1. AdWords Keyword Planner - It's still the standard, although Google keeps making changes that just aren't helpful. I get that they want us to treat closely-related keywords in such a way that we're not creating multiple pages when we should just have one, but I'd appreciate it if they'd still break down the volume for each keyword that makes up a group (or at least list the keywords they're clumping together into a group).
The “Starter” tier, with 1000 keyword lookups every 24 hours should be enough for anyone starting out in blogging – or even people who are quite established. It’s pleasing to see a product where they don’t seem to trick you into having to pay for a more expensive version. On the more negative side, I did feel that you’re nudged towards doing annual payment, with the monthly option kept slightly “hidden.”
When you’re running the Rank Checker feature sometimes you see Google’s captchas pop up and which can be annoying. I have only experienced this on a computer with an old OS (Windows XP) though; I haven’t seen this on Windows 7 or Windows 10 machines. Again, if you close the software and reopen it after a few minutes, everything will be okay again. UPDATE: one of the latest updates fixed this issue.
I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve.
So whilst Long Tail Pro has just continued to grow in revenue every single year and comes highly recommended, you may want to check if all the important features are fully functioning before signing up. Especially the KC feature (keyword competitiveness) as it is so fundamental to keyword research and making an informed choice on whether or not to go into a particular niche.
It would be great if you can provide comparative analysis of this tool with Google Keyword Planner. Since you’re using this tool so you can provide best comparison. One differentiation which I understood is that this tool works for yahoo and bing as well whereas Google keyword planner works only for Google but Google being a dominating search engine, gives the highest returns, so only this reason may not be enough to buy it.