Say “free,” and you have uttered a magic word that gets peoples’ attention. But just try to take away something that has been free. That’s exactly what happened this past week with Evernote.

Evernote is a service which allows you to keep reference information digitally and access it from anywhere. Within 3 years of its 2008 launch, the service boasted 11 million users. By May 2014, that number topped 100 million. A year later, the number was 150 million.

If the numbers seem staggering, think about what users were getting. With unlimited storage in the cloud, the ability to access information from anywhere on any device, and a price tag of “free,” it was a no-brainer. Yes, Evernote also offered a paid plan with more features, but the free plan was plenty to meet my needs and those of countless customers.

The Bad News

This past week, Evernote announced a new pricing structure and a change in what it will offer with each plan. A free plan will still exist. But, it will limit users to accessing Evernote from only two devices. If you want more, you have to pay. For a service whose primary value has been the ability to access information from anywhere, this announcement was huge.

If you only use the service from one computer and your phone, the change will not impact you. But what if you are using it from your computer at work, computer at home, laptop, phone, and tablet?

The announcement was also met with its share of outrage. If you were thinking about “jumping ship” in favor of another service, cyberspace became ripe with articles explaining how. I must admit, I spend the better part of a day researching the options. But, at the end of the day, I was more convinced than ever that I was in the right place with Evernote.

Please realize, it’s not about the money, at least not for me. I am in the business of teaching people how to make their lives easier. Efficient use of technology is a large part of that. But let’s face it, we live in a world where we complain about an app costing 99 cents while we sip on a five-dollar latte.

“Free” eliminates a barrier. It gives busy people an easy introduction to tools that change their lives. (Actually, a month of Evernote’s most expensive plan is not much more than one latte.)

The Good News

In this article, Evernote elaborates on what “two devices” means. It refers to devices syncing via the desktop client or mobile app. Access via the web is unlimited. What if we give up the desktop client and use the web version of Evernote on our computers? That’s exactly what I am trying, and it’s working great. My “two devices” are the Evernote app on my phone and my tablet.

Next Steps

If you currently use Evernote, try using just the web version and see if you are pleased with the results. You will need to do one thing. See how many devices Evernote says you are using to access the service. What you find may surprise you.

In Evernote, go to your account settings and click on “Devices.” Have you replaced a phone or computer in the last several years? Evernote may still be counting them. You will see a link where you can disconnect any of the old devices along with your current computers. Keep going until you get down to two.

If you use Evernote, you are in the right place. If you are not, now is a good time to join over 150 million others, and do it for free.

What has Evernote’s announcement meant to you? What are your thoughts on the price increase? I would welcome your comments. If you liked the article, why not share it with others. Use the social sharing icons below.