Not worth $5-10/mo, and painful to use for free 3/5
While I loved using this app in 2019, I’m giving this app 3 stars for their hard left-turn in features that are free versus require payment with a 2020 update. If the OG features will remain available to OG users (pre-April 29, 2020) indefinitely, then I’ll up it a star. No additional star if I give Plus a try in September and cannot switch back.
Overall, my family and I have loved using the app. We had the first child (and grandchild) in the family in 2019 and we live out of state from literally everyone, so sending brief polos of our daughter has been wonderful for us, parents, and siblings. I’ve also been happy to use this app to have longer discussions with my best friend. Neither of us wants to write a treatise on a particular subject and send a massive text, which is prone to both typing and voice transcription errors. MP allows us to TALK to each other, complete with facial expressions and tone. Vulnerability is often lost via text messaging and polos have brought that back.
The experience is seamless—very rarely do any of us experience a glitch. The video and audio quality are quite good—better than a phone call in my experience. (Perhaps my friend has a terrible carrier and that’s why I can’t hear her well on calls?) The app has features you want and none you don’t, but more on that below.
I will say I don’t like that it seemed to scrub my phone’s contacts to try to get me to invite them to the app, and that it alerted me to when anyone from my phone’s contacts joined. I don’t think my hairstylist wants me to Polo her...
*The 2020 Update*
I’m sure the creators of MP have reasons for monetizing the way they do, and we the consumers don’t get to understand that. For example, my husband pointed out an ad upon opening the app would result in a terrible user experience since this app touts its live watch feature. You don’t want to have to wait for an ad before you can tune in! And any banner ads would likely have low conversion rates, so they wouldn’t be adequate revenue.
However, the timing does leave many users feeling unhappy that a service they’ve been using for months or years has suddenly stripped down its basic level of service. It does feel like price gouging or a monopoly taking advantage of its customers. (And this certainly leaves them open to competition, but with over $25MM invested and 50 employees to date, it’s not a weekend project.) I have yet to update or try Plus, so I’m a little unclear on whether I’ll get to keep my OG features AFTER Aug 1, 2020. If so, at least MP is allowing a sub-set of its users maintain the experience that they’ve always known for a little while. However, that has not been stated very clearly, and you only learn the possibility of this by deep-diving into recent (not “Most Helpful”, the default setting) comments on the App Store,“ and even then by piecing together multiple Developer Responses.
Other suggestions from a total outsider for monetizing while preserving the OG MP experience for ALL (not just OG users). These suggestions would ideally go hand-in-hand, as charging users for too many things is off-putting.
•Keep 2x speed free. Continue to allow free saving of Polos to your own camera roll. Just keep all the old features free, including live video reactions.
•Store fewer videos for free and offer storage plans, like Nest. 7 days of storage for free, 30 days is $5/mo, 90 days is $54/yr, 1 year is $50/yr.
Bundle in additional features with that monthly charge, but NOT features that were previously free. E.g., notepad, audio only, and additional fast forward speeds could be part of subscription models.
•One-time charges for emoji or sticker packs. I’d love to use the 😮😂😤 and I know all emojis are available in Plus, but there is no way I’ll pay $5/mo—much less $10/mo aka a NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION—for an emoji I might use 3 times a month with one person. After all, they are only useful when watching live.
•Don’t fool yourselves into thinking many people will pay anywhere near $10/mo or more for your product. More than one in ten Americans are unemployed and struggling to make rent. Aside from that, most people have zero inclination to spend $10/mo on a single app, much less on an app that is, TBH, a video answering machine. I have the disposable income for it and I still do not value this app anywhere near $5/mo in its present form.
*For the creators, marketing, and finance teams*
Please, MP team—be a good company to those who have used and enjoyed your product for so long. Don’t be a gross company taking advantage of a pandemic that leaves people stuck at home (if they are lucky).
Even assuming that extortion is not your intent, it’s how it looks and feels, and optics matter, no matter how much we might dislike that fact. I read your blog post on Plus. It does not address WHY you chose to put previously free features behind a paywall. It simply glosses over this distasteful practice by basically saying, “We understand change is hard. But the most basic feature of sending videos is free and isn’t that what counts?!” This is not an explanation, it is a pivot. It is a waving away of serious concerns from your loyal users about a practice that WILL impact our ability to effectively use MP. Example: how are vanilla users supposed to catch up to a live Polo if we can’t 2x? Are you trying to keep people in contact or not? Based on how MP works, is it safe to say you believe that live interaction is essential to that contact? If you answered yes to the last two questions, then what are you doing??
