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Marco Polo Plus: Our Big Bet on Human Connection

A Message from Vlada Bortnik, CEO and Co-Founder

The extraordinary level of connection that the world is experiencing during this coronavirus time is beyond anything any of us in the tech industry could have planned for or predicted. As we look around, we see clearly how Marco Polo – built to be good for you – is playing an important role in maintaining human connection through face-to-face relationships, which are critical to our ongoing mental and physical well-being. 

“Marco Polo is emerging as the happy, authentic, soothing social app the world needs now…It is the rare social platform that feels like an oasis, a safe space,” said a recent report in Vogue

We understand the critical role we’re playing right now, and we take it seriously. We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure Marco Polo is free for millions of people for decades to come.

Introducing Marco Polo Plus

Earlier this year, our team began building Marco Polo Plus, a paid membership plan, to not only deliver a premium experience for our millions of fans, but also to deliver on a promise to make our business sustainable in a way that is true to our values. We’ve been listening to all of you, curating requests for features that make Marco Polo even more convenient, and enhancing ways to make this primary mode of communication even better.

Marco Polo Plus delivers on a promise to make our business sustainable in a way that is true to our values.

We are unveiling Marco Polo Plus to support our mission and launch our best version yet. Plus is a membership plan that unlocks premium features, an elevated experience that includes more functionality, unlimited versions of free features, and new, fun ways to use the app, all designed to help you stay connected more effortlessly and joyously. I’m excited to share more details soon.

Currently, we’re only rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn, and listen, and we’re going to continue doing that in the coming weeks. We understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. That’s why we’re giving existing users the option to switch back to the original Marco Polo version. We are working to make Marco Polo sustainable so our core offering is available free for people for decades to come, and we want to be as non-disruptive to the experience as possible. 

To be certain, Marco Polo is and will remain a free app. We’ve had a free app for years with the singular goal of helping people feel close. We’re a purpose driven company. That aspect will never change. If the premium upgrade isn’t a fit for your life right now, no problem. We’ll continue to invest in making sure the free experience is a great one. No matter the changes now or in the future, we’ll always provide unlimited opportunity to stay in touch with the people who matter most to you.

As we test, refine, and continue to iterate on this best version yet, some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and will only be available in our Plus version. Our new free version of Marco Polo will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. 

The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited, free, and will never change.

Sustainable business built to be good for you

While many would like to compare, we’re very different from other social networking and video chat apps. From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting our user data to sell to advertisers. We will never show ads in Marco Polo. We will never use “likes” or social comparisons or manipulate algorithms. We were built to be good for you.

To be certain, Marco Polo is and will remain a free app.

We often hear, “So, how does the business make money?” Well, we don’t. Yet.

We never planned to release a paid membership plan at a time when we’re all looking for ways to cut. But as Marco Polo Plus was long in the works to deliver our best version, and for the sake of sustainability, the timing is right for our business. We have been steadfast in our commitment to help people feel close, and today we realize how urgently important that work is to help prevent the “social recession.” Human connection is having its long overdue moment. And we are here for it, as we always have been. 

From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting our user data to sell to advertisers. We will never show ads in Marco Polo.

“Marco Polo users were significantly less lonely, exhibited fewer depressive symptoms, and had higher life satisfaction than Snapchat users…Marco Polo users may be capitalizing on positive health-related outcomes, compared to users of other social media,” as recently published in a Brigham Young University study.

The way we see it, human connection has always been important. It’s just that now, our busy lives and global system have been shocked with current events, and we are prioritizing what matters. We’re now actually holding on to what matters. Perfectly curated social posts for the world to see don’t tell the story of our lives, now or really ever.

We must safeguard our close relationships

Lately, I find myself turning to the words of Dr. Vivek Murthy, who recently said in The Atlantic,  “Relationships with other people are the foundation on which humans build healthy, fulfilling lives, so we must safeguard them.

We are committed now and always to safeguarding your close relationships, making it easy and joyful to stay in touch, protecting privacy, and continuing to build an emotionally nutritious experience.  

This belief is at the core of how I know we can become a sustainable business in a way that feels true to ourselves and our millions of Marco Polo fans.

“Relationships with other people are the foundation on which humans build healthy, fulfilling lives, so we must safeguard them.” –Dr. Vivek Murthy

Thank you to our loyalists around the world, and to our newest members of the Marco Polo community. We are forever grateful, and we hope you are safe and connected in these trying times.

Stay tuned for many more details on our paid membership plan Marco Polo Plus, coming soon.

Vlada Bortnik
Co-Founder and CEO

302 thoughts on “Marco Polo Plus: Our Big Bet on Human Connection

  1. It’s always good to have options. Thank you for being our safe go-to for connecting with our not so close family and friends especially in these new times.

    1. Karen, thank you so much for that feedback. We’re so glad that Marco Polo is proving to be your “safe go-to” as you stay in touch with loved ones, especially now. <3

      1. Thanks for having this site. It does save me by visiting my son and family out of state. Seeing my granddaughters growing so fast. It is very costly and hard to fly to often.

      2. Hi Rhonda – Thank you so much for your feedback. We’re so happy that Marco Polo is helping you and your granddaughters stay in touch, especially during this time, and we appreciate your taking the time to comment!

    2. Yes I have been very thankful for Marco Polo during this time of my life! My kids have been enjoying getting to talk with their friends and cousins and family during this time! I also am very glad Marco Polo keeps things simple and does not have the social media aspect involved on your app! I do not have very good service where I live but for some reason Marco Polo works much better than every other app that I have! I’m not sure why this is but it has actually been kind of an oasis for me and my children lately! Every other app we have to wait for some time just to get through if we get through at all! Where as on our Marco Polo it comes through much much quicker and better! Thank you!!!

      1. Kat, we’re so glad that Marco Polo is working so well for you, especially right now. Thank you for your input!

      2. I too enjoy that it does not feel like social media but yet we can connect. Thank you all that have made Marco Polo happen.

      3. Hi Jude – We’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you stay connected as a joyful alternative to social media. Thank you very much for your feedback!

    3. I love Macro Polo but don’t really like how this was rolled out. Yesterday I filled out a survey regarding the Plus upgrade and then woke up this morning to send my mother a message to find that my current version was downgraded (locking the 2X speed and only 1 emoji) and an invitation to try Plus for 7days (which of course I had to provide my cc for). My husband’s MP hasn’t changed nor has it changed for most of my contacts with the exception of one person who didn’t fill out the survey but her was changed today. I don’t mind paying for the service but the way in which it’s being rolled out is suspect at best.

      1. Hi Tina – Thank you for your feedback. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users, which is why you saw changes to the app while your husband did not. We’re learning that some folks would prefer to go back to their old version of Marco Polo, and so that is an an option! Just follow the instructions here to switch back: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
        As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still provide a free version of Marco Polo. Creating our subscription plan is part of supporting that. If you’re interested in learning more about new features and functionality, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
        In the meantime, thank you again for your feedback. Understanding your experience really helps us.

      2. Yes, this is disappointing isn’t it? 👎🏻. I’ve really enjoyed Marco Polo and the way it keeps me connected to family.
        If you are adding Marco Polo plus and making it optional to upgrade it seems manipulative that you remove and locked some of the options that were free before. I will not be upgrading for this fact alone. I don’t like that kind of marketing manipulation.

      3. Hi Tiffany – Thank you so much for your feedback. We understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. That’s why we’re giving people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 the option to switch back to the original Marco Polo version for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

        We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo, which will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free.

      4. I agree! Super frustrating. All of my friend’s polos are the same. Mine is now very limited unless I pay money to get back the options I have had for free for over a year. Why am I now paying just to fast forward polos which I have been doing for a year for free?

      5. I feel the same. I’ve used Marco Polo to Chat with my teams all over the us for the past few years and seriously adore the ease of contact through the day bjt was so disappointed when I saw the speed up function was gone as some conversations get long and drawn out and that helps me catch up quicker during the day. :/

      6. Hi Lindsey – You likely saw in this thread that people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time; we will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo. We understand that change to a beloved app can be surprising, and we’re sharing all the comments on this blog post with the product team, including people’s feedback about 2x fast-forwarding. Thank you!

    4. I must say I find this sudden upgrade option to be really offputting. So you’re telling me that your app was free, I had access to several emojis and the option to video respond as well as two times playback and now suddenly all of those features cost money? Flexing capitalist greed at this time is really gross. Like I’m going to pay extra money for features you were already giving me for free.. Honestly I’m thinking of deleting your app over this. Thumbs down Marco Polo.

      1. Hi Natasha – We’re sorry to hear that you’re thinking of switching away from Marco Polo, and we understand that our optional trial membership is not what some folks want right now. Users are welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
        If you’d like to know more about why we’re rolling out Marco Polo Plus right now, and our work toward a sustainable business model that still supports a free version of the app, you can check out our FAQ: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
        Thank you so much for your feedback.

      2. I do mind paying & I think this was set up like a trap. It only allows users to temporarily use the full features of the app as they were. The ‘updated’/down graded app will be the norm – if it’s even offered. All the verbiage used in the ‘explanations’ boil down to … ‘we have enough folks on this app to make a boat load of money- so let’s squeeze them – in the name of connections and civility and so forth. Consumers are stupid.” Thanks Marco Polo – you’ve joined the rest of the money grubbing online exploiters.

    5. Taking away the minimal features you already offered for free to encourage people to pay for these features at a time like this (Pandemic 2020) feels very opportunistic and shady. If you had changed nothing about the free version and offered the PLUS, those of us who can afford to do so would be more than happy to financially support such a socially important app.

      As it is, my groups will likely be moving to Discord, which truly saddens me as we have used this platform for YEARS. But now you want to greedily cash in during a time many people are hurting both financially and emotionally.

      Shame on you, Marco Polo. Restore everybody’s free version to the way it was before. I will not even consider paying for the plus feature until the free version is as it always was.

      1. Hi, Damona – Thank you so much for your feedback, and we’re sorry to hear you’re thinking about moving away from Marco Polo.

        Currently, we’re only rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn and listen. And we understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. That’s why we’re giving people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 the option to switch back to the original Marco Polo version. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

        We recognize that no one planned for what is happening around us in the world, and at a time when so many businesses, large and small, are making difficult decisions, we’re making one to ensure Marco Polo is sustainable and can be free for millions more people for decades to come. We’re a purpose driven company. That aspect will never change. And our new free version of Marco Polo will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. We will also notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo.

        Thanks again for your input.

      2. I am brand new to Marco Polo and came here to write a tremendous review of how much it’s meant for myself and an 8 year old who is loved as if he is my grandchild, but isn’t. I was his nanny from the ages of 1-4 and our bond was so very strong that it was devestating when his mom stopped working and didn’t need care for him anymore. Luckily we all feel like family and he is still a constant in my life. Until Covid19!! His mom is very careful abt screen time for him, and unlike millions of 8 yr olds he does NOT have a phone. I wanted to get him an echo show for xmas last year so he and I could “see” each other more but his parents didn’t want him to have another device other than his very limited tablet. All that I said to say this; they are the one’s who told me about MP as they allow your app on his tablet because they trust the security, and don’t have to worry abt Social Media aspects of FB etc, ads and so on. From the minute we were able to connect on MP it has been a bright spot in both our lives. Any time he wants to show me something he’s drawn or made or just be silly or tell me something…he can make a video, send it, and know I’ll respond pretty quickly or at least the same day. I’ve told everyone I know abt this app and NOW unfortunately I’m hearing you are changing the FREE app in order to promote a paid subscription plan that we’ll all need to get, if we want to keep the features we enjoy now! I agree with every negative reply I’ve just read today. What a shame that greed indeed seems to have taken over. Exactly as your other users said, if you were keeping the current app exactly as it is, but adding new features to a paid subscription Plus App which is optional, that would be great! When I first read the email abt your new Plus Plan a few mins ago I started trying to find what the cost will be and figured I would join. But now that I know what your plan is and ESPECIALLY hearing that old users are being taken totallyby surprise with their fav app being replaced by one they didn’t ask for??!!! What an underhanded way to try and get paid subscribers. From what I have heard just since starting to use MP a week ago, your app is extremely popular with very loyal users. Which means you’ve obviously done an amazing thing! Make money at it so you can continue?? Absolutely! But by taking everything you did right and trying to sell us a paid plan in all the wrong ways, you will end up costing yourselves your user loyalty! In addition, built in revenue you could have had from a lot of users who would have been glad to become paid subscribers. What a shame!

      3. Hi Patti – thank you so much for sharing how Marco Polo has helped you stay close to the boy you used to nanny for, and for sharing your feedback about the new subscription plan and the rollout. We are listening to everyone’s input, and hearing your concerns, and we appreciate your comments.

      4. Thank you!!!! I was very discouraged to see I am only getting to use the speed up feature so many times before I would need to upgrade to use it. This is something I used daily. I get wanting to have a Plus version with more features but not wanting previous features to now be charged for. That was was very off putting.

      5. Hi Tiffany – We really appreciate your input, and we are listening to our users’ comments and concerns. Thank you for adding your voice to this thread.

      6. It’s surprising that $5/mo is causing such upset. That’s really small considering all the work that has gone into this app to make it great this far. Those people have to provide for themselves and their families, too, and want to keep providing this safe platform for connecting. Sounds like the partial rollout has put people off balance with others in their conversation circles. Thanks, MP for offering the option to not upgrade right now if we can’t afford that.

