How Microsoft lost this customer (& hotmail issues)

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Users of Microsoft’s Hotmail service have been finding their service interrupted. The service has been restored apparently, but many people are upset. Microsoft is huge and they can likely weather this storm… But could you? Is Gmail and Yahoo mail now getting many more users?

Now I’ll fess up, I’m a Microsoft hater. I use Ubuntu or OSX on my own computers (and love both OS’s). In my case it’s not because I dislike Windows OS or find it unreliable (I feel it’s overpriced and mediocre – compared to OSX). This is not the same thing as being a PC hater, Apple computers are now PCs, and I’m writing this post on a Dell laptop running Ubuntu OS.

Now forgive my bias for a moment. I used Windows for a long time, I ran Windows 95, 98, 98se, and Windows2000. As a graphic designer I worked on Apple computers, but I used Windows at home – and actually felt Windows 2000 was pretty decent as an OS. I switched from Windows to Mandrake Linux when Windows XP first came out and my next hardware was an Apple computer. I had a reason. The Windows media player in the first edition of Windows XP, would play mp3 files, but convert them to Windows media files with no way to convert them back to an mp3. I was an early adopter of mp3 players,  hardware that wouldn’t play a Windows media File.

Forget the OS wars for a moment. Microsoft compromised on the value their computer offers in order to make a profit (to promote windows media file as a digital music format). This mistake didn’t kill Windows (their buying public demanded MP3 equity and Microsoft quickly fixed their media player however) – they’re too big. But they lost me indefinitely as a customer and I doubt I’m alone – the attitude of Microsoft pissed me off.

Now when it comes to your business, what didn’t kill Microsoft – could kill you! You absolutely cannot compromise on delivering value to your customer, and doing what you do well!Business have to fight to survive in this economy!

My Uncle, who is new to modern computers, asked me why Google was so dominant as a search engine. I compared their website to Yahoo’s website: Google does one thing really well, just one thing, on their homepage – search. Yahoo offers a wide variety of services and advertising, it’s hard to find the search window – and you might miss it if you weren’t looking for it. My uncle didn’t even know that Yahoo was a search engine!

This ties into sales and magic as well. If you don’t know that what you’re selling has more value than you’re asking for in money, you won’t sell it as well as you could -you may  not be able to sell it at all! If you seek to use magic to increase sales, not offering a good value may manifest a duality of desire that sabotages your business instead!

We’re living in a wretched economy in the here and now. If you’re in business online or thinking of getting started, it’s the right thing to do because no one can fire you and the overhead is low!  Most e-commerce out there is mediocre, find the thing you can do better than anyone else and base your site around that! It’s not hard to rise to the top if you work with your passion!

Now, what if you’re doing the affiliate thing? Or drop-shipping? If you’re selling online as an affiliate, learn your subject matter! Become an expert! And write your own e-book that’s available as a bonus if they sign up with what you know to be a valuable affiliate offer. That way your affiliate pitch is more valuable than anyone else’s!

If you’re drop-shipping product, make your site better than the competitions! Make it a learning resource, teach people how to choose the best and then offer to sell it to them for a good price.

A lot of the e-commerce guru’s are teaching people to use short-cuts: other people’s books, other people’s articles, other people’s email newsletter content even! And you know what? Some people are getting rich doing that!

But think about it for a second. The web is super saturated with MEDIOCRE EFFORT! Do your e-commerce site well, take pride in it, become an authority on your subject and present loads of valuable information for free on your website. And THEN use magic! -And search engine optimization (creating valuable content IS search engine optimization FYI) and Google adwords – and you’ll rule your domain! It’s far from difficult, there’s not enough really good websites. If you set a high standard, there’s not much competition!


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