Don Marti

Sun 17 Apr 2005 08:33:51 PM PDT

Same is the new better

Reverend Ted writes, "Product descriptions that include tired terms like "unmatched" and "unique" amount to pure puffery."

Actually, unique is worse than just puffery -- in the long term it's positively bad.

Unique is great short-term. Making your users the first people to get access to tested, supported versions of stuff like browser productivity features and an easy network configuration applet is a great way to get them on a subscription or support plan and keep them there.

In the long term, though, unique is a problem. It's more interesting to see your stuff in everyone else's product than to be the only one with something.

Besides setting off lock-in fears, unique creates a strong perception that if something didn't make it in, there's something wrong with it.

And why not make the rest of the world maintain the stuff your customers want? Jim Ready gives a good talk on this, but it's a challenge getting Professional Software Engineers to do it (until they plug in to the planetary fungus mind).