      7. Hi Lindsey – Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. And you’re right, Marco Polo is and will remain a free app. We’ve had a free app for years with the singular goal of helping people feel close. If the premium upgrade isn’t a fit for folks right now, no problem. We’ll continue to invest in making sure the free experience is a great one.

      8. I agree. We have lost so much lately and this app has helped me and my family stay connected to our friends in a different state. Making people pay all of a sudden sounds crazy. We will most likely change apps to send videos as well. I’m so disappointed.

    6. Really?! We’re having a global health crisis and right now is the time to remove features that were previously free and charge for them? My area has a 40% unemployment rate right now. Gross.

      1. Hi, Alisa – Thanks for your honest feedback. We’re in early days of testing, listening and learning with a very small rollout at this stage.

        We recognize that no one planned for what is happening around us in the world, and at a time when so many businesses, large and small, are making difficult decisions, we’re making one to ensure Marco Polo is sustainable and can be free for millions more people for decades to come. We decided that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models.

        We understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. That’s why people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience.Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

        Thanks again for your input.

      2. I’m sorry there are so many complaints… I’m not sure why people don’t seem to understand that you’re a business and need funds to operate. Just like any other product. It’s either a subscription model, or advertising. Rest assured there are people who understand this. That’s the way the world works. It’s your prerogative which features – if any – you keep on a free version. Is the timing unfortunate? Yes – but I suspect that your demand has increased at this time, and in order to keep the app functioning at the speed and efficiency it does, you need to spend more to grow and expand. It all makes sense to me!

      3. Hi, KP – Thank you much for your understanding, your insightful summary, and your support of Marco Polo! We appreciate all of it, and we hope the app is helping you and your loved ones stay close, now and as we all move ahead.

    7. I agree with the others that say they were disappointed when I logged in and some of the features were locked. I don’t think that losing the emojis was fair. Such a simple thing to lose but frustrating to not have anymore. I use Marco Polo because it’s free and we are separated from family and loved ones. It’s helped my children and their father stay in contact and has done wonders for their emotional health.

      Switching for a limited time is a tease. Being out of work does not afford me the luxury of paying for an app. I’m disappointed about the way it was handled and the changes made. Make Plus something more than you already had and charge for that. Not what we already had.

      1. Hi Shannon – Thank you so much for your comments. We understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. We are working to make Marco Polo sustainable so that our core offering is available free for people for decades to come, and during this phase of rolling out the new product, we are listening and learning to feedback from users like you. So we really appreciate your input.

      2. Exactly. Timing is everything- and they think they know when to squeeze. Not just rude business practice- it’s betrayal. Hope that other apps see the hole that Marco Polo has left and we can leave Marco polls poll side. Fish out of water.

      3. Hi Bonnie – We take that honest feedback – thank you. You’ve followed these posts and read the background behind the company’s decision, our efforts to create a sustainable business, and our commitment to remaining ad-free. We understand change is tough for any app or product you use every day. Please know that I’m reading and responding to everyone’s comments on this blog post and sharing every bit of feedback with our product team so that they, too, can listen and learn from it. Thank you again for your frank input.

    8. This will more than likely be the reason that I delete Marco Polo off of my device. There are so many options to stay connected these days yet, I’ve always preferred Marco Polo. Charging to fast forward? Really? This could have been rolled so differently. I would much rather you include some type of banner add, or brief video at the start of each opening. The wording of your announcement was made to be such a positive benefit for your consumer. All you did was found a pretty way to say you will now charge us for what we’ve grown accustomed to having already included with the addition of a few non necessary features. I really hope your company takes reviews like this to heart. I am the reason that over 20 people currently use Marco Polo. I’ve been the reason for returning users after they have deleted the app. I’d much rather utilize my phones features, and new features rolling out from the likes of Facebook and Instagram then to pay a monthly access. We are living in a time where new costs will surely arise. People have lost jobs and income. We are not yet clear of a global pandemic. Yet you decided that this was a good time to introduce this “new way of doing things”. I am completely turned off and disappointed. it was a good run.

      1. Hi Khristen – Thank you for being a Marco Polo champion to your friends and family, and we’re sorry to hear you’re thinking of moving away from the app. We decided that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models – from the start, we’ve committed to never collecting our user data to sell to advertisers, never showing ads in Marco Polo, and never manipulating algorithms.

        Our new free version of Marco Polo continues to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free.

        And as we roll out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base, we will test, iterate, learn, and listen to users like you. Thanks again for your input.

      1. Hi Heather – We’re responding to many of these comments in the same way because they touch on similar themes, questions, and concerns from our users, and we want to make sure we respond consistently. Thanks for your feedback.

      2. What would you recommend her to do? Also, your statement isn’t correct. Her replies aren’t all the same. Think about what they are doing. They are doing the right and staying true to the mission just to keep people close together relationships tight which provides happiness for The human experience. That’s huge…!!! Who does that? Not Zuckerberg that’s for sure. These negative comments in this thread is just unbelievable how these people don’t see that this family is providing an app free to help The human experience a positive way take the time to really sit down and think about it.

      3. Hi Amy – Thank you so much for this feedback, and for your perspective! We do understand the critical role we’re playing right now, we take it seriously, and we are committed to doing everything we can to make sure Marco Polo is free for millions of more people for decades to come. Thanks again for your thoughts and input!

      1. Hi Sheila – Thank you so much for asking 🙂 Currently, we’re only rolling out Marco Polo Plus to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn, and listen. We plan to roll out Marco Polo Plus widely in the next few weeks. In the meantime, to help you get excited, here’s a link to some overview information about the rollout and the new version: https://support.marcopolo.me/category/199-marco-polo-plus

    9. Short sorry-Give back what was free and add something new to pay for.

      I’m in a situation where I don’t believe it is fair to remove features that were previously free and now offer them for a fee. I’m not opposed to the Plus option, but it should be something new, not old that you now want to be paid for. I understand they “why” behind the change, though I agree it is poor timing. But listen to your customers who say “This was free before a free trial and now I have to pay!?”
      .

      1. Hi Emily – As we roll out Marco Polo Plus, we are listening to the questions, comments, and concerns of our loyal users. Thank you very much for giving us your feedback.

      2. I am completely opposed to the plus option. $5 a month is ridiculous. I don’t want to pay a subscription fee for an app I have been using for 4 years. I am so upset. I use this app to talk to a lot of friends and families. Everyone wants to charge people monthly subscriptions now days. I don’t believe in it. It’s not a house payment. It’s not a bill. But it feels like it’s just the new cable company model. I am just so disappointed. $60 a year. My friends and family cannot afford this. And won’t pay it. Especially family members within one household. I don’t mind paying a one time fee like the way paid versions of apps used to be. Like a one time fee of $5-10.. but I ain’t paying no $5 a month. Get freaking real.

      3. Thanks! I love Marco Polo! I’m excited about what new features are coming.

        You aren’t running a charity. You haven’t been charging users anything and have provided a great service, thank you.
        Why do people think you owe it to them to be free forever and not change as your business and demand changes? Some people can’t legitimately afford the cost, ok then, use the free version. Heaven forbid you have to listen to a conversation at normal speed and live with only one emoji.

        If you are upset and want to delete the app, delete it and find another option, or try to develop something similar and see how complicated that is.
        Marco Polo thank you for your efforts to keep improving while also being a business and covering expenses so you’ll be around for years to come.

      4. Thanks so much, Susan! We’re glad you love the app and that you’re as excited as we are about Marco Polo Plus.

    10. I love everything about Marco Polo. I have encouraged many friends and family members to join. There is nothing negative I can say about MP! It’s the best, so much better than texting. I think it’s great for public speaking, for self acceptance, the beat app ever! I love the upgrade, I’ll pay the small price for all the bonuses. Thank you Marco Polo for keeping me connected to my family and friends. You’re the BEST!!!

      1. Hi Carmel – Your excitement is infectious! We are delighted that you’re getting so much out of the app and that you’re loving Marco Polo Plus. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. We appreciate your input and support so much.

    11. Will also most likely be deleting Marco Polo because of this. Truly ridiculous that you take away all the existing options and features and try to make people pay for them. I’ve stayed connected with friends for years through this app and this is so off putting. I couldn’t even imagine paying $5 a month to fast forward videos or send a heart emoji. Being in a group chat with 4 people, I often miss videos and come back to 15+ sometimes, and I can’t even watch it in 2x speed?? Your “mission statement” about your core values and your robotic toned automated responses to every comment sounds phoney and not genuine. You keep reiterating that users can switch back to the free version any time they like, as if the free version isn’t anything more than being able to simply send a video. Nobody is going to want to go back to that. The existing features are small, yet vital in what made this app great and when you take it away you’re going to lose customers. I’m the only person in my polo group that this happened to so now I can’t even stay connected and share the same experience. This is very bad and I recommend you listen to these mostly negative reviews of this Plus upgrade and find a way for users to have all the same features for free, and still having a plus option.

      1. Hi Alaina – I won’t cover the same ground from previous responses – you’ve obviously read through them, and you’ve seen that we’ve been responding to similar concerns with similar language. But I do want to add that in this first phase of rolling out our new version of the app, the Marco Polo product team – a small, dedicated group of real people – truly is receiving every bit of feedback. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll change course as a result, but it does mean that we’re seeing it, absorbing it, and learning as we go. So thank you very much for adding your voice to the conversation.

      2. And here we go again they are testing so you don’t know if those free options are going to be a paid option yet they are testing the new Marco Polo plus app out first and listening to their customers. not many people do that if you look around in this world it’s a pretty selfish world these people are staying true to their mission which is two people connected and keep relationships tight… Which is so funny peculiar that I’ve been talking about this lately to a lot of people about how is so important for us humans to have meaningful relationships that that’s our innate nature and the design of our species that’s where happiness comes from. And that’s what these people are about this to improve people’s lives. I wish everybody who made a negative comment about how their free features are temporarily gone would really sit down and take the time to look at what we are doing and how it is a good thing not a bad thing …they are staying true to their mission. In the mission is to keep people connected for free. If you really read her responses to all the comments they aren’t generic responses from sounds like they are being honest and truly reading every comment and taking all the feedback in. I need to realize not everybody in this world is feeding their selfish greed. there are actually people out there that are generous and giving. But maybe the people complaining all the time don’t have time to notice the truly caring giving people in the world.

      1. Hi Habib – We welcome every bit of feedback we’re getting. Thanks for your input.

    12. This new Marco is BULLSHIT!! Because of this pandemic and because more people are using this you guys are trying to come up off of people who currently are already having money issues!!! So you guys took away most the emojis, the record button and the 2x… NICE!! I refuse to pay for what was once available! Not good you guys… taking advantage of people!

      1. Hi Honee – We decided that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models. To be certain, Marco Polo is and will remain a free app. If the premium upgrade isn’t a fit for your life right now, no problem. We’ll continue to invest in making sure the free experience is a great one. And during this limited rollout period, we are sharing all of this feedback with our product team. Thanks.

    13. Why did you take away the basic features? For example I got a great video of my baby gabbing at the camera. I wanted to forward that to another person. Why can’t I do that now?? I can’t just recreate that special moment on a whim. I understand creating a Prime but why take away the most basic things. Create Prime to have better and more options instead of forcing us to pay for things that were free! Please don’t say you want us to stay connected but take away the simple features that help us do that.

      1. Hi Rachel – We’re in early days of testing, listening and learning with a very small rollout at this stage, and we understand that change to an app can be surprising. People who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

    14. After using this for a year, MP has brought my high school friends so much closer. We speak every day and we get a glimpse in to our lives that we normally wouldn’t. We’ve been friends for so long but I can’t remember a time that we have been closer. At nearly 40 years old, that truly is special. I am forever grateful to MP for bringing these girls back into my daily life.

      1. Hi Samantha – We’re so happy that you and your dearest high school friends are finding renewed connection through Marco Polo! That is what it’s all about. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    15. First of all I have to tell you how much I love the Marco polo app. It has been amazing to keep us connected. But I am so disappointed to loose 2x playback ☹️ I feel like me & my multitasking friends will be using FaceTime a bit more now.

      1. Hi Mariah – Thank you so much for your feedback. We completely understand that change to a beloved app can be surprising. That’s why we’re giving existing users the option to switch back to the original Marco Polo version for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience. We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo.

    16. Thank you for staying true to the vision and purpose behind MP! I would be so upset if it was no longer free or you started running ads. What an awesome company. I moved from Chicago to Portland, OR last year and Marco Polo is the number one way I keep up with all the people I love. Thank you!!!!

      1. Hi Lindsay – We’re go glad Marco Polo is helping you stay in touch with the people who mean the most to you! Thank you very much for your feedback.

  2. I’m very excited to see the progress of your behind these scenes work. It’s been great to have been here in the early stages of development….I look forward to sharing more Marco polo with other businesses and family alike. I truly just love this app! –Hope

    1. I think it’s fine to come out with a paid version, but I don’t think it was okay for you tot ale away features that were already free and now require people to pay for them.

      1. Hi, Arianna – thank you so much for this feedback. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future of Marco Polo, it’s important to us to still provide a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. Some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and added to the Plus version; for example, 2x speed is now 1.5-3x in Plus, and you can add an emoji of your choice along, just to name a couple.
        However, we also understand that not everyone wants to make this change right now. So we’re giving users the option to switch back to the old Marco Polo. Instructions are here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
        We’ll also make sure to give you plenty of notice before making any permanent changes.
        If you’re interested in learning more about what’s included with Marco Polo Plus, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s a link to more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
        Thank you again. We appreciate your feedback, and we’re learning from it!

