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Friday, June 18, 2004

barry throws in the bits

revisiting a brief discussion we had several months ago, frequent meta-roj blogologue contributor barry ritholtz is fed up, and he’s not going to browse there anymore.

it’s a thread that’s been woven through the meta-roj blog… sometimes we bounce it off the television, and sometimes the recording industry and often woven tightly with the theme of active vs. passive “consumption” (and it’s always related to spam).

barry’s got a website that he visits, regularly, but has apparently become increasingly annoying. today, the relationship is over, and the site in question is going to have to either a) live with losing barry, or b) jump through flaming hoops to win him back. i’m betting on the former. i’m also betting that they have about the same attitude as sunncomm – “We hear from less than half of one percent of people…” – and they’re missing the big picture (to borrow a phrase).

to succeed in this vast universe of options, you have to be useful without being annoying. google’s done a good job with that, and despite their occasional flirtation with evil, they do self-correct rapidly.

i’ve got my own annoying-google story from sometime around 2000 – my habit then (before the advent of the tabbed browser) was to leave several browser windows in the background on the desktop available for quick access – and google was an obvious choice. then google decided to add a little bit of code to their page that would a) refresh the page every few minutes and b) bring the page “to the top.” you can imagine this was excessively annoying to have the google search page pop forward at the most inopportune times, like when i’m writing something in another application and end up searching for “oice).” anyway, i complained (i was one of the tiny percent that they heard from, i didn’t want them to take my google away) and i’m sure several other people did too. i’m equally sure that many people did not. google listened to the tiny percent, and the annoyance vanished within days.

true geeks among us might try to make the case that barry’s problem is with internet explorer and not with the site in question – and they might be right. it’s entirely possible that barry’s better approach may be to switch browsers and not websites, but the site still got the blame. nobody (not even barry) should have to jump through hoops (even simple hoops) to keep a company from annoying them, and companies better find that religion.

advantage: customer.

posted by roj at 10:48 am