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   ► KBIT Water-Coo...Computer Ind...General News...   Print This     
Industry General News & Trends:
Punishment for Purchasing - What a Concept
Posted 13 years ago on 12/27/2007 and updated 9/18/2009
Take Away:

Here's a great marketing idea, cooked up, no doubt, by some MBA: Punish your customers for being your customers. Sound crazy? Several well-known software and service vendors don't seem to think so.

 A blog topic from Wes's Blog


I'd really like to know the identity of the greedy jerk that came up with this scheme, so I can invite him/her to a meeting up a dark alley.

Here's the idea: You purchase a software title, or, perhaps, register a domain. As your reward for being a customer, the vendor invades your in-box on a near daily basis. The old adage, "No good deed goes unpunished." never had a better home.

Sure, I want to know about bug fixes, and new version releases. But I don't need to be told about them (plus a bunch of stuff I don't care about) more than once or twice. I mean geez! Right there, on the software's help menu is a link to the vendor's site. I can go there when I please and figure out for myself what I want.

This business of punishing the customer reminds me of a former boss. He was the commensurate hardball negotiator. It didn't matter if the deal involved $200 or $2,000,000 - he could not stand the idea of leaving a single nickel on the table.

I'm suppose he thought it made him look "strong." It didn't. It was downright embarrassing because it made him look worse than greedy; it made him look needy.

Now, I can heartily recommend the following vendors, but, in fairness, I have to warn you. If you buy, you'll be punished.

Diskeeper Corporation: Listen up. You make a great product, Diskeeper. The version I bought from you two years ago is still doing the job I bought it to do - and doing it very well, thank you very much. You've told me umpteen times about new versions. You think I'm an idiot and can't remember that? Back off a little, OK?

Uniblue: C'mon, now. I bought Speed Up My PC. It's nice. But you only have to tell me once about your other products. Cool it. You're irritating me.

Go Daddy: I happen to like Bob Parsons. I've been a customer since he was selling MoneyCounts for DOS. Go Daddy has great prices on domain registration, and many other worthy goodies. But I registered for a friend. When I did, I put the expiration date on my Outlook calendar. Well, my friend no longer wants that domain, so he's letting it lapse. Do you think you have to tell me twice a day that it's expiring or expired?

Sure, I could flag all such vendors as junk emailers. But, once a year - or maybe once every six months - they send an email I wouldn't want to miss.

And, yeah, I might be able to go to their web sites and opt out of many/most of the stuff I don't want to see. But why make me do that in the first place?

I understand that it's tempting, once you've amassed a database of customer email addresses, to use the magic of virtually free advertising. Who wouldn't? Heck, it costs virtually nothing to blast out email ads every day.

But there's a principle that should be applied when it comes to technology: Just because a thing can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.

Blowback is coming, guys. If you think your incessant advertising is going to motivate me to come back when it's time to update, I have news for you: I might come back, but not before I scour the web for suitable alternatives.

How about we go back to the idea of rewarding customers instead of punishing them?

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Blog Contributed By Wes Peterson:

Wes Peterson is a Senior Programmer Analyst with Prestwood IT Solutions where he develops custom Windows software and custom websites using .Net and Delphi. When Wes is not coding for clients, he participates in this online community. Prior to his 10-year love-affair with Delphi, he worked with several other tools and databases. Currently he specializes in VS.Net using C# and VB.Net. To Wes, the .NET revolution is as exciting as the birth of Delphi.

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