A trap, or a growth hack

I was looking for a wordpress plugin that allowed me to install a form with a drop down and some other variables and i came across a great one, the reviews were good and company seemed professional, the features were on point, so i installed it.

I started to setup and install a form on the site. and all seemed well. great UX, great design, easy to use. no problem.

But, a form is only as useful as the entries you can gather, so when i went to review the entries and saw this…

I was pretty unimpressed. that was enough to take my rating from a 5 to a 0, its not that i’m against paying for something, nor am i trying to get something for free, but when you’re looking for a form, and trying to assess the output, this is an extremely disruptive step. and if you’re like me and this was a small scale one-off, paying for an annual subscription seems excessive for a 1 week test.

negative as this experience was, i think there are pretty awesome and useful lessons to be learned about growth hacking and optimisation here.

Firstly, its clearly deliberate that the pay wall is locking access to the entries instead of any other aspect of the product, after all, the purpose of the produce is to collect these entries, thats where the value is, and therefore the key aspect that a user would pay for. All other features, functions, UX and tools are simply a means to an ends to get to the list of entries, so for the business to ‘give that away’ for free is a way of test driving without also giving away the very thing customers have downloaded the product for (the entries) So in this regard, having the paywall where it is, is actually a brilliant growth hack, you’ve already committed enough to not only install the app, but also create a form and load it to collect entries, by this stage you’re pretty heavily committed, and getting you to pay at this point is much easier than if the paywall were presented earlier. ugly as it is to say so, the product is effectively using the entries as a way of holding you ransom for a subscription fee.

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