Slideshare Participates in Rip-off Britain

Slideshare is one of a number of online services that allow you to post and share presentations to a wide audience. We have been using it at work to promote some of our own presentations for a while now. It works well but has a major drawback on the free edition in that it looks ugly and is full of ads. That’s fine as I get something for free and if I want I can upgrade to get rid of the ads. So this is what I decided to do – upgrade our account and get a better looking page.

So, let’s play spot the difference. The first screen grab is from the US sign-up page:

and this one is from the UK sign-up page:

They look exactly the same right? If you can’t spot the difference then click on the images for a larger version. Or maybe I’ll just tell you.

The only difference on each page is that the dollar sign has been replaced by a pound sign.

At today’s exchange rate that is a whopping 61% increase in the price for UK users.

In the past when US providers charge UK customers at a 1:1 exchange rate these are typically the reasons given:

  • that there are additional costs in marketing the product in the UK. I can’t remember ever seeing an advert except online so that can’t be it
  • that there are costs in translation. Americans typically think that their brand of English is good enough for the British so that can’t be it
  • there are additional costs in transportation. Nope
  • Servers are located locally for a better user experience. Nope. An IP lookup shows that the slideshare servers are in Dallas, Texas

So what could it be then? I emailed the sales support line to find out why and this was the response:

As we roll out prices in different parts of the world, its not going to be exactly equivalent in every part of the world. If we were to do this, that would mean we would have to adjust prices daily to account for currency exchange rate changes.

Instead we have opted to have a different price in each market.

Since we launched pricing in pounds, we have had an enthusiastic reception and a lot of people have been interested in buying SlideShare Pro in their own currency.

Humm. I get that different markets are, well, different but none of the above explains at 61% price difference for doing, well, nothing. And if slideshare are so worried about the changing exchange rate then just let everyone buy in dollars and let the credit card companies work it out. Also I note that “a lot of people have been interested in buying” which is very different from actually buying.

I did reply to the email to ask why I couldn’t pay in dollars and this was the response:

This ticket has now been marked as closed. If its a mistake and its not solved, then please reply to me and I will immediately get back to you.

So keen to give it one more try I went back with:

This is a mistake as I have yet to receive a reply.
I am still keen to become a paying customer. Are you keen to have my money?

I never received a response so tt would seem that slideshare are not that keen on having my money and I an not going to pay a 61% premium just to give them additional pure profit. So I am off to check out authorstream, slide rocket et al to find one that isn’t going to rip me off just because I live in the UK.