ArcGIS Online has been one of the more confusing products to come out of Esri that I can recall (well besides ArcGIS Publisher). No one could really figure out what Esri wanted it to be and then it sort of went dark since late last year. In the meantime, we’ve heard rumblings about the pricing being out of wack with expectations and many smaller government users have basically told me they thought it was very unreasonable. But for most of us, we had no idea what it was going look like or cost. But now we’ve got pricing.
To me, that doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, I’m almost wondering if Esri is doing this at a loss given what ArcGIS Server costs. Now I do get that there is some uncertainty here with what exactly you are getting with these Service Credits. A good friend of mine compared them to “Disney Dollars” where their value can of course be changed at any time. Right now they are 1:1 to the U.S. Dollar but you still don’t really have much idea what that means. As will all Esri pricing, anything is negotiable so call your local rep and deal with them.
But that doesn’t really explain what a Service Credit is and what you get for it. Does anyone have a clue? Some say it is one action of storing data in ArcGIS.com:
@cageyjames I read it enables "storing features or tiled map services and geocoding". Still unclear exactly how that will translate.
— Brandon Knight (@geobrando) June 14, 2012
If that’s the case, this is a steal and you all need to be more realistic with your pricing expectations. I am quite impressed with how aggressive it is. Clearly, Esri is serious about ArcGIS Online. Meanwhile, Google continues to do nothing with Google Earth Maps Builder. I guess we’ll hear more about it at Google I/O, but whatever lead they had over Esri, that’s evaporated.