Archive for January, 2012

Countdown to Hopville 2.0

I’m asking users of Hopville to fill in a short (10 question) survey on the future of the site. If you haven’t filled in the survey yet, feel free to do so over here.

I created the survey mostly to get an idea how people might respond to Hopville changing over to the freemium model, where the site remains free up to a certain point, but then requires a paid membership (a la Flickr, Pandora, Dropbox, etc).  I’m working on the next major version of the site right now and plan to use the freemium business model to help usher Hopville into its next phase. What I’m currently calling the next phase is, “Holy crap, this website is really fun to work on and thousands of people rely on it so how ’bout I double down on it and turn it into something awesome.”  That’s too long of a phrase to type all the time so instead I’m using geek speak: Hopville 2.0.  Hopville 1.0 is the site you see now, the one that will get us to the milestone of one hundred thousand homebrew recipes.  Hopville 2.0 is the kind of site that will get us to a million.  Think about that: one million homebrew recipes.  I’m already building the renovated website, working toward a self-imposed deadline, and so far I’ve stayed on track.  If all goes as planned, the new site will launch by late Spring.  Here’s the logo, designed by one of my favorite rock poster artists, Frida Clements:

Hopville logo

I’ve gotten a significant amount of feedback from the survey, and the results confirmed a few of my basic assumptions:

  1. Lots of brewers would be willing to pay for Hopville’s services, as long as those services continue to be actively maintained and improved.
  2. Lots of other folks only use Hopville because it’s free.
  3. Lots of folks want a mobile/tablet app for Hopville ASAP.

Hopville 2.0 will cater to the #1 crowd, will mostly accommodate the #2 crowd (i.e. Beer Calculus and Hopville’s recipes will remain public and free), and will lay the foundation for #3 by establishing an API that a future Hopville app (or third-party apps that any enterprising software developers could build) could use to synchronize with Hopville’s data.

At launch, brewers who are already using Hopville at a “Pro” level of activity will be granted a free evaluation period of at least three months, even longer for long-time users of the site. I think most people who like the current site will love the new one, but as a crotchety old seasoned web developer, I know that a website can’t please all the people all the time.  For those who try out the new site and would rather not subscribe, I’ll continue to provide functionality to export all their recipe data as BeerXML – that way they can easily migrate their recipes over to their brewing software of choice.  For those who’ve already supported the site with voluntary donations – the finest people in the world – I’ll provide extended free evaluation periods that correspond to their level of donation.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have, either here or directly via email.

Current recipe count: 87,890

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