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ETpro's avatar

Freemium: Obscure or well-known portmanteau?

Asked by ETpro (34145 points ) May 3rd, 2012

Are you familiar with the term freemium? How common is it? Do you think most English speakers either know what it means or could deduce its meaning by guessing the two words the portmanteau is formed from?

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17 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

I haven’t heard it used more than a couple of times.

Yes, I deduced it was free+premium put together, prior to looking at the link.
It’s a bit obscure, IMO.

rebbel's avatar

A free can of Mium?

marinelife's avatar

Most obscure. Deservedly so, I say.

Jeruba's avatar

Never heard it before, and I hope I won’t again.

wundayatta's avatar

I never heard of it before. I’ve run into it a lot. I think the two words don’t work together to accurately describe what is being referred to. What we’re really saying is that functionality costs you more. It’s more like freejunk than freemium.

tom_g's avatar

The term is quite common in my circles, although I’m a software developer. I am not sure if my non-techie friends use this term. I would imagine that the meaning is probably apparent to anyone who has a few seconds to deduce its meaning.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Well, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it, so it must be uncommon. If it did exist, it would be some sort of element on the periodic table, maybe something so useless that people were willing to give it away for free.

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo: I never heard of it; that should tell you all you need to know.

ETpro's avatar

@SpatzieLover Thanks. It’s a term used often in Web marketing and I suppose it’s familiar jargon among marketers in general. Cell phone and cable providers seem to love it too. I wasn’t sure how broadly it might be understood outside those circles.

@rebbel Mium not sure if that can is free. :-)

@marinelife & @Jeruba I hear you loud and clear. Thanks.

@wundayatta That really depends on the instance. In the best of instances, the free stuff is pretty darned good and applicable to everyone, and the pay-to-play stuff is more targeted at business users or heavy users.

@tom_g That’s why I asked. To me, it’s de rigueur. But I don[‘t want to use it undefined in blog spots if the general public is going to puzzle over it. And it is clear they would.

@PhiNotPi Thanks. Message received.

@gailcalled If it stumped Milo, then there is no question, it’s not in standard English yet. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

Sorry, @ETpro. I tried to follow your link, but there was a huge long ad I needed to watch before I watched the video. No thanks.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ETpro I have a techie husband…that explains how I’ve heard the word.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here agagin: Silly Gail thought it was a newly discovered noble gas with an atomic number of 119. It follows Ununoctium:

”(Unu…was produced. Not too much though, one atom in the spring of 2002 and two more in 2005.) “Source”:

Don’t blink. Most of it decays after one millisecond.

ETpro's avatar

@gailcalled Milo. Sounds unerringly like unobtainium.

Bent's avatar

I have never heard it used before but I figured out that it means free+premium. I do think it sounds tacky though. Nothing premium is free and if it was I would assume it was either over-exaggerating its quality, or it was some kind of scam.

ETpro's avatar

@Bent It’s neither. It’s a marketing model where a basic suite of useful tools are available free, and if you so choose, you can pay for premium services that extend those tools and add additional ones not part of the free service. All the good ones make it very obvious what the deal is before you sign up for the free stuff.

Bent's avatar

@ETpro From what’s been said here, I’m now aware that it’s neither. However before reading the thread, that is the impression I would have got on seeing that word.

ETpro's avatar

@Bent I feel so much freer now that we’ve gotten the premium aspects of this clarified.

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