Two months after customers expressed outrage about a sudden change to Wink’s business model, the company is back with a subscription plan they hope everyone can live with. Smart home hub company Wink announced the changes in a July 8 blog post. The new changes will take effect Monday, July 27. For $4.99 a month, subscribers will get seamless control and monitoring of smart home devices, including access to in-app features including Robots and Shortcuts, one bill for Wink services, and “first class customer support.”
“We want to share updates about our Wink subscription – a vital change for Wink that will enable us to provide our customers with a strong and growing smart home experience. The change will bring about expanded support for new brand integrations and continue to bring enhancements through firmware and software updates,” said Wink in their blog post.
When the subscription plan was first revealed in May, customers were given a week’s notice that they had to subscribe to continue to have access to Wink and Wink-compatible devices. Wink said that one-time revenue from the purchase of Wink devices was not sufficient to sustain operations, including cloud services, development and customer support or to plan for future growth. Customers, who purchased their devices with the promise that there would not be any fees associated with their purchases, were outraged and took to social media to express their displeasure. In reaction, Wink changed the launch date to May 27. That tactic was not popular either, so Wink delayed the move to a subscription model indefinitely.
“Indefinitely” apparently means July 27. Paid subscribers can continue using all of their connected devices, cloud services, automations and third-party integrations as they currently do. What is different this time is that non-subscribers will retain limited functionality without subscribing.
This version of the subscription plan does not seem to be any more popular this time around.
Our insider take this time around isn’t much different than the last time. It is reasonable that Wink needs a more sustainable business model, and the fee they want to charge is low. However, customers are outraged – and rightly so – that they bought a product with the promise that they would never be charged fees for that service. And now they are. Any customer would be upset about that. It feels like a bait-and-switch. As a result, customers are going to switch services. In fact, some already have. Others may subscribe for the time being, but this entire situation doesn’t bode well for Wink’s future.