Some call it spin. Does it work over the long term?

  • Call it a free trial but take credit cards and start charging people two weeks later if they don’t remember to cancel first.
  • Give away your accounting software for free because free customers have switching costs and need upgrades. Call it a donation for small business.
  • Call your consulting company an institute. Hey, maybe you can actually make it a nonprofit company and still pay yourself a good living. Institute sounds so much more reassuring.
  • Bug people to renew their virus checker six weeks before it expires, then start their annual subscription the day they renew. That’s cool: sell a 12-month subscription every 10 or 11 months.
  • Pad your endorsements. After all, who can check?

I like to think that kind of behavior doesn’t pay off over the long term. It increases the business friction. It increases the chance of angry customers. It’s like the opposite of insurance. Is this good business? Do you think it works?

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.