Choose your own incentives: Have an option to pay only if you reach your goal
I get the whole anti-akrasia thing where you pay when you fail. You're incentivizing your future self to toe the line (stay on the road).
But it takes a certain kind of nerd to appreciate the value in that. Normal people might prefer it the other way around: I still put in my credit card up front but you only charge it if I actually reach my goal.
It's like a satisfaction guarantee: Beeminder will get you to the end of your Yellow Brick Road or your money back!
Matthew Fallshaw commented
Pay in, get your money back if you succeed makes more sense, but sounds complicated enough that I don't suggest it. I'd worry about the disincentive on me if I knew my card would be charged if I succeeded, so the framing would be critical. Perhaps something like "$2/month subscription, discounted to $1/month in all months in which you don't miss any goals"?
Admindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) commented
I did mean the latter, and it's more for people who really don't like the whole commitment contract concept. (It's like the business model for a personal trainer with a money back guarantee -- you pay the trainer if they help you succeed.)
However currently our hands are very full with users (like you!) who are delighted and excited about commitment contracts (or "pledging to stay on your yellow brick road" as we're thinking of calling it) so this is on the back burner for a while.
Drew Summitt commented
Do you mean to say that you "pay in" as it were and only get the money back if you achieve the goal, or is it that you pay in you achieve your goal.
If the latter, I don't see as much of a reason to achieve a goal in that case.