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Who do you trust less? Microsoft, Mailchimp, Google or Apple?

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Xero’s financial report reveals BIG loss but share price pop. - eepurl.com/isNmKQ

Last year from Steve Slisar's Twitter via Mailchimp



The features that each of these companies provide is invaluable for businesses. We can’t do without most of them in some way and when they started you, like me, probably turned on all the features and opted into their “labs” to test out new features. Then things changed.

These companies are now mature and they command respect as market leaders. Their financials are also very healthy because they’ve managed to monopolise some aspect of their market. These are some of the things that has happened to me over the years, has this happened to you?

My first memory of distrusting a company was with Microsoft. The way they went about eliminating Netscape (after I just purchased the software in a retail box) was a demonstration of their market power but it shows through in so many other ways.

Things I don’t trust about Microsoft

  • Windows updates,
  • automatically adding new features,
  • changing my search box to feature their own search engine,
  • making it harder to change the default search engine,
  • creating bloat so that I have to upgrade my hardware.

See our Microsoft Office Courses

Mailchimp

  • Making me pay for unsubscribed contacts
  • Encouraging me to use new features that are not that simple to now turn off, delete or disconnect
  • Changing the definition of an “audience” so my monthly bill goes up past $200!

Apple

  • Converting my MP3’s to Apples own format when I first started importing my music
  • Having devices that seem to become obsolete quicker than Windows devices
  • Making me buy products that are part of their ecosystem to use all the features

Google

  • Letting me use Gmail for custom domains and then charging for it out of the blue
  • Helping unscrupulous competitors improve in the Organic rankings because they spend more in Google ads

Xero

MYOB-Essentials-Xero-Accounting-Online-Training-Course-Dual-Certificate-EzyLearn-Cloud-Duo

I have to say that i can’t find a reason to mistrust Xero. When they have a price increase they often incorporate a benefit for their users, like they did when they bought Hubdoc.

Yes, the prices have continued to go up in the last couple of years but so to do the rates for other accounting programs.

Discover our Xero Training Courses

Why don’t we trust them?

Usually we don’t trust software companies

  1. when they make a change that is unexpected
  2. because of a cost that we incur and
  3. when it is hard to make a change to use a different software service.

A change makes us realise that we don’t own the software and are at the whim of feature choices of the management of these companies.

MYOB & Microsoft Changed Navigation

Telstra-promoting-MYOB-Essentials-accounting-software-Learn-MYOB-Essentials-in-our-online-training-course-EzyLearn

The example that stands out the most to me for this is MYOB and the number of changes they made in the past that affected most of their users. Some of the most disruptive changes they made related to third party software companies that “integrated” with their Window based software (MYOB AccountRight) when the internet was in it’s early days.

MYOB, like Microsoft has made significant changes to the “navigation” of their software too and these are some of the worst things you can do because it stops users from being able to use the software – even if only temporarily.

As a training company we’ve often benefited because students will do a course to get up to speed quickly but when it happens by surprise like MYOB’s changes to MYOB Essentials (now called MYOB Business Lite and Pro) it left us having to urgently make massive changes to several courses and apologise to our students.

Learn about MYOB Essentials (Business) Lite and Pro

United States vs Microsoft

If you are interested in learning more about the Anti Trust case that Microsoft went through in 2001 you’ll find this Wikipedia page full of useful information.

Many software companies leverage their strengths to grow bigger and it can be a fine line between normal, competitive business and Monopoly power.

MailChimp Email Marketing Software

It seemed that out of nowhere we started spending over $200 per month on email marketing software using Mailchimp for a software program that we don’t really “use” on a regular basis. It is used to collect email addresses for prospects and customers and enable us to broadcast our email blogs to these subscribers but it’s not software that we log into daily to perform tasks.

Mailchimp Email Marketing Training Courses - will Intuit make more money than with accounting software - EzyLearn Career Academy

Mailchimp Integrations

We integrate Mailchimp with these software programs.

  • Wufoo online form builder,
  • Gravity Form builders and
  • WordPress websites.

Naturally we want to build our subscriber base as much as possible but when you start spending several hundred dollars per month on it you start looking into what you are actually getting for that money and I have to confess that I’m not convinced it is the best value.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. When people unsubscribe they are still part of your audience
  2. Because they are part of your audience you can retarget your marketing to try to reach them (even though they don’t want to hear from you!)
  3. Spam subscribers become part of your audience (but they are of NO value)
  4. People who don’t open your emails or click on a link are part of your audience.

Mailchimp now make you pay for audience members NOT subscribers.

I looked at reducing the size of our audience because we had a lot of crap in there and it took a lot more effort than I thought.

Firstly I had to “archive” all unsubscribers otherwise they would add to my audience. Then I had to remove some of the extra “audiences” I created while I was getting to know some new features in past years. Then I learnt that I can’t just remove an audience if there is an Automation attached to it!

When I looked at the automations I realised that there are Customer Journeys (the new automations) and then there are classic automations – the earliest automations that were originally available.

MailChimp is an incredibly powerful email marketing platform that is now owned by the owners of QuickBooks Online and it can actually tell you when a sales has been the result of an email marketing message!

The end result is that I am now only sending email marketing messages to those subscribers who actually opted in to receive them. I had to go through this process to reduce my monthly bill from $200+ to just over $100pm yet my benefit is exactly the same.

Shame on you Mailchimp for automatically opting your customers into more expensive features and services without asking if they want to opt in!

See our MailChimp Marketing Course

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