Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not So Fast Carbonite

I got an email from Carbonite (online backup) telling me about this new feature they're introducing. You'll be able to access your backup logs remotely if you need to pull a file from a different computer than the one you're working on. Sounds cool. I know I'm extremely unlikely to ever use it, but no big deal.

But then they zap you with the, "With the addition of this feature, we’ll be adjusting our price to reflect the increased value of our service. Beginning March 15th, a one-year Carbonite Online Backup subscription will cost $54.95."

Wait a second, you're raising the prices on me because of a feature that I don't want? Just make it a $5 upgrade (or better yet, $10 upgrade) for people who value it. I'm sure they wanted to raise the price of the service and had the bright idea to tie it to the introduction of this feature. The problem with that strategy is that all the people who don't care about the new service, feel a little twinge of resentment at the link in pricing.

This is a no win situation for the company, but I would have tried the, "we're kicking ass at Carbonite. You've never lost a piece of data while using us. Because we're kicking ass, we want to raise the price a bit to make our business more sustainable and assure that we can keep delivering great service to you."

False linkages between new offers and price increases are going to be a lot harder to justify in the digital world, because we all know it would be just as easy to sell an upgrade. Marketers are going to have to get more creative.