    2. What a dilemma you face: The free version is so good that you (rightly) fear users won’t pay to upgrade for the additional features you can think of. But having a business model that excludes advertising and selling user data leaves you with no other revenue streams.

      Here’s an idea: why not grandfather your existing users into the old version “for life?” (Maintenance upgrades would be free as well but not new features.) Build your revenue business with new users and have your old users continue to promote the use of your product, as is the case now.

      Your timing, as you are clearly aware, also couldn’t have been worse. Being seen as taking advantage of the pandemic is not the image you were seeking as you discussed rolling out a paid version. You need money to stay afloat. I get that. It’s not too late to “clarify” that the option to revert to the old version will be permanent for existing users, whereas all new users will get the limited free version.

      Finally, I think the price is too high for what your product provides and with all the other communication options people now have. I could see paying $2.99/month, for example (as a new user), but even that might be too much.

      I wish you well as you navigate the financial and ethical challenges you are facing.

      1. Hi Ross – Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback on Marco Polo Plus, our rollout, and our direction. Your input is really valuable. We are listening, and and we appreciate your taking the time to share it.

      2. Couldn’t agree more! I see the need for you guys to change your business model but I think your timing and methods could not have been worse! People are fragile right now and if they feel like something is being taken away that they have come to rely on it causes you guys to hear a lot of negative feedback. I think taking away existing features was your biggest mistake. This rollout could have been a fun thing and something people got excited about – but this just feels yuck. And perception is everything.

        On a happier note – I’ve reconnected with two of my very best friends from 8th grade that I really haven’t had any sort of meaningful relationship with for over 25 years and because of this app we are all chatting away like schoolgirls again. MUCH NEEDED for this extrovert trapped in her house!! So thank you for this tool and your commitment to connecting people!

      3. Hi Gretchen – Thanks for adding your voice and feedback to this thread. And amidst everything, we’re really happy that the app has helped you reconnect with your dear friends during this time, and that we can play a positive part in that.

      4. I love this comment. I agree. I hate to pay anything per month for an app honestly. These features were LONG overdue as I have been using this app for four years! And they’ve done very little to update the app. Why are all the bigger apps like Snapchat free?? Most people in my nursing job haven’t even ever heard of Marco Polo. Yet I’ve continued to beg people to download the app so we can chat. I have loved it. I’m just so upset that the app is totally different now and the features I used I can no longer use without giving them $60 a year to use. I feel so taken advantage of.

      5. Hi Jessica – Thanks for adding your voice to this thread. In these early days of of the rollout of our Plus membership plan, we really appreciate everyone’s feedback. We hear you saying that some feature updates were long overdue, so here’s more information about the features that are included with the optional Marco Polo Plus membership plan: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/202-welcome-to-marco-polo-plus. But if you’d prefer to switch back to your old version of Marco Polo, you’re welcome to do so for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us, or see more information here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

  3. I love Marco Polo and appreciate being part of the users group. I’d really like to know what the premium version is going to look like and I am excited for the reveal. I too have often wondered how the company makes money. I applaud you for sticking to your goals and monetizing this awesome app. In a time when so many are giving up, you are forging ahead to create something beautiful and necessary during these trying times. Thank you. Most of my friends and family are spread across the country and I am forever grateful for this app to keep us connected! Welcome to all the new users.

    1. Julie, thank you so much for this feedback. It means the world, and we’re so glad you’re a part of the Marco Polo community. <3

      1. I wholeheartedly echo Julie’s post. She said everything I am thinking. So many times texts are misunderstood because they are just that. No inflection in the voice of a sentence. Marco removes all worries of that, plus the personal communication actually lifts the heart! I look forward to seeing the new level you are bring to Marco Polo! Thank you for protecting users privacy.

      2. Martha, thank you so much for that feedback. You’re so right about the power of face-to-face communication, and we’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you stay close to the people who matter most to you.

    2. My guess is, it looks just like the formerly free version. But they removed several features from the free version to push you into upgrading. I can no longer scan through videos with my finger or use the 2x. I can only give a smiley face – no other emojis are available to me. I can’t upload a photo or video. They must be rolling it out to iPhone’s first because my whole family is on Android and they aren’t being bothered with it.

      1. Hi Heather – Thank you so much for your input. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. If you’d prefer to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo, you’re welcome to do so. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
        If you’re interested in learning more about what’s included with Marco Polo Plus, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq

  4. My father passed away last week. I have messages through Marco Polo – from him. I’ve been able to keep those and be able to see his face, every day. I lost the last few weeks because of this quarantine, and missed the “goodbye”…the memories of being able to message him resonate very deeply with me. I know this may seem super sad, but, I wanted to say Thank You to the people who have provided my family a platform to talk while we cared for my Dad in his last couple years, at the drop of a hat. So simple and easy. My folks are in their 70s, and Marco Polo was the easiest thing to teach them, in the last 10 years or so. To all who have helped facilitate Marco Polo so that my family could stay connected while we grieve…All of these things bring me back to THANK YOU. I feel it’s only fair that I invest back in y’all, while we all push through this. Again, thank you. You really don’t know how deep the words above run, but, I hope you all know that you helped a family fight ALS, and that’s sorta hero stuff, to us.

    1. Amy, your story has moved our entire team deeply. Thank you for sharing it and for believing in the app. Your family’s loss is immense, and we’re so glad Marco Polo has helped you through this terribly difficult time while helping you hold on to treasured memories of your dad. We are all sending you love and support.

      1. Our mom passed away on Valentine’s Day this year. My siblings and I were able to keep in touch and share important details and moments during this entire time. My brother even played a snippet of a Marco Polo I had sent to our group chat during her memorial service, showing how vital Marco Polo was to keep us all close even though we live in Boston, Denver and Seattle. (We even joked that mom’s memorial service was a product endorsement for Marco Polo!) I resonate deeply with what Amy commented above and echo her heart felt sentiments. Marco Polo was a lifeline for us during a very difficult season as a family. Thank you for continuing to offer this vital communication tool for families who are geographically spread apart but can remain close with face-to-face interactions. We are deeply grateful. ❤️

      2. Lori, we’re so sorry for your family’s loss, and we’re so glad Marco Polo has played such a significant role in helping you all stay in touch. Picturing your mom’s memorial service is so poignant! Thanks for taking the time to comment. We sincerely appreciate your feedback.

  5. Hi! I have loved Marco Polo for years but I’m extremely upset with this new decision. I feel like it’s one thing to add brand new features that would cost money, but taking away common basic features that should be a given then charging for them? Like sliding to skip is really a “premium” feature worth $50 a year?? That’s ridiculous. And it’s also extremely u fair that only certain users have to pay. I am the only one of all my friend who use the app that have to pay for those features. I wish you would have creatively came up with new features to charge for rather than taking away ones we already had, especially during this time. It seems cheap to me, I would rather have ads /: Will definetly be looking for a new app. I appreciate all you have done but it’s very upsetting ):

    1. Hi Ally – Thank you so much for your feedback. We’re in the early days of releasing a subscription plan to a limited number of users, and as we go, we’re learning and hearing from folks like you. You’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo – just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

      As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. We will let you know before we make permanent changes to the app. We hope you’ll consider sticking with us – thanks again for writing in.

    2. I’m on the same page here! Love the app but this move is very upsetting. Been having group chats with my group of 4 childhood best friends who are now displaced across the country. Some of us have lost great old features like scrubbing, speeding up clips, and in video responses. Will be switching back to the old version. Hopefully this will help.

      1. Hi Steven – Yes, we hope this is helpful. Thanks for your additional input!

  6. So now we can’t watch on double speed or record reactions because that’s only on plus? I understand adding features specifically for plus, but to take away features that the free app already had is ridiculous. I’ve been a happy Marco Polo user for years, but this isn’t right.

    1. Hi Jessica – During this early, limited rollout of Marco Polo Plus, we are listening to feedback from users like you, and we hear you! If you’d like to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo, we are providing that option. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way, and we’ll be sure to let you and all our users know before we make any permanent changes.
      Also note that some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and added to the Plus version; for example 2x speed is now 1.5-3x in Plus. Just in case you decide you’re interested down the line, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again for your feedback. We really appreciate it.

      1. It seems like you keep sidestepping the question that everyone is asking here. Have the features of 2x speed, video responses, emoji responses etc. all been taken away for good from the free version? If so, this feels like a very misguided and shamefully opportunistic move during this pandemic time of increased reliance on electronic communication. Create a paid version with new features, great. Take away features we currently have for free as a way to incentivize more people to convert…I’m afraid you are going to lose more users in the end on principle alone, me included. I would rather deal with advertisements then lose features I’ve come to rely on. Capitalizing on the pandemic in this way has been outlawed and even though you may be able to sidestep that mandate by continuing to offer a much more primitive version of the app, it still doesn’t excuse the moral implications here.

      2. Hi, H. – Thank you so much for your input. We recognize that no one planned for what is happening around us in the world, and at a time when so many businesses, large and small, are making difficult decisions, we’re making one to ensure Marco Polo is sustainable and can be free for millions more people for decades to come. We decided that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models.

        We also know our loyalists have come to rely on some of the old ways of Marco Polo, so people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience.
        Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

        Currently, we’re only rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn and listen, and we’re going to continue doing that in the coming weeks. We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to the new, free Marco Polo, which will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free.

        Thanks again for your feedback.

    2. Absolutely correct. Add new features and charge for them… How about being able to download? That would be big for those of us who’ve lost someone or have chats with people that we treasure! What you are doing is simply wrong and – in the long run – Bad Business!

      1. Hi Virginia – Our new free version of Marco Polo will continue to provide unlimited opportunity to stay in touch with the people who matter most to you, including unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. Thank you for your input on our features and our rollout – we are listening to input from all our loyal users.

  7. I’ve been using this app to communicate with friends and family all over the country for over 3 years. I am a little disappointed to see today that many of the options that have been available have been removed, and now I have to pay to get them back. Times are a bit rough now.

    1. Hi Lindsey – Thank you for your feedback! This week we rolled out a new, optional membership plan to a limited number of users. We’re hearing and learning from folks like you who aren’t so sure about the change! You’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you do decide you’re interested in learning more about the our new Plus version of the app, you’ll find information here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again for your comments. We appreciate the feedback.

  8. Please, pretty please… don’t make too many changes to Marco Polo. It is awesome just the way it is. The simplicity is one of the best things about the app. When I got the app, I only knew one person using it. I now have tons of people using it, and they the same. The first thing everyone says is “I don’t want to add yet another app or platform that I have to manage”. I tell them it is a video walkie talkie that you just hit “start” and “stop”; aren’t forced to engage in real time like video chatting, don’t need to scramble for your glasses and free up your fat fingers to stop, think and respond AND you can delete anything you record. Once they use it, they are hooked. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. It is so easy that it has been a great way for the elderly and kids to stay in touch with each other. I would gladly pay for features that you think might enhance the app, but please reconsider a membership platform. I don’t think I will be able to continue to add people and I am finally getting to the point where more people I interact with, have it than not.

    I also need to say Thank you for this app. I live alone on a mini farm away from everyone and for some reason real time video chatting (I even own 3 portals) made me realize and feel sad for what I was missing. So sad that I wanted to disconnect completely. For some reason, this app allows me to easily check in but not have to engage. I also like that I don’t have to see people’s reactions and it gives them a chance to think before they speak, and there is no loss in translation because it is video. Far less room for misunderstandings and misinterpretations. So, thank you. This app has saved me emotionally through such a difficult time.

    1. Erica, thank you so much for your heartfelt post. We’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you communicate in exactly the way you want to.

      We also know that Marco Polo’s simplicity and ease of use are important to many people, and that won’t change. Here’s some more information about the new optional subscription program, if you’re wondering specifically what it will include: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq

      Thanks again for your comments.

  9. At a time when so many people and companies are offering services for free, I find it disheartening that you are taking away aspects of your service that have been free (2x playback, etc) and charging almost as much as a streaming service. If you were truly passionate about helping people connect, you would continue to offer the same services for free. Instead, you are showing that you want to capitalize on people staying in touch at a time when that’s more important than ever. Shame on you.

    1. Hi Lauren – Thank you so much for this feedback. This week, we did a rollout introducing our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users, and we’re hearing, listening to, and learning from the feedback we’re receiving from folks like you. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. You’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo – just follow the instructions here. https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

  10. Upset that you are taking away many of the features and now charging so much to use them. Why couldn’t you make your extra money by showing video ads like other apps? Seriously, super upset about this.

    1. Hi Megan – thanks so much for your feedback. From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers and never showing ads in Marco Polo, as many other apps do. This, and our ability to continue providing a free Marco Polo option, are part of our values. At the same time, we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos, and for the sake of sustainability that matches these values, we need to launch our optional membership plan, with a version of the app that has valuable new and improved features.
      We also understand that not everyone wants to make this change right now, so we’ve giving users the option to switch back to the old Marco Polo. (Instructions are here if you need them: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo).
      Thank you again for writing in – we appreciate it, and we’re listening.

  11. Marco Polo is great, especially during this difficult time with the Coronavirus. I love being able to see my daughter and grandkids and my 3 sisters. It has been a great way to catch up with everyone! Thank you!!

    1. Sharon, thank you so much for your comment. We’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you stay in touch with the people you love, especially during this time.

