Three pounds got me a tea and hot roll this morning from my local cafe. A pot of tea which should give me three decent cups of tea and a toasted flatbread with sausage. A little bit upmarket when you consider this is a cafe in the West of Scotland but also good value when you consider that it’s not your usual greasy spoon morning roll with a slice of cheap meat thrown in. Good value I think you would agree. I get enough fuel to see me through to lunchtime and enough tea to keep me working for at least two hours.

What about value on the Internet though? What determines value in the products and services that we buy but are nothing more than bytes that exist in the Internet?

Five dollars is a common price point for many products and services. Evernote offers extra bandwidth for synchronising data for this amount, Github offers a private repository for the same amount and you can follow more people on App.net for, yes you guessed it, five dollars. It’s a common price for many services but the variety of value differs from product to product.

There is a trend on the Internet when it comes to services and value. The older the service, the more value you get. It’s not true in every case, but it’s certainly applicable to many.

Take Evernote for example. Back when I first took an Evernote subscription the added value I got from it was mainly their offline notebooks and extra bandwidth for synchronising my data contained in Evernote. Now though, Evernote offers collaboration, extra security, presentation and even other premium features from their other apps. Good value if you use these on a monthly basis.

Let’s look at App.net now. Out of the box a free account gives you great value including the ability to use their Passport application and follow up to 40 people. On top of that you get 500MB of storage on their platform. For an extra five dollars a month you can follow as many people as you like and also get an extra 500MB of storage taking you to 1GB. Right okay, not the range of extra value that Evernote offers but it is value. App.net is young though and in time they may offer more to its paying customers to encourage free customers to upgrade.

The trouble with comparing these services and more is that there’s usually only a handful of great services in each market. Comparing services from different markets isn’t going to work. It’s not fair to say that Evernote offers more value than App.net but in terms of a basic feature count, yes it offers more, but it depends on person to person what features they use.

For many of us that use the Internet on a daily basis though, we live in a time where five dollars is nothing. It’s a fancy coffee or even breakfast. I don’t think five dollars to me is a lot of money to pay for a serivce online for a month. Even the most basic service is worth paying for.

If it provides value to you as a consumer then why not?

What’s the minimum you would pay for extra features and value from a service?

Also does that price change depending on the important of the service you are using. Would a service critical to your business warrant a larger minimum price so that it continues to support your business?