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Leaving a search provider can be harder than leaving Las Vegas

I’d like to start out with an observation – If groups are so popular on LinkedIn why is there so much apathy?

One of my e-commerce groups (I’m in more than a dozen e-commerce and social media groups) has 323,000+ members and yet you won’t see 12 replies in the first 30 posts – just sayin’.

I am not a conversion rate expert but I have been running e-commerce websites for 17 years (as of 2019) and developed a sizable knowledge base watching the millions of visitors flow across my sites (along with the data).

It is with that perspective that makes it opaque to me as to why with all of the conversion rate optimization chatter on LinkedIn nobody ever talks about site search.

I am weary of the fabricated statistics like if you put a video in a product you will see an 80% boost in conversion. I have 500 plus videos (that are indexed by Google because I use a video site map) that speaks contrary to said statistic.

I’ve always used some form of 3rd party enterprise search. This is where you have a company that offers nothing but e-commerce site search where they place a template on your site, host all your products and images then provide your end-users with more precise search results and faceting (Google it). My experience has been that users who use site search although they may be in the minority in terms of traffic they will convert at rates of 20% to 25% higher than no use of site search which makes site search very for profitable e-commerce operators.

Before the great recession I was happily spending $500 a month on enterprise site search. As the economy sunk along with a shrinking market of pet bird owners I downgraded our site search to a $99 month plan which still proved to drive its own ROI.

We recently migrated to Zen cart which is an open source platform – we have integrated WordPress as our blogging platform because it too is also open source. (I will never use a hosted site provider again) I had no idea that open source site search existed.

I contacted SearchSpring my site search provider since 2007 and was told that I needed to buy a new template for $750 and my $99 a month program have been grandfathered out and I was to now be charged $299 a month – for the same service level.

I started shopping around and found that was about the going price for site search. We were getting close to pushing live and I was going broke building the site and did not need another thousand dollar expense at the time.

In the eight months, it took to build and launch WindyCityParrot.com  (on Zen Cart) I had assembled a remarkable team. One of the developers said (after tiring of listening to me bemoan all the site search developers) he had installed SOLR an open source site search platform on some other sites. Not only was that remarkable when you look at the users of SOLR your jaw will drop https://wiki.apache.org/solr/PublicServers Instagram, Sears, Best Buy, NASA, duck duck go – that’s how powerful this FREE site search platform is and I only made a single payment to one developer rather than having a monthly bill – forever.

This is the story of how hard it is to end a nine-year relationship when children are running a company.

I sent SearchSpring a cancellation email.

The response read that I had not fulfilled the contract endate.

Yet SearchSpring was unable to produce the contract.

(everything now becomes a searchable doc)

Are all of you stuck on stupid there – Joe? (my sales rep)

Did the words “actually ee decided this morning to go with http://lucene.apache.org/solr/, 

One of our developers has successfully installed it on other sites and has already begun installation on our zen cart store – sorry” have any meaning – Joe?

Apparently not

Joe sent me an email pushing back the cancellation date of the invisible contract by one day.

so

Me: Let me spell this out for you, Joe

– you cannot change the cancellation date because you want to – the cancellation date was yesterday – it’s a matter of digital record – I work in the real world of business where you can’t change things just “cuz” There may have been a contract at one time – But I have been  with search spring for 9 years – so it’s doubtful

My developer is building a SOLR site search and charging me a one time fee of $500 which is all the money I will pay for search on my site FOREVER!

Ironically it was the conversation with you that led me to this astounding revelation. All of you search guys are the same. I’ve had conversations with SLI, Nextopia & Klevu.

Why does a template cost $750 – If you are paying somebody $50 an hour to build templates which is a lot of money per hour for boilerplate work – that’s 14 1/2 hours. What exactly are they doing for 14 1/2 hours? It’s unlikely that they start with a blank screen for every project and hand code some sort of PHP masterpiece. 

If we google “define template internet” The answer box tells us “A website template (or web template) is a pre-designed webpage or set of HTML web pages that anyone can use to “plug-in” their own text content and images into to create a website”.

Thus you are trying to make me believe you have no database with thousands of templates that you’ve written for other sites over the years that can be slightly modified probably in less than an hour to go on almost any site.

What’s going to be fun is writing about all of this in my new blog when I can compare the pricing between the four of you and http://lucene.apache.org/solr/ which my new agency will be reselling for $999 installation and a $99 monthly maintenance fee (or something like that).

Joe: I’ll call you on Tuesday to discuss this

Me: Joe    there     is       no      call       Tuesday
(Joe was still pushing for a SearchSpring demo 3 emails into “we’re ditching SearchSpring)

Please forward my notice of cancellation and cc [email protected] our attorney (you mentioned the word contract)

Customer success management tip, Joe-> pull the contract before having the conversation with the customer about the cancellation so you’ll know what the hell you are talking about.

response from the founder of SearchSpring

Mitch-

I’m confirming that we’ll cancel your account prior to your next billing on 9/13 pending all SearchSpring code has been removed. I understand you’ve stated your developer removed the code, so you should be set. Our engineers will give your site a final review to confirm. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Joe, One again you failed to use your ears and mouth in the proportion G*d meant. I never said any such thing – we changed platforms – best of luck to your developers as they are looking at a different site on a different platform on a different server – you have listened to nothing I’ve said – you are fu&#@ng clueless – and thank you once again for more disrespect – trust me the last thing I want on my site is SearchSpring code you dumbass.

 Mitch RezmanCMO/SEO, Windy City Parrot where the sun never sets empire

312-492-9673 || 773-848-0687 || 312-492-9674 ||www.WindyCityParrot.com || 906 N Western Ave 60622

Hi Mitch-

I wanted to take a moment to reach out and let you know that your account with SearchSpringhas been canceled. While I appreciate your tenure with SearchSpring, I find your comments and choice of words very unprofessional. My employees are simply doing their job and should not be subject to your tone. I hope your future search endeavors prove fruitful.

Best Regards,

Scott Zielinski

(Me) A vendor taking the time to tell a customer he’s wrong – now that’s taking customer service to a new level Scott. Sorry to have hurt your little boy’s feelings.

Mitch-

Please never contact SearchSpring again. Best Wishes.<- passive aggressive

1218 words written by mitch rezman

contact [email protected] for an holistic view of your project

Follow up, Janaury 2019

ZenCart is a nightmare platform, migrating to Woocommerce.

Test driving https://app.doofinder.com/admin/account/plans/.

10,000 searches, no template, responsive support, 14 day free trial.

$29 per month, no contract.

Exactly 90% cheaper than SearchSpring.

As of 1/2019 – 30 months at $299 per month means my site search spend with the noble SeachSpring would have been  $8970 (less $500 for the solr install) is what I saved by NOT listening to the experts.

FYI

 

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