Friday, January 19, 2007

Oops and Oops

I just had one of those days where everyone I dealt with online seemed to be doing things wrong.

First was a great example of badly used email. I got a message from a web site where I've made a purchase maybe once or twice in the last few years. Maybe I opted into their email list, maybe not; I honestly don't remember. But there's no way it makes sense to send me an email telling me about a perk for their "most loyal customers."

I'm not a loyal customer. I know it. It was a travel site, and I make almost all my travel plans on the Continental web site. I live in Houston, and they dominate our air travel market; they will almost always be the best way to get anywhere, and I've flown them so much that my gold Elite status, the potential of upgrades, mileage perks for booking through their site, and that bank of frequent flier miles that will hopefully take me to Australia for my next vacation is a powerful incentive to stick with them even when the fare is slightly higher.

Loyal customer of this other site? Ha.

So I clicked the unsubscribe link and got this (click for larger):

No. No, no, no. This is not okay. There is no reason that your unsubscribe function can't, at a minimum, send an email somewhere to be processed later, even if the database is down for some reason.

Later that same day, I came across this on the web site of a VoIP provider (again, click for larger):

Yes, weather events can be very disruptive. But come on - they provide internet-based phone services. The rest of us never have a snow or ice day anymore because we can connect to work from wherever we are. It's hard to believe that this is not true of the staff providing online or phone support.

Moreover, this tells me, "We have no disaster recovery plan." No failover to another location. No plan to serve customers when life interferes. When there's a bump in the road, we'll disappear.

For a company that provides dial tone as a service, that's pretty scary.

These are powerful marketing statements. Not the ones anybody really wants to make, but powerful, nevertheless.

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