When Wesabe launched, we announced that we were planning to offer a basic membership for free, and charge $4.99 a month for anyone who had more than three bank or credit card accounts to manage. We have been very clear all along that we do not want to run an ad-supported service, because we believe that you should not have to see ads all over the Web site where you manage your money. Ads are designed to lure you into spending money, and we believe that is inconsistent with our goals for Wesabe.
We’ve had a fantastic response to the site from our users, as I’ve blogged recently. Wesabe is currently tracking $300 million (U.S.) in transactions for our users. We have over 135,000 merchants in our system, and over a million tags applied to those merchants. People are uploading data every minute of every day. We have data from banks and credit cards in 23 countries, and users in 95 countries.
We believe that we are successfully building the resource we wanted to build, as I described last year — a tool to help consumers get more visibility into their economic choices, to create more transparency around prices and satisfaction, and to share knowledge with each other about how to get the most for our money. As a simple example, when we see that every member of Wesabe who tries a restaurant never goes back, we know that restaurant probably isn’t very good. If, instead, our members try a new restaurant and go back every week, that’s probably a great restaurant. Using all of the data we are accumulating to find the best values is a great way of helping people with their money.
We don’t want to put any limits on our ability to collect and find the patterns in that data, and to use that analysis to help people get more for their money. We believe very strongly that the data we’re collecting is enormously powerful for consumers, and that anything we do to limit it will not make sense for the success of the product, nor for Wesabe members.
So while we’d originally announced that we were intending to give free Pro memberships for 2007 to everyone who uploaded in 2006, and that everyone who joined from then on would have to pay for uploading more than three accounts, we’ve decided to remove that limit. As of today and from now on, everyone who joins Wesabe can upload up to 12 bank or credit accounts for free, and use all of the current features of the site for free. (Our stance on ads has not changed — we are still not going to run ads on the site.)
We are still planning to launch Pro memberships, as a way of supporting our business and as a way of providing extended capabilities, in the near future. When we do, we will tie Pro memberships to added features, such as couples’ accounts and SMS integration. To live up to our promise of free Pro accounts for our early members, we’re going to give all users who joined and uploaded data before the end of day tomorrow (midnight, February 28th, 2007, US/Pacific) one free year of Pro membership starting on the date we launch Pro features, rather just for 2007. (So, if we launch Pro features on July 1st, 2007, everyone who joins and uploads by tomorrow will have a free Pro account through June 30th, 2008.)
In the long run, we think that building a tool that allows consumers to find the best values for their money will help people the most. We want to make that path as easy as possible, and we believe that this move will help us do so.