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Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Business of DaaS

These days, it's important to get people to use your service at some basic level and then sell some of those users additional services.  Gmail, YouTube, and this blog you're reading (Blogger) are free services that have premium (for fee) versions like Google Apps for Business.  If you're selling Data as a Service (DaaS), give as much as you can away to attract users, but have a strategy to convert users to customers.

If you are a Data as a Service (DaaS) provider, give as much of it away as you can, but come up with a partitioning strategy to offer more for a fee.

Here's a list of some partitions that you can build into your DaaS to turn your users into customers.
  1. Capacity.  Limit the amount of accesses to the data; allow for more bandwidth or processing power.
  2. Latency. Offer real-time access for a premium.
  3. Range. Give access to only a subset of the data.
  4. Quality. Give customers free access to an unrefined product. 
  5. Functionality. Provide supplementary services and content about the data.
  6. Customization.  Allow customers to bring in their data, restricted to themselves but integrated with everything else

Here are some examples of businesses that use these different partitions.

Screencast.com allows users to upload and organize videos without charge.  The free accounts are limited to 2Gb of storage and 2Gb of bandwidth.  This is sufficient for many users, allowing for several hundred videos and downloads.  If you need more, there is a Pro Account with increases the storage and bandwidth to 25Gb and 200Gb of bandwidth.


Yahoo! Finance allows users to view stock quotes with a 15 minute delay.  Yahoo! Real-Time Quotes gives access to real-time quotes for the stock markets.


For simple tax returns, TurboTax Online files the Federal returns free.  The state returns cast $27.95.


Ancestry.com provides searchable databases of people for registered guests. The additional data to link the searches to a coherent and sharable family with photo images is a paid subscription.


The free blog at Opera allows users to post, edit, and receive comments on articles.  If you want to gain insight into who's reading your articles, you can sign up for the free version of HitsLink.  HitsLink's free version can be used for sites with fewer than 10,000 hits and holds back certain types of analysis and reporting (like demographics) for a paid account.


Customization is loading a custom data set or developing specific reports or queries for a customer.
If you give value first, you'll attract interest.  And if there's enough interest, there will be customers.  Consider these six DaaS partitons to covert buzz into sales.

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