IFTTT, which lets users link connected devices and web services to other connected devices and web services, has launched a paid subscription after offering a free service to consumers for the last ten years. The new service, called IFTTT Pro, will let users create more complicated applets, provide faster response times, and will also offer customer support. To help users adapt to the shift, IFTTT’s CEO Linden Tibbets says that customers will pay what they want for IFTTT Pro, with the goal of creating a service that people will pay $9.99 a month for.
A word of warning though, you will have to pay something. Tibbets told me that $1.99 is the lowest he thinks the price will go for Pro users.
Listen to an interview with Tibbets about the new Pro plans.
IFTTT was founded ten years ago with the idea of helping people play with web services without needing coding skills. IFTTT provided a simple structure that let people build programs that IFTTT called applets. Users could say “if this happens, then make that happen.” For example, I had an applet that turned my Hue light bulbs red if my editor called or texted my phone. The format was if this number calls or texts me, then turn Hue bulbs red. It was fun and simple.
But was it a business? Users didn’t pay for the applets and IFTTT only started monetizing the service about three years ago when it started charging brands to link to the platform. Tibbets says that business is growing with over 300 brands on board. As a user, I stopped playing with IFTTT as often as I used to, simply because the format was limited for all that I wanted to do. I also saw a few of my favored brands decamp or attempt to charge money for access to IFTTT applets as they sought ways to offset the costs. Instead, I gravitated toward hubs and platforms where could build more complex routines for my smart home.
I’m guessing I wasn’t alone. Tibbets says that the investment in corporate users took the focus off consumers. By building a paid subscription plan that can help support the additional resources more advanced features require, IFTTT wants to address the complaints users like myself have had about the platform. To this end, consumers on the Pro plan will be able to create complicated applets that are still based on a single trigger.
The applets will let users set multiple actions, so you can say if this happens then that, that, and that should happen. It also adds what Tibbets calls queries, which will let you query a device in response to a trigger, and then set actions. For example, if my doorbell rings, then query to see if I am at home, if I am nearby or if I am more than 1,000 miles away and then build a specific action for each query.
The Pro plan also will have lower latency, which is a problem right now for many of my IFTTT applets. I stopped setting up lights as actions simply because there was sometimes a full minute between the triggering event and the light turning on. Tibbets says that IFTTT may also add a time delay to the service if users ask for it, which means I could stop creating a separate applet for turning off the lights after an applet turns them on.
So far, you only get to set one triggering event, and the user interface stays very familiar for those who already use the platform. You build an applet in a colored box by selecting your brands and then selecting what activity will generate the trigger or what will happen when the trigger is activated.
As for the users who don’t want to pay? They will be able to use all of the existing branded applets that are already created and will have up to three custom applets. I have at least a dozen applets so I’m clearly going to have to pony up if I want to keep playing with IFTTT. And honestly, if I can use it to create applets that can cut down on my other subscriptions, such as my $4.99 a month Wink subscription, then I might not consider it a bad deal.
IFTTT’s approach further reinforces that users will have to get accustomed to paying for the smart home. Connected products have ongoing costs, and an ad model isn’t welcome on your light bulbs or when trying to remotely access a camera. Or perhaps users will get similar services for free by turning to platforms such as SmartThings, Hubitat or HomeBridge (there is a hardware cost for these) or Amazon or Google, which can absorb the additional costs of computing and connectivity on their own clouds.
Feel free to share your thoughts. Will you pay for a better IFTTT?
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Would love to hear about some alternatives! Love IFTTT as a free services but if I am paying for it I’m going to shop around.
Stacey Higginbotham says
Zapier lets you have 5 “applets/zaps” for free but it has fewer smart home devices and more web services. Yonomi does let you add devices and create routines so that might be a good option.
Same. Got some stuff setup a long time ago, always had big plans to do a lot more, but now I’ll be aborting.
Could you imagine what you’d be spending if you paid a monthly fee for all the software you use? This has to end. Say no to subscription-based software.
I’m with MrScrooge. It was fun, but really not necessary, and I really don’t like the idea of 20 companies siphoning off 2-5 bucks a month. It gets too hard to track. They all have different lengths of service and renewal dates…too much mental energy for the benefit. The benefit I do see with subscription vs. upfront full-cost is that if the company starts pushing daisies, you just stop paying. If I paid 99 dollars for a lifetime of company XYZZY’s service, and they go bankrupt in 6 months, that’d be frustrating. I’d rather watch ads even then give my credit card to yet another company.
