The Annual Internet Service Value Test

November 16, 2014 by Gabe | [mmd] |

Every year around December, I assess my business arrangements with Internet subscription services.1 It's easy to forget about reoccurring expenses. I keep a spreadsheet of all subscriptions so the review is pretty easy. It's the maintenance and cutting the service that tends to be the hard part for me.

Service Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Amazon Prime $8.30 $100
Audible $15 $180
Backblaze $4 $50
Beats Music $10 $120
Dropbox $15 $180
DynDNS $3 $35
Evernote $3.75 $45
FastMail $4 $45
Feedbin $2 $24
iCloud Storage $3.75 $45
iTunes Match $2 $25
Netflix $8 $96
Pinboard Archive Account $2 $25
TextDrop $0.41 $5

Sure, it looks like a lot of money. That's because it is. A startling $940 each year. This is the entire reason I put so much effort into the annual review.

Audible seems expensive but I listen to a lot of audio books and they would cost a heck of a lot more than $180 each year. I suppose I could put more effort into getting audio books from the public library.

Beats music replaces Pandora for me and I really do enjoy it. It probably saves me over $120 per year in uninformed music purchases.

Dropbox is certainly a high value product but $180 per year is a lot when I have a Synology that can do a lot of what Dropbox does. A lot of apps rely on Dropbox for data syncing, but a free 5GB account would satisfy that need.

I purchased the Evernote subscriptions at a steep discount a couple of years ago, so it's not really costing me $45 per year. I still have one more year of the premium subscription but I don't use it enough to renew.

Fastmail is still awesome and I have no plans on giving it up.

Netflix is on the chopping block mostly because I don't use it enough to justify the expense. Since I have no plans to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription Netflix is even less compelling.

The iTunes Match subscription is worth if for me because it lets me stream music and video without storing a local copy.

iCloud Storage is way too expensive but it's the best option for no-hassle backup of a bunch of iOS devices.

A lot of stuff was removed from last years list, which feels like a responsible improvement. I do sacrifice stuff like Lynda.com but I barely miss Instapaper, Checkvist and Macworld. All said, I cut about $300 per year out of my budget and simplified a lot of stuff. Mostly, I've just focused on projects that consume a lot of my time otherwise spent subscribing to more services.


  1. This does not include my domain registrations or hosting services. I consider those business expenses like any self-deluded blogger.