Expert Surprised That Health Club Billing Methods Are Used by SaaS and Cloud Companies

November 19, 2021

I enjoy write ups which reveal the obvious. Consider health clubs or gym memberships. One gym located in the whiskey and fried chicken capital of the flyover states is about 3,000 square feet. How many members does the facility have? The answer is 3,000. How many use the gym on a regular basis? About 100. How does the outfit make money? Billing the “members” who never use the equipment. Plus, the billings each month are facilitated by the smart software at Visa, MasterCard, and banks with auto-withdrawal capability. Is this a scam? Nope, it’s the business model of health clubs. Just sign up and never come. Works like a champ by the way.

I Analyzed SaaS Billing Dark Patterns” and learned that the author was surprised, shocked, horrified, and troubled that cloud providers use the health club approach to revenue. The write up reveals:

SaaS providers are more than willing to use dark billing patterns to increase their growth metrics and revenue. They exploit positive user acquisition loops in recurring subscriptions to get money from users as surreptitiously as possible.

Yep, shocker.

I loved this rhetorical question? Why do SaaS providers deploy the dark patterns?

The answer is, “The method generates money.”

But, but, but…. That’s bad.

Well, it depends on what point of view one adopts, doesn’t it.

Hollowing out is dumbing down in my book. The surprise in the write up illustrates the failure of basic management oversight.

What’s this mean? Higher costs, people who cannot figure out why something doesn’t work, and a lack of awareness about the obvious. Yep, the thumbtyper world is a fascinating construct.

Stephen E Arnold, November 19, 2021


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