Why I am not renewing with CEOExpress

This morning I composed and sent this message to Patricia Pomerleau, the CEO of the online service CEOExpress.

Hello, Patricia.

Soon my subscription to CEOExpress will expire. I do not plan to renew it. I thought you might benefit from knowing why, so I have composed this as-yet-unsolicited “exit interview.”

First, my reasons for leaving are not related to anger or dissatisfaction with the service. You’ve built it into a rich environment that offers the user convenience and ease of use. That’s why I think you will continue to be successful with it. And I am sure many business people and many like me who aren’t executives will continue to use it. You’ve enabled those who don’t want to bother with burying their nose in the details of technology to create a home page that is personalized and to share that with whomever they choose, and for that I congratulate you. If I were an executive running a large company, or even a small one, who didn’t have the time or inclination to build for myself what a homepage on CEOExpress is, and if I could expense the cost of my subscription to my company, I would probably continue to use the service.

However, an executive I am not. In fact, employed I am not. I am retired and on a fixed income.

Hence I have concluded that it no longer makes sense for me to pay for the convenience of CEOExpress’ offerings. An aggregated page of links can be duplicated by intelligent bookmarking. A personalized set of online links can be duplicated on Google’s Personalized Homepage, the so-called iGoogle page. The email service from which I am writing you is a nice addition, and I’m sure it will be better in the future, but it doesn’t compare with the free Gmail offerings that I use and whose paradigm I prefer (labels vs. folders, etc.). I have five different Gmail accounts, each dedicated to a different purpose, so I seldom use the one here at CEOExpress. I know how to use an RSS reader, so the RSS feeds here don’t offer anything unique to me. I suppose one might argue that the social network of users, presuming many or most of them are business leaders, might be worth paying for if I were in a different demographic than I am. But I am what I am, and if the truth be known, I haven’t availed myself of the polls and discussions of them anyway. There is an abundance of social networks and discussion groups online that are free to anyone.

So I am not renewing my subscription because I no longer see sufficient value for me in paying for what I can duplicate, with a little more effort I’ll admit, for free online. The bad news for me is that I no longer have as much money to spend for the convenience your service may offer. The upside of that equation is that I have more time, and probably what’s more important, the interest and inclination to see how I can put together a similar package of services for free. So that’s why I’m not renewing. The decision is economic. I can no longer justify spending the money to subscribe to CEOExpress. And that, I think, may be something you and your team should consider as you tweak your business model.

I hope you find these thoughts useful, and I thank you for the service you have offered me as a charter subscriber for as long as you have. My best wishes for your success in the future.

Perry Nelson

For you, dear reader, who may not be familiar with CEOExpress’ rates, I offer these facts from a recent renewal letter I received from Patricia.

Renew now for unprecedented savings.
3 years of CEOExpressSelect, for a total of $111. (That’s only $37/year!)
2 years for only $89.
Or, renew for one year at the normal rate of $49. (Monthly subscriptions are also available.)


5 thoughts on “Why I am not renewing with CEOExpress

  1. Jerry

    Nice letter. I think you were so diplomatic, that they may even listen to what you had to say. I have written many feedback letters over the years and never received any feedback on my feedback. They usually have an hourly employee sort through these and work on the ones that prevent the lawsuits.

    We spent years trying to coach companies with feedback, something that they often eschewed as “blocking and tackling.” They patronizingly accepted our input and then, because they had no viable system in place for integrating improvement ideas, tossed the information aside. This is a gross generalization I know, but I think it is probably still true about today’s corporations.

    Your letter makes the case clearly and non-threateningly. I love to see arrogant companies go out of business.

  2. Perry Post author

    Thanks for the comment on the letter. As yet I’ve received no response, but then again it is the weekend. I do expect to receive a reply, even if a form reply, from someone associated with the site. I have written them before and they have responded personally to my need at the time.

    The truth is that I really wasn’t trying to tell them their business model is outdated, though I think that it probably is for all except the well-heeled and lazy executive types. When the CEOExpressSelect service was first offered, I became a charter member and renewed once I believe for the three-year term that is now drawing to a close. At the time that I first subscribed, I couldn’t do easily what they offered. Now, of course, I can, as I said in my message.

    I’ll send you a screen shot by email of my personalized links on the site which was the main attraction that drew me to the service. Or better yet, just click on this link (until 5/21/2007) to see the links that I’ve shared with others through the service. I found this feature useful, but now, of course, anyone can use del.icio.us to share links with their circle of friends, and what’s more del.icio.us offers even more functionality.

    So the bottom line is that what was a useful and unique service at one time no longer is so, at least for me.

  3. Perry Post author

    No, Benjamin, I did not. However, I haven’t spent any time crying over that fact. I enjoyed CEO Express during the time I used it, but as I said in my email to Patricia, it is no longer a necessary service.


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