Three Web services worth paying for

Believe it or not, even the Cheapskate is willing to pry open his wallet for these subscription-based services, which offer great value for the money.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

People who know me know I don't like paying for anything. If there's a free (or at least cheaper) alternative, you can bet I'll take it. I am, after all, a cheapskate.

That said, there are a handful of Web services I consider to be great values -- so great, in fact, that I actually don't mind paying for them. Well, OK, I'd rather get them for free, but they don't make me cringe the way I do when paying for, say, phone service and cable TV.

My three worth-the-money picks:

1. Followupthen

I've never been more convinced of anything: E-mail should come with a snooze button, a way to defer messages to a later time and/or date so they remind you to do something and don't get buried in your inbox.

Followupthen is that snooze button. Just forward any e-mail (or compose a new one) to a future-time address, like 9am@followupthen.com or july28@followupthen. When the date/time comes, that message burbles to the top of your inbox. Simple. Effective. Ingenious.

You can actually use Followupthen for free, but a mere $24 per year gets you a Premium subscription that includes SMS reminders, calendar integration, attachment support, online follow-up management. Worth every penny, if you ask me.

2. Netflix

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

About a year ago, everyone was up in arms over Netflix's service changes, which included a separation of its streaming and DVD-by-mail services and higher monthly rates for both.

But you know what? Netflix is still the best deal on the planet. I'm referring mostly to the streaming service, which gives you unlimited access to a mammoth library of movies and TV shows. Commercial-free movies and TV shows. (Cough, Hulu, cough.)

You can stream the content (much of it HD) to just about any Internet-connected device, including smartphones, tablets, Roku boxes, game consoles, and Blu-ray players.

All for eight bucks a month! That's a bill I have no problem paying.

3. SugarSync

Cloud storage is a must nowadays, whether it's for backing up critical documents or syncing data between all your devices.

Dropbox is the perennial favorite, but I prefer SugarSync for one simple reason: it lets me share or sync any folder I want, not just those I drag into a "sync umbrella."

What's more, SugarSync's freebie account gives you 5GB of storage to play with, versus just 2GB from Dropbox. But you'll probably end up wanting more, in which case you can get 30GB for $49.99 per year or 60GB for $99.99. (Dropbox now offers 100GB for $99, so it's the better deal if you don't care about that whole folder-sync thing.)

OK, those are my picks. What Web services do you consider worth paying for? Pandora? Hulu Plus? Amazon Prime? Share your favorites in the comments.