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Training app monolith Strava has responded to a chorus of criticism over recent price hikes for its premium subscription service. After initial increases were rolled out in the UK, users across the globe began incurring rate increases for billing incurred both monthly and annually. Subscription fees were upped by anywhere between 15 and 70 percent, depending on region, billing type, and date of signup. Social media inevitably exploded at rate raises that were judged poorly communicated and randomly applied.
Strava issued the following statement in response late last week:
“As we continue to invest in your experience, our prices may change to better reflect new features and market conditions. The decision to change our price was not taken lightly and we want to share why this is happening.”
The increases are the first applied to charges for the premium subscription for 10 years. Strava’s paid service offers a stack of extra features for training and route mapping over the free service.
The pricing increases come hot in the wheel tracks of recent reports that the California-based business let go of 40 employees. Bike industry giants Wahoo and Specialized also recently laid off swaths of their staff. The internet blew up in at Strava’s unclear communication over which users would be impacted by billing changes, and to what effect. Loopholes around when athletes signed on to the premium service, and price hike variations by region saw users scratching their heads over what their next bill could be.
The wearable and tech guru at DC Rainmaker blog launched a deep dive into the topic and condemned Strava for its unclear pricing policies.
“Just be honest and clear about what those prices are going to be, and then, at a minimum – attempt to justify them,” DC Rainmaker wrote.
Strava has just started doubling its prices, but they concurrently refuse to tell me what the actual price of Strava is now. This is arguably the most insane post I’ve ever written, as I try and get to the bottom of the unannounced Strava price increases: https://t.co/ATJeY3CG6B pic.twitter.com/m2C3m6vIle
— Ray Maker (@dcrainmakerblog) January 13, 2023
Strava’s official statement Thursday did not put hard numbers on forthcoming rates and focused on the experience delivered by its pioneering platform.
“While our subscription price has largely remained constant for the past years, we also take local market conditions into consideration. When costs and plans are adjusted, we’re always working to improve your experience and invest in the value delivered to you on a daily basis. Pricing decisions will continuously be evaluated to ensure we are offering the best value of our growing features to our community,” read the note.
“Price changes will vary depending on region and preferred platform.”
The brains behind Strava got busy in 2022. Video uploads, increased off-road routing, and bike-share platform locators were all included in the app.
“Our priority is giving you a unique experience for a holistic view of your active lifestyle. This happens through delivering you value on a daily basis through new features, product updates, and services,” reads Strava’s statement.
“In the past 10 years, Strava has added countless new features including support for more than 40 sport types, Beacon, route recommendations, an online route builder tool, global and personal heatmaps, segment leaderboards, and custom goals and progress. These additions are made based on your valuable feedback, what we are hearing from the active community, and research.”
The backlash will likely continue – but with a claimed 100 million users, Strava won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.