My favorite communication app, Marco Polo, has recently started rolling out a new Plus subscription to their app. A lot of the features you are used to getting for free are actually moving into the premium model, and this is making a lot of people upset. When you are used to getting something for free, it is hard to start paying for it. I get it. I totally understand.
Here’s why you should pony up the dough for the subscription though. (and no, the company has not paid or compensated me in any way to write up this post)
UPDATE 10/1/2020: Marco Polo recently released the Marco Polo Plus Family Plan! This is really great news. Instead of $60/year for just one Marco Polo Plus subscription, you can pay $120/year for SIX subscriptions. So if you have multiple family members that you would need to pay for, it is now so much more affordable.
The great news is that you don’t all have to be family members to join in on the same Marco Polo Plus Family Plan. For example, I have a group of 6 girls that are my best friends, and we use Marco Polo constantly. I paid for the family plan, and they all Venmo’d me $20, and I added them to the Marco Polo Plus Family Plan. If you have at least 5 other friends that could benefit from a Marco Polo Plus subscription, everyone just needs to pay $20/year! It’s SO affordable now. My friends and I are so excited about this change.
I was able to upgrade my previously purchased Marco Polo Plus plan to the Family Plan really easily, so find a few friends or family members and get all these awesome features for $20/year!
New Features in Marco Polo Plus
The best thing about the Marco Polo Plus subscription is the new features that are now included. These are features that have not been in the app already, but are definitely worth the price of admission.
My favorite new feature is the scratch pad. Since Polo’s can be however long you want, sometimes my friends can send really long messages. During the messages, I would search around for the nearest piece of paper so I don’t forget to comment on some of the things they said, or answer some questions they asked. Also, I have a group Polo chat that can get pretty chatty while I’m at work. As I’m catching up, I like to take notes so I can remember things I wanted to say in response.
The new scratch pad gives you the chance to take notes during polos and will display it on your screen while you are recording (only you will be able to see your scratch pad while recording though). It’s seriously so genius, and I am obsessed with this new feature!
Multiple Speed Choices
With a Plus subscription you are able to speed up someone’s polo by multiple speeds. You can choose 1.5, 2, 2.5 or 3x the speed of the standard recording. I have always loved the double time for some of my friends that can talk a little bit slower, but I REALLY love the 1.5. The 2.5 and 3X speed is just a LITTLE too fast for my tastes. I love there there are options here now though.
Voice Only Polo’s
Another great new option is to record a “voice only” Polo. Gone are the days of pointing the phone to the ceiling while you are getting ready for the day, or doing some other task, or if you just aren’t feeling camera ready. The voice only Polo will show your profile picture and some animations that go appear as waves during your message.
The last of the new features is the ability to record your Polo in HD. Maybe you want to explain something and don’t want to have to repeat yourself over and over again. You can record the Polo in HD and it will save to your phone. Then you can share it out to other platforms. Maybe you are recording a moment that won’t be repeated like your daughter getting a homerun. With the HD Polo option, you won’t have to miss those moments.
Features moving to Marco Polo Plus
Now comes the bad news. These are the features you are used to having for free, but will be moving behind the paywall of the Marco Polo Plus subscription.
The main feature people will likely miss the most if they opt for the free model is the photo polo. Now you can send a photo from your phone to anyone or any group via Polo. I will say though, I fell in love with Marco Polo before this feature even existed, so the free model will still be great, it just can be so much of a better experience with the photo polo options.
I remember, back in the early days of Marco Polo, when we would have to type words while recording our surroundings to send a “text” inside Polo. Then when the ability to send a “note” came out, it was pretty much the best thing ever. Unfortunately, this ability will also be moved to the Marco Polo Plus subscription.
While one of the new features is the various speed options, the original 2x speed option will be moving to Plus as well. You will just have to listen to your friends in real time if you opt for the free model.
Support the Company
As the old saying goes, if you are not paying for a product, then most likely YOU are the product. With Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat the applications are selling your data and access to YOU on their platform to various brands and companies. This is a hugely lucrative model for them. While charging individual users for NO ADS is much less lucrative, it provides a way better experience for the individual users.
You don’t want to see ads all over Marco Polo. This subscription model is the monetization plan that Marco Polo has chosen, and I for one couldn’t be more grateful. Honestly, this app gets used more than any other app on my phone. It is the primary way I communicate with most of my really good friends. I can afford to help support a company that produces a product that makes my life better.
There are 2 payment options. Monthly charges will be $10, but if you pay annually you will save 50%. The annual subscription fee is $60.
The deadline to signup is August 1st. Up until then, even if your app has changed to remove the Marco Polo Plus features, you can revert back to the old app until that date. After that you will have to choose the free model or the Plus subscription.
You can still send Polos and Group Polos with the free model, which is how the app started initially anyway. You are still able to communicate with friends and family both near and far if you cannot afford to pay. However, if you can afford it, I urge you to sign up for a subscription. Let’s keep Marco Polo in business for a very long time.
And… Marco Polo… in case you are listening, here’s the next features I want…
Fun filters like snapchat!
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