Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


July 2014

Freemium: the next stage

Earlier this week I had the first planning meeting around turning Trip into a freemium service.  Much of the current site will remain free. The premium (paid for) service will have no restrictions and will have some enhancements.

So, here’s what we’re thinking:

Free service

  • no advanced search
  • limited export options
  • no images, videos etc.

Premium service

  • better export facilities
  • improved meta-data
  • advanced search available
  • all content types available
  • no adverts
  • various discounts from evidence-style products
  • ability to add (and share) reflective notes against each article
  • introduce the answer engine

Costings is still fluid.  I intend to have an individual subscription and an institutional one.

Individual – My aim is to suggest a monthly charge of around a cup of Starbucks coffee but people will be at liberty to reduce (or increase) the amount they pay, although there would be a lower limit.

Institutional – Various levels based on the number of individual accounts available.  In addition we intend to introduce some analytics so the institution can see how the service is being used.

It’s still early days and if you have any opinions please let me know.


We have recently been in discussion with an organisation about potentially partnering with us.  This would have brought some financial security to the site as well as allowing me to further develop some of the products we’re currently working on.  These technologies being shared with the organisation. While nothing has officially been said I get the impression that it’s not a priority for them – so I need to move on.

I have come to the conclusion that I cannot rely on others to support Trip and therefore we need to strike out on a ‘Plan B’; which is a freemium version of Trip.  In a nutshell most of the current Trip remains free and certain enhancements are made to create a ‘paid for’ premium version.

The insecurity around funding is getting more than tiring – so something has to change.  We’ve got to work out the details (features etc) but my plan is to keep the price low – I quite like the idea of linking it to the local price of a Starbucks cappuccino (or similar).  The point being that if you value Trip you’ll surly pay a monthly fee that is the same as a Starbucks (I’d welcome feedback on this point).

If we can get a regular, secure income we can properly plan for Trip.  We can enhance and roll-out some truly great products.  The vision I have for Trip is really exciting and as such I could have gone and secured venture capital funding.  But that would have changed the nature of Trip, something I’m not particularly keen on – for obvious reasons.

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