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Difference By Design

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

Yesterday I was registering a domain name online when I noticed the company had tweaked the user interface from cart to checkout. Now when you confirm the purchase, the default option is to register for three years, instead of one. The steps to reverse this are not obvious or easy—which I guess means sales are up by 66%—especially with new or inexperienced customers.

I’m left trying to imagine the meeting where the head of the business development thought this was an excellent growth strategy and a software engineer implemented the change against her better judgement. Would they consider it acceptable if a sales assistant at a bricks and mortar store tripled their father’s bill by adding two additional items to his basket without permission—just because they could?

The data is clearly telling the company they’re winning, but at what cost? We make a difference by design, not by default—when we put our hand on our heart and question whether this is the right thing to do.

*Note: Since I (and no doubt other customers) drew this to the company’s attention they have rectified the situation. They also denied ever having defaults for domain registrations unless required by the Registry, because this would prohibit them from functioning as a Registrar. Again this goes back to the earlier point. Integrity doesn’t require rules.

Image by David Joyce.