That’s what marketers must mean by consumer loyalty.
I don’t have any stake in success or failure of Yahoo! or Google or Microsoft. Yet, there was some weird kind of loss, a guilt of abandonment, a feeling of cheating, when I shifted my Yahoo! email — which I’ve used successfully over last eight years — to Google email. Shift of consumers to better and efficient products is what drives innovation in the market, rewards innovators and punishes laggards. Yet, there is feeling of betraying your old pal. Same has been experience of moving away from Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Photos to corresponding Google services. I’ve used Bloglines for over four years and resisted moving to Google Reader for sake of supporting former. When I finally gave up last month, I felt bad. Perhaps it’s the human tendency to support underdog, second runner, which is cause of such reaction. Perhaps it is desire to keep competition strong for front runners, so that industry doesn’t become monopoly and later entrants can have confidence of finding support in meantime it takes to develop technology to compete with behemoths. I know that these companies didn’t really bother about me personally, and in many cases actively ignored me, but still, long familiarity brings pangs of separation, a tinge of guilt, a sign of infidelity.
If any of these companies were to fall, some memories will be lost. Memories of my first ever email address, memories of first ever web presence, equivalent of childhood on the net.