Earlier this morning, ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts sold out 12 hours after we made them available.
Update – November 27, 2016: ProtoMail Lifetime Accounts sold out again this morning. However, we are still in the process of notifying users about this offering. Thus, to give everyone an equal opportunity to obtain a Lifetime Account, we will raise the limit on the number of Lifetime Accounts until all notifications are sent. The last notification will finish sending Monday morning, so Cyber Monday will be the last day Lifetime Accounts are available. We would like to again thank everybody who has contributed to support the ProtonMail project. This overwhelming support will allow us to accelerate our development schedule next year and build new features faster!
On Black Friday, we made 50 ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts available for 1337€ each (full details about the special offering can be found on our announcement page here). The response from the ProtonMail community was larger than we imagined, and all 50 accounts sold out this morning just 12 hours after going on sale. We are extremely grateful to everybody who purchased a Lifetime Account yesterday. Your support means that we will have the resources to make extensive infrastructure investments in 2017, which will strengthen ProtonMail and benefit the entire community.
The speed in which the Lifetime Accounts sold out however, did create a problem. In addition to supporting ProtonMail, many community members are interested in the Lifetime Accounts because they provide ProtonMail Visionary status for life, and some people have been waiting since 2014 (when we last offered them) to obtain one. In order to notify the community about the availability of Lifetime Accounts, we started sending an email notification to all users yesterday.
However, since ProtonMail has grown so much recently, it actually takes several days to send an email to everyone. This led to the situation where, the Lifetime Accounts were sold out before some users even became aware that they were available, and some people have pointed out to us that this is not fair. To remedy the situation, we are making an additional 50 Lifetime Accounts available so that everybody has the opportunity to buy one after being notified. These Lifetime Accounts are available until Monday, November 28, 2016.
Starting today, we are also limiting purchases to 1 per user. It has always been possible to transfer or resell Lifetime status, and this doesn’t change. We won’t take steps to ban the practice, but we obviously discourage buying Lifetime Accounts solely for resale on secondary markets.
A note regarding the “fairness” of Lifetime Accounts:
Finally, we would like to address the concerns from some community members that ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts unfairly benefit the rich, and go against ProtonMail’s egalitarian values. We do not entirely agree with this assessment, and here’s why:
ProtonMail’s user community is diverse. We have users from all countries, rich and poor, from all walks of life, and from all sides of the political spectrum. However, we all share the belief that privacy and security matter, and should be protected at any cost. A cornerstone of this vision is always providing a free version of ProtonMail, because money should never be a barrier for somebody to exercise their fundamental human right to privacy and security.
ProtonMail does not invade your privacy by selling your data to advertisers. We can’t for the same reason that governments cannot ask ProtonMail for your data – we can’t read your emails. Having no advertisers means the only group we need to listen to is the ProtonMail community. The downside is that unlike Google, we don’t have billions in advertising revenue to sustain the free accounts.
Instead, ProtonMail operates on a model where the paid accounts are subsidizing the free accounts. This is how we can continue to protect users in countries where paying for email isn’t economically feasible, but encrypting email might be necessary to avoid persecution. This model only works due to the generosity and financial resources of an important subset of our users. Lifetime Accounts are a way for certain supporters in our community to contribute more today, and these contributions are critical to sustaining the most egalitarian part of ProtonMail, the free accounts we provide.
This is the essence of what the ProtonMail community is about, and why together, we are able to challenge the forces that would like to see online privacy fail. Millions of people are contributing however they can (either financially, by spreading the word, or by writing code), and this makes us strong enough collectively to make a real difference when it comes to our privacy rights.
The ProtonMail Team