Why I don’t offer discounts on Riddle.com

Boris Pfeiffer
Nov 20, 2019 · 4 min read

Every year around the end of November I tend to get fairly annoyed. Why? The more “Black Friday” offers flood my inbox, the angrier I get.

Seems a bit counter-intuitive, right? But seeing all these special offers does not make happy for all the money I could save. Instead, I am seriously annoyed that, as a loyal customer, I have been overpaying for services for years.

(Quick backstory — I’m the CEO and founder of the Quiz Maker Riddle.com. Founded in 2014, we’re an online quiz maker and marketing platform used by partners like the BBC, Reuters, and hundreds of other large brands and publishers.)

Take the most recent offer I got from Adobe to get 40% off their Creative Cloud subscription as a new user. I have been a paying subscriber to Creative Cloud since it launched. I am happy to pay the monthly fee, as I believe it offers a fair value for the money I pay.

But every time Adobe sends out 40% offers, I can’t help but feel cheated. Why are loyal, long term subscribers paying 66% more for the same software? If Adobe is able to sell at this discount, doesn’t it mean that everyone else is paying too much?

I know, I know… Adobe will say that the deal is for new subscribers only and only valid for a year, etc. But that is simply not true. If you call them and threaten to cancel, they will continue to give you the Black Friday deal.

I feel the same about all discount offers. Why discount unless you plan to overcharge later? Also, seeing a coupon field on check-out always forces me to search the web for a valid coupon. Often, if I do not find a coupon, I abandon my purchase — but I may be strange in that regard.

At my online quiz maker Riddle.com, we’ve taken a different approach.

We simply do not discount. Instead, our prices are fair and reflect the amount of work we put into developing our product and the cost of maintaining and supporting it. For example, our Pro Plan has to cost more than our Basic offer; it contains features that are harder to maintain and test for each release, plus require a higher level of support than our Basic plan.

Okay — so there is one exception to every rule.

In this case, we are happy to offer a 20% discount we are happy to give to non-profits.

Update: During the Corona Crisis we are extending our 20% discount to all plans (Basic, Pro, Team) and will also provide the discount to all educators.

That is our ‘good karma’ way of supporting a wide range of non-profits from Change.org to Childrens.org and Concern.net. We break even on our plans so that they get to leverage our quiz maker capabilities for their good work. I know that we annoy some customers with this policy and have lost sales to people who simply never buy anything at full price. But mostly, our customers appreciate the honesty and straight forward approach to discounting.

But as there are a lot of quiz makers out there — with price points ranging from free to $10k per month, everyone can find what they need at a fair price.

At Riddle, we’ve been very happy with our ‘no discount’ policy.

We ensure that none of our existing customers will ever feel cheated into having paid too much, while we offer better discounts to new users.

And from a loyalty perspective, we reward our customers in another way. We never raise prices for existing customers. On the contrary, we like to thank our loyal customers by constantly adding new features to their plan without increasing the price.

This has paid off — big time.

We’ve earned a wonderful reputation for transparency and fairness. And, if we ever need to increase the price of a plan, we only increase it for new subscribers. Long-term customers always pay the price they signed up for — treating loyal customers fair is our way of “discounting”.

What do you think? Should more businesses follow our ‘no discounting’ approach?

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