Paying for free stuff.

A friend made a post this morning that got me thinking. There are any number of web-/net-based services out there that are the modern-day equivalent of shareware. The services are available in two modes: free and premium (even if not using those words). The service in question in the original post was Spotify, but there are countless others out there.

My question to you is this: Which of these services do you actually pay for, and why? (Are there features behind the paywall that you want, or do you want to pay for a good product which you find useful, or both, or some other reason entirely?)

I’ll start. Here are the services I pay for, despite free models being available:

  • Hulu Plus (I’m probably going to cancel this. The ‘Plus’ no longer gets you as much cool extra stuff as it used to, and I’m finding my annoyance with Hulu increasing as time goes on. Never a good sign.)
  • Evernote Premium. I use the hell out of Evernote. Not a day goes by where I’m not adding a new note or referencing existing notes. I pay for this both for features behind the paywall, and because I feel that I get far more than $5 / month usage out of the service.
  • LastPass Premium. Again, both for the features behind the paywall, and because the $1 / month fee more than covers the hassle the service saves me.
  • Amazon Prime. This one is iffy, as I don’t know that I can really say that there’s an equivalent ‘free’ version of the program out there. Sure, there’s the $25 free shipping thing, but that doesn’t begin to cover all of the features that comes with a Prime subscription.

I think that’s all I’ve got. I certainly have other subscriptions (Audible leaps to mind), but they don’t follow the free vs subscription model that I’m thinking about here.

In this land of free services, what do you find worth paying for?