Saturday, May 05, 2007

There Are No Pricing Secrets

One of the interesting developments of the last five or ten years is that pricing has become far more transparent. Thanks to the good old internet, it's much easier to find out what different companies charge for something, and what others are actually paying for it.

I was thinking about this as I canceled my free trial of GoToMeeting this morning. I really like GoToMeeting. During my one-month trial, I used it several times. It was reliable and had all the features I wanted. I recommend it. *

The only reason I was canceling it was that their pricing model doesn't work for me. I just don't host a lot of online meetings, so fifty bucks a month is too much. If they had some kind of pay as you go pricing - say $10 a meeting - I'd be a customer. There would probably be some months I paid more than $50, but they'd be balanced by others when I paid nothing.

But $50 every month? Doesn't work for me.

So, I went to their site and canceled - and was immediately offered $120 off of an annual subscription.

I was impressed; I had clicked the "too expensive" option for the "why are you canceling" question, and they responded to try to save the business. Smart.

But what if I hadn't canceled? I'd have paid $120 too much for a one-year subscription.

They don't advertise that special, of course, but people will find out about it. (Perhaps by finding this blog post, I guess.)

If you're going to offer these specials, you need to be prepared for people calling you and asking, "Why didn't I get that?" I suppose they might just give to anyone who complains, but that leaves people with a lingering bad feeling... "If I hadn't found out, I'd have kept paying too much."

It's a bit like the not-savvy telephone user who suddenly discovers that everybody's been getting all-you-can-use long distance while they've been paying 10 cents a minute.

Everything's out there on the web, folks. People will find it.

(And the the folks at GoToMeeting, who have put together a nice service: I wish you had let me explain in more detail why I was leaving, through a content form. Maybe you'd find a lot of people like me, and see an opportunity to get more customers by introducing a new light-use pricing plan.)

* One quibble: you can't host a meeting from a Mac. This whole "doesn't work on a Mac" thing is very 1997. Fix it, guys.

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