It’s almost exactly five years since I started using SlideShare. On May 15th 2007 I uploaded a set of powerpoint slides all about the Couch website I shared at the Govis conference that year.
I’ve been a happy, if in infrequent user of the presentation service ever since.
Not only have I uploaded and shared another 17 sets of slides but I’ve been alerted to some awesome new content created by people whose work I really respect.
As I can only see the number of views, embeds, downloads and favourites, I don’t really have a sense of how much value people are getting from accessing my slides. Are people attending any of the workshops I run actually accessing my material? Are people getting anything out of it?
I’m pausing to think about these types of questions as I’ve just become aware of a change in SlideShare’s pricing structure.
The free membership tier works for smallish presentations (ie up to 10MB) but you have to pay a monthly fee if you want to upload larger files.
As my presentations are contain lots of graphics they tend to be fairly hefty. So I need to upgrade to at least the first tier of the ‘Pro’ service. Based on today’s exchange rate, it’ll cost me NZ$24 per month (or NZ$222 per annum).
Obviously the ‘market’ for the presentation services offered by SlideShare is fairly well heeled. I draw this conclusion as the company (which has just been bought out by LinkedIn) have not opted for a ‘notional’ or cup of coffee priced charge. I tend to make smaller payments without hesitation.
The prices of a cup of coffee approach is adopted by services like Wikispaces, whose charges start at $5 per month for it’s “Plus Plan”, and LastPass, which charges $12 per annum for “Premium”.
Is it worth it?
On the positive side: SlideShare is an easy to use service, attractive and has many good features to promote sharing. If I move I’ll probably want to move my presentations, which will take a fair chunk of time. Moving is no guarantee of security, as another service may also start free then introduce a charges. Along the way people following my work could be lost.
On the down side: it is actually a fair amount of money, which I’m uncertain about the real value I’m receiving. SlideShare can gussy up all marketing hype it likes, but it remains hot air until I generate some tangible benefit.
The dilemma is not unique to my decision about using SlideShare. It applies to virtually ever aspect of having a web presence. Inertia generally takes over. Mostly once things are set up I don’t tend to regularly re-evaluate the benefits.
Until I’m forced to, that is. Right now I don’t have an instant response to whether it is worth paying for SlideShare Pro. I’m going to sit on the fence while I think it through. Part of this is about finding out the pros and cons of any alternatives I can find.
Hmm, what should I do?
Photo credit: joygantic