A few years ago, Typeform brought a breath of fresh air to the online form builders market. One of their main competitors at that time was probably Wufoo (now part of Survey Monkey).
But Wufoo’s UX hasn’t changed much since the early days. Very old school.
Typeform’s main innovation was to introduce a new – conversational – user experience, which you could almost compare to a chat flow, with each question presented on a separate screen, whereas most competitors would display all questions on a single page.
I was an early adopter, one of the first premium users. A very strong advocate of the product (which gave me some discounts in my first membership years, thanks for that).
A few weeks ago, I had to make a minor amendment to one of my existing forms (changing an option in a drop down). I couldn’t save my form, I kept on seeing this message on my screen.
So I contacted Typeform’s support to help me fix this bug. This is the answer I received (I’ve removed the names of the agents).
Removing Typeform’s branding (powered by…) had always been part of my premium plans, even when I had the cheapest plan available. What Typeform was telling me was that I would need to upgrade to a more expensive plan just to keep that very basic feature (more about it later, you’ll be amazed at the value Typeform attaches to “branding removal”).
Obviously I did not agree with the agent’s position. They finally accepted (kind of) to grandfather that “branding removal feature”.
But it did not fix the bug. I received another message (bear in mind that I’m writing these lines on Nov 22 and the problem hasn’t been fixed yet).
I don’t remember exactly when Typeform introduced the possibility to add a Facebook pixel but I remember that I had upgraded my plan at that time to be able to enjoy that feature. And now I’m reading that my upgrade wasn’t enough, that I would have to pay extra to keep on using the forms carrying a pixel…
Sorry Typeform but this commercial attitude is totally unacceptable.
218% price increase
Let’s have a look at Typeform’s pricing plans (Nov 2019). I’ve set all plans to yearly to compare apples and apples.
The basic premium plan is now $30. FYI, here’s what I’ve paid over the last 5 years (as I said, I was an early adopter).
Last year (2018), for a premium plan including Typeform branding removal AND the Facebook pixel (I won’t comment on the amount of responses), I paid the equivalent of $18.5 per month.
If I wanted to keep the same feature set, I would need to pay USD 59 per month (yearly), 3.18 times more, a 218% increase for the exact same feature set (with some additional bells & whistles which are totally irrelevant for me).
How is it even possible to ask a long-standing client to pay 3.18 times more to keep his privileges? We’re not talking about a 25% or even 50% increase (which would lead to street demonstrations in the “real world”), we’re talking about 218%! I have no words to describe this commercial attitude (actually I do but I’ll stay polite).
How does Typeform justify that in order to remove their brand link from a form (a free backlink!), a client would have to subscribe to the most expensive plan in their offer?
Branding removal has always been part of the most accessible plans for most SaaS products. There’s no intellectual / technical justification to ask a high premium for that feature (which is a free backlink only justified for free plans).
Is there a real competitor to Typeform?
Until recently (see my latest update below), there was no real / strong competitor to Typeform at an affordable price.
Leadformly looks nice but their most affordable tier is $37 per month yearly (for just 250 responses per month, whereas Typeform is offering 1000 responses per month with their entry level plan). But at least they’re not even talking about “Branding Removal” which is, of course, a default feature for anyone pay $37 per month…
You could try JotForm, which launched a card format with one question per screen, but you can’t hide the “required field” red asterisk with CSS on the card format… so you end up with big warnings on each card if all questions are mandatory, which looks really bad. But it’s cheap, starting at $15.83 per month yearly. No branding. Again it’s a basic feature for an entry level plan.
In late 2019, I had discovered a new player with a very neat UI, Dislack. I was very excited by their onboarding & creation process, beautifully executed. But unfortunately the founders decided to pause the project to focus on other endeavours.
There are multiple players in the WordPress area, incl. Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, etc. But none of them comes close to Typeform (Leadformly) in terms of UX.
There’s also Landbot but they have taken the same silly decision as Typeform re: branding, which I find totally unacceptable: they have a premium plan at EUR 30 per month but it costs… EUR 100 per month if you want to remove their branding. Come on, let’s be serious…
So, in my opinion, there’s room for a competitor to enter the market and offer a $25 per month plan for a good conversational experience, with the commitment to keep all privileges granted at signup indefinitely part of your plan. That’s the least you can expect when you sign up for something: keep your basic rights for the duration of your subscription.
It won’t be easy for me to fully abandon Typeform since I have multiple forms active in tens of variations (with different hidden fields to track their sources).
After many emails, a Senior Support Representative at Typeform accepted to grant me a 50% discount for one year on the Professional plan, to keep my annual budget unchanged. It means that I’ll have to display their brand widget on my forms and won’t be able to use the Facebook pixel, for a total price of £168 per year.
Drum roll… here’s a potential competitor: Tally
Update, June 2021: I was invited via a message on IndieHackers to test Tally, a Belgium-based alternative to Typeform. To be honest, the first time I tested the product, probably in early 2020, I wasn't that impressed. But they've made HUGE improvements to the UX, both from a creator's and from an end-user's perspective. I could definitely see myself A/B testing Tally vs Typeform on some legacy flows and see how they compare in terms of conversion. At time of writing, their PRO version, which offers Tally Brand Removal is priced $24 per month on an annual basis whereas you have to pay $58 per month to get the same privilege on Typeform. You don't even get a TRUE subdomain (on your own domain) for that price, just a "custom subdomain" which appends your brand name to typeform.com, which contributes to Typeform SEO, not yours. I've made up my own "hack" to get a domain name in the URL of a typeform (uploading the HTML of the form to my client's site, for instance via the media library of WordPress) but it's a pain you can't get a PROPER subdomain via a CNAME on Typeform. So Kudos to Tally for offering that feature as part of a $24 plan. Can't wait to see how Tally will compete with Typeform.