  12. My son and his family in Seattle introduce Marco Polo to me a year ago. I get to see my six-year-old and a four-year-old grand children sending me love messages during the day and especially when I was in the hospital last year. Then last November I got to see my brand new granddaughter within minutes of her being born. I’ve had to cancel two trips to Seattle and would it not be for Marco Polo and the live interaction with these precious Littles, these last 60 days would be even longer than they already are. Thank you so much for this beautiful platform.

    1. Kathy, thank you so much for your input. We hope one day soon you can see them all in person; until then, we’re glad the app is helping your sweet family stay in touch.

  13. Got the Plus today, been using it so much lately that it’s a small price to pay for how cool it is and how close we can stay to those far away.
    My friend with an Android is able to send a two or three second comment during MY Polo to her, I have an iPhone and I don’t have that capability, is that something coming to iPhone soon?
    Thanks for a great way to connect.

    1. Hi, Fetherstar – We’re so glad you’re enjoying Marco Polo Plus and find it valuable! Thanks for that feedback. Here’s more info about Marco Polo Plus in our FAQ. If you still have specific questions about Android functionality vs. iOS functionality, you’re welcome to check in with our Support team here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/35-contact-us

      In the meantime, thanks again for your input.

  14. Nahhh. You took away the ability to double time the videos?? NOT COOL. Now I have to pay $5 a month or else suffer through the long drawn out video messages from my best friends????? WHYYYYYYYYYYYY so y’all can make more money during this period where SO many people are out of work?!?!?!?!?!

    1. Hi Javier – We’re in the early days of releasing our new subscription plan, and feedback like yours is really helpful. We are listening. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. So, we’ll make sure to give you plenty of notice before we make any permanent changes, and in the meantime, we are giving users the option to go back to the old Marco Polo.
      To switch back, just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

      1. As a family we use zoom for get togethers. Might you come up with a zoom type ability to conduct a live meetig? The problem with zoom is it seems difficult to set up a meeting. Your recording of messages is nice but I guess I’d better like a zoom type or phone call.

      2. Hi Tom – Thanks so much for you input, and we’re glad your family is finding ways to stay close during this time.

        One of Marco Polo’s big benefits is that unlike other video apps or video conferencing services, you don’t have to be live. Instead, Marco Polo works when you have a moment to talk, even if your schedules don’t match. We also have a group feature that lets you talk with groups of up to 200 people! If you haven’t discovered our groups feature, you can learn more about it here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/104-setting-up-a-group.

  15. While I am excited for the future developments that are happening for this product, I am really disappointed that the double speed feature has been removed from the free version. As a busy mother of 5 kids 10 and younger, Marco Polo is the top way I stay connected with distant family and local friends. It is a way that I have found the ability to have adult conversations, which are definitely needed as a stay at home mother. I have always promoted your product to friends and family because of the convenience of being able to communicate with family and friends, most of whom are also busy stay at home moms, when I have the opportunity. Instead of trying to have lives phone conversations when inevitably we would be interrupted by children or household chores or disasters, Marco Polo allows us to communicate and connect at our convenience. However, double speed was one of the only effective ways I could do that. I often do not have the time to listen to an entire polo, especially ones from long-winded sisters, at the normal speed. Double time allowed me the advantage of listening and connecting efficiently, since I have very limited time to be able to “catch up on the polos” and respond. Please consider returning the 2x speed option back to the free version.

    1. Hi Amber – thanks for your feedback! We rolled out Marco Polo Plus, our new subscription version, to a limited number of users this week. You are not alone in loving the 2x option, and we want to make sure you know that you can switch back to the old version of Marco Polo if you’d like. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      (Also note that in the Plus version, 2x speed is now 1.5-3x. You can check out our Marco Polo Plus FAQ to learn more about it: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq)

  16. If you’re taking away things that have previously been free, I’m not okay with that! I exclusively use 2X and now you’ve locked it to make it part of the upgrade. That’s ridiculous! I will have no problem with upgrading if it is indeed things that are new, but give back the features that made me love this app in the first place.

    1. Hi Vicki – This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re hearing and learning from folks like you that not everyone would like this change right now! So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you’re interested in learning more about what’s included with Marco Polo Plus, including improved functionality (2x is now 1.5-3x, to name one improvement), here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thank you so much for your feedback. It really helps.

  17. Your app has been such a lifesaver during this lockdown, and I plan to subscribe because I do think you should be making money for what you offer. But I know not all of my friends can afford to subscribe, and one of them said she was forced into a new version of the app today that doesn’t allow video reactions or multiple other features we’re used to. She was able to switch back to the old version “for a limited time,” but if she does not subscribe, will she no longer be able to use video reactions/emojis/inserting a picture, etc.? Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Lyn – Thanks for your support, your feedback, and for bearing with our reply time! By way of background, we’re in the early days of releasing the new subscription program, which we offered to a very limited number of users with a 7-day trial. We also know some people just want to keep the old version. So, as it sounds like your friend discovered, we’re giving users the option to switch back to the old version if they’d prefer. (Instructions are here, FYI: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo)
      As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. One way we like to look at it is that those who are able to subscribe are helping to keep the product free for those who aren’t. So, thank you. Also note that we will make sure to give users plenty of notice before we make any permanent changes to the free version.
      If you’d like to learn more about what Marco Polo Plus will include, here’s our FAQ: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again for writing in, and for your support. We’re glad Marco Polo has been helpful to and your loved ones during this time.

  18. Marco Polo has been an absolute joy for me. I started using it before COVID when a friend of mine I was doing a weight loss plan with suggested it as a way to help encourage each other. Then I connected with my sisters (none of us live in the same state). We had gobs of fun reconnecting on a daily basis. Then my best friend and I started Marco Polo-ing (I moved away from her a few years ago) daily, sharing our lives with each other so easily. Just when I thought I couldn’t be happier with MP, my sisters and I got my 80 year-old mother to join! And our only aunt! It has made such a difference in my overall happiness during this weird time. I am so happy this is not an approval-based platform, I love how private it is and I’m glad you all are doing what you are doing. I most likely will not go Plus yet, because we just had a drastic reduction in income, so thank you for keeping a free version available.

    1. Hi Denise – We’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you stay in touch with the people you love. That’s what it’s all about 🙂

      And we hear you; not everyone is able to use Plus, which is why it’s important to us to still be providing a free Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way.

      Thank you so much for your input and feedback.

  19. I have no problem with an app making money while still offering a free version. But you took away free features and put them in the paid
    Membership after over a month of many people discovering and using this app. Thanks for keeping the free version but the way you rolled this out, I don’t agree with it. I use the app everyday and the formerly free features were MIA early evening yesterday on mine but without an announcement on the app until late last night. My friends and I “talked” back and forth about this. Yes, some folks will pay for this and that’s fine, but you were pretty sneaky in rolling out something this way. I work in a customer service/customer experience field and while I know you can’t/won’t please everyone, I’m not sure you thought this one all the way through. Perception is reality to the customers, and even after reading your “statement” my perception hasn’t changed from before…and I am usually very open minded.

    1. Hi Susan – thank you so much for this feedback. We’re listening. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re hearing and learning from folks like you that not everyone would like this change right now! So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you’re interested in learning more about what’s included with Marco Polo Plus, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again for writing in. Your input is so helpful.

  20. We are really enjoying Marco Polo and being able to keep in contact with our family who are 3,000 miles and 3 time zones away. Thank you 😊
    But, now it seems like I can’t share a photo anymore on Marco Polo. Do I have to upgrade to the new version to do that.
    Or, is this grandma just being low – tech ?!

  21. Clearly, every positive feedback is a family member of this product/app. Who in their right mind would thank a company for making them now pay to upgrade an app???Other than friends and family wanting the best for their … friends and family…Come on!!! Really??? you had no plans to make a “payable plus app” during the recession. Like the other thousands of bottom feeders out there it’s all about making 💰💰 so please at least be honest. This is bogus!!! You even took away the emojis except for one. Booo!!!! . 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    1. Hi Taylor – Thank you so much for this feedback. From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers, and we will never show ads in Marco Polo, as many other apps do. However, we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos, and for the sake of sustainability that matches these values, we need to launch our optional membership plan to support the ongoing free version of Marco Polo. That effort started with offering the membership plan to a very limited number of users this week. You’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo by following the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo). As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. We’ll also make sure to give our users plenty of notice before we make any permanent changes. Thanks again for your feedback.

  22. Thanks for taking away previously free features and trying to charge for them during a pandemic. People can’t be with their loved ones right now and you’re completely taking advantage of that fact. I’m seriously disappointed in y’all and my family will definitely be moving apps.

    1. Hi Bella – We’re sorry to hear that you’re thinking about switching apps. By way of background, we’re in the early days of releasing a subscription plan, so feedback like this from folks like you is so valuable. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future that will enable us to be here for years to come, it will always be important to us to continue providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. You are welcome to switch back to the old Marco Polo; just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      We’ll be sure to let users know before we make any permanent changes, and we hope you’ll consider sticking with us.

  23. I am hoping you put back the features that were already in use for the free Marco Polo (writing, the emoticons of heart, hands together, sad face). I only see the smile face and do not see the option to write instead of video. They were just there last night. Please put those features back as I do not see how it makes it fair that you would now need to pay for it, if that is what is happening.

    1. Hi Amy – Thank you for your feedback! This week, we rolled out our optional new membership plan to a very limited number of users, and we are learning from the responses of folks like you! If you prefer the old version of Marco Polo, no worries, you can switch back by following the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you decide you’re interested in learning more about the improved functionality and new features in Marco Polo Plus, our new subscription version, you’ll find more information here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks for taking the time to comment – your input is really helpful to us.

  24. It’s just too bad you’re taking away features from the free app to make them part of the premium package instead of adding new exciting features to the premium. Sad

    1. Hi Mary Jane – This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. And we’re learning that some folks would prefer to go back to their old version of Marco Polo. That is an option! Just follow the instructions here to switch back: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      As a general note, as we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still provide a free version of Marco Polo to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. Creating a subscription plan is part of supporting that. If you’re interested in learning more about what Marco Polo Plus includes, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thank you so much for your feedback. It really helps.

  25. I understand your mission, but I can’t help but have a poor taste in my mouth about the way you have chosen to launch the “plus” version. I’m all for opportunities to improve and I wholeheartedly believe you should have an opportunity to make a profit for your hard work and contribution. But why take features that were already free (i.e. 2x, recording reactions, etc) and ask people to now pay for them during a global pandemic when everyone is relying on your service now more than ever? There’s no way for it to not seem like you’re taking advantage of the situation.

    1. Hi Alexandria – Thank you so much for your comments. We hear your feedback! Continuing to help people stay in touch with those who matter most in their lives is at the core of our mission, and as we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. If you’d like to switch back to the old Marco Polo, just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      And if you decide you’d like to learn more about the ways that Marco Polo Plus is *improving* existing features (for example, 2x speed is now 1.5-3x), visit our Marco Polo Plus FAQ: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again for your feedback. We’re getting really good feedback during this trial rollout, and we appreciate your writing in.

  26. Marco Polo has been a source of connection for my friends and family for years. We love it. Suddenly I lose half my features if I don’t pay? I can’t fast forward anymore. I’ve lost all but one emoji response. I no longer have picture polos or the emoji filter. If you’re going to make a pro version, it should be added features rather than taking away existing ones. I’ll probably be looking for a new meaning app. I’m so disappointed.

    1. Hi Jacqi – Your input is so helpful. Thank you. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re listening, and learning that some folks would prefer to go back to their old version of Marco Polo. So we have made that option available. Just follow the instructions here to switch back: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you do decide to stick with us, and we hope you do, please know that as we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still provide a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. Creating a subscription plan is part of supporting that. If you’re interested in learning more about what Marco Polo Plus includes, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq

  27. Absolutely awful to force people to pay for functions we’ve used for free for years. Shame on you for trying to capitalize on the current pandemic climate.

    1. Hi Leslie – Thank you for your feedback. We are listening. Here’s a bit of background: From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers. We will never show ads in Marco Polo, as many other apps do. However, we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos, and for the sake of sustainability that matches our values, we need to launch our optional membership plan to support the ongoing free version of Marco Polo. We’re still in the early days of rolling out the subscription (we released this week to a limited number of users), and we understand that not everyone will want to make the change. So, we are giving folks the option to switch back to the old Marco Polo, and we’ll make sure to give you plenty of notice before we make any permanent changes. Just follow the instructions here to switch back: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo. Thank you again for writing in.

  28. It makes sense to offer a paid-for Plus version to monetize and be sustainable – but REMOVING features we depend on and had grown accustomed to in the free version? – That’s harsh! I get that it is a strong-armed motivator to get people to move to Plus – but I actively Polo in a handful of large groups, groups full of cheapskates that will not update, and because of the REMOVAL of features, will no longer Polo – which in turn makes me all the less motivated to upgrade to Plus because who will be left to Polo with. All we need back in the free version is 2x and skip and we’ll be happy! FWIW – I know many that would rather watch an ad here and there rather than pay a monthly fee…

    1. Hi Cade – Thank you so much for your feedback and insights. From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers and never showing ads in Marco Polo, as many other apps do. This, and our desire to continue providing a free Marco Polo option, are part of our values. At the same time, we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos, and for the sake of sustainability that matches these values, we need to launch our optional membership plan. We know, from your comments, that you get this. 🙂

      We also understand, particularly from the feedback we’ve received from folks like you this week, that not everyone wants to make this change right now. So we are giving our loyal existing users the option to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Instructions are here if you need them: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

      We hope you stick with us. Thank you again for writing in!

