Yeah, it’s probably not a great idea to offer lifetime hosting and we aren’t going to do it forever. It was an insistence by StackCommerce, and honestly getting their features was too good of an offer to give up.
To sum up some of the justifications we have:
Shared Hosting has low overhead. About 90% of Stack signups are static html sites created via SitePad, or Wordpress (which LS Cache does an amazing job at keeping load down with)
We make about $3.50/yr on domain renewals for every lifetime plan, so there’s still some recurring income. For some TLDs like .ru, that’s a $7 profit margin
The publicity, backlinks, SEO traffic, etc. that these promotions bring are nice. Stack spends thousands on Adwords for us, so it’s helped cut down our advertising budget a lot.
We have monthly-priced recurring upgrades available, and a good share of the lifetime subscribers have purchased these (e.g. raise 10 subdomains to 50 for $0.99/mo)
The #1 reason we’ve justified it so far - is that the word of mouth for recurring sales that these lifetime promotions generate has been remarkable. Our monthly income has increased 800% through people buying additional monthly plans, people referring their friends to buy monthly plans, people buying additional domains, etc.
So yeah, I’m very aware of the reputation around lifetime hosting and it definitely wasn’t a light decision. It’s hard to be competitive in the shared hosting field, though we’re doing the best we can to stay relevant. It is a limited time promotion - it’s definitely nothing we’re going to base our business model off or make a habit of offering.
I think it’s cool as hell that you landed that kind of marketing. StackSocial is a site I frequent, you can land some serious deals there from time to time. Even got my favorite pocket knife from there. Best I can tell they’re incredibly effective at marketing to the best audience in a very natural way that feels genuine but still reels you in.
They do push people to do what works though. They’re not going to market something they know they can’t sell. That’s why you want to buy what they sell, they know it’s what you want and they got it for you.
Every success comes with risk, and if this gets your name out there then you win, period. I just wish you much sleep in the future.
Let’s be honest here. I haven’t really read this thread, or even the full post of the op. However, lets talk the “Lifetime hosting” thing.
FIrst, ask yourself what lifetime anything is. Does this mean you can buy this product and the service will last your entire lifetime? Ask yourself next if the price point will even make that possible for the company to make money, hire employees for support staff, and deal with eventual replacement of equipment.
Now, if you think “No, that is not possible.” than you are likely right. What these companies do is usually one or more of the following;
Have shit tons of limitations.
Oversell the product.
Have a step up to paid program, that they incentivize.
Have a way to make money via add ons, or specials.
Actually don’t have lifetime service, and expect the product to eventually be “worthless.”
Don’t hire employees, so long wait lines for support.
Create ways to make you leave, and go elsewhere. ( You already paid. )
… and many more.
Effectively, when you pay for a lifetime service they already have your money. You give them zero reason to actually continuing to provide a good service afterwards. They simply provide the bare minimum as your won’t be giving them anymore money anyways. So, why should they care.
With a host that you pay monthly, or yearly… they have to keep providing a good service to keep getting your money. If they don’t then, you go away and they lose that money.
There is ne caveat, and one place I have seen this model work… and it is in games with micro transaction stores. That is the only place I have ever seen it work, and for good reason. “Shinies.”
As mentioned, nothing is forever and there’s no such a thing as lifetime host as there will be one point when the site will get issues/close or who knows what. For me it’s a waste of time, yearly hosting is way better.
It’s quite interesting to see how things have evolved here We have two reputable members here @Jarland and @Miguel but I believe also @armandorg who - initially not fond of the idea - now offer lifetime deals, and good ones at that. In the end it’s always a gamble but all Lifetime deals I’ve signed up with have worked out to the extent that I’ve gotten back more than my money’s worth. Also none of my lifetime products have been suspended so far. The longest having lasted for 3?! years in a row now. They have been around way longer though.