In the end, the reviews left in the App Store, total user downloads, active users per week, and your ability to secure subscriptions to Plus will determine who was right. If the most recent reviews are indicative of your overall user base’s reactions, I would guess your future looks rocky. Please take our feedback so you can survive as a company and we can go back to using and enjoying your product.
Change it back please! 1/5
I’m extremely confused as to why they are now making us pay for things that were free. I don’t have the money to get “plus”. I now have to pay $60 a year to do what was free not a month ago. It is very frustrating. If it weren’t such a good app I would’ve deleted it as soon “plus” was added. Though I doubt it, I hope they revoke “plus” and make everything free again.
Now it doesn’t work 1/5
When the pro was added the app stopped updating when I received new messages. I’ll get no messages for hours and then all the sudden I’ll get 14 at once that just never updated. Is this just a ploy to make me buy the pro?
Stupid Update 2/5
This app was meant to be a communication device. Another way across both phones. They took away ALLLLLLL the fun things like voice, face filters as well as the note feature.
Not worth it
Don’t Update the 14.282 4/5
(Update: THANK YOU FOR THE REPLY to Joya from MP. You can revert back in settings in the app!)
Save yourself and your 2x abilities and don’t update! Learn from us that have to listen at normal speed. Truly a dirty trick and it isn’t in the update notes!
Make it free again 1/5
By Jezebeltheco quistatodr
I hate that things that are free for people who downloaded the app earlier I have to pay for now to access and I feel like the monthly fee just to be able to access a few features is ridiculously high
Used to love it 1/5
Used to really enjoy until the update. They've really screwed Apple users. All of the fun stuff that was available and being able to send photos and text for free is now only accessible if you pay. Super disappointed.
Not free anymore 1/5
I used to be able to change the speed to 2x on long videos to speed them up. Now apparently you have to upgrade to plus to use that feature. How dumb.
New “Plus” model - bait and switch 1/5
Take features we’ve been using for years, then remove them and make us pay for them. Great strategy. Look, you deserve to be paid for your application, it’s been a good one, but this isn’t how you do it. 1 star rating due to removal of basic features that we were using and requiring us to subscribe (2x listening, scrubbing forward, sending photos and notes to name a few). If you want to require a subscription, add more features and charge for those, don’t take away existing features and force payment for them. I’m switching apps and so is the rest of my family because of this decision. Too bad too, it was a good app.
Good way to keep in touch 5/5
I’m having a blast with Marco
Old version better 3/5
The old version used to be better. You could go through long Marco polos 2x the speed. Now you have to pay for that feature.
Missing your peeps! 5/5
I love that videos can be watched at your leisure and replayed. I’ll admit I’ve sat and replayed them just to hear my loved ones voice as I did chores etc. thanks Marco Polo!!! Great way to stay connected in a busy world
Marco Polo 5/5
Love it!! Keep in touch with family and friends!!
Monitization has ruined this app. 3/5
The subscription monitization of this app has ruined it for me. It took away my access to the basic functions of the application like sending notes and forwarding messages. If you haven’t updated, don’t. All the free features are now behind a subscription cost that seems punishing for this new environment we live in.
Update: I moved from one to three stars. If you go into “settings” and then to “help and about us” you can go back to the old experience until August 1st 2020. If the “plus” interface is returning I will move my rating to a two star. I wish you had advertised how to change it back as hard as you pushed upgrading to plus.
The fact that you’re pulling back service and demanding payment? That’s so annoying. Taking advantage of a crisis. Classy.
All the features that made this a great app now cost $$ 2/5
By Christina in Iowa
This app used to be so cool! I told all my family and friends about it… But just recently they changed and now any of the cool features that made this app stand out are only available if you paid the $60 yearly membership
By purple tang lilies
Especially during the many 2020 disasters it has been so important to keep in touch. I love how Marco Polo helps me keep in touch with not just my family but my friends as well!
It’s ok 3/5
I used to love this app. But since the new update.....I have had to re listen to stuff because I accidentally stop it or something happens and you took away the 2x feature AND the skip forward. You could have at least gave us one or the other without having to pay!
