Why Do Most eDiscovery Vendors Hide Their Prices?

27 January 2022 by Anith eDiscovery pricing

Takeaway: Vendors who don’t display their prices publicly have usually chosen an overcomplicated pricing strategy. And it’s because, (1) They’ve focused on the wrong software features, (2) They’re charging for the wrong things, and (3) They haven’t streamlined their systems. When vendors fix these problems, they’re immediately able to list (and explain) their prices in just a few sentences.

Most eDiscovery vendors don’t publicly display their software’s pricing. But why is this?

Do a quick survey of eDiscovery vendor websites, and you’ll notice a common trend. Most try to create fair, predictable pricing schemes but don’t display these prices on their website. And this means you’ll need to connect with their client servicing team and/or request a demo to get a pricing estimate. But why is this? Why don’t they list their prices?

One reason could be that eDiscovery technology is too complicated to be priced simply. Is this true, though?

Sources like the American Bar Association show us how a civil case in the U.S. has (on average) 130 GB of data from about 10 to 15 custodians, and can ring up $200,000 per year on eDiscovery costs (plus a $40,000 yearly maintenance fee). So, is it that there are just too many variables and technology costs to make public pricing possible? Well, no. We know this because we designed our eDiscovery application GoldFynch from scratch and display its subscription prices on our website. eDiscovery technology has actually evolved to make things more convenient, not more complicated. For example, if we’d designed our software about a decade or two ago, we’d have had to store data on expensive private servers. But now, we store files in the secure, cost-effective Cloud. So, instead of getting our software onto your computer, you’ll access it online via your web browser. (It’s a previously-impossible ‘Software as a Service’ business model.) So much simpler!

Most often, the real reason for complicated pricing is poor eDiscovery strategy.

Vendors hide prices because their pricing schemes are too complicated to list briefly on a web page. And this overly complicated pricing is a sign that they’ve chosen a poor eDiscovery strategy. Here’s what that means:

1. They’ve focused on the wrong software features.

Design 101 teaches us to design software with ‘user experience’ in mind. That means including only eDiscovery features that customers truly need – because the more add-ons you have, the more complicated your pricing becomes. For example, vendors could choose to offer a technology-assisted review (TAR), where the software learns your usage patterns and then steps in to take over a large chunk of document review. Or vendors could offer advanced data visualization, where you’ll see complex connections between custodians and their data. Now, if they’re targeting larger law firms, these advanced features might be useful. But often, these features creep in (unnecessarily) because vendors let their software grow with no clear user experience in mind. And they’re left with a bloated application that needs overly complicated pricing.

2. They’re charging for the wrong things.

The best eDiscovery pricing plans bill you a flat rate every month. That’s one fixed price covering all the software’s features. But this is the opposite of the ‘call us for a quote’ model, where everything has to be negotiated. So, why the difference? Well, it depends on what the vendor is charging for. Many vendors use an older, à la carte pricing model, where they charge separately for each eDiscovery stage. So you’d pay, in turn, for data collection, data processing, document review, production, etc. – and this needs a lot of negotiation. Other vendors offer a flat fee but charge based on how much data you upload. This is better but still wasteful since you’re always adding and deleting files – so, paying for uploads becomes unnecessarily expensive. The trick behind simple pricing is to find the right thing to charge for. And the right thing happens to be storage space. That’s why, with GoldFynch, we charge a flat monthly rate for storage alone, with everything else (uploading, processing, review, etc.) included for free. That simple tweak is why you can figure out your monthly GoldFynch bill – up front – just by looking at our simple pricing ‘slider’.

3. They haven’t streamlined their systems.

eDiscovery tech might have improved, but there’s still a lot that software designers have to get right. For example, they’ll need to develop the right chunking code to keep uploads fast. (Chunking is where the software breaks a file into multiple chunks, uploads these to the Cloud, and reassembles them into the original file.) Or they’ll need to figure out how to keep related files (i.e., file families) connected so that you don’t leave out important evidence when producing documents. Get these sorts of things wrong, and you’ll spend a lot of time and money solving customer problems. That’s why we focused on making GoldFynch (and its website) easy to use, which means our customers rarely have to contact us for help. And this, in turn, simplifies how we charge for our services.

At GoldFynch, we’ve realized is that once you get eDiscovery pricing right, everything else falls into place automatically.

We designed GoldFynch to be the kind of efficient, cost-effective eDiscovery tool that small and midsize law firms need. Here’s why GoldFynch might interest you:

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?