Another Casualty of the Free-Only Economy

Geddit, a response-system app will be turning off its servers on June 30th, 2015. I heard about this software about a year ago when I sat down next to one of the co-founders at CUE. I was really excited about the platform because they not only allowed for students to respond to questions in the live lesson, but they also gave confidence scores for those answers. It's fantastic way to do formative assessment both before, during, or after a lesson.

But, Geddit tried the free route because that's what educators respond to. Lots of people signed up and started using it. Love and tweets don't pay the bills.

Sure, there are other response apps out there thrown around - Kahoot being the current favorite - but I'm staying away from that one with a 10 foot pole because of this gem in their terms:

We do not assume any liability for any content posted by you or any other 3rd party users of our website. However, any content posted by you using any open communication tools on our website, provided that it doesn't violate or infringe on any 3rd party copyrights or trademarks, becomes the property of Kahoot! AS, and as such, gives us a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, publish, publicly display and/or distribute as we see fit. This only refers and applies to content posted via open communication tools as described, and does not refer to information that is provided as part of the registration process, necessary in order to use our Resources. (emphasis added)

In other words, "We won't charge you, but we'll take anything you upload and make money off of it without any attribution to your intellectual property."

Now, I'm not saying Geddit is perfect either:

If Geddit, or substantially all of its assets, were acquired, or in the unlikely event that Geddit goes out of business or enters bankruptcy, user information would be one of the assets that is transferred or acquired by a third party. You acknowledge that such transfers may occur, and that any acquirer of Geddit may continue to use your personal information as set forth in this policy. (emphasis added)

Bill Fitzgerald has a fantastic post on the practice companies are using to hedge their investment: sell our user data.

So, the cycle perpetuates itself.

  1. Create company
  2. Let teachers use it for free to build up buzz and userbase.
  3. Try to monetize.
  4. Fail - "paid" in education is a no-no.
  5. Close doors and ship off user data.

We're selling our data - our information and histories - so we don't have to pay a few bucks to use a helpful service.

Data is worth more than money these days, and we're selling ourselves short. The free-only economy in education has to change.

2 thoughts on “Another Casualty of the Free-Only Economy

  1. Ken Bauer says:

    Thanks for pointing this out Brian, I think educator’s need to consider the licenses of providers and many do not read the fine print. In this case I broke my rule of reading the license but actually deleted my account this week.

    I noted that PowToon has similar wording for free accounts but subscribers keep ownership of their presentations (if they remember to “.. expressly label it “Confidential” at the time of submission, “) which is definitely more in line with trading off money for control of data.

  2. […] A month ago I wrote about Geddit going out of business this summer. I mentioned another response-system app, Kahoot!, which has exploded over the last few months. Specifically, I called out their Terms of Service (TOS) which states that any content a user uploads gives Kahoot! a royalty-free license, yada yada yada. With no qualifying statements, that’s a lot of rights to give up. […]

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