Participating on the Net today requires a new mantra. You need to focus on Love-in not Lock-in:
- Love-in is about delighting a user such that they choose to come back. It’s about exceeding expectations. A poster my high school friend had in her room jumps to mind: “If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.” ( I think there was a unicorn on that poster).
- Lock-in is about keeping users on your site. In MBA-lingo, it’s about introducing switching costs.
Google is all about love-in. They want you to jump off the site as quickly as possible and when you’re ready, they hope you come back. Lock-in is part of the portal mindset and as such, Yahoo still struggles with it. The new MyYahoo (which rocks) shows that this is changing but to totally embrace love-in, they’d let me pick my favorite search engine.
Open markets require a love-in mindset. Retailers, by aggressively working with search engines, acknowledge a consumers’ desire for choice. Their mission is to find ways to delight users such that they choose to come back, perhaps next time directly to their site. Vertical search engines also need to embrace love-in by quickly and impartially delivering users to the right retailer. We must understand our role as a first-stop and not attempt to act like a destination site.