A couple of related posts in the last few days on what things should cost and the corollary, that is what we should expect to be free.

Firstly Skype journal comments on the expectations of consumers that they should not only receive a premium product, but also full support and excellent uptime.

It’s bad enough no one wants to pay for anything, but the expectations placed on free services to deliver 99.99999% reliability are astounding. Come on, what do you expect for nothing? There is this weird idea in the air that if something is free to a user it is free to produce, and thus must still reach all those other norms we take for granted in paid-for services, like reliability, privacy etc.

Skype journal contends that it’s a rare service indeed that can provide, on an ongoing basis, both a good product and great service delivery. Skype is a rare exception, relying as it does on a peer to peer network. But even Skype suffers when it comes to customer service, and even Skype offers premium charged services like SkypeOut.

The over on Socialwrite there is a post asking the three important questions;

  • What should you pay for?
  • What should be cheap?
  • What should be free?

Both the original post, and most subsequent commenters agree that users should be prepared to pay for support, for good uptime, for the user experience and for future innovation. The cheap offerings should be hosting and integration and all else should be free. Julian takes a slightly different tack and determines value based on a differentiation of service levels;

  • Expensive:
    • ROI (Great)
    • Support (1-2hrs)
    • Features (Heaps)
  • Cheap:
    • ROI (good)
    • Support (24hrs)
    • Features (standard)
  • Free:
    • ROI (none, ie: Twitter)
    • Support (none)
    • Features (few)

All interesting comments and definitely something for young companies coming into these turbulent times need to think about.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Just thought of another few… 😉

    # EXPENSIVE:

    * Software Bosses ‘love’ (they’ll pay for it)
    ie: Analytics, Issue/Risk, Top Management tools

    * Specialist business tools
    ie: Vendors would sell only a couple of licenses per business

    * Requires a ‘Hard Sell’
    ie: Needs a rep to sell it to the business

    * Needs to be explained

    # CHEAP:

    * Software Bosses ‘need’
    ie: Collaboration, Task lists, Email, Accounting

    * Company wide business tools
    ie: Vendors should make profit from bulk user sales

    * Either automatic online sale or ‘Soft Sell’
    ie: Customer signs up online to purchase or download

    * Is self explanatory

    # FREE:

    * Software Bosses ‘need’
    ie: Collaboration, Task lists, Email, Accounting

    * Company wide business tools
    ie: Vendors should make profit from bulk user sales

    * Either automatic online sale or ‘Soft Sell’
    ie: Customer signs up online to purchase or download

    * Can never be explained to the boss
    ie: Twitter, Digg, QKY, Snurl

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