Archive for the ‘Bad Marketing’ category

Apple Has only Contempt for Its Customers

2 July 2010

I have written often that Apple treats its customers like crap, but the apple-sheep keep coming back for more.

Whenever there is a problem, Apple makes sure to charge their customers.

Here’s how Tech Tring describes the latest problem with the iPhone 4:

The problem which was identified in the iPhone 4 was the dropping of signal strength to very low on touching the left rim of the iPhone 4, and could result in disconnecting of calls or the loss of connectivity. The rims use the new concept of the antenna technology, according to Steve Jobs.

Jobs simply responded – “Just avoid holding it in that way”, reported CNET. This iPhone 4 grip shown by Steve Jobs has been called the “Death Grip” and this grip reduces the contact of the hand of the user with that of the steel band encircling the iPhone 4 edge which contains the antenna. Thus the problem can be solved in this way.

Aside from holding it like a Vulcan from StarTrek, the other solution is to lay out the sum of $29.00 for a Bumper made out of rubber or plastic which may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly touching the affected areas.

A decent company would have given vouchers for those Bumbers for free so that iPhone 4 users could use the phone without using the “Death Grip” and without shelling out money for a problem caused by Apple.

But Apple people are sheep and gratefully bend over to take the abuse.

See the video:

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When Bureaucrats Ruin Businesses

6 April 2010

In the US prior to 1889, before there were cellphones, before there were payphones, if you needed to call someone or some business you went to call centers, or pay stations, manned by attendants who would collect money from you for placing a call. The first public coin telephone was shortly thereafter installed at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut.

Uganda pay phoneInterestingly, manned pay stations are still the norm in many parts of the world.

Everything was fine for American operators of payphones for more than a century until prepaid calling cards arrived in the U.S. two decades ago. Unfortunately for payphone owners most users of prepaid cards (mostly immigrants) utilizing their equipment were not putting any quarters in, instead they were accessing the servers of Calling Card Providers by dialing a toll free access number for which the payphone owners received no compensation.

Citing poverty, they asked the FCC in October of 1997 to allow a surcharge to be imposed for anyone accessing an 800 number to offset the loss of revenue. Sadly, the morons at the FCC mandated that the owner of the 800 number pay the surcharge instead of the person dialing (about 25 cents).

The immediate effect was the quick demise of the 800 pager business in this country because business owners were unable to recoup the cost of anyone calling them.

As for pre-paid card sellers, technically they were liable for the 25 cent surcharge. But since they often sold these cards at a steep discount, they would have to charge their customers 35 cents or more per call in order to get back 25 cents.

Of course, many operators did not pay, or they denied that the calls went through. The end result was that the pay phone owners went back to the FCC and asked for even more of a surcharge to cover the shortfall. If you have had occasion to use a calling card from a payphone you probably know that you are now being charged from 89 cents to a dollar or more to cover that surcharge.

Well, here I have to blame both the payphone operators and the FCC. Had the owners asked for 10 cents for any 800 call, they would have ended up with more money than asking for 50 cents from calling card operators many of whom barely pay 20% of what is truly due the payphone owners and send the money in many months after the initial call and after the payphone operators pay a third-party to collect the money for them.

Now with increased use of cellphones, payphone usage has declined drastically. The majority of people who could be using payphones are immigrants because cellphone calls are too expensive for international calling. However, the payphone surcharges of 89 cents or more has caused many of these callers to wait until they get home to their land-lines from which 800 numbers are not surcharged or to wait for night rates on their cellphones to kick-in to use their calling cards.

The FCC which should have been smart enough to protect payphone owners instead insured their eventual demise. Really stupid business decision.

Apple Is Not So Smart

5 April 2010

apple is stupidWhy in the world would a company release reviews of its product on April Fool’s Day?

There are only a few things that can happen on April Fool’s:

  • Good Reviews are not taken seriously.
  • Reviewers have to make disclaimers that they are not joking: see for example CNET TV’s article “We have an iPad and that’s no April Fool’s video,” or Synthtopia’s article “Korg iElectribe For The iPad No April Fool’s Joke.”

    How can a company that seems so smart sometimes be so stupid when it comes to thinking about its customers? Normally one only sees this much disregard and contempt for customers among telecom giants such as Verizon and AT&T; although I should exempt a few companies, especially ones I consult for that supply SIP Termination and Wholesale VOIP, from my condemnation.

    The only time Steve Jobs stands up for consumers is when it impacts Apple’s bottom line, read for example:

    Planck’s Constant Blog, iTunes and the greedy music industry

    Steve Jobs, has accused major labels of being greedy, and indicated that they have attempted to force an increase in the price of some downloads.

    “Music companies make more money when they sell a song on iTunes than when they sell a CD,” Mr Jobs said last year. “If they want to raise prices, it’s because they’re greedy. If the price goes up, people turn back to piracy – and everybody loses.”

    Jobs should know greedy: when I purchased my first iPod I needed to pay extra for the adapter to charge it up. Not nice.

The iPad is Just an iFad

28 January 2010

Apple iPadI don’t get it. How is this product any better than what I already have?

The Kindle 2 gives you a crisp, paper-quality look and feel when you read a page with a pixel density of 167 ppi, while the iPad has a pixel density of 132 ppi. [see more Kindle advantages at marclafountain.com] So the iPad is not the best ebook reader.

Sure one can run all existing iPhone apps on the iPad, but if I already have an iPhone what do I need an iPad for? Just to see an app running in a tiny block on my iPad? Want to make a phone call? Sadly, iPad doesn’t have an APP for that.

So what about its browser capabilities? Sadly there’s no Flash support in the iPad. So how is that better than my PC?

When the iPod came out, it was a better and more convenient way to buy, download, store, and listen to music.

If it was a better way to buy or read books than the Kindle (it’s not), or a better way way to browse the Internet than a laptop (it’s not), or an easier way to get music than the iPod (it’s not), or better at accessing thousands of apps than the iTouch (it’s not), or connect people with phonecalls than the iPhone (it’s not) then perhaps it would be worthy of the hype.

What is the iPad better at?

Hitler is just as unhappy with the iPad, see the video here.

What Happened to Technorati?

9 December 2009

New Technorati

If you’ve been writing a blog for the past few years you probably used Technorati, either to try to gain some traffic for yourself or to find interesting articles written by other bloggers. Sadly, on 14 Oct 2009 Technorati fiddled with how its site operates and launched its new site while screwing with tens of thousands of smaller blogs by disabling widgets, its API, and RSS feeds.

In this new re-launch, Technorati will be concentrating more on the top 100 blogs. I don’t need Technorati to deliver me articles from the top 100 websites, I already subscribe to the feeds of the top websites, what I want to read are unknown, smaller bloggers from other countries with opinions different than the same-old same-old that Technorati will be delivering. I now use Global Voices to fill this particular gap left by Technorati.

In the past, Technorati’s search delivered the most recent results as opposed to what it now considers the best results. What this means for thousands and thousands of small bloggers is that it’s highly unlikely anyone will come across their articles. Bloggers joined Technorati because it was useful to them. But who needs Technorati now?

How to Kill your Brand – the LG Upgrade Fiasco

8 December 2009

What me worryThe original meaning of the word “brand” meant to burn (from the Old Norse brandr), referring to the practice of burning a mark (or brand) onto a product or animal.

Although a brand originally denoted ownership it now denotes a promise. When I buy a bottle of Coca Cola instead of Crapa Cola, it is because Coke made a promise to me that the flavor and quality would be exactly the same as I have come to expect from them.

If you bought an LG BD300 with HD Netflix support last Christmas, you probably received a notice a few months later that a new firmware update was available that would let you play YouTube videos on your TV [Engadget].

A few weeks later, an avalanche of users reported that their BD-300s were no longer able to play regular DVDs, only Blu-ray. Seems the upgrade physically destroyed the ability of the drive to play regular DVDs and downloading the old firmware didn’t solve the problem for those who tried to play a DVD after the upgrade. Those fortunate enough not to try to play a DVD after the youtube upgrade were in fact able to go back to the old firmware and return to DVD playing functionality.

You can view many of the complaints at this forum and at Amazon. A petition asking LG to fix the problem for free can be found here.

At first LG support offered to fix the problem for $69.00. Then as the problem escalated, they announced they would fix it for free but only if you could produce a receipt that you purchased the player from an authorized dealer.

Note to LG: This is not how you handle a problem that you caused. Accidents happen, you did not intend for the upgrade to harm your products. However, how you treat your customers is not an accident. If you read the complaints you will notice that many of your customers are swearing not to buy any of your products again. The first thing you should have done after you charged $69 to fix a problem you caused should have been to publicly announce that you were returning the money – your customers should not have to pay for your ineptitude, nor should it go so far that they have to sign a petition asking you to make good. Next, you should have made a public apology vowing to fix the drives for free – no questions asked and no proof needed that the player had to have been purchased only at an authorized dealer.

You could have turned this fiasco into an opportunity to show everyone that your company is a world class manufacturer that stands fully behind its products.

You should be fixing the drives even if the players were stolen. Otherwise, the request for proof of purchase only looks like a ploy to limit the number of drives you have to replace. I estimate that only a few thousand customers downloaded the fatal software before the warning flag went up. I also estimate that, including shipping, it costs you at most $30.00 per unit to fix the problem. So what were you trying to save by asking for proof of purchase? Less than thirty thousand dollars?

Is that what your brand is worth? The LG brand stood for quality and service – something that takes years to burn into consumers’ minds, you’re willing to snuff out in an instant to save a few thousand dollars?

Stupid, stupid marketing and shame on you.