  29. I really dislike how things that used to be free, like the emoji reactions on the right side, fast forwarding, and forwarding messages to others, is now considered a “plus” option. I totally understand ADDING things, but taking things away that were previously free for everyone, and calling it “premium” is just really messed up in my opinion.

    1. Hi Amanda – This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re hearing and learning from users like you that not everyone would like this change right now! So you are welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you’re interested in learning about which features in our old version have been improved in the Plus version (for example, 2x speed is now 1.5-3x in Plus, and you can add the emoji of your choice), you’ll find more information in our FAQ along with more detail about our thinking behind the subscription: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Your feedback is really helpful as we move forward. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  30. While I’m all for monetizing apps, i believe this is the worst time to do so. In a time where people need communication told the most in lieu of social distancing, taking away what was once free is a slap in the face. I suppose it’s time to find a better app. This is ridiculous😡

    1. Hi, Angry – We’re sorry to hear that you’re thinking about switching apps. We’re in the early days of releasing this new subscription plan, and your input is really helpful during this first trial rollout.
      Even as we stand firm in our commitment never to sell user data to advertisers and never to show ads in Marco Polo, we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos. So for the sake of sustainability that matches our values, we needed to begin the trial of our optional membership plan, so that we could support the ongoing free version of Marco Polo.
      However, we also understand that not everyone will want this change right now, so we are giving folks the option to switch back to the old Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      We’ll also make sure to give users plenty of notice before any permanent changes. Thanks again for your feedback, and we hope you’ll consider sticking with us.

  31. I think it’s pathetic that you took away the basic features and now want to charge for them. IThankfully there are other videos ways of communicating with my family in other areas as I will DEFINITELY be uninstalling Marco Polo and downloading utilizing these. This disgusting on so many levels

    1. Hi T – We’re sorry that you’re thinking about switching apps. You’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s also important to us to still be providing a free Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. We really appreciate your feedback as we move ahead. Thank you.

  32. Little bit salty that you guys took away features from the free version… like the 2x button and ability to send text messages and photos. It’s fine to enhance and make a premium version, but why take things away that people have been enjoying for free already? I want you to be successful business and will consider premium but I just wanted to let you know my complaint.

    1. Hi Laura – thank you for your candor. We appreciate it, and we’re listening. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re hearing and learning from folks like you that not everyone would like this change right now! So users are welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you do decide to consider Marco Plus (thank you!) you’ll find more information about new features and improved functionality (e.g., 2x speed is now 1.5-3x speed, and you can add the emoji of your choice), as well as more information about our thinking behind the change, in our FAQ: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again for your input.

  33. Why are the features that used to be free (2x speed, pictures, emojis, etc.) are now only available with Marco Polo Plus? I would like to continue to be able to use the app with all of the features that it came with for free before Plus was an option.

    1. Hi Kylee – This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users, and we’re hearing that not everyone would like this change right now. So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo if you’d prefer! Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      In addition to new features, Marco Polo Plus makes improvements to features from the old version; for example, 2x speed is now 1.5-3x speed, and you can add an emoji of your choice. If you want to learn more, you can check out our FAQ: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thank you for taking the time to comment – we really appreciate your input.

  34. Wow! Can’t believe that during the COVID-19 outbreak and so many people who need to be connected now more than ever, you are taking away features and planning on profiting on the need for “human connection”.

    Nice try with your bullshit messaging. Not sure who is going to believe that you “care”. My family, friends and I will all be finding a new way to stay connected.

    I’d rather not stay with a company that has such piss poor strategic timing.

    1. Hi Andrew – thanks for your feedback about the subscription and the messaging, and we’re sorry to hear you’re thinking about switching apps. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still provide a free Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. We also remain committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers, and never showing ads in Marco Polo. Yet, we are growing and now storing over 3 billion Polos, and so we need to launch our membership plan for the sake of sustainability, to support our values, and to support the ongoing free version of the app.
      This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’ve heard from people who are interested in the improved and new features in the Plus version, and we’ve also heard from folks who don’t want to make that change right now. So we are providing the option to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo (instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo), and we will give users plenty of notice before we make any permanent changes. In the meantime, everyone’s feedback is helping us learn, so thanks again for writing in.

  35. I appreciate this app so much more just reading your commitments to us it is right up there with seeing and talking with our children and grandchildren. Thankyou for your service.
    John

    1. John, thank you so much for taking the time to comment – your feedback is high praise indeed, and we’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you and your loved ones stay in touch.

  36. I don’t think it’s fair to have a free app with certain features then one day decide to take those features away and charge for them. I’m looking for an alternative app to use. This is ridiculous. Is it even legal? I “paid” though free for one thing that is now being taken away.

    1. Hi Melissa – Thank you so much for your feedback. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re learning that not all of those users would like this change right now! So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      We hope you stick with us. If you’re interested in learning more about what’s included with Marco Polo Plus, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thanks again.

  37. Currently I am not able to scroll through a video currently playing from a friend. I have to watch it completely each time instead of being able to go directly to the part I want to replay. Also there is no longer an option to share a photo or video on my app???? Is this feature that was on my app 2 days ago being taken away? Is it now being charged in the plus section because you didn’t know how to provide more options for users; therefore, you took existing features and removed them unless I purchase the plus version? Which may I add….. it says I’m suppose to stay “tuned” for more information to come on the Marco Polo plus coming soon? This makes me very sad if these features are removed because I don’t know if I want to continue using Marco Polo platform without these functionalities?

    1. Hi Kimberly – This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. We’re hearing and learning from folks like you that not everyone would like this change right now! So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If you’re interested in learning more about what’s included with Marco Polo Plus, and our thinking behind the new subscription plan, here’s more information: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Thank you so much for your input.

  38. I went on Marco Polo this morning and found that many of the features I normally use are connected to an advertisement to upgrade for a fee. I’m really disappointed that at this global pandemic and with people’s finances strapped like never before, you would offer this fee service. My church uses this app to stay connected and many who are not tech savvy will sign up and pay from already diminished financial supply. So sad.

    1. Hi Dina – This week’s rollout introduced our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users like you, and we understand that the change might have been surprising. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. Some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and added to the Plus version, but we also understand that not everyone will want to make this change right now. So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      Your feedback is so helpful to our team. Thanks for commenting.

      1. For now we can switch back to the original version but what is your user base going to look like when you deprecate the original? I understand the subscription service offering, it makes sense and is a good position however to force users to paying will be cause your app to be short lived. If you end up not deprecating the free version but blocking previous free features will be a user killer as well. That’s bad business – you can do better.

      2. Hi Jill – Thank you so much for your feedback. One important thing we want to convey is that Marco Polo is and will remain a free app, and we’ll continue to invest in making sure the free experience is a great one if the paid membership plan isn’t a fit for your life. And as we test, iterate, learn and listen during this early rollout phase, we are sharing everyone’s input with our product team.

  39. We really enjoy Marco Polo which allows us to keep in contact with our Son and his family living in Africa. Our little Granddaughters love to share their new surroundings with us.

    1. Mike, thank you so much for your feedback. We’re so glad Marco Polo is helping you and your family stay in touch!

  40. I’m all for financially supporting businesses that benefit mankind. But what IS plus and why have you made the free version so lackluster? If you say that Marco Polo is free, then the free version we have been using for so long should remain that way. Plus should be just that; an upgraded version of what we had prior.
    I’ve been using Marco Polo for a long time now and suddenly I’m unable to interact in conversations in the same way. All we get now is the happy face, which isn’t always appropriate (especially in these times).

    1. Hi Shana – thank you so much for your feedback and your great questions. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a limited number of users, and we’re hearing that not everyone would like this change right now. So you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo if you’d prefer! Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      As to your questions, here’s an FAQ with more information about our thinking behind Marco Polo Plus, as well as the new features and improved functionality that are included with it. For example, 2x is now 1.5-3x in Plus, and you can add the emoji of your choice. https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq
      Your input means a lot as we work toward a sustainable business model for Marco Polo. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  41. I’m a huge fan of Marco Polo but just recently I can no longer hit the fast forward button to help me save time and still hear someone’s lengthy message. For some reason the fast forward button is locked!! This is not acceptable … please advise? Thanks much.

    1. Hi Joy – Thank you so much for your feedback. This week, we rolled out our optional membership plan to a very limited number of users. If you were part of that group, you’re welcome to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo. Just follow the instructions here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo
      If this is not your issue, you’re welcome to message our support team with your technical question at https://www.marcopolo.me/contact-us/

  42. You suck Marco Polo. To do this during the pandemic is horribly bad timing. Honestly, you have lured people in and then pulled the rug out. You should have charged in the first place. You are taking advantage during a crisis by price gouging. This is illegal for retail to do. You are disgraceful.
    I was diagnosed with cancer right as we had to go in quarantine. Since I can’t see anyone, I receive so many messages of support from family and friends thru Marco Polo. We have all loved it so much. You just went downhill really fast. I’m sorry for you.

    1. Hi Kathleen – Thank you for your honest feedback. As we work on a sustainable plan for the future of Marco Polo, it’s important to us to still be providing a FREE Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. Continuing to help people stay in touch with those who matter most in their lives is at the core of our mission. Some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and added to the optional, subscription-based Plus version, but any user who received a trial version of Marco Polo Plus can switch back to the old Marco Polo. Instructions are here: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

  43. Shame on you. I moved away from all of my friends and family, and really have relied on this app to stay in contact. Shame that you would capitalize on a pandemic that forces us to use technology to communicate with loved ones. I will be looking for a new app to suggest to family and friends. Shameful shameful shameful.

    1. Hi Tiffany – Thanks for your honest feedback, and we’re sorry to hear you’re thinking of no longer using Marco Polo.

      We are still in the early days of releasing this subscription plan, Marco Polo Plus. And as we work on a sustainable plan for the future, it’s important to us to still be providing a free Marco Polo option to help people stay in touch in an unlimited way. Continuing to help people stay in touch with those who matter most in their lives is at the core of our mission. So, some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and added to the Plus version, but users who don’t want to use the Plus version can switch back to the old version of Marco Polo if they’d prefer: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

      From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers. We will never show ads in Marco Polo, as many other apps do. However we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos, and for the sake of sustainability that matches these values, we need to launch our optional membership plan to support the ongoing free version of Marco Polo. Here’s more background information about our decision: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq

      Again, thank you so much for your feedback.

  44. I love this app and have used it for years, but the fact that you took away functionality I’ve come to expect in the free version is a low blow. Please keep 2x speed and reaction emojis in the free version. You’re not adding actual value in premium by taking away standard functionality. If you have to charge, charge for NEW features. Also, I’d much prefer to see an ad than pay a monthly fee.

    1. Hi Laura – thanks so much for your feedback. From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting user data to sell to advertisers and never showing ads in Marco Polo, as many other apps do. This, and our ability to continue providing a free Marco Polo option, are part of our values. At the same time, we are growing and storing over 3 billion Polos, and for the sake of sustainability that matches these values, we need to launch our optional membership plan.

      Some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and added to the Plus version; for example, 2x speed is now 1.5-3x in Plus, and you are able to add an emoji of your choice. Here are some details about new features and improved functionality: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq

      All of that said, we understand that not everyone wants to make this change right now, and so we are giving folks the option to switch back to the old Marco Polo. Instructions are here if you need them: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo.

      Thank you again for your helpful input.

  45. I’m disappointed that so many features that used to be free are no longer available. While I am not against a “premium version” I am disappointed that I now have to pay for things that used to be free. Like 2x speed, some emojis, etc. —- too bad Marco Polo.

    1. Hi Andrew – Thanks so for much for your feedback. We know our loyalists have come to rely on some of the old ways of Marco Polo, so people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

      As we test, refine, and continue to iterate, some features in our old version of Marco Polo have been improved and will only be available in our Plus version, for example 1.5x-3x fast forwarding and custom emoji reactions. We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo, which will continue to provide you unlimited opportunity to stay in touch with the people who matter most to you, including unlimited ability to chat, an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. We’re a purpose driven company. That aspect will never change. Thank you again for writing in and providing your input.

  46. What a HORRIBLE way to treat your loyal users. To wake one day, especially NOW when so many people have lost their financial stability, and ask for subscriptions to use what is already a massively limited platform is so disgusting. No 2X? Only one emoji? No FF in-play? While all of these other apps are free and amazing and high-tech? Major lame move by MP and my group won’t be using it anymore. Way to be selfish and greedy, Marco Polo!

    1. Hi Luma – Thank you so much for your honest feedback, and we’re sorry to hear that you’re thinking of switching away from Marco Polo.

      Currently, we’re only rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn and listen, and we’re going to continue doing that in the coming weeks. We understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. That’s why we’re giving existing users the option to switch back to the original Marco Polo version. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience.
      Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

      We’re very different from other social networking and video chat apps in that from the start, we’ve committed to never collecting our user data to sell to advertisers, never showing ads in Marco Polo, and never manipulating algorithms. We recognize that no one planned for what is happening around us in the world, and at a time when so many businesses, large and small, are making difficult decisions, we’re making one to ensure Marco Polo is sustainable and can be free for millions more people for decades to come.

      Thank your again for your input.

