The new Kickstarted blogging platform Ghost has an interesting payment model. At the free tier you have full access to the platform but you are allowed zero views of the content you create.
Normally with blogging software you want to encourage as many page views as you can get to help promote your platform. The Ghost approach is an interesting way of dealing with the issue of trying to explain your product and have people try it without resorting to free tiers or advertising-supported freemium.
However it also means that you are making an open-ended commitment to the platform, if you ever stop paying then all your content disappears off the internet.
Posthaven is more appealing because it makes explicit promises about the persistence of your content. On the other hand as a replacement for Posterous it has less need to explain its proposition.
Having encountered the issue of offering free trials at Wazoku I wondered whether what we were really learning was that our product wasn’t simple enough to pitch a minimum subscription.
Making people pay something, no matter how notional is a more effective way of gathering feedback than the analytics and subjective feedback of free trials.
This pretty cool blog post on removing free plans at Trak.io makes a load of really good points about what kinds of thing goes wrong with free plans and the freemium model.
I’m not sure what the answer is to people not understanding your product but free trials are not the answer. The ultimate feedback on your product is whether someone will pay for it or not.