That’s not true. A soundly priced lifetime subscription can be a great way to push people towards other subscription lengths. Take WK as an example:
WK is doable in less than 2 years. Let us round that up to two years.
In annual membership terms, that’s 180 dollars.
In monthly membership terms, that’s 220 dollars.
Both are considerably less than 300 dollars.
From what I’ve seen, people either want to finish quick when they first start (because they’d supposedly be able to read whatever the want to sooner) or don’t have the funds for a lifetime membership.
If you’re expecting be done in less than 3 years and 4 months, you’d save money by not going for lifetime.
Even with the potential discount, which rings lifetime down to 200, you’d save money compared to the yearly membership.
Then some realize they might take longer, and this is what makes this a good business model: 8 months in, you realize you may not be done when you thought and decide to go for lifetime. Now lifetime has cost you 370 bucks instead of 300.
Automatically upgrading people because they’ve spent the lifetime amount is terrible because it kills this dynamic.
Now I’m not saying WK is money-minded. I’ve never gotten that impression. But it is important to remember that this is the crux of these types of business models in all subscription services and is achieved by making lifetime more expensive than the amount people would expect to pay when they’re first starting out by paying for shorter terms.
PS. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely is a great book which runs through these types of things in an entertaining fashion.