Ah, Hubspot. Are you really that determined to destroy the already-questionable value of your CMS, long tail marketing and search engine optimization offering? Does the phrase “Hubspot Changes Prices” mean that little in your marketing equation?
I’m not happy to be writing about Hubspot this morning. Hubspot’s been on my radar for a while, and I’ve told you about them several times. I think there’s a place in the world for Hubspot, even though I also believe that Hubspot’s value equation just hasn’t ever added up.
Forget Google’s questionably-motivated investment in Hubspot. Ignore silliness like the results of the query “Who Really Caught Osama?”, a Hubspot-inspired long-tail technique if ever there was one. Hubspot hasn’t ever really made sense unless you were just starting to create an Internet presence, knew nothing, and were willing to pay Hubspot a reasonable-if-eye-opening price to make everything relatively simple.
Now, Hubspot makes even less sense, and may be getting ready to make less sense, still.
At Hubspot’s pricing page (replicated in part at the top of this article to preserve in time a snapshot of a page that changes ), you can see what’s going on at Hubspot. I last showed you Hubspot’s pricing a bit over a year ago, when there were three options, all based on fixed, easily-understandable costs. Sometime between then and now Hubspot added higher tiers, seems to have raised their prices in general, and most frightening of all has made the cost of using Hubspot, your all-in-one solution, dependent on how much traffic you attract.
Next week, Hubspot will be
raising (OK, changing—I can’t speak to Hubspot’s specific plans) their prices again. And as I’ve said for several years now, if you’re a Hubspot customer, you’re stuck. Price changes? Changes in terms of service? Good luck getting your business out of Hubspot once you’ve gotten in.
I don’t like where this is going. And there’s a simple reason I don’t love talking about Hubspot’s predatory pricing—and let’s be clear; when your customers are stuck and you keep on not just raising your prices but changing the pricing structure, “predatory” is a fair word.
It’s ugly. I may have made a reputation over several decades as a no-nonsense guy who will find holes and patch them, but to get to that “fix things” part I sometimes need to start by pointing out problems. As a glass-half-full person, pointing out Hubspot’s hubris just doesn’t make me happy.
Ugly or not, there it is. Hubspot, now more than ever, is showing itself to be a service you shouldn’t use and mustn’t trust. Yes, we sell services that compete with Hubspot, and so that statement is self-serving. I’m sorry. But until Hubspot starts treating customer service more admirably, even those just-got-started types who I once thought Hubspot could be a good match for—maybe especially those people—need to stay away. Bait and Switch, Hubspot? REALLY?
If my honestly hasn’t turned you off and you want to talk about Search Engine Optimization, long tail marketing, and your place in the Internet ecosystem, you can reach me here. I hope you will.
There are a number of inaccuracies in this “article”, but I will just correct the “Customers are Screwed” part, which is completely false.
Our new pricing affects new customers, not our existing customers. All customers under contract with HubSpot will not see their prices change. We have always been generous with grandfathering customers. There are customers today paying 50-75% less than our current prices because they believed in HubSpot in 2007 and purchased then and have stuck with us since then. And we love them so much that we have not raised their prices.
We have raised prices numerous times since we started the company in 2006. HubSpot is an amazingly powerful marketing system that enables you to do things that are not possible using any other marketing software. HubSpot is still way cheaper than any of the alternatives that can do what HubSpot does.
I think that companies that buy HubSpot today will be paying a lot less than someone who buys HubSpot in the future. Our prices are still too low.
Mike, I appreciate the factual correction, and I’m sure glad to hear that to date Hubspot has been grandfathering prices. If that’s the case, then at least you guys have been doing the right thing vis a vis not abusing the position of power that a company in Hubspot’s position can use..
I will, however, restate my position that having a proprietary database structure—or one that you won’t talk openly about—puts Hubspot in a position to abuse customers the day you decide to stop grandfathering prices. Or, let’s face it, just plain holds many of your less-technically-savvy and less flush-with-cash customers hostage.
So I guess if you’ll publish the Hubspot database specification, I’d have nothing left to criticize. Oh: and, of course, issue a guarantee that the Hubspot price grandfathering will remain in effect for all customers for as long as they stay with Hubspot.
As for your assertion that Hubspot’s some kind of bargain: you’re not 100% wrong. Someone on the base plan is, as I’ve said before, doing very well compared to many other options. But from where I sit, that’s an incredibly small slice of your potential customer universe.
Like I said, I really appreciate you stepping up and helping set the record straight!
Jeff: I’ve been with Hubspot first as a client now as a partner. Their pricing model, is a very low entry level for new and small businesses one of, if not, the cheapest on the market today. The price increases are value driven so you don’t pay more unless you’re getting the results. It’s based on leads not traffic to your site. I’m paying the same price today for my Hubspot that I was when I started with in 2008, even though the product has gone through many improvements and upgrades – the most recent is their robust email marketing tool. I don’t know of any other companies that improve their product offering without the customer having to pay for it.
Stacie, I’m glad to hear that you’re happy with Hubspot, and certainly moving from being a Hubspot customer to a Hubspot partner suggests that you’re impressed with them.
Please note that when their VP of marketing Mike Volpe pointed out the (current) specifics in their pricing policy, I both published his comment and apologized for my imprecision on that point,by the way.
All of that said: my position on whether Hubspot is a “good deal” has never been at issue. My issue with Hubspot is that once you’re in, there’s no way out. Further, unless you pay big bucks, you are obligated to uses Hubspot’s CMS.
If they change their policies, I’d change my opinion. As it sits now, my point on Hubspot is simply that they prey on companies that “get in” without having any idea that the have no way out.
If you disagree, I’d love to hear why!