Bullying the customer
Have you ever stopped to think how some industries never seem to stop bullying their customers? A few thoughts:
- What’s the sin committed by movie buyers so that they deserve to have their DVDs filled with anti-piracy slogans? Those who pirate movies couldn’t care less, they watch the movie stripped from all that undesired clutter.
- Why force the PC videogame buyer to install spyware, play with the DVD on the drive, require internet connection for single-player gaming o limit the number or reinstalls? Those who pirate remain free from spyware, don’t need the DVD spinning uselessly in the drive, don’t require 24/7 internet connection and install (and reinstall) the software in all the machines they want.
- Where is the morale in a company that tries to forbid users from doing backup copies of their legally acquired media… an then asks them to pay again for the media if it becomes damaged by accident?
I don’t know much about running big corporations, but it’s always stricken me as great ineptitude when someone buries his own business model. Most times the vibe is that lack of capacity and originality when facing difficulties always end up turning the situation into something quite ironic and unpleasant: The user experience received by the legitimate users is, most times, of worse quality than the one received by non-legitimate users.
I wish someone could explain to me, please, that kind of mental disease is required for someone to decide that, on tough times, the best bet is to spit on your customer’s face. On the long run they are only upsetting them and, many times, inducing them to other means of obtaining the product.
As contrast, I leave a reflexion I read a little while ago by a small iPhone developer. I don’t have the link, but I’ll recreate the interview the best I can from what I remember. The question was “Data shows that piracy levels on your game reach 90%, what can be done about it?”. The answer:
What do I plan to avoid piracy? Nothing at all!
My clients are those 1500 who saw the game in the AppStore and thought “how interesting, sold!”. They are the ones enjoying the game, writing me feedback mail and asking for improvements. They understand that they received good value for the price they paid. My job now it to offer something better, make them enjoy the product again and spread the word.
What about those 15000 who downloaded the game from other means? They are not my enemies. Most of them only played for 2 minutes and never run it again. Maybe it wasn’t their kind of game. Maybe they didn’t like it… maybe they just download 20 apps every day just for the sake of downloading free stuff and then ignore them altogether. In any case, there is a change some of them like the game and buy it, or tell their friends who might end up buying it. Those 15000 don’t damage me and can be my allies.
It’s almost always interesting to compare behaviors between small and big developers. Big dumb companies cry because the think every illegal download is a lost sale. Small companies know that those illegal downloads were lost from the beginning, but could be eventually bring real sales if they’re smart. What about big smart companies? They get around the issue of piracy by being clever, they make great films and earn their money by selling toys 😉
How many times have you felt ripped off by the the industry, let it be cinema, music or videogame? Is there anything that you find annoying? What do you think?