Just when we think we’ve drained the swamp and found all the alligators, another wave washes over the wall and someone else lands flopping around on the ground. The latest victim: TeamSnap.com.
The good news about this is there is obviously a market for this stuff. The interesting question is why are none of these vendors besides Active.com very strong with even Active struggling to hold onto their customers.
I think the answer comes down to three things: focus, price and control.
All the existing vendors focus on managing every aspect of team communication and engagement. This is a huge topic when you consider the number of sports and the variations between them. It is very expensive to develop software like this but more importantly very expensive for someone to learn how to use. Our target market is already short of time; they are busy people BECAUSE they are involved in sport. They don’t have time to learn all the ins and outs of a new software package. A focused, simple, easy-to-use solution like ours is very competitive.
A second reason I think our competitors struggle is their business models are based on subscription fees AND high transaction costs. It takes a sales effort to convince a small team to spend $60 a year up front on an online service. This fee is required because the development effort to build out all the team management features is very expensive. The existing vendors also charge for transaction fees which doubles up the perceived costs. The up front fee is a barrier to adoption that is keeping these vendors from gaining more traction. Our model is based only on transaction fees and by keeping our costs of operations low we can continue to have a price / cost advantage.
The bigger issue in all of this (in my opinion) is that people don’t want to use all the team management features because it requires their team members to go to yet another web site to check on the schedule, make payments, etc. It also requires the team management get sucked into spending a bunch of time putting information into the web site that is “nice” but not “necessary”. In our model, we make it easier to set up a team website by leveraging all the tools inside Facebook (like Facebook pages with its photo uploading, chat boards, email, group membership tools, etc) for the “nice” information. Our tools manage the “necessary” information. This allows the team leadership and the team members to stay within the same environment most of them visit daily or at least a few times a week. This is a huge convenience factor.
Time will tell if our approach will achieve better adoption rates.