that-free-thing-logoOne of the big questions that has loomed over the viability of That Free Things business model has always been whether or not the company provides enough value to keep its members shelling out $9.95 a month.

Due to the nature of the offers being ‘free’, the different geo-locations of its members and the personal nature of value from offer to offer, this is almost impossible to quantify off of That Free Thing’s business model alone.

So what’s the next best thing?

Membership numbers.

Unfortunately for That Free Thing, a snapshot of the last four months of membership activity reveals that roughly a quarter of the member base cancelled their subscriptions.

Back in August of this year That Free Thing had a total of 31,027 members making up roughly their top 20 countries by membership.

The latest membership figures taken from their site now show just 23,381 members. A drop of 7,646 members or roughly 25%.

Here’s a list country by country (country, August members, members now, percentage change);

1. United States 17916 12488 (-30%)

2. United Kingdom 1700 1975 (+16%)

3. Russian Federation 1466 1337 (-9%)

4. Norway 1542 1204 (-22%)

5. Canada 1408 1186 (-16%)

6. South Africa 2182 1117 (-49%)

7. Thailand 1005 915 (-9%)

8. Germany 816 721 (-12%)

9. Australia 896 709 (-21%)

10. Spain 258 348 (+35%)

11. Israel 221 211 (-5%)

12. Korea, Republic of 366 180 (-51%)

13. Ukraine 225 148 (-34%)

14. France not listed 125 (N/A)

15. Malaysia 318 114 (-64%)

16. Hungary 120 111 (-7%)

17. Sweden 134 102 (-24%)

18. Ireland not listed 72 (N/A)

19. Denmark 97 70 (-28%)

20. Philippines 120 69 (-42%)

India <78 68 (~-13%)

Italy 78 57 (-27%)

New Zealand 81 54 (-43%)

Total members August: 31,027

Total members November: 23,381

The three countries on the bottom were on the top 20 list in August, but had slipped of it as of November – I nonetheless included them in the list.

Also Ireland and France didn’t appear on the August top 20 list so I don’t have any August date for them to calculate a percentage change on. With just 2 out of the top 20 countries showing positive growth however, it’s a safe bet both countries lost members.

Interestingly enough at one point That Free Thing were advertising they had ‘over 37,000 paid members’. A far cry from the 23,000+ they have now.

If we take any one important thing away from these declining membership numbers it’s that quite simply ‘free offers’ as a MLM business model obviously doesn’t work. As I surmised in my original That Free Thing review in April, with no products to sell members are simply selling the opportunity to others.

Notably most of the large percentage swings are countries where That Free Thing no doubt has difficulty providing and real value to its members (Asia).

Their biggest market, the US, also took a heavy hit and although the percentage isn’t as high we’re still talking 5400+ members leaving the company.

These almost universal negative membership number trends were no doubt what caused That Free Thing to take stock and reverse their ‘free offer’ business model. Last month That Free Thing launched its ‘Vendor Network’, which essentially operates as a coupon, vouchers and Daily Deals network for That Free Thing members.

A notable shift from That Free Thing’s previous ‘every is free’ policy.

The big question regarding the Vendor Network is of course ‘will it be enough to turn those membership numbers around?

Having just launched I figure we’ll give That Free Thing’s vendor network a few months to get going and perhaps revisit the top 20 member numbers again early next year.