It’s not easy breaking up. I mean, forget about loyalty, it’s the sheer hassle. Going out again, on the lookout for something better. Thinking that they’re all the same anyway. Lots of promises to lure you in and then over time they all maltreat you. It’s easy to get cynical in this crazy world.

I would have stayed, you know, but it just got to a stage where you became super-annoying. Those constant popups. You really did become like the boor at the bar who goes on and on and on about all these great things you’re doing for me. Protecting me from this, optimizing that. It was so disruptive and incredibly annoying and even when I thought I had turned those infernal messages off, they kept coming.

But it wasn’t just that. Your ransomware dark-pattern approach to design got to be too much. You’d give this message about how you had been super nice and analyzed performance and found some problems that you could fix if I just clicked on some button. And when I did: “Pay us $29 to fix these problems!” Just feels like trickery and ransomware.

I know, I know. This is how you meet your sales targets. This is how your senior managers get their bonuses. You’re a predator and I’m the prey. How to squeeze more money out of me seems to be your core focus.

I know. I know. All the other anti-virus companies are the same. I agree. I just had a bad experience with Malwarebytes. I had tried it out for a while and decided not to use it further. Then, out-of-nowhere, in pops an email thanking me for renewing for another year. That dark pattern auto-renewal that’s wrapped up in “we care so much about you” language. And how it’s impossible to turn off the auto renew on the Malwarebytes site. How you can’t close your account either. But it’s very easy to give them nice new, juicy credit card details.

Learning Opportunities

You’re the companies that are protecting us? Often feels like a protection racket. And, I suppose, you just don’t care. There’s enough busy, lazy fools (like myself) out there to get sucked in and then ripped off in order to make the whole business model work like a dream.

When I listen to the radio in the car I never hear an ad for current customers. “Hey, you’ve been with us three years. You’re getting a discount for staying the fourth.” You never hear that. Practically every ad screams: Switch! Switch! Switch!

The only reward in marketing and advertising is for being disloyal. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to be and do. I’m going to be disloyal and I’m going to switch. In fact, I have come to the belief that switching is one of the most powerful things we can do to make for a better, fairer society.

So much of traditional management thinking is based on exploiting the laziness of the loyal customer. The more we switch, the more we transfer power from organizations to customers. Think of how powerful one million customers switching is. The Web is the land of comparison and switch. We’ve got so much power today. Let’s not let laziness get in the way. Switch!

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