Plus Ruined It 1/5
We loved the app until the update. We always would record videos to our camera roll and then upload them to separate groups so that our friends and family could see them and we would still have the videos on our camera roll. Now the only way to do that is to pay a yearly fee. We never use the app anymore
Feels like a slap in the face 1/5
By Sean Ogle
Been using the app for a long time now, but taking not just a few, but MANY of the features that made MP worth using (listen to messages at 2x, or being able to send text messages for when I can’t do a video reply) feels like a slap in the face for users that helped them grow to the point where they’re at now.
I get it you have to make money, but do that by adding new features, not removing all of the ones for the people who have learned to rely on the app how it was.
I’m all for supporting companies I enjoy when given the option, but not when I’m strong armed into doing so.
Why is the plus version $$$??? 3/5
By toilet seat 345
It’s a good way to talk and connect andEspecially now the only thing I can do is polo it won’t let me text her anything else I can’t speed anything up and I can only have three emoji’s I can’t do screen records when someone’s making a polo either I don’t want to have to pay that’s why I personally don’t love it I probably would love it if they change their stuff though.
Switched free features to now paid 1/5
They just introduced premium Marco Polo which looks like it means some of the once free features are now by subscription only. For example I liked using the 2x speed because my friends talk a lot or I mess up and have to start the video over. Now you have to pay extra for basic video control. Just annoyed so giving this app one star and probably going to use less because I only really had a couple friends who used it. I don’t know what else was switched to paid but still annoyed.
Good, could be better 4/5
I just wish that ask the good stuff didn’t cost money! Also, our voices always cut out really bad. We’ve checked the WiFi and everything but it’s all just glitchy
Too expensive 1/5
I think they’re charging way too much just to be able to fast forward and give a few extra emojis I think a lot more people would sign up for Marco Polo upgrade if it was just like a dollar or two a month but $5.99 I know me and all my friends would never sign up for something like that I definitely think they should lower the price for the upgraded package.
Update FAIL 2/5
Everything that made this app worthwhile is now an up charge of nearly $60 a year - No thank you.
Why even use this? Everything I needed can now be used via a text video and I can ff or rwind there 🤬
Edit - the ability to skip 10 seconds forward or back is helpful but I greatly miss the double speed soooo I give it back one star.
Marco Polo has been a thing for years and I loved the app until recently where they begin to charge customers (who’ve been active for years) for the extra features that were once free. It’s disappointing and not okay to randomly create a plus where you charge people for the same features they had been using for free for years. Do better.
Disappointing changes 3/5
I had loved using app, but once the Plus option became available some features I was used to were taken away and are now only available with a paid subscription. Very disappointing.
The new update robbed us 1/5
I used to really like Marco Polo as a better alternative to texting and FaceTime as it doesn’t require live attention but the new update took away a bunch of features that used to be available in the regular version. Now you have to pay for plus to use the features like fast forward and text messages. I’d be tempted to get plus for the new features it includes that the old version didn’t have, but will not upgrade because I feel too slighted by the update that was really just a downgrade and advertisement for Marco Polo plus.
An organized, costly video messenger 2/5
By hake sobwodnriwm
Overall, this app COULD be great. It has everything it needs to be a fun way to communicate with friends. The recent price-gate took away some features that were great, and made the app bearable. Now, unable to speed up messages has caused this app to not be worth it. It’s also not worth $5 a month to get this feature back. I know they are adding other things past the price wall, but you kinda gave a low blow to take away something that was free before. Good luck making money, can’t wait until my family gets bored of this app so I can delete it.
ZERO STARS!!! 1/5
This recent update is taking advantage of the pandemic by charging $59.99 for features that have been available on the free Marco Polo app for a long time.
Return all previously free features and I'll consider editing my review and stars. And I'll consider staying.
If all previously free features aren't returned, I'll completely move over to the Signal app: free, text, video, photo, end-to-end encryption, no ads, no "premium" subscriptions, and many more features that were free.
If you have messages that haven't been viewed for 90+ days, they hold all previous posts hostage behind the pay wall.
Also, I haven't been able to move back to the older version even though I've been with MP for quite a few years now.
All the people I have recommended to MP over the years I've warned them about these awful changes. Every single person I talk to is now hopping onto Signal (by github) or Voxer.
Peace out MP.
By you've got2beejoking!
Where is the old links to the free Marco Polo? It won’t let me put a happy face on some of my chats. There should be a link to help if we wanted the plus or not. Dissatisfied now
I enjoy this app but was very disappointed when the new update would only allow previously made videos to be sent through the paid version. 🙄 Lame...everyone wants your money. Back to texting a video...
