I got a tweet from my friend Tom, who is also an anchor here in Houston, about the Nest/Revolv problem that will present itself today. And although I don’t know someone in this exact situation, there is such familiarity with this situation. Even the players are the same for the most part. And why do I as a digital marketing company even have an opinion on a thermostat/home automation company? Fascinating topic really.
For those of you that have heard me speak, one of our biggest hot buttons is warning :::cough::: I meant to say educating, students on the evils of using third party systems to run their websites. And although Revolv is not a web platform, the problem that results is the same.
The nutshell issue is that Alphabet, you know them as Google, bought Nest in 2014 and they have made a BUSINESS decision and will effectively disable a product that consumers purchased with a promise of a lifetime subscription. I stress the business decision, because this is the fundamental problem I see. Companies start up a certain way, and then when they are sold, business decisions are made that may not reflect the original promise of the company.
Often when I teach my SEO Digital Marketing classes here in Houston, I meet people who tell me how great SquareSpace, Shopify, WeeblyWixWeb (sic) are. They all want to tell me how easy they work. Or how they can drag and drop, and it’s all most cool. Millennial students are the most mesmerized by all of this. I always ask them that if Shopify decides tomorrow that they want to become a retail energy provider that sells electricity and get out of the e-commerce business, where would that leave your business? Most dismiss me. You know that would never happen. If only that weren’t the truth.
Way back when, we all blogged on a third-party platform named Blogger. It was awesome, and then Google, now known as Alphabet (yes the same people that bought Nest) came in and purchased Blogger. We SEO types used it, and recommend it, and then one fateful March day we all got an email that said Blogger will no longer be allowed to post to websites using FTP and that all the posts on Blogger now belonged to Google. It was a business decision, and woe to us who didn’t fit into the new business model. We all basically lost or blogs and had to start fresh with a new up and coming software called WordPress. But at least we owned our own files and no one was claiming the content and ideas we produced.
Google has bought many applications, including Urchin, which has become Google Analytics, which is slowly starting to have fees attached to it. And I guess the days of Urchin being the most awesome Stats program are long in the review mirror. They bought YouTube. In fact, the list is endless of web applications they have purchased. And as I type this, kudos to Mark Zuckerberg for refusing to sell them Facebook.
But the take away is the end user must understand the impact of working and dealing with third parties, that may just make a business decision and put you out of business. Understand that the cloud just means your renting someone else’s idea, and depending on how integrated you make it, your business may become completely dependent on it. No business is immune to being sold, and as the tech industry goes, sold to Google, and they can make any BUSINESS decision they want.
The next question I get is, well then what do we do? I have always recommended using WordPress. Yes, you have to maintain it, and yes, you have to learn it. But with a great web hosting company standing behind you that will help you (think ACTWD 😉 there is no reason why anyone should be using any third-party software solution that does not allow you to touch and know where your files live. If its in the cloud, some day someone may kick you off of it and your business becomes a casualty of a business decision.