Sugarsync – Problem with snatching away free goodies

Couple of days back below is the cut of the email message that I received from SugarSync. Kudos to them on making the decision on focusing only on paying customers and not to support free file syncing service.

SugarSync Email

The problem I have is we did not see this coming as a consumer. They were aggressive to give free space, even when Dropbox was merely giving 2 GB free space, they decided to bump it up to 5 GB. They gave generous bonus space for referrals. They never had any expiry date on the free service they were providing. As a user I fell in love with this product and the service became an integral part of my workflow. I kept promoting it at every opportunity I had (and did not even worry about using my referrals).

Nobody likes free things being taken away and I am not an exception. We take things for granted and start believing that it is our right to have it for free (and it is not). If the expectations were set to begin with long long back, it would have been different. But the case here is to either pay or leave. Somewhere I lost the trust. Somewhere giving 75% discount on the first year did not seem sufficient. If the company was thinking about making this change for a while, why did it not communicate early? How long away was this “while”?

Ah, well I have taken this as an opportunity to do a cleanup and move my stuff elsewhere. SugarSync I have packed my bags to make way for your paid customers! As of this writing, I find a lot of users on Twitter who are in the same boat and already moved onto other providers or searching for a new home for their data. I wonder if there was a better way for SugarSync to tackle this? Are there expectations from customers using free service drastically changed? I among with many others feel this.

I wish them all the best although our relationship did not have the happiest of ends.

Product Distribution Strategy

Chris Dixon writes

If you are launching a new website or app, you should have a distribution strategy beyond just “people will love it and tell their friends about it”. Your strategy should probably involve at least one major platform. And you should think through the distribution characteristics of the platform and decide if they are a good fit for your product and how best to mitigate the risks.

So simple but so true. This becomes more important when you think you have the coolest idea for your web service or app and people are going to love it and you don’t need any marketing efforts. Yes, people will love it but only when they can get to know about your website or your mobile app. In this cluttered world have a strategy that till be more than word of mouth marketing.

Talking about marketing, Seth Godin’s recent post is just in time as well.