Michael leaving I don't think is related to the company's latest decisions.
He was on for 2 years after the sale. According to the news 'under the table,' he was very much in charge of the company with AOL leaving hands off.
As in my previous post
, once Michael left, AOL appears to have more control. Combining that with the financial crisis that began September 2008, AOL made some significant spending cuts across the board, and Userplane was equally affected.
The thread was concerned about the division of the company as a going concern. But it is apparent the company has not been eliminated from the market.
Userplane had originally a product offer free with unlimited users with a revenue model based on advertising. Removal of that may indicate the model did not work.
I have looked at Userplane's new pricing
for their WebChat software. Its free for up to 9 users online. That is, 9 people can engage in chat at once. After that, the next level is 10 users at once, which is $130 per month for the webmaster ($1560 annually). The pricing may not be clear, but the way I read it, 11-25 users is $275 per month ($3300 Annually). In my dealings with webmasters with such low user levels, these prices would appear prohibitive to them.
The highest level they offer is 500 simultaneous users, which is $2750/month ($33,000 Annually). I am not sure this is enough users for a site like Plenty of Fish, which probably would have many more users online than 500.
The market will be very interesting. There are several companies offering services for free. Events of late spring 2009 engaged the online dating community with some concerns over their suppliers. No one can deny it, Chat software in Online Dating is currently a new market. So this should be a very interesting space to watch.
Online Date Conference