JotForm 3.0 Sneak Peaks: Philosophy

Last week I covered many new features of JotForm 3.0 in screenshots. Today, I would like to talk about something different. Something I cannot capture in a screenshot. Today, I’d like to talk about our philosophy for JotForm 3.0. I think these things are what separates JotForm from the rest of the crowd.

1. We are glad that our upgrade rates are low

Every other form builder forces their free users to have ads and their logo on their forms and emails. They also cripple features and limit users to number of questions and number of forms. We are disgusted by this general attitude on many web apps. They treat free users like shit. What would anyone do with only 3 forms? Then they talk behind their users and tell others how their upgrade rates are so good because they squeeze free users so well. Just disable features and bombard users with ads and your logo. That’s so easy, anyone can do that!

We are glad that our upgrade rates are low. In fact, we do not track such metric. One metric we really care about is how long a user will stay with us. There are many users who have been using JotForm actively for so many years. I think if someone uses a service successfully for long time, they will eventually upgrade. That’s what I care about. Providing a great product and a reliable service so that our users will keep using us for many years and they will tell about us to their friends and colleagues. Now, that’s very hard to do!

We do not cripple features. All features are available to both free and premium users. We also have no limits on number of forms you can have. We only have a limit on the number of monthly form submissions and upload space. Those things really cost us, so our users can understand why we are charging them.

2. We do not want to be Viral

We do not require our users to show ads or our logo on the forms and submission emails. We understand and respect that our users would like to look professional. It looks cheap to have a third party logo on your forms. We would like our users to look really smart.

We hope that we will provide such a great utility that our users will tell others about us voluntarily. So, we may not be viral like our competitors but we will still grow nicely.

3. We want our users to leave our site

Our users are busy. They are busy creating great looking web sites. They are busy providing great service to their own customers. They are busy looking good to their bosses. Our job is to let them create great looking web forms and let them do that quickly. So, we are spending a lot of time thinking how we can get out of the way. How we can help our users get their job done quickly and leave our site.

That’s why we have done number of things differently on the new version. We do not require users to create an account any more. Since most users would like to just create a form and receive an email when someone fills it, we do not ask for registrations. You can create a form, enter the email address you would like to receive submissions on and be done with it. As long as you do not receive too many submissions, you can use our service for free and without an account as long as you would like.

4. We undercharge

One of the things we keep hearing from our customers is that how our rates are the lowest in the market. Our monthly Premium account costs about two cups of Starbucks coffee. We try to stay lean. We don’t overspend. We service quarter-million users for only $1000/month on dedicated server bills. Web services don’t cost too much these days. We use open source tools like Linux, Apache, PHP, Mysql. That also helps a lot.

Another “tactic” our competitors use is to have those gazillion number of membership levels and give them these weird names. Their secret is that if you are one of the “in” people you would know that expensive plans make the cheaper ones look better. Well, I really like Starbucks coffee but every time they call the “small” one “tall”, I cringe.

No, thank you. I will take a nice cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee today. It may not be cool but it tastes great. 🙂

5. We don’t want you to Sign Up

While our competitors are busy creating great looking landing pages and improving their sign up rates. We decided to take completely different direction. On the new version, we do not require signing up any more! You can simply create your form, setup your email alerts, leave our site and never come back. Your forms will keep working for many more years to come.

So, what is the catch? There is always one, right? We will not bother you unless you get too many submissions. If you do get a lot of submissions, we will nicely ask you to upgrade to two cups of coffee per month plan. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. You will only get to pay if you become very successful and your forms will keep getting a lot of responses.

6. We suck at SEO

How crazy one must be in these days to have a completely javascript homepage? Didn’t we get the memo that you must have a lot of text on the homepage so that search engines can pick them up. Well, we don’t care. We would like our users to start building their forms right away, not waste their time on our landing pages. We don’t care about SEO. We care about our users.


All this talk must have sounded crazy. Well, it is sometimes good to be little crazy, isn’t it? I hope you will also be crazy about JotForm 3.0. 🙂

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