QuickBooks 2015 collects data about you. It happens by default. It’s an opt-out arrangement, not an opt-in one. What do they want to know about you?

“We collect information about the features our customers use, how they navigate through the product, and other demographic and quantitative data. We also collect information about your license, product, system, or other technical data that help us direct you to the appropriate information or services. We don’t collect data that is identifiable to your employees, customers, or vendors.” (emphasis mine)

Why do they want information about you?

“We will use the data to improve your experience, to enhance our products and services, and to recommend products, services, and promotional offers that we believe will add value to your business.” (emphasis mine)

Oof. I don’t think I want Intuit (the maker of QuickBooks) recommending products, services and (especially) promotional offers to me. Opt-in marketing has been a marketing best practice for a long time (although browser-based marketing doesn’t practice it). Opt-out marketing is better than giving you no choice at all, but it doesn’t build many trust points with me.

So how do you opt out of QuickBooks collecting information and using it to serve up marketing offers to you?

Click Help / QuickBooks Usage & Analytics Study. You’ll see this:

Just say no

Click the Discontinue button. (Because, until you opt-out, you’re in!)

That’s it. You’ve opted out.

Anyone want to argue for the side of participating in the “Usage & Analytics Study”? I’d like to hear your point of view.

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QuickBooks users spend 124% more online time reading about QuickBooks when they are using an iPad or other tablet.

How do I know that? I was curious and ran a query in Google Analytics on whether visitors to our QuickBooks Forums differed in their visiting behavior according to the device they were browsing from.

I looked at about 400K visits to our forums over the last few months, and looked at the breakdown by device.

The vast majority of our visitors were browsing from a desktop computer. They spent an average of 51 seconds on the forums per visitor.

Visitors accessing our forums from their phones spent less time: 40 seconds per visit.

But visitors reading our forums from tablets (e.g. iPads) spent 1:54 minutes on our forums on average.

Wow! Over 100% increase in average visit duration for tablet users, compared to desktop users. The number of pages per visit was higher too, though only fractionally. Their bounce rate was lower as well.

The pattern holds as well for visitors of our blog; the average visit duration was 44% higher for tablet users than desktop users.

Why do tablet users engage more deeply? Maybe it’s what you could call the Starbucks Effect? If you are using your iPad, you are not at your office desk. You might be at your kitchen table, or your living room sofa, or on the commuter train, or in a coffee shop. You’ve got some time, and maybe even something good to drink in hand. More time = more engagement.

Or is it something else? What do you think?

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Unless someone from Intuit wants to chime in and give us current figures, there are different ways to estimate the number of businesses using QuickBooks:

In mid-2008, Intuit claimed that QuickBooks had 3.7 million users, representing 94.2% of the business accounting market.

A current Intuit webpage asserts that QuickBooks holds 85% retail market share in small business accounting software.

SCORE says there were an estimated 29.6 million small businesses in America in 2009. How many of them license their own accounting software? Who knows? The vast majority of the ones who do their books in-house, however, have got to be using QuickBooks.

It’s a huge market, and there are thousands of software developers in the Intuit Developer Network who want to reach that install base. These developers can try to get their app listed in the Intuit App Center.

Those select apps have a built-in marketing connection to the user base, at least for users of the 2010 and 2011 versions of QuickBooks. The App Center — located as a button on the QuickBooks icon bar — makes those apps just one click away from the user. Selected add-on developers can also advertise on QuickbooksUsers.com.

How about users in the cloud?  Intuit now claims 215,000 users of its QuickBooks Online Edition, with growth last year of 44%.

Any way you look at it, QuickBooks dominates the SMB accounting software market.

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