Competing on a market dominated by GIANTS

Let us start with a simple competitor analysis.

We, jAlbum, are competing on a market dominated by giants: Google's Picasa, Yahoo's Flickr, and Facebook. Sure, we have small and medium sized competitors as well, but the market is dominated by these giants. What about the price tag on the products and services that these giants offer?
– Zero! the products and services are completely free: Google Picasa is free, Flickr is free, and Facebook is free.

What about jAlbum?
The jAlbum team consists of about 15 people: developers, forum administrators, support, business development, and the CEO/founder. Hmm, wonder how many are employed at Google?

After this simple competitor analysis, we have our bottom line:

Giants dominate the market space and offer free services, jAlbum is a small company and offers a solution that you need to pay for.
(What the h**k were we thinking?)

Despite of this, or rather, because of this! we have a profitable business where customers actually pay for the core value of our product. We have amazing customers who think jAlbum is the best solution ever (well, I'm sure there are a few that wouldn't agree). How is this possible, why don't they just use the free services offered by our giant friends? In other words, how do we manage to get an increasing number of paying customers on a market many would consider impossible?
(Press Release: jAlbum National Champions in the European Business Awards engaging 17,000 companies )

Before answering this, let's look at what our customers have in common:

  1. jAlbum customers love the product
    (from thousands of emails and over 1200 customer reviews rating us at 8.8/10 we feel quite confident).

  2. jAlbum customers greatly value the support we offer

jAlbum started out as a free service back in 2002. It wasn't until 2011 when the business model was changed and we started charging for commercial use of the product. At the time, with almost 10 years of development, jAlbum was far more powerful (again, based on user feedback) than any competitor and moving over to a licensing model felt very natural.

When you pay for something you establish a relationship – at the very basic level, you pay for the product and the company is responsible to deliver as agreed. In our case, we don't only want to deliver the best possible product, we want to ensure that you are satisfied for as long as you are using the product. To complete the circle we thus also started investing more and more time in our customer support.

Now to answer the question: How do we manage to get an increasing number of paying customers on a market many would consider impossible?

Keeping in mind everything our customers have taught us, the answer is as simple as our competitor analysis.

We only focus on the two things (you can probably guess what they are), nothing else.

  1. The best image sharing tool on the planet

  2. The best customer service on the planet

So instead of trying to compete on terms created by other companies, we've switched our focus to two simple core principles. That's it, and guess what, it's working! If anything, we hope to encourage other small companies to never give up regardless how tough the competitors or market seems to be at the moment. – Giants, were once small companies facing the same difficulties as you!

Find your way,

Jason McMillion

jAlbum and the social media hype – an article that summarizes our vision with jAlbum