The grudger customer

16th Nov 2007

Thought-provoking piece about how the web ecosystem works. Based around ideas in the book "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins where life is made up of suckers, cheats and grudgers and where:

Suckers scratch the back of whoever asks them. Cheats ask to get their backs scratched but never return the favor. Grudgers scratch a back if asked, but if you don't return the favor they will never scratch your back again.

Gerry McGovern applies this theory to the web ecosystem:

As long as the world was full of suckers it was easy for marketing cheats to make an easy killing. But while the Web has its suckers, it really is the land of grudgers. It is the land of comparison shopping and customer reviews...

The Web is where customers become the biggest organization of all, because the Web allows them to organize in a way they never could before. A good product or service has nothing to fear from the Web. The grudger will trust, but you had better deliver.

The media lives off our fears. Advertising lives off our dreams. The grudger customer is nobody's fool.