A plausible alternative

426 words, 2 minutes.

Why pay for something that you can get for free?

I have a feeling that’s been a question on all our minds since the early to mid-1990s. The Internet has given us so much utility for free. It’s amazing how blind we’ve been to ‘free’ ultimately having a cost though. Google, Facebook, et al. — all that freeness has come at a cost.

For some time I’ve looked for alternative ways to achieve things on the Internet without having to freely give up data to every advertising network. Last summer I tried out Hey for email and stuck with it as a paying customer. I can imagine many people asking themselves “why would you pay for an email service?!” Well, I find a lot of value in their raison d’être and I’m happy paying the cost for that value.

Hey made me realise how email can be a better experience when it’s done simply and thoughtfully, so I wondered where else I could do better with my digital life. I’m developing a project at the moment that has a web presence, but I don’t want to soil it with cookie notices. They’re a massive annoyance that only exists because web sites are busy farming our data. But, as a business, you really need some data about your customers! The key thing I wanted was visitor data. For years I’ve used Google Analytics, but Google is a prime example of how uncomfortable I’ve become with ‘free’. So I looked around for alternatives.

Many years ago I remember using AWStats for gathering web visit statistics, but it’s clumsy and looks dated now. I wanted something as simple and elegant as Hey. After some searching, I stumbled across Plausible Analytics.

Plausible has a simple and tidy interface. First goal met.

Weekly Summary Email The weekly summary email is a useful addition

As I looked into the company, I discovered it’s not just the product that’s impressive. Two guys, bootstrapped — no VC money to poison the way they achieve growth. They’ve done ‘honest marketing’ — helpful blog content coupled up with a product that transparently ‘does what it says on the tin

I love this blog post they wrote in 2020 — 15 best startup marketing practices we say no to (while growing our MRR by 1000% in 6 months).

The icing-on-the-cake for me to become a paying customer was that article.

Sometimes, value outweighs cost. A small monthly cost brings the value of a better experience for viewers of this site, and the data is not blindly being handed to advertisers.