Which Subscription/Billing Systems Are the Best?

The other week, a startup asked me for recommendations on billing/subscription platforms as their startup involved selling a subscription service. I looked on Quora but didn’t find any good recommendations there (see: What are some recommended turn-key billing systems for online subscription services? and What tools for billing and subscriptions are good for integrating with your web application?).
I threw a query out to my contacts at 500startups and also on Twitter.
Seems like the winners are Recurly.com, Chargify, and Braintree Payments.
Many thanks to @webwright for his link to Accepting Payments on the Real Time Web.
The actual results of my query are below.
From the 500startups crew, the expectation would be that Recurly would be the platform of choice, given that 500startups has invested in them. Here were the results, out of 8 responses:
Recurly.com – positive votes: 5
positive quotes:
“Recurly is cool yeah”
“Recurly is awesome.”
“They’re super supportive and easy to use.”
Chargify – positive votes: 2
“customer service being super quick”
“From a development POV they were super easy to implement and it’s been quite easy to add things as they’ve released new features and different ways of doing things.”
Paypal – negative votes: 1
“I’ve never worked with any of the others except for Paypal and would never go back to using them for recurring.”
CheddarGetter – positive votes: 1
Braintree – positive votes: 3
“They do 1-time and subscription billing, and support a lot of the standard options like free trials, add ons — and the have a potentially portable CC vault, etc.”
“We used Braintree for cc transactions, which recurly can work on top of, and the advice we got from other friends was to avoid building your own subscription system for as long as possible.”
“Recurly using braintree on the back end is fantastic. Also allows you to grow because you can eventually use braintree for subscriptions alone by writing a bit more code.”
Looking at other discussions, I found some more comments about payment services, especially Zuora which seems to be expensive and also very hard to setup.
From my Twitter followers, I got 14 responses, 1 RT, and 2 replies from marketing folks who follow Twitter for these requests. It’s nice to see marketing folks watching the real time web for potential leads, but honestly I just don’t know how I can trust a recommendation from such biased sources. I think the other sources are at least more dependable in that regard.
Foxy Cart – votes: 1
Zuora – votes: 1
eVapt – votes: 1
Vindicia – two people who worked for Vindicia replied.
Cybersource – votes: 1
Sagepay – votes: 1
Recurly.com – votes: 5
CheddarGetter – votes: 1
Braintree – votes: 1
Chargify – votes: 2
The tweets follow in this image: