The Joy of the Switch
By Bryan Caplan
My website has had non-stop problems for the last month. Now, at last, it’s fully operational. I’ve lamented my evil web hosting company – name withheld to protect the guilty – for years. I’ve often dreamed of taking my business elsewhere. But until now, the expected switching costs were always high enough to deter me.
So how hard is it to switch your web hosting company? A lot easier than I thought. I had the feeling that my new host would need some cooperation from my old host, but that turned out to be completely false. Ten hours after I told my new host that I wanted to switch, my website was once again working on their server. It’s taken a bit longer to get my cgi scripts to run on the new server, but after a few hours, I worked out the kinks.
Was I suffering from status quo bias? I really don’t think so. I would have fired my old company years ago if I knew how easy it would be. My problem wasn’t preferring the status quo, but assuming that switching costs would be a lot higher. But perhaps I just got lucky. Maybe the median switcher has no problems, but the average switcher endures great torment. Anyone care weigh in on this?
The most striking lesson of the whole experience, though, is how different willingness to pay and subjective happiness are. I’ve never lost sleep about the stock market, but the frustration of dealing with my old incompetent company kept me up nights. Hopefully the world will appreciate my sacrifice. 🙂