Earlier today I saw a post on Cloud Ave where Ben Kepes had ran with some clear baiting material. The old shoot first, ask questions later method of reporting. Ben had used the material he had as an intro to a sort of review about Ubikwiti. It wasn’t really a review but a litany of what he classes as ‘failed’ issues.
I’m not sure that’s wholly fair. Here’s the problem. Ben starts with [my emphasis added]:
From what I can see their offer isn’t entirely correct – they’re pushing a single business, single user Ubikwiti account and comparing it to a standard Xero account which isn’t in fact single user. I don’t like dodgy marketing, we’re all better off building the pie before we try and steal slices off each other.
It’s a fact of software vending life that you’re always going to be comparing apples and oranges in immature markets. Saas is an immature market where we’re seeing many styles of application and pricing model come to the table. It is way too early to know which approaches are going to deliver the ‘winning’ combination. We do know that vertical market strategies are faring much better than re-inventing the wheel.
The implication is that Ubikwiti is misleading whereas a simple comparison of what it offers with that of Xero [the company it was targeting] reveals a very different style of product/service. Whether Ubikwiti is selecting the right target in the right manner is a different argument but to imply it is ‘dodgy’ is a stretch.
I agree the market is better off ‘building the pie’ but who’s stealing what? The switching costs between saas software is so low that it is up to individual vendors to continue delivering value and keeping customers happy. If all your customers are interested in is a price they will race to the bottom, requiring little encouragement. From what I’ve seen in the saas market, that’s not happening.
The real difficulty comes from the source for Ben’s approach. He’s used an email from Duane Jackson of Kashflow where Duane trashes Ubikwiti. Duane didn’t send the email to me because he knows I’m not going to run with that kind of stuff. Vendor pokes vendor? Way too easy and always suspect.
Let’s remember for one moment that Kashflow is embroiled in a legal tussle with Sage because it has undertaken what Sage believes to be unfair price comparison practices.
I could care less about the legal rights or wrongs of Sage’s case but to trash a competitor on what amounts to the same line of reasoning is unacceptable. It’s hypocritical. Duane has also set himself up as the arbiter of what a blog should look like. He doesn’t have that right and to do so is arrogant.
I could name a clutch of people, highly respected in their field who write what they consider weblogs but which do not allow commenting or which contain no links. Does that make their contribution less relevant? That’s in the eye of the beholder. Oh – and by the way – there’s no search facility on Kashflow’s blog – that sux mightily
Of course Ubikwiti could do a better job. Blockquoting the material they’re using would be a good start. What they do is their choice and whether it is read and adds value is for individuals to decide.
Ben was clearly having problems with Ubikwiti. I’ve not experienced those same problems though I did ask the company if there was a reason why the servers were (apparently) running slow over the weekend. (I’ve been playing around with the service for a few days.) On at least one of Ben’s ‘fail’s I wonder if he accidently hit this link. What worries me is that instead of trying to resolve the problems by talking to the company first to find out what happened, Ben simply calls FAIL.
According to the post timing, Ben had a good three hours in which to give Ubikwiti a call before hitting the ‘post’ button. There’s no indication that he did that.
It’s always been my practice to check with a company if I’m having problems. Software is complicated and sometimes those who review get it wrong. That’s why in many cases, it is wise to let the vendor know where the problem lays so it can be verified. That’s what I did with Sage before any of the clamor over that company ‘failing’ blew up. Otherwise, you risk the chance of libeling them.
In writing posts of this kind and amplifying the rants of a deeply invested insider, the industry takes another un-necessary slap. It may make for good sport but doesn’t demonstrate a muturity which customers expect.
[Disclosure: Ubikwiti is a sponsor]