Suggestion - Licensing Options for small business / home users

While I am currently fine with testing out the free version for home use, it would be nice if there would be a slightly more powerful version for small business or non-commercial users.

My suggestion would be:

  • 10 premium users
  • 5 standard users
  • 10 Active Sync licenses
  • $99 per year

The currently offered smallest “pay” version is just too expensive for small business or home users, but I bet many free version users would like to add features or just a few more users to their installation.

Alternatively to the suggestion above, you could also offer a la carte add-ons to users of the free version. This could work like this:

  • $10 per active sync user per year
  • $10 for any additional user (up to a total of 10 users)

It would also be nice if the free version would include 5 standard users in addition to the 5 premium users. I mean even when using it for home, I would need one account to store voicemails from our phone system.

In general, I would not underestimate the value of having people using free versions because having a community is very beneficial for product development and free advertisement. I mean the people who do use “home based servers” are frequently the ones involved in the decision making process at work and would probably feel more comfortable to select something that they can play around with outside of work.

Two examples of companies benefiting from strong user communities are 3CX (free PBS without any restrictions) and Sophos (free firewall OS offering almost all premium features except heartbeat). In my opinion, the biggest value is that people who do use “enterprise software” in a home environment are typically very tech capable users. As such, you are getting “premium” testing results and feedback for free.

It should also be noted that getting small companies on board early on, can sometimes result in paid customers when these companies start growing. As you know, most companies don’t really change solutions that just work and give them what they need. it is definitely easier to get small companies to upgrade to a paid version when they grow than it is to make medium companies migrate to a new platform.

Just some free suggestions to consider.

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as a (rather new) Axigen Partner and a small business owner I partially understand where you’re coming from.

However: Axigen offers a free version already, which (roughly speaking) only lacks Active Sync and Cyren.

I think it is fair to say, that people using the free version are not necessarily in need of Active Sync. IMAP, CalDav / CardDav can be used on Tablets and Phones too.

If you have a (small) business, you should be aware, that secure and maintained IT services and devices cost a certain amount of money.
If you are too small to stem the cost of € 534 for 10 users for 1 year (Which is 44,50€ per month) and € 174 for each consecutive year (14,50€ / Month), you can either stick with the free version for 5 users, but without ActiveSync and Cyren or try your luck with other products.

Apart from ActiveSync and Cyren, there is also support involved.
I normally don’t do product bashing, but for instance IceWarp offers a “48hr” Support policy with their licensed product (similar to Axigen Business): You will reveice a reaction (Nothing more!) within 48 hours. Each answer will take another 48 hours. Want support sooner? Pay up!
Axigen responds within hours, so far within 1 to 6 hours hours at most and then stays on topic until it is solved.

Now, as fas as the price is concerned:
They are still in the same ballpark as Zimbra, Kopano (Zarafa), IceWarp and Kerio - to name a few.
Some of these offer “community versions”, where possibly can use some sort of ActiveSync (Kopano’s ZPush) but will also have to cope with: Nightly builds as update (Hardly tested), No Web-Interface etc. etc.
Others (Horde, SOGo) will offer completely free versions … but absolutely no support, unless you buy commercial support - which will cost you 4 four-digit sum per year.

So, what alternatives would be there?
Hosted Exchange? Smallest Package with Exchange: € 10.50 / Month / User. Including Office etc. … and having all your E-Mails read by M$, NSA etc. etc. (SCNR)
Google Mail for Business starts at 6$ / User / Month. Google. Should I say more?
These big services do have the culprit of single SMTP Servers being blacklisted, so your mail might be received by your counterpart…or not.

My company offers “Hosted Axigen” either on a shared server or on a dedicated instance.
Although I am still cheaper than M$, I would not be able to stick with € 99 / year for 10 users - as the license extension is € 174 per year for 10 users already!

Last but not least:
“As such, you are getting “premium” testing results and feedback for free.”
Which is why they have the free version already.
Apart from that: Giving out your product for (nearly) free and (hopefully) getting feedback is not going to pay any bills.

