We should never expect much from free

When I did the big update to the Surfulater Blog last month I included a social sharing widget SexyBookmarks by Shareaholic. These widgets let visitors share details of our posts on Facebook, Twitter etc. and E-mail friends about them.

I did a quick evaluation of the most popular WordPress Social Bookmarking services and widgets and SexyBookmarks rated highly and looked pretty. Unlike most other programs of its type, it didn’t use any 3rd party service/web site for its operation, which was another big plus.

Shortly after the launch of the new blog I received an e-mail from one of our Surfulater users informing me that the SexyBookmarks Facebook sharing option wasn’t working. I checked and he was right. Upon further investigation I found that the Twitter share wasn’t working correctly either. I tried contacting Shareaholic via. their Bug Report web page, however I had an uneasy feeling that this may not have been working, as it never acknowledged that my submission actually went through. I tried a few times, then waited a week and bit to give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. I’d still not heard back so I used their Contact form and explained that I thought they may have a problem with their Bug report form and explaining the problems I was having with SexyBookmarks. The contact form worked and my submission was acknowledged.

I’ve waited another two weeks and still not heard a peep from the SexyBookmarks folks.  Upon checking their blog I see their last post was back in May this year. Maybe SexyBookmarks was more popular than they expected and they have been a bit overwhelmed by it all, who knows.

At the end of the day I certainly can’t expect to get any assistance from them. After all they’ve provided this for free, and all it has cost me is some of my time. I’m sure we’ve all dealt with companies where we’ve paid good money for a product and still received lousy service. It really is quite frustrating when this happens.

My take away from this is that anyone who develops a product or service, be it free or paid needs to give serious thought to how they will provide support, and the resources they will need to do so. Customer satisfaction is more important than ever today, if you want to succeed. The Internet has been a great leveler between companies and what they produce and the consumers that use their products. Dissatisfaction spreads like wildfire and rebuilding customer satisfaction and loyalty is a long and costly exercise.

So Sexybooks has been removed and replaced by AddThis which appears to be working well so far. I’ve also added the AddThis social sharing widget to the footer of all pages on the Surfulater Web site, which is a nice plus.