  47. Some of the features you took away should be part of the basic. Like the ability to 2x people or send text. I was so sad to see some of the features I used most be taken away

    1. Hi, Glori – Thanks for your feedback. We know our loyalists have come to rely on some of the old ways of Marco Polo, so people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

      We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo, which continues to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free.

  48. My sentiment is the same as others. While I understand the need to make money to continue to improve and provide the service, the timing of doing this when people need the service and feature Most is disheartening.

    Will all other users who choose not to upgrade to the pro version have their features eventually downgraded/removed as well?

    If I switch back to the original version will my features be restored?

    1. Hi Nate – Thanks for your feedback. We decided that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models. We’re in early days of testing, listening and learning with a very small rollout at this stage.

      We know our loyalists have come to rely on some of the old ways of Marco Polo, so people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience.Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

      We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo, which will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free.

    1. Hi, Lori – Thank you so much for your input. We know our loyalists have come to rely on some of the old ways of Marco Polo, so people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

  49. Nothing this good can be sustained indefinitely for free. I’m happy to pay for Plus just to get the HD feature, let alone support a great product with few if any comparable alternatives. Problem is I can’t figure out how to pay you guys. I’m updated to the current app release 0.14.267 on iOS and for the life of me I can’t find an option for Plus.

    1. Hi Jeremy – Currently, we’re rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn, and listen. We plan to roll out Marco Polo Plus widely in the next few weeks! We’re so happy you’re looking forward to it; please stay tuned for updates.

      Here’s a link to details in the meantime: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq

      Thank you so much. We really appreciate your input and your support.

  50. Hello! I love Marco Polo and use it daily, and always have, to stay in touch with friends all over the world. I am testing the plus version and will decide once I play with it. I totally understand the need for charging a fee, always wondered how you were making it work without ads. I have an idea that I’d love to talk to someone about… please reach out when have some time.

    kristen@goldilocks-productions.com

  51. I think this is bad timing on rolling out something that cost. A lot of people use this as their only outlet to connect with their loved ones. Right now people are hurting and struggling any positive jesters for along ways. Not impressed and it clearly shows it’s all about making money when people are down and using this app more.

    1. Hi Jina – We decided that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models – from the start, we’ve committed to never collecting our user data to sell to advertisers, never showing ads in Marco Polo, and never manipulating algorithms. We understand the critical role we’re playing right now, and we take it seriously. We recognize that no one planned for what is happening around us in the world, and at a time when so many businesses, large and small, are making difficult decisions, we’re making one to ensure Marco Polo is sustainable and can be free for millions more people for decades to come. As we roll out the new product so we can test, iterate, and learn, we are also listening. So we really appreciate your input. Thank you.

  52. I keep hearing you say it’s “an option” but I think what is making so many people upset is that it doesn’t FEEL like an option when you (UNANNOUNCED ) took features away from this app that were the core of why we use that app. Yes we can go back to the old version, but what made you decide to automatically switch some of us overnight, and then call that an option? A REAL option would have been to offer staying where we were or going to premium. I think you would have gotten a way better response that way with a lot more people ready to jump in and try it! I know I for one, won’t be trying premium now just because of how it was unethically presented.

    1. Hi Julie – Thanks for your honest feedback. During this phase of rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base, we are listening to, and learning from, feedback. We really appreciate your input.

    2. I 100% agree with Julie! I was going to say the same thing but she said it really well. I understand I can switch back and plan to do so but the way this was rolled out and the timing of it is really shocking and disappointing! It comes across as opportunistic and shady even if the intentions were not so. I would also like to add that it is very off putting that the premium features aren’t even clearly explained at all. I don’t really need a response to this as I have read many but wanted to share my opinion.

      1. Thank you, Jennifer – we are listening to all our users’ feedback, and we appreciate your commenting.

  53. I don’t mind you rolling out a paid version, but for those of us who have been using this free app for years (way before Covid), it’s frustrating to see you now make ya pay for formerly FREE features — like the 2x speed. If you want to capitalize on people during a pandemic while most companies are offering freebies to help people out, that’s fine. But just add extra features. Don’t make people pay for features that were formerly free. That seems very, very unethical and greedy to me. It really rubs me the wrong way. And I see you’re auto-responding to tell everyone they can switch back. That’s great! But it’s only for a limited time. Please think about this before proceeding. Furthermore, don’t make it seem like you’re a generous CEO trying to help people better connect. You’re not. You’re greedy and trying to take advantage of people when we’re almost at depression-level unemployment rates and people can’t afford rent.

    1. Hi Meagan – Thanks for your comment. We do recognize that this is a challenging time, and our decision was based on sustainability – so that a free version of Marco Polo can remain available to millions of people without ads, without collecting user’s data to sell to advertisers, and without manipulating algorithms to change your experience. As we continue rolling out and testing the new version, we are listening, and we appreciate your feedback.

    2. Yes Meagan! My “moms in quarantine” group uses MP daily. Sometimes the 8 of us create over 100 messages a day through MP. One of our mamas was picked (forced) to try Plus and asked the rest of us if we had. Thankfully we haven’t yet. However, we were shocked by what she was describing. All of the features she lost. Features we use daily. I shared this update (which is basically MP spinning it’s wheels trying to navigate this mess they made) and the responses were “eww, no thanks”, “that’s ridiculous”, etc. You say you’re listing to us but your canned responses show you are “listening” but not actually considering giving back what was previously free. Capitalizing during a pandemic is gross. Do better!

      1. Hi Lesleigh – Thanks for your honest input about the rollout of Marco Polo Plus. We are giving existing users ample time to switch back to the old version of Marco Polo for free and for the foreseeable future, and will provide plenty of notice before any permanent switch. If your friend would like to switch back to the old Marco Polo, here’s a link to instructions: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/200-how-do-i-switch-back-to-the-old-marco-polo

  54. Taking away the previously free features to now be paid is messed up. Find more features to add on and make the new ones paid. $5 a month is outrageous considering you can get streaming tv services for this much. Especially during times like these when people need connection, you’ve chosen to roll out these changes? That’s wrong.

    1. Hi Misty – thank you for your feedback on the Marco Polo Plus rollout and on the pricing. We understand the critical role we’re playing right now, and our decision was based on business sustainability: doing everything we can to make sure Marco Polo is free for millions of more people for decades to come. We are listening carefully to our users’ feedback during this rollout period, and we really appreciate your input.

  55. How can I go back to the original Marco Polo and will that still include the option for 2x speed? I’m not happy with the update and like how it was originally

    1. Hi Zoe – We know our loyalists have come to rely on some of the old ways of Marco Polo, so people who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

      We are working to make Marco Polo sustainable so our core offering is available and free for people for decades to come. Our new FREE version of Marco Polo will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups, and we will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo.

      Thanks for your question, and your feedback.

  56. I’m pro paying for Marco Polo in general. You guys have done wonders for my contacts and I in this time. I would strongly urge you to consider a passcode or faceid for the app though. These are personal stories that people share with each other, and it did not take long for my daughter to pick up my unlocked phone and watch a close friend of mine cry over her suicidal depression. Other social platforms have been doing this for years. I’m begging you to protect our stories and our privacy.

    1. Hi Nat – We’re so happy that Marco Polo is helping you stay connected to the people who matter most to you. Thank you for your feedback and feature insight, which I have shared with our team.

  57. It sounds like a positive thing, but aren’t you really saying that some existing features, like X2 and break-in video are only available in a paid version?

    1. Hi Cheryl – Yes, some features in our old version of Marco Polo will only be available in our Plus version, AND they’ve been improved. For example, in Marco Polo Plus you can toggle the speed in which you fast forward Polos, all the way from 1.5x-3x. Here’s a complete summary of all the features included in the new version: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/201-what-features-are-included-in-marco-polo-plus

      Thank you so much for your question. As we test, refine, and continue to iterate on this best version yet, we are listening to everyone’s feedback and questions, and we appreciate yours.

  58. I want you to be able to continue to provide this nice app, so I want you to charge for some advanced features, while providing needed for free. As an entrepreneur, I can hear the pain in your voice responding to all these fearful users. To provide this great service, you have to charge somebody something somehow, otherwise the business will fail. If the business fails, all Marco Polo features will be unavailable, because the servers and app development and just putting meals on the founders’ table costs money.

    So let me ask for new features I would pay for. And let me suggest that others do similarly.

    I would pay for the ability to preview my recording before it gets posted for everyone to see. Today I make a recording and if I screw up, it might get seen by others before I delete it.

    I would pay for the ability to pause my recording and resume.

    I would pay for the ability to know when exactly people pressed emojis in my own recording.

    I would pay to know who pressed emojis on my recording.

    I would pay for the ability to record without posting and then edit a recording.

    I would pay to provide profile information: name, phone, email, social platform links, etc.

    I like this app a lot. I am using it with a Secular Buddhist book club. When we first started, people just recounted what they read and their thoughts on that. As we have grown comfortable with the app, people are sharing critical personal issues with each other, and we are becoming closer. I really appreciate all the work you are doing on this app, and I really want this app to continue.

    1. Hi Dan – We really appreciate your insights and your thoughtful framing of feedback. We are listening to all of it. And, we’re also really happy to hear the app is playing a positive role in the evolution of your book club. Thank you for being a part of this conversation.

  59. Maybe I missed something. What do we get for the $5 a month? What are you taking away if we don’t pay? I’m cool with $5 a month mainly because it’s been an amazing way to allow my parents, kids, grandkids etc. etc. all be able to communicate during this crazy time. The fact that you’re not forcing us to watch freaking advertisements is also amazing. You need to make money to keep this going so I get that. Thing is maybe you need to offer family plans that don’t force regional location. How about $10 a month and we can add 3 other family members or something like that. Also, I’d pay $5 a month just to be able to delete all the damn contacts this app forces you to allow it to sift through and then keeps them there. I have a ton of contacts that I would never use Marco Polo with and always worry I might accidentally message them. Just some thoughts but your app rocks so keep it going however you have to. Thanks

    1. Hi Mike – We’re so glad you think the app rocks, and we appreciate your feedback on Marco Polo Plus. We agree that the sustainable route to supporting the costs of a free video service for millions of people is to offer a premium subscription, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models. Here’s a link to some overview information about exactly what’s included in our best version yet: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/202-welcome-to-marco-polo-plus0

      Enjoy, and thank you so much for your input.

  60. Thank you so much. Your article was heartfelt and informative. My family enjoys your app very much and I personally appreciate your grateful approach. With thanks and appreciation. Stay well and stay safe❤

    1. Hi Sue – Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and add your voice to the conversation. We’re so glad your family is enjoying the app, and that this article was helpful! It truly is from the heart, as we try to ensure that Marco Polo is sustainable for decades to come. We hope your family stays well and safe, too.

  61. I am so grateful for this app. During this pandemic it has allowed me to be in contact with my grandson, age 4, when I can’t do so in person. Every day, I sit down and read him a book, either a chapter from a chapter book, or a short story. His parents tell me he listens and then goes back and listens to older ones. He answers my questions that I ask. And what I treasure most, he often will send a message back. I will be more than willing to support you through a paid plus plan. Seriously, it has helped to keep me from feeling so sad about not seeing him.

    1. Hi Sue – Picturing these scenes is so heartwarming, and we’re glad and grateful that Marco Polo is helping to stay close to your grandson during such a challenging time, when so many of us can’t be together in person. Thank you for your support of the app, and for sharing your story!

  62. We have been using this app to reconnect with our love ones during this time. I don’t it’s a smart business decision to take away what has been free and people like to use: video reactions, emojis reactions and the 2x high speed. I can understand you wanted to add other futures for the Plus version, which could join if they want to! I personally haven’t seen anything that would convince me to upgrade. I would like for another free app with similar options instead of paying for something that was originally free. This is leaving a sour taste for a lot of people. You could have started asking your community on what they would have considered paying in a Plus membership, before forcing them into it & taking away some features which people have come to love and use.

    1. Hi Ziur – Thank you so much for your feedback. Our team is listening and taking note of all our users’ input, and we really appreciate your adding your voice to the conversation.

    1. Hi Ginger – We couldn’t agree more. While many would like to compare, we’re very different from other social networking and video chat apps. From the start, we’ve committed to never collecting our user data to sell to advertisers. We will never show ads in Marco Polo. We will never manipulate algorithms. We were built to be good for you. If you’d like to learn more about Marco Polo Plus, here’s a link to more info: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/202-welcome-to-marco-polo-plus

      Thanks so much for your input.

  63. Lindsay!

    I can’t wait to upgrade to Marco Polo Plus!
    I’m such a big fan of the app and still keep in touch with my girlfriend Maria through it.
    It has done wonders for our connection and our feeling of togetherness.
    Whatever the price is and whatever features it brings, I’m all in for the long run! I appreciate what you guys do! The privacy, no ads, and doing it all for free thus far has been such a kind gesture amongst a world of other types of platforms. Big hug from Miami to all of you!

    Justin

    1. Justin! What a total delight to see you come through in the comments! So happy that you and Maria are still together and are still using and loving the app. We’re also appreciative of your feedback about Marco Polo Plus and hope you love the new features. We’ll be rolling it out more widely in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, biggest best wishes to you and Maria. Hope you’re both well and thriving during this challenging time. <3

  64. Not happy that they are going to be taken features away that were free. They shouldn’t have rolled them out, like texts and things that they are/were only going to be included in the plus. I won’t be purchasing the plus out of the sheer fact that this is bad business to me.

