Is Annoying Customers Good for Your Business Model?

Is Annoying Customers Good for Your Business Model?

GameStop recently caused quite a stir with their core gamer customers by removing a coupon from the popular game Deux Ex. The coupon was included with the DVD and was good for a code that allows you to play the game for free using the online gaming service OnLive. It’s a neat giveaway, and it certainly gives gamers an incentive to try the service, but a leaked memo shows GameStop’s fear of digital delivery: employees are allegedly being asked to open every game and remove the coupon.

The e-mail came from Josh Ivanoff, a Field Operations Manager with GameStop. “Please immediately remove and discard the OnLive coupon from all PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” the memo states. “Our desire is to not have this coupon go to any customers after this announcement.”

business model issue?

From a pure business model perspective, one can understand why GameStop might remove the coupons. Effectively, by selling the Deux Ex game, GameStop is helping spread a service which could put them out of business. GameStop finds themselves in a common business model issue: how to effectively battle the digital onslaught.

However, in this situation, GameStop has alienated many of their customers and caused negative press coverage. Business 101 dictates that the customer is always right? Is that so in this case? Should GameStop take the high road and help undercut their own business? Alternatively, do you agree that GameStop made the right move by removing the coupon?


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