12
August
2006

How to introduce a competing product 22:04 on Saturday

At the moment there are over fifty bookmarking sites competing with the most popular choice, del.icio.us. (If not in number of users, at least in number of blog posts about it.) There’s no way I ever would or even could go through all the available choices.

By introducing a new bookmarking site, you have two choices:

  1. Go after people who don’t use online bookmarking, or
  2. Go after people who already use a competing site.

Being a lonesome Agency 2.0 developer, you probably think it’s easier to go after geeks who have proved their interest in online bookmarking. After all, getting the first group to understand the benefits of social bookmarking would require serious explaining, and technology is your forte, not explanations for the average person.

Getting the people from the second group isn’t that easy either: by offering something they already use, you’re introducing switching costs. There are ways to reduce those costs, by offering import options, for example. But there’s an even simpler, quicker and cheaper way: state what’s different between you and the product you want to steal users from. Do it in a non-aggressive way, without bashing your competitors, and you can keep your Web 2.0 cool.

I’m not in love with del.icio.us, I could easily jump into using some other service more suitable for my needs. If you wanted me to switch from del.icio.us to your product, my biggest switching cost would be the risk of you not delivering what I’m used to. So please, let me know what makes you special.

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