Intuit ends free document management due to an accounting rule?

Really? Does this make any sense? Intuit announced that QuickBooks 2011 will not have a free document management plan due to a change of accounting policies. The email they recently sent to QuickBooks users said:

Free Document Management will be discontinued in QuickBooks 2011

What’s Changing?

Document Management is free in QuickBooks 2010, and it will stay that way. But after May 15, it will no longer be free in QuickBooks 2011.

Why?

A change in our accounting policies requires us to stop offering free services in any version of QuickBooks after 2011. We’re not happy about it because we know Document Management could be an integral part of how you do business.

Waaaa? It’s an accounting software company, you’d think they could figure out a way to not let the accountants drive important business decisions. Does this mean that Intuit will never offer a paid version of Mint because they’ll have to end the free version? Does this mean that no packaged software companies can do a freemium upsell model for attached services? If the latter is true, will a company like Microsoft – that makes a lot of money off of one time installed software – be totally unable to acquire freemium SaaS companies? Will Intuit never be able to acquire a freemium company like Box.net? This seems nutty.

I just don’t get this move by Intuit, unless the real reason that the free plan is being eliminated is because they just aren’t making money off of the free to paid upgrades and this is a way to kill off the free plan with an excuse that is so obtuse customers are unlikely to question it.

What do you think? Are the accountants just running the show at Intuit and forcing business decisions to be made off of accounting rules, or is it likely that the free plan just wasn’t working for Intuit as a business/marketing model?

Here is most of the email that I was able to screen capture:

Quickbooks discontinues free document management

QuickBooks discontinues free document management

Note, I have no info other than this email about Intuit’s document management policy change. And these opinions and questions are 100% mine, having nothing to do with my employer.

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OfficeDrop’s new home page

Yup, we updated our home page again! OfficeDrop’s new home page is an attempt to get our potential users into a more specific sales funnel more quickly. As we’ve grown and expanded our product line it has become confusing for our new site visitors to find the particular service that they are looking for.

I’ll update when we figure out if the change actually helps improve conversion. Wish us luck!

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Couple of recent articles

I’ve just had a couple of articles published on other sites. I guess that is my excuse as to why I haven’t been posting very much on Startable recently…

Raising prices without causing a customer meltdown

If you recall, OfficeDrop changed prices last year. The pricing change went very smoothly – unlike some other pricing fiascos we’ve witnessed recently. I discuss the reasons I think our pricing change went smoothly. In particular, I think SaaS companies are challenged when they try to raise prices because of the recurring, generally non-contractually bound, relationships they have with their customers.

Press release tool for small businesses

I love some of the Grader products offered by Hubspot. In particular, when I was first learning to write press releases their free Press Release Grader was very helpful. I explain on DIYMarketers why I like this press release tool and recommend it to other business owners.

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NYC and Boston Tech VC – Mind the Gap

What is going on with the Massachusetts technology VC scene? While the rest of the US seems to be recovering nicely from the VC nuclear winter of death, Boston is lagging. Check out this chart of quarterly VC technology deals from Q4 2009 to Q1 2011 by CBInsights:

Is it just me, or is it odd that the dollar total for MA dropped by over $100 million while New York City increased by well over $150 million? Those are big swings, and I’d hope that the two would move in tandem – but obviously they are not!

The deal total for MA has held pretty steady for the past few quarters, ranging from 39 to 43… but NYC is doing a great job crossing the 50 deals per quarter barrier for the past two quarters.

I like to think of the two ecosysems as pretty highly correlated, with people moving back and forth or traveling back and forth on Acela pretty regularly. For example, OfficeDrop’s investor is from NYC but he’s up in Boston one a month and is open to making investments anywhere along the Acela train line. I know for a fact that Boston VCs are actively looking in NYC for investments – but are they still looking in Boston?

Something doesn’t quite jive here for me. I’m seeing a ton of interesting seed stage internet companies in Boston getting traction and funding. But are we missing out on the current internet bubble?

Checkout the CBInsights post here.

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Here comes the cloud! What is the cloud?

A new survey claims that over half of consumers are aware of the cloud, only 9% say they understand what it is. And surprise, younger people are more interested than older ones!

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