Marketing 101. Even if you have not done an MBA, but read up something on the marketing, then you know that positioning is not how you want your product to be seen. It is how the users or the customers see your product. And even if you have read nothing on marketing, it should be common sense. People buy things for what they can do with it, not what you had hoped it will be used for.
With that basic established, let me talk about the product of my grievances. Google Apps for your domain. Yes, yes. You know that nice, little huge offering that lets you set up an email with @yourdomain.com in minutes and also gives you the wonderful gmail experience.
I hope Google Apps bigwigs can see the issue. I am buying email. Docs and calendar are nice to have. Everything else is irrelevant. In fact sometimes they get annoying. For example when I realize while searching on Google or Google Books that it is getting done through my company’s account and not my personal google account. I don’t want my searches recorded in the history there.
And in last year or so I see them introducing one product after another in GAYD. Who cares? I don’t want another Google Account. Nobody wants another Google account for every single employee. Much less pay for one. I want my company’s email. That’s it.
And that’s where my issue with their pricing comes from. They charge per account when I upgrade. They are trying to sell me Google Accounts. I want space for emails. Paying for every account, when many aren’t using more than a few MB of space feels like getting ripped off, even if, from their side, they have priced it reasonably. In a small company we often have some accounts only for administrative purposes. We want a sales@mydomain, an accounts@mydomain and a personal jayajha@mydomain even if there is only one person managing all. Accounts will probably never be used for anything other than reminding people for payments without jeopardizing sales’ good relationship with them. On the other hand I have an account used for customer support, where I am always running out of space. I want to pay for more space. But only way out is to upgrade all 10 accounts. Most aren’t using even 1 GB of space.
When I crib, I often hear – ‘Oh! You want everything for Free!’ No. I don’t want everything for free. Just charge me for the right thing. I will say that don’t provide 25 GB of free space to the Google Apps users. Reduce it. To even 1 GB. Charge for space after that. I will pay. Charge me for provisioning the space bought across the account. I will pay. Don’t charge me for the number of accounts. That’s not how I see value and that’s not what impacts your costs either.
Dear Google Apps team. Come down from the sky. People are not buying apps, people are not buying Google Accounts though I know how badly you want them to. They are buying e-mail. Give them e-mail. Charge them for e-mail.
Some people suggested that I should try to rejoin Google and do the right thing. 🙂 I am under no illusion. It’s not that Google lacks smart people and hence things are not getting done right. If anything, They have too many of them. And probably each of them are fighting their own intellectual battle (they may not even be guilty of ego-battle). If it is something for which there are technical barriers, I would say Google Apps needs a strong leader, who would drop everything else and focus on getting this one thing right. Why the hell was anyone at all working on getting Google Books and whatever else under GAYD? There is huge money to be made in the long tail. And it can be done without deceiving people into signing up for paid version by changing the user sign up page to hide the free version. Or by constantly reducing the number of free accounts allowed. E-mail and e-mail space is the key. THE ONLY KEY.