Internet Psychology

Internet Marketing – Five Failings

Graham Jones is always a good read. At first I read this as being about people selling internet marketing Servives, usually SEO, with the opening line telling me why my business websites are so crap. Festinger on cognitive dissonance springs to mind.

But it is about offering services over the internet.

The poor service piece is my biggest gripe. Service, the idea of giving service to customers as part of the deal (“selling to sell again” as my local Ford dealer proclaims*) died in America in the 1980s.

I blame it on Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, who also gave us the housing bust.

I am opposed to government regulation of business, especially in America, because it is a tool of extortion and blackmail for politicians and lobbyists to raise funds from businesses and business people.

Those wanting to reduce competition love crony capitalism. Those wanting subsidies and unfair advantage love subsidies and regulation. And how on earth Comcast gets to own America’s cable infrastructure with no monopoly restrictions would be beyond me, if I did not notice that the CEO was a mega fund raiser for Obama.

However. I would like one internet law of commerce. Just one.

The Law of Signing Up and Cancellations. It should be as easy to cancel an internet service as it is to start one. Verizon don’t make you hold, mid-transaction, to be diverted to a customer service rep to double check that you want to start service, do they? If your credit is good, driving license and social security number check out, address is good, you are on the hook for two years. Only voting in a Federal General Election is easier!

Try canceling online. No can do. You have to call and go through the menus (“please listen to all options as they have recently changed”, they lie), wait forever, to talk to someone who raises your hopes that, this time, it really is simple!…. Hopes dashed. “You can’t cancel on this line. Please hold whilst I put you to the customer service representative.”

They will ask you all the same questions, waste another 10 minutes of your time, and eventually you are free.

So I want it to be the same going out as it is going in. Early termination fee? Ludicrous extortion, but you signed up. So pay to get out of jail. But there is no reason why anyone needs to talk to someone to cancel any Internet transaction.

ObamaCare is hard to get out of, but at least as hard to get into, so maybe it is the precedent. We may be stuck with crap service, but let us have no service as easily as signing up for service, good or bad.

*Ken Stoepel Ford. Like all slogans, it does not live up to its promise.

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