Twitter Tools: HootSuite Freemium – Unimpressive At Best

A few weeks back, I had written a post applauding the next-gen version of HootSuiteHootSuite Rocks: The First Impressions. When I started using HootSuite, it looked like it was bringing a lot of firepower to the world of Twitter tools.

A lot of other social media evangelists had picked up on HootSuite – and were talking about crossing the bridge from their current Twitter tools – over to HootSuite.

Danny Brown was running a featured post that day, 13th July to be exact, HootSuite Just Took The Lead In Third Party Twitter Apps – with the feedback:

Third-party Twitter client Hootsuite has just released an update that takes it pretty much head and shoulders above the likes of Seesmic and Tweetdeck, amongst others.

Now, however, it’s upped its game considerably and offers the best Twitter experience for business and personal use.

All the feel-good elements and positive vibes vanished for me this morning, after seeing the new premium paid options that HootSuite is rolling out.

Here’s a step by step rundown of why I am disappointed:

HootSuite is pleased to announce new premium packages designed for business and organizations, while also continuing to provide a free version for most customers.

Great! That’s definitely the way to go. HootSuite isn’t in the charity business – and if the premium packages are going to help me, I’ll gladly pay. Let me see what’s in store.

We aim to continue providing free service to approximately 95% of our current users. Based on a customer survey (thanks again to all of you who offered your opinions), along with a comprehensive review of usage data, we’re confident we’ll achieve this goal.

Okay, not bad. I would have loved to see the survey results, though – and what trend they established. I’m also not sure if the data usage review in a little under a month will highlight the true story. But let’s continue.

While you don’t need to select a plan straightaway, take a look at the Pro Plans and Enterprise Package to see what is included at each level.

Hmm. So looks like I now need to choose a plan. Let’s explore the options.

My first impression of the free plan was that it’s not going to cut it for me. Looks like I won’t get any priority support – and will have to live up with ads. No collaboration options, no statistics. And just one RSS feed. Suddenly HootSuite Freemium became all too lame for me.

From the look of it, only the Bronze and Silver plans are attractive – and even then there’s a fifteen dollar disconnect between the two. That pretty much puts the Silver plan out of reach for anyone not big enough to spend on a social media client. Too bad.

One more element that surprised me was the fact that even now, I am not sure where does my current version of HootSuite fit in. Should I just assume that what I am getting for the last one odd month is the Platinum version? There’s no talk about the fine-grained specifics included with each plan – and no reference to what users are going to miss out.

Sure, there is a 30 day trial, which is nice – but it sounds like I will have to go find out myself what is gone – and what isn’t. Not the way I would have liked it.

Cynthia Boris had an interesting perspective on Marketing Pilgrim about the topic:

If you are managing multiple Twitter accounts, $4.99 a month isn’t too much to ask for the service, but it’s enough to make me want to look around at their competitors to see if I can get something comparable for free.

It was speculation before, but now it’s a decision you’re going to have to make if you’re a HootSuite users. Is it worth paying for?

I’d agree. At this point, I am not sure if HootSuite Free/Bronze are worth sticking with. Especially when a bunch of other players in the Twitter tools space offer the same functionality (and more) fore free.

So tonight, I am headed back to my old favorite, Seesmic – and spending time looking (once again) into TweetDeck, CoTweet and others.

I’m definitely scaling back from HootSuite – and am not impressed. What about you?

(Image Credit: HootSuite http://blog.hootsuite.com/hootsuite-premium-accounts/)

2 Responses to Twitter Tools: HootSuite Freemium – Unimpressive At Best
  1. Genevieve Lachance
    Twitter: vasimpleservice
    August 12, 2010 | 7:14 am

    I totally agree with you and I’m also going to look around for free tools to replace Hootsuite. Their prices are ridiculous! I feel like a child who was given a toy and just as I was falling for it…YANK! Not really a good way to do business in my opinion!

    • Kapil Apshankar
      August 13, 2010 | 4:37 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Genevieve.

      HootSuite still rocks, but is no longer inline with what I am doing with social media. I can do almost everything with Seesmic – and I’m back to it.

      The other perspective here is – we will soon see the next generations of almost all Twitter clients coming up – and I’m pretty sure they will bridge the gap between where they are today, and what HootSuite offers as a leader of the pack.

      Thanks for stopping by – and I hope you back often 🙂