I have a product for monitoring specific areas of content within webpages and notifying the customer when changes occur to this content and what they are. (E.g. monitor the latest stories on a news website page, but ignore all other content on the page.) The product is run an online service.
At the moment I have one customer (although they are intending to use it on 10Ks of links) so the pricing mechanism is at an early stage. I would like to figure out the best way to do it before we go about automating the billing and payment aspects.
Currently we charge per request to check the content, and we charge more for requests that need to be checked within shorter time windows. Since Users may be performing 1000s of requests daily, according to different schedules, and also manually requested through the interface, this can lead to quite complicated billing calculations.
First, should I translate the pricing into credits, where for example a slow request costs 1 credit and a fast request costs 2 credits?
Is this going to make is a bit easier to understand for the user? Would it potentially make them spend more money?
Second, would I better to institute a tiered subscription system or a pay as you go system?
There needs to be some form of bulk discounting so either;
£X for 0-1000 credits per month £Y for 1001-10000 credits per month £Z for 10001-100000 credits per month
if you go over the limit for your level you have to upgrade
£X per credit and you have to keep topping up the credits, but you get a discount if you buy more than N credits at a time.
The issues I am trying to consider are:
making it clear and simple for the users
encouraging users to use the service as much as possible
making any payment system easy to implement (I think it will be easier to get customers to pre-pay than bill them variable amounts monthly. This will also be better for cashflow)
allow easy reporting of charges and minimise queries about this
As I am based in the UK, I also need to deal with VAT correctly and in a way that is not confusing to users from different countries.