>was< a great app. Not so much now 1/5
Have been using MP for years with friends and family. The recent update now requires you to pay for the most simplistic features that use to be free. Forward a video... nope. Sent a text instead of video... nope. Play at faster speed or swipe to rewind/fast forward...nope.
Should have left it free and charged the upgrade for NEW features. Or... find another way to monetize the app.
Great wait? 5/5
The videos are SUPER blurry
I hate marco polo plus!!! 1/5
I use to love marco polo and I would give it a 5 star review! But now I don’t like it as much because of marco polo plus! And if you don’t change it back you could lose a lot of downloads and not get vary good reviews. As soon as this is fixed I will give it a 5 star review and BTW all of my family and friends think that marco polo plus is stupid and we all give marco polo a 1 star review until marco polo plus is not a thing anymore (if you decide to fix it snd make marco polo a good app agin) but I give this app a 1 star review.
GREEDY GREEDY GREEDY! 1/5
This app was great until they decided to make me pay for features that I’ve been using for over a year!! If you want to make some money add a new feature to make people pay for, don’t take away the ones we’ve already been using for so long. This app also completely drains your battery. So I’ll be switching to Instagram private messages where I can send private stories to people, no different then what Marco Polo offers now and it doesn’t drain my battery.
Bringing family together! 5/5
By the man inside the art
I have been using this app for a few years now and it has helped my family keep in contact! I have family in Hawaii an all around California and we’ve been making a lot of messages to each other! Love this app!
Terrible upgrade 1/5
By WI w hi sbd
This app was great but then they decided to start a “premium” and charge for their service. Unlike most innovative companies that enhance their app and charge you to access those features, Marco Polo decides to take away most features and charge for them. And not only that, they want to charge an absurd amount, $10 a month. I pay $10 a month for Spotify and that lets me access millions of songs! If anyone knows of a better video messaging app let me know, or even if it’s not better. My buddies and I would love to switch to something else out of spite.
The Update Is Terrible 1/5
This used to be my favorite app but since the update i use it so much less. It was great before and the creators just ruined it. I’m dissappointed and waiting for a better app to come like the previous version.
Was great until 1/5
Was great until the latest update which requires payment for features that were standard. Looking for an alternative now.
I used to love this app 2/5
This app really comes in handy when you’re not close to your family. There were things you could do like share pictures and videos, write notes, fast forward and other thing all for free. They came out with a paid version and now you can’t do anything on the free version. I would have rather watched an ad before my video than have to pay 60 bucks a year to use the app.
I will let you 5/5
By mr. bob rj
I am so happy with this app I love it so much I gave it a five star rating it’s so cool
It was cool until you starting charging to use all the features
Update is Stupid 1/5
I absolutely loved this app, being able to send screenshots with voice-overs, fast forward and pause my friends while they’re talking. But then the app updated, now to do any of these basic items, you have to pay $59.99/year for the simple features that everyone was freely able to use for the past two years. Absolutely ridiculous and overpriced!!
Great app but now fav features cost $$ 3/5
By Sad in CO
Bummer. Marco Polo’s features aren’t free anymore. Very disappointing. Not worth paying for the features so this greatly reduces enjoyability of this formerly great app - everywhere I turn there is a prompt to go Pro.
Why didn’t they grandfather in those that have had MP FOREVER?? 1/5
I love MP and have have had for years! Great way to communicate with friends across states. But they just had an update, and are now CHARGING for features it regularly had! Why didn’t they just grandfather people in that have been loyal to MP from the beginning? Not cool at all! Disappointing
New update just wants money 3/5
By I love Gio
They took away the 2x speed option and now want money for that option. Just another move for money instead of quality.
Purchased and got a new number and it won’t transfer to new one 1/5
By fix this bug asap
I paid for plus using a number I had for 20 years. I had to get a new # unexpectedly but used the same email. Plus did not activate on the new number, nor did the restore purchase feature work. I also emailed through the website and never got a reply. So you’re wanting us to pay for the things that have been free. I did. And now, you’ve stolen my money because plus will not work!!!! Theft. Abysmal customer service.
Ugrade smh 3/5
By Fayfay Davis
Use to love this app until they hit me with upgrade to premium to use certain features. Who is going to pay a monthly/yearly fee just to react to a MP smh