If a bloke with too much of the old fake sun tan and with more gold than a Swiss vault, tried to sell you a cheap as chips game server, you’d wonder whether it’s hosted on an antique server. Never mind hosted from an amiga, you’d expect the gameserver to be powered by a Spectrum. Or maybe a BBC micro? Any suggestions for a worse case scenario? Antique-host. Now there’s a business idea!
So it does amaze me the amount of people that are obsessed with the word ‘cheap’. We as a nation, and as individual consumers, are obsessed with it. Where it’s arguably valid is when you are shopping around for the best price on a product. As an avid amateur mucisian and wannabe rock-star, I recently treated myself to a Microkorg, which I must say is a rather cool little synthesiser. Apparantly the lead singer of the Killers uses one. How cool!
Narrowing down the best
What was the first thing I did? I went onto Google shopping. And then you guessed it, I sorted by price. So here sits the biggest hypocrite writing this post like an old woman. Now, the average price was around Â£250, and I had tabbed in Firefox around a dozen possible companies to order from. I wasn’t going to pay Â£275 for it, when I could get it for Â£250 or less. So out went those companies charging an arm and a leg. Windows closed.
I was then left with around half a dozen sites. And after that I started doing a little homework. I asked the following questions
- Do they have a full contact address listed?
- Can I get hold of them easily if there’s a problem?
- Does their website look nice, or is it a horrible template. Something a Turner Prize wannabe has shat on my monitor?
- Do they have what I want in stock?
And from that I was left with three websites.
Choosing the winner
I then contacted all three by phone. Two of them didn’t answer. Funny enough, I was left with the one I liked at the beginning. It was a bit more expensive, but firstly they really knew their stuff, and secondly they were going to put my keyboard straight in the post after I ordered. Which they did, to their credit.
So why didn’t I go for the very cheapest one?
Pricing is a very thin line. If you price too high, you don’t get any customers. If you price too low, while you’ll get the hordes of customers, you don’t make enough money to sustain growth and offer a good service. I chose the one that was going to be least hassle. I wanted my synth for the weekend. I didn’t want to be let down. I wanted to be able to get hold of the company I’d paid Â£250 to if there was a problem. For the Â£5 extra I paid over the cheapest one, it was completely worth it.
The relevance to gaming servers
Very simple. The same people that wouldn’t listen to this advice, will have stopped reading this post after the second line.
It amazes me how people will choose a game server provider, a couple of quid less over INX-Gaming (and other reputable hosts) even though:
- No contact details are on their site
- The grammatical and spelling errors, are quite frankly embarrasing. Stinking of kiddie-host
- They only appear to host a couple of game servers
- Yet they lie, and promise 24/7 support
- Because they get something free they don’t actually need
My dad taught me something when I was younger. When buying something, think, what profit that provider is making? Can they sustain service at that pricing?
I’m well aware that INX aren’t any longer the ‘cheapest’ (we were once!). But I can tell you that the pricing is based on sustaining top support, and excellent server quality.
If a competitor drops their prices to compete with us, something has to give somewhere.
If we halved our prices we’d double our bills for:
- rack space
- networking equipment
And with that, twice as much as support. And at the end of it, we’re making the same “profit”. But we’re not.
It’s not my job to tell people what to charge, but we have been around coming up to 6 years now, and we’ve not gone bust like so many with silly pricing.
While some game server hosts might want to charge 75p a slot, we know their support sucks. We know they aren’t making the profit. We know it’s not sustainable.
So we’ll be sticking to our guns, and we’ll stick to offering the superior service we do. And really, at the end of the day, all for another 25p. Even Mars Bars cost more than that now!