ARCHIVE - Some companies just don't want my money...

Archive: Fri Oct 5 18:42:56 2007
Title: Some companies just don't want my money...
Mood: grumpy
Music: Just Another Star-Bullet for My Valentine
Its not like I really want to spend money or have lots of money laying around, but you'd think these companies would want my money if I offered it, but it seems they don't.

So here's a rant that's been a few weeks in the making...

First off a simple one: Fox

A few weeks ago, Fox aired the new Family Guy episode honoring/spoofing Star Wars. It was pretty funny and certainly worth keeping. So after we finished watching it, I went online to see if I could get a copy. Nope, no copy for sale/download on Fox. I check iTunes and not only is the episode not there, but Family Guy isn't even there (note: Family Guy is now on iTunes, but only one episode and its a very old one).

So here I was, wanting to pay them money to get the episode, but they wouldn't take it... So instead I have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get it off my TiVo so I can watch it later whenever I want to (i.e.: not at their schedule).

I later read that Fox was not going to sell the episode or provide it for download (or even show it again for a long time)... good job there, guys. Remember, if you won't provide a service, someone else will. Within 30 minutes of the end of the episode, a clean, commercial free copy of the show was on various torrents and video download sites... So they are only encouraging people who want a copy to get it from someone else.

Maybe the episode will show up someday on a DVD collection, but they are dellusional if they think people who want to see it again will just do without until that DVD shows up.

Now we turn to NBC who in a similar flash of idiocity don't seem to want money from me either.

Last year, I bought several shows off of iTunes. Usually to match when I missed an episode when it aired. Sometimes I would know that I would be offline for a few hours, so I'd buy an episode or two to watch on my iPod while I was waiting.

Earlier this summer, NBC pulled itself out from iTunes (read elsewhere about that little spat...). Regardless of their feelings on what iTunes is doing, iTunes is still the biggest and best game in town and taking your toys and going home does nothing to really hurt iTunes while doing lots to hurt yourselves.

NBC now offers its shows on its own site. For viewing only (at least for now).

But the big problem is the site is Windows only so that rules me out as a Mac user. That and I might not want to watch the show while sitting at my computer (no watching on iPods). I also like streaming the show to my AppleTV, which again can't be done on their site.

So even if I could get to their site, it doesn't want to let me watch the show on my terms (which, btw, is one of the reasons NBC pulled from iTunes). They doubly don't want my money.

And when they do get around to letting you download the show, they are talking about it being time-limited and tied to a particular computer. Which is not how I particularly want it. I don't always watch the episode within a few days of getting it. It might sit around for weeks before I get around to seeing it. And again, no iPod support.

So basically, where I used to buy a few episodes from them, NBC no longer wants my money. And like I said above, if you aren't willing to provide the service, someone else will. If nothing else, every show is available from any number of on-line sites within minutes of them being aired. I also can go through contortions to pull it from TiVo or even get an antenna and pull it from the air myself.

And the longer they are not willing to take my money, the more comfortable I'm going to be pulling from TiVo or over the air, so the less likely I am to need or want their services in the future.

Now we get to the two big ones on my list Apple and AT&T

I really like the new iPhone. I've needed a new PDA device, and it makes a great iPod too. I prefer it over the iTouch because it has external volume buttons and an external speaker too. Both nice touches. Having a camera doesn't hurt either even if the camera sucks.

But here's the rub, you can't use the iPhone at all unless it is activated through AT&T. But I don't need a new phone line right now (stuck in my current contract for a bit longer :-/

Well, I don't need a phone, but I'd pay for a data contract so I can at least 1) get activated legally and 2) use the web. But AT&T doesn't want my money unless I buy a full phone plan with data service. And Apple doesn't want my money so they wont sell me a functional, but non-activated iPhone.

And what really bugs me is that AT&T does offer data-only contracts for some of their data-only devices and services... but not for the iPhone... So they don't want my money unless I get more services than I really care for.

In all these cases, I know I am not the only one who wants to give companies money but can't.

We are well past the "old days" of Henry Ford's quip "They can have any colour they want, so long as they want black".

I don't think companies need to or should do _everything_ a customer wants. But especially when the cost is trivial, they shouldn't shoot themselves in the foot by not trying to meet the need or at least trying to provide some options. Especially if their customers can just go to someone else (or go without).

So really, one of three things is going to happen:
1) I'll just get used to not having whatever it is. So nobody wins.
2) I'll find another way to get it. So I win, and the company loses (and possibly the company I get the alternate from wins too).
or
3) The company will offer me an option I want. So we both win.

Note: In 2 of those 3 situations, I win. There's only one way the company wins.

More companies need to remember that equation.

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