    1. Hi Kristi – Thanks for your feedback. We completely understand that not everyone will want to upgrade to Marco Polo Plus, so as we roll out the optional upgrade, with new and improved features, we also want users to know that we are committed to doing everything we can to make sure we also have a free version that will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free.

  65. Honestly we love marco polo and would be willing to chip in for the additional features, but could there be some sort of Family plan? We have all our family members on marco polo and $5/month/user adds up too quickly.

  66. It is unbelievable that a company would roll something like this out in a time when people are struggling financially. I get the need to have a sustainable business but that you would take away basic features in an attempt to get people to sign up for the paid plan is shameful. All you had to do was leave the current features and offer a paid plan for the new features and you would not be getting all the negative responses. All the free one offers is a thumbs up and the smiley face so if that is going to remain the case I will just send video messages in a text because it’s basically the same thing. And yes, I have read that you can revert back to the old version. I think I’ll just delete the app instead because I am not willing to deal with this blatant manipulation!

    1. Hi Kaity – Thanks for your input, and for adding your voice to this conversation. We’re sorry to hear that you’re thinking of leaving Marco Polo; if you reconsider, please know that we are working to try to ensure that Marco Polo can remain be free for millions more people for decades to come. In the meantime, thanks again for your feedback.

  67. Please, whatever you do, please do not package the 2x speed function into premium features. I would not continue using the app, regardless of if there were still a free package, if the 2x speed was taken away. Thank you

    1. Hi Carey – Thank you for this feedback. We’re making sure that our team has access to all the comments on this post, so that they can consider all feedback as business decisions are made. We appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  68. In the Deaf community, many people use American Sign Language to communicate. Many have been switching over from Glide to Marco Polo specifically because of the 2x feature. This is essential for keeping in touch, but when this feature is no longer a standard part of the free version, many of them will probably be annoyed enough to dump Marco Polo outright. This is a large enough segment of your customer base. Marco Polo is very popular with the Deaf right now, but these restrictive changes will turn that all around very quickly. You don’t want that.

    I suggest something like offering 2x free without audio. We Deaf people need to rest our eyes while intently watching messages and having to put everything else on hold. Hearing people can handle listening at 1x while doing other things. By disabling audio during 2x, you could provide the incentive to upgrade without affecting the Deaf experience so much. Might that be a reasonable compromise?

    Remember, the main idea is to let people stay connected. If too many Deaf people leave Marco Polo, then this purpose will be defeated when there is nobody to talk to. Deaf people are already more isolated and overlooked than others, and this change is not going to help.

    Reducing the available emojis is also a concern. For most people, this is mainly a fun feature. For Deaf people, however, visual communication is particularly vital, and the new restrictions will negatively impact the free experience.

    I really wish that the free version could just stay the same as ever without removing anything, with Plus only adding new things that have never been there before. Taking away things that used to be free feels like a bait and switch, and that feeling is likely going to kill the app for a lot of people, especially those who are literally just eking out an existence.

    I hope you will reconsider the specifics of the transition to a paid plan. Personally, I’m all for supporting a good app with a paid plan if it’s worth it, but with the way it has been presented, I really don’t see most people being so understanding or supportive. As something of a fan of Vlada Bortnik, I actually feel rather disillusioned myself.

    Again, please reconsider this change and look into making the transition more equitable for Deaf users, especially in the spirit of supporting everyone’s inherent need to stay connected, not only at such a time as this, but also all the time in general.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Andy – This is such useful feedback (as is all the feedback on our post), and we appreciate your taking the time to provide it. It has been shared with our product team! Thank you so much.

  69. I absolutely hate monthly fees, so please come out with a lifetime license that will automatically get all updates and upgrades etc.

    1. Hi Kalli – Thank you so much for this input on the Plus membership model. We will share it with our product team!

  70. This could not have come at a worse time. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and the Pandemic has made it so that I have lost human connection. I use MP to stay in touch with people and maintain some kind of connection. Often I will leave a message in the middle of the night just to feel like I’ve spoken to them and we talk about it in the morning. I wake up today and features I don’t want are there and the ones I do want are gone. I’m one of SO MANY people that can’t afford to pay for anything extra right now. Not even $5 a month. The timing is terrible and it is so incredibly trashy to change it up like this with everything that’s going on in the world. If it doesn’t switch back and stay that way, I, along with the multiple people I’ve encouraged to use MP, will find another way. It’s shameful, and please spare me the scripted response. I’ll find my way to the settings and revert back in the hopes that your company will keep its word and continue to offer what was promised from the beginning.

  71. Very unhappy with the recent changes. I could understand adding a fee based subscription for NEW features, but upset that you’re taking away previously free features.

  72. Hi MP! I’ve been a loyal user for a while and personally I am happy to pay for MP. I like seeing businesses earn money.

    That said, I would much prefer to pay a one-time fee than a subscription. Honestly I see why you want to make it a subscription bc that’s a better business model, but maybe for existing customers you could ask them to pay a one-time fee to keep the app they’re used to and offer the subscription for new users or those who want the new features (keeping a free, stripped down version for new users). Maybe due to the COVID situation, you could make it a “pay what you can” to keep the existing version. I’d pay $10-20, but maybe others would pay more.

    I appreciate that you don’t sell our data or show us ads. I know this could be an easy revenue stream for you and it is refreshing that you don’t do that.

    The work you’ve put into this app certainly deserves compensation! I agree with some of the other comments that it maybe could have been handled a little better, but we all live and learn. The one thing I know is that you can’t make everyone happy! I’m happy though!

    1. Hi Elaine – Thanks for your thoughtful feedback and your input on our paid membership model. We are glad you’re happy! And, we appreciate your ideas and your perspective. We are sharing all of this input with our product team.

  73. I’m not one that likes to go online and complain. I do have some concern here, but let’s start with the good.

    I have enjoyed using Marco Polo. There are a couple of people with whom friendship had drifted to familiar acquaintances. We’ve now re-connected and are looking forward to hanging out in real life, when it is appropriate too.

    I enjoy not having to coordinate with people in different time zones to communicate. We don’t have to be on a video chat at the same time. We can listen and respond when it is convenient…and sometimes in a better mood. 🙂

    Now, my concern is with this Plus. I have concerns about what the pricing might look like. I’m not a fan of subscriptions and quit using Adobe for that reason. Please don’t go crazy with the pricing.

    I’m also concerned with losing existing features as an enticement to move to what should be superset of the aforementioned existing features. Listening at 2x is important to me. Emojis are important to others. Those things helped to make the platform popular and useful. There are options to do video messages on other platforms. A too vanilla offering for the base version may send some back to places that already have more users. I have been evangelizing Marco Polo, otherwise, only a few of my would exist on here. You don’t want to discourage your users from continuing to be your best PR and marketing.

    Please consider enticing me and other users with excitement about what you’ve come up with, for Plus, vs using deprivation in an attempt to make us relent to the business model.

    I understand the need for your business to generate revenue and I have no problem with with a freemium business model. I’m only requesting that the urges to charge too much for Plus and leave too little to the base version, but considered and reconsidered.

  74. It’s insulting that I’ve been using this app for a year and now I can’t even access features that were previously free. It has made it harder to keep up with friends to not have access to the 2x button the last two days. How manipulative. I’ve referred over 100 people to this app recently and feel disappointed and turned off from using it. Pretty sad that you aren’t creative enough to develop features desirable enough to pay additional fees on top of what already existed…. you have so little faith in your product/platform that you have to make us feel nickel and dimed.

    1. Hi Jessica –

      People who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time, and we’ll notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo. Go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s more information: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

      We also take your honest feedback, and our product team is receiving every bit of it. Thanks.

      1. Problem is it’s only for a limited time we can use the old Marco Polo. I’m with Jessica.

        There’s no reason the current version couldn’t continue to exist and IF people wanted more emoji reactions or a 1.5-3x option they could choose to pay. Instead you give me an app and then take that version away and say if we want it we now all of a sudden need to pay for something that was free. Not cool.

      2. Hi Erin – We understand, and thanks for your honest feedback. We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo, which will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. Until then, during this early phase of rolling out the new product so that we can test, iterate, learn and listen, we are making sure our product team sees our users’ input. Thanks again.

  75. Thank you very much this is one of the better programs that I use with my family and all the different states it is so convenient I don’t know what I’d do without it

    1. Hi Barry – We really appreciate that feedback, and we’re so happy that you and your family are using the app to stay in touch with each other across the distance. Convenience and connection are so much a part of what Marco Polo is all about, and we’re really glad the app is working so well for your family. Thanks.

  76. I wanted to share my agreement with many users on this thread. I was taken aback by the abrupt changes to my account while others are still able to access the same free features as before. I saw in the posts that you can revert back to the free version temporarily during the trial; however this was not made clear until I read the comments and I would assume there may be many other users who have already paid to upgrade early for services others are still getting for free. It does seem opportunistic and a bit off-putting to me that Marco Polo would be capitalizing on their product during a pandemic and economic crisis while many other companies are going out of their way to provide temporary free services instead. I also fundamentally do not agree with taking away previously free functions and charging for those same basic features in a plus version. It does make sense to offer a premium version, though I would expect the premium version to have new, innovative additions rather than charging for the older basic features. This just seems like an easy way to capitalize financially during the times instead of a truly innovative premium upgrade that customers would be excited to purchase. I also would be much more inclined to purchase a subscription for an annual fee versus a monthly fee if the features are not going to be much different. I hope you will rethink this plan and the timing of the rollout.

    1. Hi Jay – There’s lots of thoughtful feedback here, thank you. Marco Polo Plus is an elevated experience, with premium features and more functionality including the ability to toggle speed from 1.5x-3x, voice-only Polos, custom emoji reactions, live texting, and more. Here’s a link to more information about what comes with this optional paid membership plan: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/202-welcome-to-marco-polo-plus

      To your other points, we welcome every bit of feedback we’re getting, wholeheartedly, and we’re making sure that our team has access to all the comments on this post, so that they can consider all feedback as business decisions are made. That doesn’t mean the team can promise changes to the plan for moving forward, but we are listening and sharing your feedback. Thanks again.

  77. It’s great you want to add more for people who are willing to pay for a membership. However, it doesn’t seem right, specially in these times, to remove features that are currently available in the old free version. I.e. I open my app today and the 2x is locked, the ability to record a reaction during a Marco Polo is gone, & there are only two emojis. I’m definitely switching back to the old free version and if that is not available unless I pay; I won’t use Marco Polo. I’ll find a different source to stay connected.

  78. Extremely disappointed in your guys tacky timing and decision to lock out features that have always been free. Specifically the 2x speed feature that is so helpful in getting through long group chats. It makes me want to move away from the app altogether. Bummer.

    1. Hi Adam – Thanks for your feedback, particularly about the 2x fast-forwarding feature. We’re making sure that our product team has access to all the comments on this post!

  79. As has already been stated I think it is in very poor taste to take away free features and begin charging for them. I would’ve been inclined to sign up for premium with new features, now I’m just annoyed that you took away free features and will be charging for them. Not a great business move. Very disheartening and out of character for an otherwise great business. 👎🏻

    1. Hi Natalie – Thanks for this input. In working to make Marco Polo sustainable so that our core offering remains free, we decided to offer an optional paid membership plan, since we don’t believe selling ads or selling user data are good models. That said, we wholeheartedly accept the feedback we’re receiving, and making sure to pass it on to our product team.

  80. I’m deaf and rely on Marco Polo. The features we have had before fits perfectly for me. I’m disappointed that you took those features away. Why not ADD new features to what we had? That would be a true PLUS. I feel Like this was a Marco Polo MINUS. I’m really sad.

    1. H Carla – This is great feedback, thank you. Please know that our product team has access to all of the comments we’re receiving on this blog post.

  81. I do love this app and I am excited about the additional features! I understand a company needs to make money, but it just seems too expensive for me. I’m used to a one time purchase and not a subscription when it comes to my apps. And normally I’d never go above $5 for that one time purchase… it’d be nice if there was a feature to watch commercials to unlock the extras so you’d still get paid.

    1. Hi Rachel – We understand, and we appreciate your thoughtful feedback about both pricing and ads. We decided that the sustainable route would not be to show ads, collect user data to sell to advertisers, or manipulate algorithms, and instead to offer a premium subscription. But during this early rollout stage, our product team is keeping an eye on everyone’s feedback. Thank you!

  82. Hi. I’m relatively new to Marco Polo. I got it to keep up with some of my closest friends. I’ve loved it. I totally understand as a business, keeping this ad-free means you make $0 off the app and that is also unsustainable, but I don’t think ripping some of the previously free options is a way to monetize efficiently without losing many of whom you’d make revenue from. I get it. You’re a business and businesses need money to stay afloat.

    Some of my friends RAMBLE, but it’s not every one of them. Why not keep (only) the 2x free but add other speed options, like .5 for the fast talkers and up to 3x for the slow talkers and ramblers. This would add more speeds, which some might want to pay for, but also allow double speed for the users who’ve already been accustomed to it within the free app.

    Additionally, I am not sure that removing the video reaction is the best idea either. Many of my friends ramble, as I said, and this allows me to respond in the moment to things they’ve said so I don’t have to figure it out later. There are some features I believe could be beneficial to a paid app, though. Add more time for the video react, for instance. or more vocal effects. And I do like the idea of custom emoji behind the sub. I don’t use them much, but this would allow subscribers to have more options.

