Farewell, Jott, I hardly knew ye

Jott, the voice-to-text program I have blogged about a couple of times, has come out of “beta” (you mean Web 2.0 apps can be something other than “beta”?) and, sadly, is no longer a free service. (You mean Web 2.0 apps aren’t always free?) There will be a “Jott Basic” plan that will remain free, but all it allows you to do is leave voice messages to the online “Jott desktop”; it does not include the feature that made Jott so addictive useful, namely the ability to have voice messages transcribed and sent directly to your email account, Google Calendar, Twitter, or other supported services. For that, you have to pay $3.95 a month for the regular plan or $12.95 for the “Pro” plan. Also, the basic plan includes ads.

I can’t begrudge Jott for wanting to have some kind of a revenue stream, but I have to say that I am very disappointed in this move, and I won’t be using Jott from here on out. I use Jott to capture thoughts, ideas, and other stuff when I am not near a pen and paper or a computer — driving home, walking across campus, whatever — by phoning them in to Jott, and then Jott sends them to a special GTD folder in my Gmail for non-dated stuff and into Google Calendar for dated stuff. Jott allows me to eliminate several “collection buckets” — notepads, voice recorders, etc. — that I would need for collecting on-the-go stuff and instead just use my normal GMail/GCalendar account. It sounds like laziness, but making me go to Jott’s website to my Jott Desktop to get the stuff that I would capture using Jott, rather than sending it straight to GMail/GCal, adds a lot of complexity to my collection/processing routine. Too much.

Is it worth $4 a month? Not for me; in my household we are pinching every penny we have,  which is one of the reasons that free Web 2.0 apps are such a blessing for me. A search for Twitter posts on “jott” reveals a handful of “It’s worth it and I’m going to pay for it” tweets out there, but a lot more people are like me — disappointed and getting off the Jott bandwagon. Jott would keep a lot of its current users if the free plan would allow Jott to send to just one email or calendar account, and the $4/month plan could send to multiple accounts. Jott, if you’re reading this, give it some thought. Otherwise, it’s been fun, but…



Filed under GTD, Profhacks, Technology, Web 2.0

9 responses to “Farewell, Jott, I hardly knew ye

  1. damianbariexca

    I’m leaving Jott as well. I used it intermittently, but not enough to justify paying. There’s a pretty good debate going on at Lifehacker about the pricing scheme.

    Thanks to folks on Twitter, I’ve found out about ReQall and Dial2Do, two similar (free… for now) services I’ll have to look into sometime this week.

  2. Well bummer, I hadn’t heard the news about Jott going all commercial. Makes one wonder how many web 2.0 companies are going to go this route– certainly everyone needs a way to make a buck… I wish there was still a free way to use Jott as well as the paid version. I’ve used it off and on the past few months but can’t say I’ve found it to be invaluable… I’ll have to weigh my options as far as paying a monthly fee goes. If they made it something like Flickr, pay an annual $25, that would be more do-able than a monthly $4 I think.

  3. @Wesley: I think this episode has some serious cautionary lessons for what that word “beta” might mean whenever we see it on a Web 2.0 service. I think we all have to interpret it from now on as possibly meaning, “It’s free for now but not forever.”

    @Damian: I looked at reQall a little yesterday and it seems to have possibilities. I hope to give it a try in a couple of days once the pre-semester endless meetings are over, and if I do I’ll report back.

  4. I tried out the free service and found it to be fine. Minus the website outages yesterday. True you don’t get an email with your Jott but you do get an email with a link to your Jott. It’s not too bad to have to go to jott.com to see jotts.

    Also I’m glad they have a revenue stream now. Here’s the problem, if I start to rely on web2.0 apps and those apps don’t make any money then the services I’ve come to rely on will go away.

    As for Jott, I maybe used the service 6 times a month so the free plan works for me. I’m sad to loose my Jott link to iwantsandy.com. Although that’s another service that I’m afraid might go away if they don’t figure out some sort of way to make money. I don’t think I can live without Sandy. Ok I’m being dramatic, but seriously Sandy can send me email ads anytime. I love you Sandy.

  5. @Wesley Your yearly subscription suggestion was what a lot of folks on Lifehacker were also suggesting would be more appropriate for this young service. I tend to agree.

    I don’t begrudge any company their right to make money, and I wish Jott well – it’s a good service, just not one that I personally use enough to justify paying nearly $50 a year. I could do without all the bells and whistles, but the lack of forwarding to my email account is, unfortunately, the dealbreaker for me. I’m not philosophically opposed to paying for web apps, either – I’m considering upping my Flickr account to pro, and if Remember the Milk or Google Apps For Your Domain ever went pay-only, I’d have to pony up pretty fast. Jott’s cool, just not one of my go-to apps.

    I tried ReQall last night, and had a bit of a problem with the service not recognizing my phone number. I’ll try again tonight; we can compare notes as we get further into the service.

  6. Damian, if you’re still having problems getting reQall to recognize your phone number, please drop me an email at deb.miller@reqall.com. I’ll figure out what is going on.


  7. You’ve probably received by now an email from Jott that explains their annual subscription discount for beta users. Still, for me it’s only a convenience and not worth paying for. I only use it when I’m heavy into a new project and have a lot of ideas while walking/driving.

    I’ve tried out reqall as a replacement and it works fine for what I need – getting notes into gmail so I can transfer into my paper-based GTD lists. I will miss gcal integration but could never trust the transcription enough for tweeting.

  8. Thanks, Deb, but it worked fine the following day. May have been just a new user issue. Service works as advertised for me now, and looks like it will be my Jott replacement!

  9. Actually @Peter, I never got any such email other than the original announcement that they were out of beta.

    I tried to see if I could hack (in the non-criminal sense) Jott’s RSS feeds so that I could send a message to Jott and then redirect Jott’s RSS to my Gmail account. But apparently the RSS is now a “premium” service as well. I’m not the biggest Web 2.0 bandwagoneer here, but doesn’t that seem significantly Web 1.0 to you folks?

    I’ve got a light teaching day tomorrow so I should have some time to check out reQall a little more carefully, but it sounds from Damian’s reports that it’s looking quite good.