FailDesk recently thanks Unitrends marketing with regard to the promise “Don’t worry, we won’t freakin’ call you.” This is part of the Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ Free.Backup.Forever. campaign. You can find the article from FailDesk here.

There’s a story here that includes and goes beyond marketing. When we began designing a free edition, one of the first questions was what “free” really meant. We wanted people to be able to actually use Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ Free Edition without them feeling that it was some sort of “trick” to just get their name and sell them stuff.  One of the things we talk a lot about is providing an “awesome customer experience” in terms of everything we do. We decided that there was simply no way to have folks feel that they had an awesome customer experience with a product we proclaimed was “free” when in fact all that we were doing was using the product as a lead generation mechanism.

So we came out with a rule – “free” means “free.” No lurking behind the figurative bushes of modern web sites waiting on a naive person to download the software so we can pounce on them and sell them stuff.

It was a tougher decision that it probably seems from a distance. Unitrends is a fast growing startup – and one reason for that is that we have a modern sales and marketing organization that uses advanced digital techniques. We had just spent a year spending money on creating something we’re incredibly proud of – Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ – and now we’re going to not only give it away for free, but we’re also going to explicitly promise that we won’t call you?

But at the end of the day, there was simply no way around the fact that free software in which you pay by having to take a call from a sales person, no matter how well-intentioned, just wouldn’t be perceived as free.

So the question is – will it be worth it? Will people use the software who otherwise wouldn’t have and eventually become fans of Unitrends because of the product itself? Obviously we don’t yet – but so far the results are pretty promising. If you’ve got an opinion here, pro or con, we’d love to hear it.