It seems like every other day I am reading stories from site owners on how they are struggling to handle the financial burden of running a web site as their visitor base is sky rocketing. While they have methods such as affiliate programs and various advertisements in place to generate income, the common theme that I hear is that it is not enough as their visitors don’t seem to be supporting their sponsors.
For example, let’s pretend that there is a person who frequently shops at Amazon.com. One day, a hobby site that the person visits decides to run the affiliate program offered by Amazon.com as a way to generate revenue. Even though the person frequently shops at the site, a common scenario is that the visitor would purposely avoid purchasing it through the hobby site that is trying to generate revenue and would instead go directly to Amazon.com even though there would be no real difference in the service that he would be receiving.
You can plead and beg all you want for support, but from my personal experience it comes down to the fact that there are many people who feel that if you have something to gain from a certain situation, they will take the extra initiative to make sure that you do not benefit from it because they would rather see themselves as the only one gaining something for it. Although I can say to a lesser extent that I have experienced similar scenarios in an online environment, there are multiple times in life where I have experienced this type of behavior from others.
A couple of years back when I was first able to offer people Internet access services I naturally started to promote it as it was a good service at a very competitive rate, the customer had the opportunity to get their service for free through referrals and for me it would help that category of my business grow. A couple that I personally knew was in the midst of searching for an Internet service provider and so I felt it would be an ideal solution for them. Since only the wife was available at the time, I spoke to her about the service and provided details about the rates and the perk of being able to receive free service by referring others to it.
She seemed excited about it and asked me to provide all of the necessary details to sign up and it was apparent that one of the key reasons on why she wanted to sign up was to help my business grow. After providing all the information, I left as it would be up to them to decide whether or not they wanted to go with it. A few days later, I noticed that they were one of my new customers and thought everything was well. However, apparently the decision was made without both of them agreeing to it first. The husband apparently blasted her for making the decision and eventually the service was canceled. It wasn’t too big of a deal that I lost the account, but I wanted to make sure everything was okay and to find out the exact reasons for the cancellation.
After discussing it with the husband, everything seemed okay which was great and when I asked whether or not there was a specific reason on why he wouldn’t want the service he just stated that he wanted to think it over more and to see what he could get from others. That sounded fair to me. Afterwards, his wife informed me that he was angry that she enrolled into a service without thoroughly thinking it over first and that since I was gaining something in this deal that they must be getting shafted somehow.
A few days later, they signed on with another provider and it was solely decided by the husband as he was mainly impressed that he was able to receive one month of free service for everyone he referred to the service. After looking at the service and rates, it was more expensive and was virtually the same thing that I offered. Obviously, the fact that he knew that I benefited in some way was one of the key reasons that he didn’t want to use the service.
I think it would be interesting to find out on what exactly a person is thinking when they make a decision solely based on whether or not you have something to gain in a situation that wouldn’t impact them in any way. I can see for example if one doesn’t want to support a certain organization because of things like religious beliefs or that they would have to go through extreme lengths to support them, but in a situation such as the site example above is mind boggling. My personal opinion is that when you encounter a situation like this, don’t spend too much energy trying to change somebody else but instead look for more ideas that your supporters will embrace.