Apple reveals its stunning cluelessness about the emerging user-controlled marketing environment with the latest attack of their flying lawyer monkeys: a bar in Des Moines running an "iPod Night" where people shared their iPod playlists was warned to cut it out.
"Please choose a name for your product that is consistent with Apple's guidelines (that does not include iPod or any other Apple trademark or variation thereon)," reads a letter from Apple representative Pete Alcorn to Curtis. The e-mail refers to the event's Web site, ipodmonday.com, and related podcasts and online broadcasts.
Curtis is still in disbelief.
"I do this little thing called iPod Monday in a little bar in Des Moines, Iowa, that attracts 45 people at most," he said. "Why is this billion-dollar corporation worrying about iPod Monday?"
Well, if you had customers who loved your product so much that they planned a regular night of entertainment around it and told the world about it, wouldn't your first thought be to threaten them?
It may sound like I have it in for Apple lately, and that's not the case; I am just struck by how they can be so good at some things (like making technology simple and great industrial design) and so awful at others (marketing, dealing with customers).
They've always been a controlling outfit, but that tendency seems to be more evident than ever these days. No matter how many great products they launch, that will hurt them.
Meanwhile, I bet if the bar in Des Moines called their event Zune Monday, they wouldn't get quite such a cold shoulder from Redmond.
(Blogtalk: Mary Schmidt wrote about this yesterday.)