I said that it will always be free, but now I want to charge a membership fee. Why does the 360 ​​browser “face”?

The Internet may not have real eternity. We are waiting for another Internet product to change its course. This time it is a 360 browser that many people have used.

360 push members to create six privileges

360 security browser recently launched a membership function . Members have six privileges, namely DoH security anti-hijacking, intelligent privacy protection system, DNT anti-tracking, support for the state secret SSL protocol, exclusive feedback channel, and try the latest version in advance.

The membership price for one month is 9.9 yuan, the total price for 12 months is 99.9 yuan, an average of 8.3 yuan/month, and the first recharge benefit is 1.9 yuan/month. At present, there is also an activity to send a member to send a member experience. As long as a new user is pulled through the invitation link to complete the first recharge, both friends and inviters will get a 15-day free experience. Judging from the results of 12,000+ people getting free experience, there are not many users who know that 360 browser has opened a membership system and paid.

For old users of the 360 ​​browser, the six privileges written by this member are also a bit tasteless. An old Lv.6 user in the 360 ​​community ridiculed the fact that the 360 ​​secure browser has to charge money to ensure safety, and was puzzled by the 360 ​​browser’s DNT service that other browsers provide for free as a selling point.

▲ 360 community users complain

Many users in the 360 ​​community also said that they are ready to move, and some people are unbelievable about the 360 ​​browser launching paid memberships. The community user Xiao Yao Diary said:

Anti-virus software is no longer available for members. With so many varieties of browsers and so many choices, will there be a charge?

▲ User feedback from the 360 ​​community

Of course, between the existing "no uninstall" and "unreasonable charges", there are also old users of the 360 ​​browser who have put forward more requirements for membership privileges. 360 community LV4 users hope that members can add an accelerator function that can speed up opening, speeding up, speeding up downloading, and more users want members to be able to advertise.

Only after a lot of controversy and dissatisfaction, the 360 ​​browser quietly went offline on December 2nd. The original member recharge page has returned to the original position of the free secure browser. It’s just hard to say that the membership system will fail. There will be a day when it will be re-listed.

Browser, no charge?

There are two reasons why the 360 ​​secure browser announced that it will be a membership system attracts attention. One is that the 360 ​​browser has announced that it will be free forever. This time, it is very difficult for users to recharge their membership. Second, it is really difficult for users to see browser charges.

The original browser is indeed charged.

In 1994, the Mosaic Netscape browser clearly marked the price of 39 US dollars per year . If you are relatively new to this browser, then you have probably heard of its later product Netscape Navigator (Netscape Navigator). Although Netscape also provides a free trial version online, the main monetization mode of the Navigator browser at this time is to pay. You can only try it without spending money, and you must subscribe if you want to experience it.

▲ Mosaic Netscape. Picture from: Aldo Computers

But soon Microsoft began to enter the market to grab the cake. They taught Netscape a lesson in person, letting Netscape know that "experience is worthless in front of free." Through the bundling of IE browser and Windows system, coupled with the free policy of IE browser, the giant has achieved success.

When each entry is changed to IE browser, the role of the entry of the browser is revealed. The strategy of the 360 ​​open platform is more similar to the profit model of the IE browser-through platform-level products such as 360 navigation, 360 search and games, sharing traffic with a large number of third-party websites and software to maintain business survival.

Of course, as long as you occupy the entrance, everything is easy to make money later. At the most exaggerated time, the Internet Explorer browser, which was later used by countless users to complain about emoticons, had a dominant performance in 2002, with 96% of the market share really "no one can hit".

▲ Internet Explorer, which was later mocked by countless users, was also the overlord

As the market becomes more and more competitive, there are also new ways of profiting. This time the browser’s new profit method is related to 360, but it is not the 360 ​​browser but the Opera browser acquired by the founder of 360 Group Zhou Hongyi. Its profit model is closer to the model we are familiar with today . Retain users, remember user behavior, integrate advertising supply chain, and make brand advertising more effective.

But in addition to these mainstream browsers, there have been browsers that have been trying to make money using the old way of subscription and payment. Similar to the previous Mammoth browser, Puffin browser is "anti-traditional", and they are still making money using the earliest Netscape browser.

▲ Paid Puffin browser

The 360 ​​browser, which makes money from shared traffic, is investing in the subscription system this time because of the real crisis situation. After leaving IE, coming to Chrome, the 360 ​​browser with a market share of 24.60% is still the second place on the PC side. But at this time, the 360 ​​browser can only be classified as other in the mobile browser, missing an important opportunity.

In the third quarter financial report of 360, 360's revenue in the first three quarters was 7.974 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 16.26%; the net profit attributable to the parent was 1.707 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 67.03%. In the case of a sharp drop in net profit, finding new profit growth points is also a choice that 360 needs to make, so today we saw such a membership-based 360 browser.

▲ Picture from: Foresight Industry Research Institute

Free is a means, profit is eternal

The Internet products we use today also have different monetization models.

Products such as WeChat, Alipay, Douyin, Baidu, and Meituan are free. They make money through your user data and consumption on the app. Games such as King Glory and Peace Elite are also free. After free play, there are skins, Equipment is waiting for you to consume; Pinduoduo and Qutoutiao are subsidized, and you can exchange discounts and cash for your time and stickiness.

But in the final analysis, these companies are all for profit, and a company that does not work hard for profit is unethical in business. So whether it is the threshold of 0 yuan or the new app that you are welcome to use with money, every bit of "loss" of them has a greater return.

If they stop sending money or charge, it can only mean that the company has different requirements for their profitability.

In addition to the "back to the original" 360 browser, Google Photos also violated its previous promise.

Google Photos used to provide users with unlimited image storage space, but Google Photos recently announced that unlimited storage space became history. From June 2021, photos uploaded by Google Photos will directly occupy the storage capacity of personal Google services, and the remaining storage space of services such as Gmail will also be deducted. The vice president of Google Photos stated that this decision is closely related to changes in the network environment:

When we launched this service five years ago, our upload speed was very different from today's mobile world.

Of course, what has changed is not only the increased demand for users to upload photos, but also Google's revenue structure. In 2015, advertising revenue accounted for nearly 90% of Google’s revenue, but now it only accounts for 80.6%. Google is also vigorously developing non-advertising business, and diversified attempts are likely to make services like Google Photos become a subscription system in the future​.​

The needs and behaviors of users are changing, the goals and structure of the company are changing, and everyone's concept of different modes such as paid and free is also changing. Ten years ago, I am afraid that no one would believe that they would pay for different music and video sites, and perhaps no one would have imagined that the monthly subscription cost would exceed 100+ yuan. Unexpectedly, some products would be willing to spend money to exchange traffic, but these have changed. Became a reality.

It is understandable that the products that initially provide services during the change choose to use the new model to make money, after all, the company's money is still the first. So don’t be so angry when an Internet company "faces", as in the youth movie "The Year in a Hurry": "Oaths cannot measure steadfastness, nor can they judge right or wrong. It can only prove and speak out. At that moment, we were sincere to each other.”

For users, those who are willing to continue using the product can feel free to pay for suggestions. Maybe the product manager will really adopt your suggestions like a 360 browser. There are many new products to choose from for those who are unwilling to pay. After all, there is no shortage of free products on the Internet.

The picture is from KS KYUNG on Unsplash

Not too interesting, not too optimistic.

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo