $50 per year range. I’d pay that.

  19. James T Fletcher

    Freemium is a great lead generation model, it’s gets people to sign up, and @gigabarb and I have discussed this before. However — the big challenge is ensuring you’re giving those free users enough value to get them to sign up to the premium service, and that the hike doesn’t feel too big!

    If we take another approach to this and think about mobile apps, think about the free ones you use, they’re either owned by big companies like Facebook, owns Instagram and therefore they’re using your data to make money (thats another debate so lets not go there!). Or they’re running very efficient small teams who are paid for by advertising revenues, or the % of paid accounts. Again the goal is conversion.

    On a side note: I know that CentraStage offer a free version of their platform, might be worth having a look at that it’s a more comprehensive offering too, affordable in addition to all that if you did want to go premium.

  20. I’m also very unhappy with this. I use the service to manage family computers. The notification was late, unexpected, and poorly handled. Pull the plug… the worst customer service in this case.

  21. Jeremy Smith

    What REALLY irks me about this is I got a ZERO day notice. I have 3 computers that I connect to once or twice a month and am happy to pay something, but the pricing structure is out of line IMHO. I was told TeamViewer still has a free product for home use, going to check that out. Let me know if there are any other good options out there.

  22. I’m with Scott. I connect to 3 computers using LogMeIn, 2 of them a couple of times a week, and the third maybe once a month. I’m not going to pay $250 a year for this. I’m already searching out alternatives (which is how I ended up here). My most expensive iOS app just became completely useless, and I’m not happy with it.

    • I find it fascinating that after people have been using a valuable product, for free, for years that they feel they are entitled to it forever. “Loyal customers”??? Customers PAY for stuff. You are a USER. And I am sure LogMeIn will be just fine with losing you and all the money you NEVER paid them.

      If the service really is that good, consider paying for it.

      Stated another way: how much is what YOU do for a living worth? If you gave away your services for free for a period of time, does than mean that you should NEVER charge for them?

      Get a grip.

      • Spare us the explanation on the business reasoning for this move. Most complaints are about the short notice and that the pricing seems a little high for casual/personal use. I believe that most “users” understand that LMI can no longer sustain a free version of their service. LMI does need to reconsider the value of the current paid offering in order to entice those that were paying nothing to sign up and become a “real” customer. If they feel this is all they can offer then most people, myself included, will probably opt to skip paying them anything at all.

        • Rob Dunn

          Agreed. The general consensus is that a majority of free users would all be happy to pay for a service that offers what they had been getting with the freemium package, but the notice of 7 days (called ‘ample time’ by the email) to either upgrade the package or find an alternative is laughable. Also, does anyone remember “free forever?”

          Things change – we get it. But something that most people forget is that a lot of us free users go to work and buy the pro or LMI Central package, so its not like we are all freeloading without giving something back.

      • I have no objection to paying for a valuable product. However, they have been offering this product for free and suddenly I’m faced with 7 days of losing use of this product or paying $250 a year to continue…that’s quite a leap!

      • Aaron, I don’t think people expected to use the product for free forever. Most people are unimpressed with (a) the very short notice people have been given about the change and (b) the cost of the paid subscriptions which are beyond the home user. Having paid for Logmein Ignition a while back (with lifetime upgrades) I find my paid for software is now also useless.

      • Don’t be a tool. Many of us tried logmein free to find out if we like the product, While I still have logmein free on a few computers that I access semi-weekly I have purchased plenty of pro licenses for computers that I use more frequently and have suggested it to others, I can think of at least 7 pro accounts that exist only because I recommended they use the logmein remote product. The thanks I get for recommending them is they cut off the free accounts that I had? Well f- them. I will be cancelling all pro accounts I have with them, I hope they learn a lesson for pulling this kind of crap on their customers, and Yes I said CUSTOMERS.

      • Frustrated

        So you have no problem paying $100 per year for 2 computers for LogMein when supporting relatives or friends for free? The $100 charge per year is what LogMeIn is charging people after the $49 initial year.

  23. Scott Petricig

    I am NOT happy about this news! I use LogMeIn on many computers, and only use the basic remote access feature – I have no need for their other features, though some are interesting (patch management, etc.) I wouldn’t mind paying if the price were reasonable (say $20-$30 a year for the most basic features), but their pricing is way too high for personal use. I’ll be looking around for other services…