On Psychic Adaptation and Discount Services

While analyzing the development of the resources on the Internet, we constantly keep noticing the underestimation of such an apparent process as a psychic adaptation. The most striking example happened to me a few years ago. Discount services were right at the peak of their popularity. One of those days my wife indignantly told me that some service turned out significantly cheaper when ordered directly from the company’s site than at the online discounts’. I was surprised and thought, “Well, it’s rather strange to bite the hand that feeds you.” I asked her to monitor the development some more. And just in a couple of days I heard the same thing about yet another product. I discussed an event with my colleagues. The ones in hopeful mood claimed: “Well, no, smart people do not do such a dumb things, it’d be their funeral.” My bad, they could and they did. Once I began purposely monitoring the process and made sure that it is not an isolated case, but a trend, the conclusion was unmistakable. Discount services are so done! I discussed it with my friends from various online businesses. They thought I’m nuts: “Have you seen discounters’ capitalization? It’s growing like crazy! They’re being invested jillions! You’re totally wrong.” I passionately argued that the newfound tendency might destroy this kind of services. Honestly speaking, I meant only RuNet discounters at that time. Our team’s verdict looked very odd amid the optimistic reality 🙂 But for us everything looked simple. Users visit the site – whether to buy services or to order some goods. And then they find out they’ve been cheated. And more importantly they went there specifically to save money. And they were taken advantage in precisely this respect. Most of them won’t return any more. For some the second misadventure will be needed to leave for good. After one service gets discredited the full range of them will be cast the shadow on. They will be treated with caution, double checked. And if deception is discovered again, most people would ostracize all discount services indiscriminately. Very few will visit the site which means it is doomed. That rare occasion where the only one factor affects the dynamics of the product development – the psychological one. Surely there are other processes involved in discounts’ downfall. But I bet this particular – formed by user’s psychology – aspect was the one which led to sad results. That one of the product gratifying some needs and actualizing other ones. In this case, the services have declared the chance of clients’ getting need for accumulation/resources saving/feeling their own effectiveness gratified. But, in fact, they made them more stressed, adding to the paranoid vector’s distress and to feeling cheated. Discounters were done for. They might afford unsightly sites, usability difficulties, obsessive self-promotion. But not the stealing money from those eager to save up. While the idea itself – of a place where one in return for experiencing difficulties (waiting time, energy wasted on organizing groups of buyers, limited line products) can buy cheaper goods – is in demand with large enough group of users. Depending on the region the portion can make up from 10% to 40% of the entire group. We still really hope for the new reincarnation of services of that sort 🙂