Over the last ten years, SaaS (software-as-a-service) has become the de-facto business model for most software technology companies. Before that, it was pure licensing, followed by advertising later on with the wide-adoption of the internet. But entrepreneurs quickly realized, advertising is; (a) annoying for the consumer, (b) a big hassle to monetize. So they started to follow Salesforce’s footsteps.
The problem, though, not all SaaS companies are Salesforce. You cannot (and should not) trust a business you come across with on ProductHunt. After all, SaaS is subscription; in other words, unlike licensing which is a relatively safe one-time transaction, here you give this company the rights to charge you at any time they want, and essentially you have little protection against bad-intent.
Some of the corrupt practices that SaaS companies do follow:
- Lower the price, but keep you in the higher tier (the opposite of “grandfathering”)
- Rise the prices across the board without you, a long-time user, noticing.
- Change the frequency of how they charge (monthly to quarterly)
- Kick in shady top-ups (excess emails with SendGrid, excess bandwidth with hosting companies, etc.)
The only quick protection you have as a consumer is charge-backs, but you have to be extremely vigilant even to notice that there’s something wrong going on with your account. Many of us don’t have much time to check their credit card statements routinely for every little transaction that may be fraudulent.
Enter SaaSVerified. The anti-virus company of the SaaS economy.
It can be a Chrome extension in the toolbar that shows you the score and legitimacy of the website you’re visiting. Or the online businesses may opt in to show it on their homepage or payment funnels to create user-trust similarly to how they place TrustE privacy, SSL certification, BBB (Better Business Bureau) widgets.
To give you an idea of how TrustE works, they charge you an upfront fee, with a minimum of $5000, which you blindly give, whether you end up getting their approval or not. In return, they serve you in a wide variety of ways;
- The review your User Agreement, come up with a redline with the fixes to make your business more privacy-oriented,
- A report that includes their reports from your signup process.
- Your compliance table summarized in a table like:
with a 10-pages long report on what you can do to improve.
Now, obviously this is a very legal-heavy business, so you will need at least *one* good attorney in your founding team. But it is also a must for most websites, at least for most that show up on ProductHunt homepage daily.
I am confident a successful service that caters to the needs of the SaaS generation would create immense value, hence become the acquisition target by the likes of McAffee, Norton, and so on.
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