Wednesday, January 22, 2014

LogMeIn Ditches Free Accounts

As a technology guru, I've often been asked to fix computer problems by friends and relatives who live quite a distance from me. In order to help them, I've often used a remote desktop connection software called LogMeIn. It was a great option, as it was free for non-business users. It was perfect for remoting in to my parents' computer so I could do a quick fix for them or show them how to do something for themselves without my actually being there.

Yesterday, LogMeIn announced that it will no longer offer its service for free and that those who have been using the free model would have to move to one of their subscription models. This came as an extra pain for users like myself who paid good money for their mobile app, LogMeIn Ignition under the promise that it could be used in conjunction with the free connection service. To be fair, LogMeIn is offering "significant" discounts to folks who bought the Ignition app, but users only have 7 days from their next logon to decide what to do.

Personally, I realize that LogMeIn is a business, needs to make money and has probably come to realize that the free model is not sustainable. The problem is, their subscription services don't exactly reflect reality. As someone who supports a few friends and relatives on an irregular basis, paying $99 a year for connectivity to 2PCs is not worth it. I might be willing to pay a small amount for a "lite" version of the service, had one been offered and had LogMeIn handled the announcement better.

The handling of the issue has been unprofessional to begin with. First, the amount of time given, 7 days, is not nearly enough. It would seem to me that 30 days notice would be about right. Second, purchasers of the mobile app were left in the dark about how they would be compensated and were merely given the promise that they'd be notified about their plans within a week. Obviously, LogMein should have had their plans completely cemented before they ran the announcement. Third, they made that announcement on their blog and, as if they knew a shit storm would ensure, they disabled comments on the post. Fourth, if reports are to be believed, calls to their customer service line are being met with long waits and abrupt hang-ups from frustrated customer service reps. Taken as a whole, it's a good indicator that LogMeIn doesn't really care about converting the free users to paid ones and intends to focus its resources on business users instead. And I can't say that I blame them. It makes sense financially.

If you're like me, you don't want to throw money at LogMeIn after this situation, so, you're probably going to want to switch to something else. There are a number of free alternatives to LogMeIn and, seeing that they've left a lot of users in a lurch, you can bet that there will be several more arriving soon. In the meantime, check out the list below if you're a disaffected LogMeIn user:

Free Alternatives To LogMeIn:

  • Teamviewer: It's a great product for personal use and it doesn't require someone to input a numerical code in order to gain access. Which is great, because my Great Uncle Max was never able to find the code that LogMeIn generated for him. Teamviewer does seem to do some checking randomly to see if you might be using it commercially, and you will get banned if they suspect you are. 

  • Remobo: It's a little more difficult to get working than Teamviewer and doesn't look as polished. It's still a decent product, though. 

  • Chrome Remote Desktop: This is the one I personally use. Obviously, this is done through the Chrome browser, so, if you're solidly anti-Google or anti-Chrome, this isn't going to work for you. 
If you know of any more free or even "freemium" alternatives to LogMeIn, please feel free to comment and let me know. 

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