There are many articles and people out there spreading FUD regarding companies that offer lifetime subscriptions. These are not grounded on any business facts, and are just uninformed opinions.
Although they were examples of VPN services that sold lifetime subscriptions, and then closed shop and ran with the money, suggesting that the same applies to all VPNs that offer lifetime subscriptions is ludicrous. That’s like saying “Since some investment funds turned out to be ponzi schemes, then all investment funds are ponzi schemes”. If 90+% of your revenue comes from lifetime accounts, I would agree with the assessment, as it basically becomes a ponzi scheme. If most of your revenue comes from regular accounts, then the benefits, from a business perspective, are as follows:
1. 3rd party services that offer the lifetime subscriptions (Stacksocial, Tanga, Daily Steals, etc) expose the product to a very wide audience that the VPN provider alone may not be able to address, especially at a zero marketing cost. We had dozens of articles appear on various “top tier” publishers such as Engadget, Lifehacker, CNET, TNW, Popular Science, ExtremeTech, the list goes on. This exposes the brand to millions of people (and tech writers at those publications) that we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. It’s great for building up credibility, and awesome for SEO. You would also be surprised how many people will read about the lifetime accounts on these sites, and then buy a regular monthly subscription.
2. Helps establish partnerships with the companies that offer lifetime deals, which opens doors to new opportunities, like a TV segment we did a few months ago on a bunch of US TV networks, which exposed our product to over a million people.
3. Most obviously, offers a cash injection which allows (new) companies to hire more staff, develop features faster, and fund own marketing efforts. If you can take the $30 you get from a lifetime user, and get 2 non-lifetime users for that price, why is that bad?
They also overestimate the cost associated with providing service to a single user. I’m not going to go into details, but at scale the cost of bandwidth is quite low if your system is setup appropriately and you maximize the usage of resources and leave nothing idle or wasted.