Again: If you are struggling to handle the license fee, than either your company or your IT budget is too small for what you want, which is a full-blown, supported, E-Mail-Infrastructure with added ActiveSync and commercial AV / AS.
Review of either IT Budget or company goals and wishes is needed.

I apologise, if any of the above should be received as offensive.
But well over 20 years of working with smaller and bigger (yuuuge!) companies have shown me, that the cost of a secure and supported infrastructure is still being underestimated and seen as a burden, although all of these business will confirm that they’d be dead within days, if their IT should be compromised or blow up.

Kind regards

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Hi Joroen,
I mostly agree with your reply and you have given a fair list of alternative products. However, you also proved my view on pricing to be correct.

As you mentioned, G Suite, a software solution that includes Business GMail, Business Hangouts (Chat) and Google Meet (online meeting solution), is only $6 per user. Furthermore, Office 365 which includes Exchange Mail, Microsoft Teams (meeting solution and Slack alternative) and an online version of all major office products, is only $5 per user in the United States. Here it should be noted that especially the meeting solutions are adding a lot of value for small business users. I also think that many startup companies make their first choice based on budget and here I stick with my argument: It’s easiest to get new companies as long-term customers because they might never change to another product if they have found something that works well for them.

As such, my business is using Offcie 365 because we require a meeting solution and we also love Teams for collaboration. While I personally agree with your points on potentially getting blacklisted and, more importantly, privacy, most smaller companies won’t have enough in-house knowledge (in fact, most startup companies don’t even have an IT department) to know or understand these points before they decide on an email solution.

I also would like to clarify that my post wasn’t meant to put a negative spin on Axigen. Quite the opposite! I think Axigen is a great solution and I have been watching it grow over the years. While it isn’t a good match for my company for various reasons, I am thinking about switching our family email server from Smarter Mail to Axigen.

Anyhow, thank you for your detailed response. I hope my original post hasn’t offended you. It was meant to be constructive feedback to allow Axigen increase growth and customer reach. But I can see that my wording hasn’t brought that point across very well.

Hello guys

I was just searching the community around for informations about premium licences, when I found this posts. And I can’t go around to mention, this is exact my mind and what I am searching for.

For private usage I got a free Axigen license. That is great for some purposes. Thanks a lot for that @Axigen. I would like to use also the active sync feature syncing some private notes and some tasks. Since I am working in the IT business, I am missing that for private usage. I would also like using the RPOP feature to download and backup mails from different accounts. I just found out the free license is not capable to do so.
For private usage paying a 10 user license is a heavy load. Buying single licenses is not possible and of course I understand the reasons for making that big steps. You cannot offer full support for many customers who just pay 3-4 users. The maintainance costs will be bigger than the income.

For companies testing purposes the 60-days trial will fit their basic needs, I think. But having a long time watching a product and it’s features can lead to more detailed impression. It makes the admin familar with the product. I think also this is the reason why Microsoft products are that successfull. People are just familar with it. So having a small amount of full featured premium licenses would be pretty good. I also think in a range around 4 premium and 4 standard licenses (for some automated tasks) would be fine.
Of course I would pay 1 premium license, if this would be the only alternative. :smiley:

I am working in a small companys IT departement. We are not satisfied with our current email solution. There occure many problems during the day, which impact our workflow. We will propably change the solution in the future days.
I can’t say what will happen in my companies future. Since I am using Axigen since more than a year ago, I can say updating it is super easy and this is a pain in our current product. Using docker is the best you could ever do. About the other Axigen feature I can’t say much. I just use calendar and contacts synchronisation, because of the locked features.

What do you lose, when you offer some additional free premium licenses? Companies with less than 10 employees will never buy a self hosted email solution. They will not have the skills for that.

Have a nice day.
Kind regards

Added to that:
Companies with 10 users (or less) usually rely on smaller IT Companies, to take care of stuff like E-Mail - no matter if it’s local or hosted.

So, how about convincing a smaller customer of sharing a mail server?
Cost shared, IT company is administering and monitoring.
Charge them a monthly rate per mailbox and you’re done.