The money side of Clipperz

April 11, 2007

Recently we received several inquiries about our business model. How is Clipperz going to make money? From a security point of view this is a very sensible question to ask. The basic answer is: we really don’t know yet.

business model

Picture courtesy of Hugh MacLeod of

Giulio and I started Clipperz online password manager out of pure passion and enthusiasm and have been working at its development for the last 18 months investing our own money, time and energy. We publicly launched few days ago and now it’s time to think about the money side.

Complete transparency is our only way to gain the trust of our users, this is why we made the source code available for security reviews, this is why we packed the core crypto algorithms into the Javascript Crypto Library and released it under a BSD license.

In the same way we are going to be as transparent as we can about all the financial aspects of Clipperz.

Given our “zero-knowledge” approach, we cannot think of any effective way to introduce advertising in Clipperz. Therefore maintaining and developing Clipperz on ad revenues is not a viable scenario. We are left with the following alternatives.

  1. Spontaneous donations
    Is it possible to sustain Clipperz through the generosity of people who believe that having full and exclusive control of their own data means more security and more freedom? That would be really nice!
    And maybe we could integrate the donations flow by selling Clipperz merchandise. Sound interesting? Make a donation!

  2. Clipperz as a marketing tool for other services
    We are convinced that the zero-knowledge paradigm implemented and tested with Clipperz password manager could be used for a wide range of applications: a personal finance manager, a confidential to-do list, patient records for physicians, … Any suggestions for other new applications?
    We could target professionals (physicians, lawyers, headhunters, …) that hopefully will understand the benefits and the convenience of the new services and pay for them. As a result Clipperz could become the poster child of a new breed of web applications and stay free forever.
    Each of these new apps could be built leveraging the same security platform designed for Clipperz. But the development of custom data structures and functional interfaces is going to be a significant challenge.
    Can we afford to move along this path with our own resources? Definitely not. We would need investors that believe it is a sound and profitable strategy. We are actively looking for brave venture capitalists, but more on this soon.

  3. Premium service
    I always liked the so-called freemium model. It could be quite easy to define a free version of Clipperz with limited functionalities and introduce a new premium service with no restrictions for paying subscribers.
    In that case where should we draw the line between the two versions? Capacity (e.g. limited number of cards), features (no sharing, no tagging, …) or a mix? How much will you pay for a yearly subscription to the premium service?

All the options above will take quite some time to generate a significant cash flow. What to do in the meanwhile? Take a look at this page! Thanks!