Pricing inequities and customer retention…

At BarCamp2005 I felt pretty alone in my defense of business practices that offer the same product at different prices to different consumers – citing the traditional process of coupons in a Kasparov inspired defensive move – but I am shocked at what just happened with regards to a conversation I just had with Network Solutions concerning the transfer of a .org domain name. In defense of my earlier position, I was primarily referencing the practice at Amazon where I personally experienced a price drop after reviewing a product several times over the course of a month.

During the call with Network Solutions however, the CS rep asked why I was transferring and to whom. Since the request is seemingly transparent I told the rep that I would be switching to BulkRegister because of the huge disparity in pricing (approx $10 per year vs. $35 for NetSol). He then proceeded to tell me that BulkRegister’s lowest price was $8.99 per year and offered me a deal to stay wtih NetSol for only $9.99 for any renewals.

WHOA! $25 less per year just because I am moving the domain? They did not mention that in any of the renewal emails they have sent over the last few months? Had they done so, I might have renewed with them rather then going through the hassle of transferring. But then again, I have never expected much from Network Solutions. Why the massive discount offer this time? Was it merely because it was the last line of defense for future revenue? Was it because I am a very early user (first NetSol domain I registered was in 1994 and my handle for those of you who know about such things is CH184)? Was it because I am a VIP member?

Whatever their motivation, I am interested in hearing similar experiences from other disgruntled Network Solutions customers and those who have also experience such shocking pricing inequities.

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