'FREE' has its Price...Are you Compromising Quality to Cut Cost?


In rough times it's easy to be lured by that seductive word…FREE.  We are captivated by it, mesmerized by it… Fooled by it.

Every day we're offered something for free yet somehow it always ends up costing us more in the end.  It's amazing that we've all been through this either in our personal lives or in business and yet we STILL fall for it.  It's almost like every time that Publishers Clearing House letter comes, we still leave some room that we did actually win millions of dollars for doing nothing!

We, Onboard Informatics, have been very proactive lately in reaching out to our clients.  I want them to know that we realize that times are tough and that we are here to help and support during these times. We've even helped some of our clients consolidate projects and services, save money and create opportunity for both us and them.

Some of our best clients who are nervous about the market conditions and what’s to come, are looking to cut cost anywhere they can.  They have started to point out to us that some of the data sets we offer are out there for free.  Ah….. FREE, what a lovely word.

Let’s play a game of what if's shall we?  What if Mercedes started putting used parts in their cars because it saved money? What if they replaced the wood panels with plastic and the leather seats with vinyl?  What if they cut out their exception service?  What if they did this for a year, and when the economy turned around, they went back to being the best at what they did?  Would we look at them the same?

We recently had an interesting run with some of our clients that had the unfortunate opportunity to experience the price of free data.  They thought they could cut some cost, which is great. Right?

Well, I guess it's great to say you got something for free but what's the opportunity cost here?  What are you losing when you gain 'free'? What are you losing when you trust a source that that gets its information from free sources that don't regularly update or QA their data?  What are you losing when you compromise quality to cut cost?

If you're a broker you're suppose to be an expert, you're suppose to have the inside scoop and if your sources of information are as lousy as public information, you lose credibility, clients and eventually your business.  Like so many of our clients that are in the media industry that are considered to be credible sources, starting to post false numbers means your readers won't be yours for long.

In less than a year these clients were back with us along with a number of their affiliates that are now new clients.  So, why did they com back? They were getting free data.

They realized that 'FREE' meant more money in their pockets that day but in the long run the price of timely quality information and service was far less than the price of 'FREE'.

Do NOT to be short sighted and risk credibility or losing users in the wake of these economic circumstances.  You got here by controlling your own destiny, by setting high standards. Don't change to save money, please.