1) Use “Will the customer love it?” as your primary screen for action.
2) Work backwards from the customer.
3) Support your great customers vs. policing the bad ones.
1. What if your customers aren’t your users? This is the case for free, ad-supported services. The revenue comes from advertisers, but depends on users. The conflict between the interests of your users and your customers (advertisers) is non-trivial.
2. The solution: Follow Google’s principle: “Focus on the user and all else will follow”. However, this only works if your ads don’t detract from the user experience.
3. In the cases where we’ve been insufficiently user-centric at Seeking Alpha, the reason has been because our ad products don’t enhance the user experience, leading to a clash of interests between users and advertisers. This is a systemic problem in the digital advertising industry.
4. Google search ads enhance the user experience. But what do you think about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter ads, or native advertising on publishers’ websites?
5. On setting a clear principle to be customer-centric, see Polyvore CEO Jess Lee on what makes startups successful and Jeff Bezos on strategy.