Good morning, Marketers, let’s talk about the power of being the default.

Big tech platforms are in the news over browser defaults again — this time it’s Microsoft’s ecosystem (more on that below; but TLDR; the company restored the ability to change default browsers with a single button). While the option was always technically there, users had to jump through hoops to achieve what they used to be able to do in one click, making it less likely that some users will bother to change browsers at all. Additionally, Microsoft even added prompts to steer users away from Chrome.

Google’s search choice screen, which dropped the auction model it launched with back in June, also had competitors crying foul as the screen was only available during device setup — reassigning defaults after that was a multi-step process. These concessions are better than nothing, but they’re not exactly in line with the transparency these companies often emphasize in their marketing. Why? Because being the default means having a captive audience.

How can you trust an entity or individual that doesn’t let you leave? Whatever gains companies achieve through these tactics has to compensate for the branding hit that they take from frustrated users — I don’t know what those figures look like, but I doubt they’re worth it.

George Nguyen,
Editor

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