The Hated Honest Deal


Lately I have been thinking a lot about hosting companies, customers, and what people care about, what their motives are and if an honest deal is at all appealing to many people these days.  I just have been noticing a trend, which makes me sad, where honest companies asking for an honest price, can not get it anymore, because to the general public, it seems like it is asking too much.  We are not talking big prices either, we are talking stuff that a kid could afford on an allowance.  It just makes my skin crawl to hear someone say that for their business $45 dollars a month is just too much, and then in 2 days they spend that much money on just 2 of their 90 meals in a month, some spend that in one meal, I know I have.  I am talking about business people, and people just doing it for the fun of it, they both seem to have that same outlook.

Why are people saying that it is too much?  That is a good question that takes a bit to answer, and I am sure I do not have all of the aspects crystal clear, but I think I might have some of them nailed down.  One of them is that larger companies who already were cash positive and had some money to work with, decided that they could diversify and start doing website hosting in addition to the services they already provided, such as domain name registration, Internet access, and many others.  I am not sure if it was part of the plan to begin with, or if it just happened that they did not actually calculate how much hosting actually costs from the ground up, but they are selling their hosting for a fraction of what it actually costs, and they are eating the difference.  Being that the attitude of the public in general is to watch out for themselves, not really caring about others or the impact that an unbalanced transaction has on an organization or the people that make it up, I would not at all be surprised to hear that a direct and intentional decision was made to undercut other companies pricing, for the purpose of stomping out competition (causing other companies to fail, and jobs to be lost, with hard times all around).  That is just one idea that I am certain is panning out and in full play these days.  I know that in some places people are able to purchase bandwidth, hardware, and datacenter space, for less, but in general this can not be big enough of an impact to explain the extreme trends seen today.  There are also those people out there with very poor business planning abilities and they half-assed start a business selling hosting for insane prices before they realize that it takes more than they have to follow through with keeping the business going like that, but those die out fairly quickly.  This too is a cause of the general perspective that people in the public will get from looking for hosting, but once again, I think this is minimal and not the main issue.

There are also the people involved that are the ones with the perspectives that say an honest price is too much.  I guess one part of the issue with people is that they want to pay as little as they can for what ever they get.  People are commended for getting a “deal” or the lowest price, as if it is a real good find and that it is great.  But is it really?  In the hosting industry, that question is not asked nearly enough… hell in any industry that question is not asked enough.  Why does no one ask how that low price impacts the people and company that provide the service, or if it is at cost, and is a fair value?, which should be synonymous.  Often the price directly reflects the quality of service, the more you pay, the more you get.  No one really wants to hear that it seems.  They just seem to be shooting for the lowest price and then crying foul when they do not get what they want, even if the clearest cut logic simply shows that, “well sir, you did not pay for that”, or “the amount you are paying for does not cover that level of service”.  They want to believe that they will get everything they need for that lowest price they find, and so they do, and then blame the “horrible” hosting company for not honoring their delusions.  Simply put, they believe what they want to believe, and then get angry when they are forced to see and deal with the reality that what they believe is not true, no matter how much they want it to be true.

People care about getting the most for the least amount of money, effort, time, and work.  This is as far as their thought process goes, they do not contemplate the consequences to other companies, or the people that make them up.  I can agree that today, it would be hard to calculate the actual cost of a given hosting account, especially from the end user’s point of view, but I guess my point is that even if it were as trackable as the “Dow Jones” (very interesting idea), not many people would even care enough to look.  These days we seem to breed and train people to be selfish and independent, to watch out for your own interests at what ever the cost, and for the most part, to even not pay any attention to the cost or consequences of their actions.  I have been that way myself, at least for most of my 31 years, but these days, things are looking a little different to me as I live life and see what that kind of attitude can do from a tiny scale to a massive scale.

In the end, I am left asking, what can an honest company do, when an honest deal is no longer appealing.

This rant was inspired by chatting with someone who was looking for hosting and had this all too common attitude.  After thinking about everything he said, and evaluating his reasonings and purposes, I said this to my friend:

me:  it is sad that today people do not value getting things at what they cost, they only care about getting things at the lowest cost to them, fair means nothing.  Taking advantage, letting the person on the other end take a loss, that is attractive.  Steal if you can get away with it, that is good to many these days.  And doing things as they are intended to be done is often though as offensive to some, especially when labeling “doing things in a way they were not intended to be done” as wrong.

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