    Perhaps, in lieu of a sub, you could have some features cost money to unlock, like say, one person wants to unlock special emoji reactions or a new pen for doodles, these could cost money upfront without a sub, allowing you to still make and sustain the app. Or perhaps different tiers of a subscription with various features unlocked? I’m not sure, but as it is, it’s unlikely that I will continue with MP much longer if the features I utilized most of the time are behind a monthly/annual paywall, which does not seem to be the most efficient use of my funds right now.

    1. Hi Kare – This is really thoughtful feedback. During this early phase of the rollout, the product team is listening to and learning from what all of our users have to say. Thank you for taking the time to share these ideas!

  83. I understand that changes may have been in the works for a while, but is there any way those of us who have already been using Marco Polo for a few years can continue to do so? I was able to use all of my functions and came back a couple of hours later one day and everything had been downgraded. My husband still has all of his functions, as do my other contacts. They had no idea what I was talking about. To have it taken away like that while everyone else is still able to use it the way we have been for a long time now is disappointing. I almost felt like a kid on punishment and having my privileges taken away. If a newer paid version is available, that’s great! But please allow those of us used to our normal functions keep them.

    1. Hi Ashley – We understand that this change could be surprising, particularly as other folks in your life did not have the same experience! Currently, we’re only rolling out the new product to a limited percentage of our user base so we can test, iterate, learn, and listen, and we’re continuing to do that in the coming weeks. People who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo. Go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s how: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

  84. I think it’s a great idea to have a paid pro version. Yet I think it’s shady and somewhat rude to remove features that have been free for years and now charge money for them, including the heart emoji and speed options. It makes me distrustful of your company.

    1. Hi Courtney – Thank you so much. We understand that for our loyal users, change to a beloved app can be surprising. This blog post and our FAQ (https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq) explain the background behind the company’s decision, our efforts to create a sustainable business, and our commitment to remaining ad-free. During this early rollout phase, please also know that we’re making every bit of feedback that we receive available to our product team so that they can listen and learn from it.

  85. This note is really confusing and seems to say a lot of nothing except that I should delete the app. I’m unclear of what the basic, free app will include, and it sounds like from the comments that those who received the “upgrade” email have had their basic significantly downgraded.

    I understand offering more at $5, but if I am reading correctly, you’re going to basically make it so that those who don’t pay get a crap app? Thank you, no thank you.

    If you are as purpose-driven as you say, then why not offer the upgraded version free through the end of the year? Give everyone a reason to love it so much that they want to upgrade (At a time when their finances are more stable), and in the meantime do a little goodwill during a time when your customer is craving connection with limited means? That is purpose driven. When you come at me to upgrade, assume that will be the point at which I delete.

    The timing on this is poor and the price is too steep. So at a time that most of the globe is either furloughed, being paid less, or/and have hours cut, you are going to charge $5/mo? To compare, that’s about $2 less than Disney plus. Bold move to try to compete with such little to offer at such a steep price.

    I urge you to rethink your strategy- the current one is the opposite of people purpose driven and sends a loud message to me as your consumer that this company is taking advantage- that’s economics, not purpose driven.

    1. Hi EC – To address your specific question, the new free version of Marco Polo will continue to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free. Here’s an FAQ with more information along with background behind the company’s decision, our efforts to create a sustainable business, and our commitment to remaining ad-free. As to your feedback, our product team sees it and welcomes it during this early rollout phase. Thank you!

  86. Hoo boy. You guys…you screwed up. Bad. And if you want your platform to continue, you need to fix this. Here’s how I suggest you do this.

    First up, REVERT EVERYONE back to the old version. Right away. Just put it back while you try to figure out your new business model.

    Secondly, do some case studies on other apps/games/products that were in similar situations to yours, specifically looking for ones who took away basic features to put behind a paywall. I have one example in particular, the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. Initially, the game only had a subscription model for access, but when that proved unsustainable, they rolled out a free model. That release proved to be disastrous for them as they got greedy and put too many restrictions on basic features, which drove even more players away.

    The takeaway, as I do not doubt you’ll discover, is that in your situation, where you have a free app that you suddenly want/need to monetize, is to not alienate your customer base by taking things away from them. It does not matter what it was. I might be fine with you putting double speed behind a paywall, because I don’t use it, but the commenter above who uses ASL to communicate clearly finds that invaluable. You cannot predict what your features will be used for, so it’s imperative you not take that away, ESPECIALLY (and the fact that you didn’t consider this obvious fact is almost insulting) in the current economic crisis many are in courtesy of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Provide new & innovative features for your sub model, things that people did not have before. That’s how you entice people to give you their hard-earned and increasingly scarce cash. The mindset of “oh if they really like this feature, then they’ll pay for it” DOES NOT WORK. It’ll just drive people away from you.

    Thirdly, I have been reading many of your replies to the comments here, and every one of them reads the same: PR boilerplate replies that read like damage control without actually replying to concerns. You aren’t doing your image any favors with this approach. Get real, get personal, put some honesty into this. The internet at large has a very low tolerance for “safe” marketing-speak answers to feedback.

    You have made something pretty great here. You have a chance to keep that going into something even better. Or you can fall apart and be cast aside for something else. Your call.

    1. Hi Brandon – We’re making sure that our team has access to all the comments on this post, so that they can consider all feedback as business decisions are made. That doesn’t mean the team can promise changes to the plan for moving forward. For sure, we’re providing similar answers to similar comments on this thread. But there is a real human here who is listening, responding, and sharing your feedback. So thank you.

  87. So here’s the thing.. you didn’t plan for this very well did you? I’m hoping the answer to that is no, otherwise you’re telling me that during a time that people are using your app to connect to people they can’t in person, to boost their mental health, to make connections.. you’re going to reduce the app we had and force us to pay.

    Why don’t you roll back this announcement, work on awesome NEW features, and put those in the paid model.

    Also.. a subscription?! Really? Why can’t it be a one time payment? You really need us to pay you every single month? Gross.

    Quit forcing us who’ve been here forever to bank roll your free app. If you need to make money I get that, create amazing new features that are worth the money. Otherwise we can all go to zoom for free.. which is STILL free, or to FB which now has group rooms.. for free.

    This felt slimey, underhanded, and opportunistic. People are out of work, sick, and dying.. but yes.. let’s take a moment and mess with a good thing because your app got lime light.

    This was rude. Your users deserve an apology for this shady behavior, and y’all need to go back to the drawing board and come up with NEW premium additional features that add value and fun, not take away from base features. That just smacks of lazy business practices.

    Severely disappointed and will be notifying my list of friends and contacts that we should all delete your app.

    1. Hi Erica – We welcome your honest feedback. This blog post and our FAQ (https://support.marcopolo.me/article/198-marco-polo-plus-faq) explain the background behind the company’s decision, our efforts to create a sustainable business, and our commitment to remaining ad-free. We understand change is tough for any app or product you use every day. We are sharing feedback from this blog post with our product team so that they, too, can listen and learn from it. Thank you again for your frank input.

  88. I started using this app late last year and really like it. Due to ongoing wi-fi issues both at my apartment and here at my parents’ place, I’ve not been too active recently. But a next-door neighbor deserves big kudos for recommending it.

    1. Hi Jake – Thanks for your feedback, and thanks to your neighbor for recommending Marco Polo! We’re so glad you like the app. Good luck with the Wi-Fi 🙂

  89. This is really frustrating. ☹️ My husband and I lost our business due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are limiting expenses as much as possible. Marco Polo was such a bright spot in my day and allowed me to stay connected with my friends. Now I’m unable to use the 2x, send pics or messages with text, or use filters unless I want to pay for the Plus option. Seems like a really low time to be rolling this out right now. It’s such a bummer and really brings me down. ☹️

    1. Hi Kathryn – We understand that there’s a lot of emotion around this change, particularly now, during this extremely challenging time. People who joined Marco Polo before April 29, 2020 are welcome to switch back for a limited time. We will notify anyone still using the old version of Marco Polo in advance of any permanent transitions to new, free Marco Polo. Just go to Settings > Help & About Us > Switch Back to your old experience. Here’s more information: https://bit.ly/SwitchBackToOldExperience

  90. I’m going to be honest. The replies to people’s very valid concerns feel placating and disingenuous. Reading reply after reply of “we understand that change is hard” is not helpful from a consumer standpoint, because after the 3rd one, I’m not sure I believe you actually care (though I’m sure you do!).

    And I’m sure this rollout hasn’t been what the team wanted. It’s “off-putting” to many people (myself included) because it’s removing a basic feature that was already free and then telling people they can get it back for a premium MONTHLY price. Look, everyone gets that a company needs to be sustainable in order to survive. And I’m sure if this was rolled out differently, people would be very grateful that there are no ads and you’re not selling data. All wonderful things that no one notices because all they see are things they lost, not things they gained. Many apps have fee structures to them and do just fine. I think Brandon (May 18) said it best in his response. But the timing, the roll-out, and the responses feel both lazy and greedy. Premium means “of a higher value”. Add more reactions, update and include more filters, give HD options, etc, etc, etc. Those are all upgrades. Removing features and then telling people that they’ll get them back if they pay isn’t. What’s worse is that this change wasn’t even listed in the “updates” status, so people didn’t even KNOW they were losing these items when they updated the app. It’s a great app and you should be proud of it, but nothing turns consumers off more than feeling duped. (And now I have to stare at a “1” listed in my Apple App Store because I can’t update the app without losing features…a constant reminder of a poor decision…at least until I find a replacement. I can’t keep a “1” up there forever!)

    1. Hi Dean – as the blog manager, I’m sharing everyone’s comments – the good, the bad, and the ugly – with our product team, so that they can hear and learn from your feedback. Thanks.

  91. I like the features of the plus, but I don’t understand why the Basic features were taken away when they were standard from the beginning. It’s a little frustrating.

    1. Hi K – We hear your honest feedback and understand change is tough for any app or product that you use every day. Our post at the link below explains the background behind the company’s decision, and our efforts to create an ad-free sustainable business that also provides Marco Polo for free for millions, and for years to come. https://stories.marcopolo.me/2020/04/20/marco-polo-plus/

  92. I’ll be honest — it drives me a bit crazy that you are now offering 2x playback as part of an exclusively paid feature. For those of us who have been users of MP and therefore have been building your MP community, it seems wrong to suddenly take that away. Very disappointing. I think this, unless it changes, will significantly reduce my likelihood of using MP in the future. Would you be willing to “grandfather in” those of us who have been loyal MP users up to this point? It seems like you guys are recalibrating after realizing you missed an opportunity to capitalize on the lockdowns. Not good if your loyal base has to pay the price for that (literally).

    1. Hi Adam – We’re making sure that our team has access to all the comments on this post, so that they can consider all feedback as business decisions are made. That doesn’t mean the team can promise changes to the plan for moving forward, but please know that there’s a real human here who is listening, responding, and sharing your feedback about the rollout and features. Thanks.

  93. I don’t care as much if filter, voice changers, drawing, etc. are behind a pay wall. Even emojis/reactions and picture messages I could understand. Although it is pretty shitty to take those things away instead of adding additional things on top of the things that have always been free for the paid version. All that being said however, the video controls MUST stay free. If you are allowing people to continue sending and receiving videos for free, then they must at least have the basic controls for watching, skipping, marking as read, etc.

  94. Ugh all these whiney people wanting a good thing for free is unbelievable. Honestly with no ads I don’t know how this platform has lasted this long. I love MP and have used it for years because I refused to download Snapchat due to moral reasons. I needed a way to communicate via video with friends who were used to using Snapchat and after years of being made fun of I’ve successfully transitioned them away from Snapchat and they’ve started recruiting their friends and family to the platform. This was all well before COVID. I’m dying for the opportunity to subscribe and am so jealous of the people that are getting a chance to test drive the new features.

    1. Hi Heather – Thanks for the question. Our new free version of Marco Polo continues to provide unlimited ability to chat, with an unlimited number of contacts, and the unlimited ability to create groups. The core of what users have come to love about Marco Polo is unlimited and free. The Marco Polo Plus paid membership plan will include more functionality, unlimited versions of free features and new, convenient ways to use the app including custom emoji reactions, fast-forwarding with 1.5x-3x speed controls, a scratchpad for jotting down notes during Polos, and lots more. Here’s a full feature list: https://support.marcopolo.me/article/201-what-features-are-included-in-marco-polo-plus

  95. I have been a loyal member of the Marco Polo family since 2019 and yet this new Plus feature is not what it seems if it removes key features. Upon being placed into quarantine in March 2020, my entire family has moved onto Marco Polo due to its wonderful service and great features. We all wished we had more options for emoji reactions, but we loved being able to share colorful notes, pictures, reaction videos, and more. However, upon updating we were all reduced to even less options unless we paid for the monthly subscription. I personally feel horrible about this because 95% of my friends and family have been left unemployed and without the means to pay for originally free features! It’s understandable to offer paid features, but if you’re just “testing” this out, why not try a beta app option to your original members? Why remove just to force a purchase. That it’s is contradictory to you goal to bring people closer together. If you do want to add options, perhaps you could offer it at a more reasonable cost like 99¢ per month vs $5 per month + 3 free memberships to give away. Please, help us help you!

    1. Hi Willo – Thanks for moving your family onto Marco Polo and for giving us your feedback on the Marco Polo Plus rollout and pricing. We are making all of this feedback available to our product team. We’re in early days of testing, listening, and learning, and we understand the critical role in helping people stay in touch that we’re playing right now. We really appreciate your input.

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