When Repustate launched all that time ago, it was a completely free service. We didn't take your money even if you offered. The reason was we wanted more customer data to improve our various language models and felt giving software away for free in exchange for the data was a good bargain for both sides.
As our products matured and as our user base grew, it was time to flip the monetary switch and start charging - but still offering a free "Starter" plan as well as a free demo to try out our sentiment & semantic analysis engine.
As we've grown and as our SEO has improved, we've received a lot more interest from "tire kickers". People who just want to play around, not really interested in buying. And that was fine by us because again, we got their data so we could see how to improve our engines. But most recently, the abuse of our Starter plan has got to the point where this is no longer worth our while. People are creating those 10 minute throwaway accounts to sign up, activate their accounts, and then use our API.
While one could argue that if people aren't willing to pay, maybe the product isn't that good - the extremes people are going to in order to use Repustate's API for free tells us that we do have a good product and charging everyone is perfectly reasonable.
As a result, we will be removing the Starter plan. From now on, all accounts must be created with a valid credit card. We'll probably offer a money-back trial period, say 14 days, but other than that, customers must be committing to payment on Day 0. We will also bump up the quotas for all of our plans to make the value proposition all the better.
Any plans currently on Starter accounts will be allowed to remain so. If you have any questions about this change and how it affects you, please contact us anytime.