The Double Edged Sword of Easy Switching




Chair bearings

Originally uploaded by AMagill.

One of the great things about Tangler is that it’s free and very easy to get started. It’s also one of the things that scares us the most. If it’s easy for someone to come to Tangler, then maybe it’s easy for someone to leave Tangler and go somewhere else?

Nearly everyone brags about their product being simultaneously easy to switch to and so sticky that once you’re there, you’ll never leave. Both are typically overstated.

We say that it’s easy to change from another provider to us because we are so easy to use. But that is not the only cost you need to think about. There is the risk that the new service actually won’t be very good, especially if you are only trusting the promotional guff on the web site. There is the pain of moving your stuff over – changing email addresses, moving book marks, etc. And there’s learning a new system.

So switching costs are higher then you think.

Once they’re there, it is also normally easier then you think to move on again. Everyone creates importing features and the company generally feels more tied then the user feels.

Still, it’s important to make it as smooth as possible so they can get into the real meat in the sandwich with minimal bumps. It’s certainly on my mind today…


Posted by Mick on Nov 27 2006 under Whatever




3 Responses to “The Double Edged Sword of Easy Switching”

  1. mick Says:

    On Behalf of Russell the bold, the Dr Suess and the Blue Man.

    [completely paraphrased]
    “Yeah, well, you would say that. Why don’t you read someone with real geek cred????
    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000056.html
    Take that!!” RG.

    Thanks Russell. And keep that harsh feedback coming although I’m not sure that ‘Gradients Suck’ is a valid bug.

  2. mick Says:

    Funny passage on the Joel article mentioned above;

    “Another extremely strong network effect is proprietary chat systems like ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger. If you want to chat with people, you have to go where they are, and ICQ and AOL have the most people by far. Chances are, your friends are using one of those services, not one of the smaller ones like MSN Instant Messenger. With all of Microsoft’s muscle, money, and marketing skill, they are just not going to be able to break into auctions or instant messaging, because the network effects there are so strong.”

    By Joel Spolsky
    Friday, May 12, 2000

    Lock in can be taken with patience over 6 years. And lock in still takes continual improvement. No resting on laurels.

  3. Cheyne Rood Says:

    I read something similar recently about Google search – http://onstartups.com/Home/tabid/3339/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1221/WhyItWillBeSoEasyToSwitchAwayFromGoogleSearch.aspx

    Just happened across this blog while browsing through some comments on an edgeio – good stuff!

    And now as I read about Tangler, interestingly our site in development may be a good match. Like you guys, we’re keeping things under wraps until more is in place – but check out my blog and if you have any interest send some info my way. -Cheyne

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