We covered Wink’s sudden cash grab attempt last week. While $4.99 doesn’t sound like a whole lot, it’s significantly more than it costs to handle the backend, unless they have a lot fewer customers than they appear to claim or they’re in horrible contracts.
Well, it got enough backlash that they are pushing back the pay up date from May 13th to May 20th (the original blog post was updated today) because giving people another week to learn of alternative services like Ezlo that will do it for half the price makes a whole lot of sense.
They’re not backing down on the price however, and claiming $4.99 is as modest as possible a fee as they can charge to handle the backend computing of a device that sends a keep alive packet and roughly 40 megabytes of data a month a Wink system uses.
That would be like us charging you about 12 cents for you to read this article. Yeah, I probably put 12 cents of effort into it. Feel free to donate via paypal, venmo, or support on Patreon.
40 megs of data is not particularly much. Especially not for a service that’s already built unless you’re running the servers in house on unicorn tears, in which case having to hire Ryan Gosling full time to tell the unicorn that it’s just not going to happen might require the monthly-multi-million income they’re attempting to generate.
Wink supports more than 4 million connected devices according to their post. Assuming each person with a Wink device has 10 of them that puts the customer base at 1 million people, but let’s give Wink a little more of a shot here and say every Wink owner has 20 devices. (Note: I do not think the average Wink user has more than 8 devices)
This puts their member base at 200,000. Or about a million dollar income a month to pay for a service that’s already developed and can’t cost anywhere near that to maintain.
Checks glassdoor, 50-200 employees. Assuming 200 employees and way overestimating the amount of devices that average Wink user has that’s 5K a month per employee, 50 that’s 20K a month salary per employee.
Checking dedicated costs and that’s about $313.90-1500 a month unlimited bandwidth… I have my doubts that a single one of those could handle potentially 2 petabytes worth of check ins, commands, and keep alive packets, but it’s not bitcoin mining. 2pb can be done on a single 10Gbit card (not that you’d want to) in under a month.
Even if legit, Wink announced at the worst time, and in the worst way to do a transition. I mean, even it it wasn’t the worst possible time in the recent history of humankind to do it they announced with about a week’s notice to pay or chuck your stuff.
No offers of buybacks, phasing out features, perhaps just “no access to new features” since you bought it expecting it to last more than a month… blah… I really hope the consultant who helped make this decision got their paycheck and ran.[Wink blog]