Allen Nogee says
Home Assistant running on a Rasberry Pi
As much as I think that this is a good idea I condemn the new limit put on free accounts. I always condemn limitations on products for current users when new products are created as this tends to move users away from the service and for me just means lack of creativity.
Actually I think that the new features are enough to drive a lot of users to the new pro subscription without having to limit the number of applets for existing users.
Also, advertising as “set your own price” without stating the truth – “Choose a price starting at minimum $1.99/month” – is another thing I would never do.
I am always forced to create my own applets because I am using IFTTT basically as a service to connect services that do not offer an API to call a URL in my DIY smarthome and vice versa. So I am basically forced to pay because several companies do not offer an open API for their products and instead spend the money on IFTTT integration instead of spending it on an open API.
I think we need a self-hosted open-source IFTTT alternative instead.
Dean Rowntree says
It sounds like a good idea in my opinion. IFTTT is generally quite good, but is limited. I have more complicated routines in Zapier, but Zapier’s pricing is quite expensive. So if IFTTT can encompass all that Zapier does for a lower price, then maybe it will be a good thing.
Paying for using services and paying even more for controlling services that connect to each other how ridiculous is this!
For the pro features mentioned in article Zapier is a way better choice. Check out their paid plan.
Gregg M Long says
I found out that Google routines seem to be able to turn on and off my lutron caseta based lights and that’s mostly what I used IFTTT for. So it’s doubtful I will use it at all anymore. $10 a month is absurd. $10 a year maybe. 3 applets, what a joke. Way to kill your product.
Tony Dee says
Ask pushbullet how well this idea worked for them.
I’m already paying wWeLink to use IFTTT because they are being charged by IFTTT and they are passing the cost on to the user. IFTTT should make up their minds as to who is going to pay them for the service as I’m not going to pay twice.
FTTT is very limited no where near as good as Stringify was when it was available. The only useful thing in IFTTT for me is the sunrise and sunset triggers. Luckily these are also provided by Amazon and are also better as an offset can be made to the trigger time. GBIttt
This is the kind of business model that drive HA enthusiasts to platforms like Hubitat, that have all the power (and more) of IFTTT but have a one-time license model (when you buy the hub).
I for one am extremely disappointed by this change. Many of the device manufacturers and third-party service providers push IFTTT as a “man in the middle solution”, which their sales/support teams say is free of charge when you buy their products. It’s not like these company’s don’t pay a fee to offer there product features in IFTTT. I could understand if the services were offered in a tiered method. But I cannot help feeling IFTTT is “double dipping” here for those of us that just want the basic features.
As soon as I read “my 4.99 per month wink subscription” I stopped reading. If you were suckered into paying Wink, nothing you say can be taken seriously.
Johan L Tessens says
IFTTT shot themselves in the foot. 10 USD for their services is way to high and they will loose a lot of their customers for sure.
Tuya left their platform. And eWeLink works with IFTTT if you subscribe for 9.9USD per year and then add 9.9 USD per month for IFTTT (it’s getting silly expensive).
And a popular brand like Xiaomi is not even supported on IFTTT.
For me… I think it’s time to move on to a free local managed off cloud service like Home Assistant.
Sanjeev B says
It’s 07 Oct today, when the IFTTT $1.99 per month deal expires. The best thing to do right now is to subscribe to it and try for a few months. If you think it’s not worth the money, just close your subscription. Locking into the $1.99 plan today is worth it.
The deal got extended through to the end of the month.
Still, I think it’s just clinging to a sinking ship, time that could potentially be spent looking for alternatives now rather having to do so in a rush when IFTTT closes down.
As others have mentioned, this change is a telltale sign of a service going under. There are many previous examples of the pattern. They couldn’t figure out a viable business model, and now is their last attempt. Given how completely out-of-touch they are with the value of their service, by asking a price comparable to what people pay for Office 365, for instance, I don’t see it working out for them. A year from now, IFTTT Pro customers, no matter what they decided to pay, are probably going to be looking for alternatives, anyway.
I rarely log into IFTTT, and just discovered this new pricing model. So my free service has just become $24/yr. I can afford it, but prefer not to pay anything. I would have not subscribed, but just in case I need to keep some of my functions I signed up. I can always cut back on unnecessary stuff later if I want to “go poor”.
But I’m getting annoyed with how every provider thinks people are going to want pony up $10/month for their new toy. They ain’t the new Netflix.
Greg Sera says
This is sickening. So now the entire Smarthome industry is going to follow this lead if it succeeds? You pay for such services when you buy Smarthome devices (most if not all companies pay license fees to IFTT)…
This is a money pit.
I am sure there will be a ton of developers making independent Rasberry Pi solutions. I am starting already!