When a pay-to-use service becomes free, something is not right. It?s the case of Mipasado.com, a web through which people get in touch with ex-Uni or college mates that, until last month, required credit card payments. Its owners affirm that they count on 4.5 million users throughout Europe (the managing company is settled in the UK) and that now it?s a free site.
What’s happened? On the one hand, the Spanish market is among the most sceptical ones as far as pay-to-use services are concerned. The only services of this kind that work fine are the professional ones since users have the “investment excuse” (they pay because they know they’ll get a higher revenue in return). As far as I know, Mipasado.com had one-visit-only users (most of them tempted by curiosity) that didn’t make a second payment. Revenues were decreasing, instead of rising.
On the other hand, the advertising market on the Internet is growing and, therefore, it?s more profitable to have lots of visiting pages on the pocket. This is why the Spanish paper El País has decided to offer more “open” services, even though this strategy will reduce the number of subscribers.
Finally, there are more and more competitors offering the same services for free. Mipasado.com’s strongest rival in Spain is Neurona (what a name, by the way), which is supported by Infojobs, one of the most successful online services in Spain. But professional social networks, somehow, do also compete against Mipasado.com.
So it didn’t have any other option apart from becoming an ordinary social network; at least it counts on many users, more or less like the North American FaceBook, which has created a giant network by gathering ex- Uni and school mates.