Sigh. A particuarly large company approached us about having my software run on their technology. Actually, it already does with zero effort on my part. (Is that pleasant background music I’m hearing?) However, I really ought to know more about their offering. After a month of back and forth with their marketing person, they’ve arranged for me to visit their local office at the end of the month.
Before I can see ginormous company demo, I have to first sign up, for free, as an official “marketing partner.” Red alert, cowpoo anomaly off the starboard bow.
I’m looking at their signup sheet now. It requires I create a special login ID. Awww, ain’t that special. I could add it to the 3,792 other logins and passwords that I need to remember or, here’s a thought, I’ll give it some infinitely easy-to-guess password so, five years hence, when I need to sign up again and it says I’m already registered, I have a snowball’s chance of remembering what the hell my password was. Just to be sure, there’s a Secret Question. Here’s mine:
Secret Question: Is this process annoying you in any way – be honest! (yes)?
Secret answer: yes
I have to iterate over this form a few times because of password requirements. “Annoying” is eight characters and mixed case, but they also insist on a non-alphanumeric character. Okay: Annoying!
Now that I’m past the formalities of a special login ID, there’s the mandatory demographic sheet we marketing people seem to enjoy foisting upon people. (But really, it doesn’t have to be this stupid.) I’m having flashbacks about repeatedly requested information as I’m pondering the benefits of this: They’re not going to give me a free iPod. I won’t receive an extra drink ticket to barter away for marketing schwag (like an iPod). Secret Information on manipulating the celestial spheres in Alternate Universe C will remain off-limits. No, this is just a non-committal demo.
They have enough information to send me a very good birthday present next February, but tip their hand by showing a screen indicating the other information they will be asking for shortly: my job role (should their salesperson stop golfing long enough to return my phone call?), company demographics (to which marketing affiliates should they sell our information?), stuff of theirs I own (extended warranties and all that). I took a break to blog this. As I stepped into the next screen, I see:
“We are sorry, we are unable to process your request at this time. Please try again later.”
Jackpot, baby! Their system blinked first. Have your people call my people and we’ll set something up in, say, five years?
they list every country on the planet in alphabetical order
This is one of my personal pet peeves. Thank goodness that my browser allows type-ahead matching and I just have to [spacebar] to bring up the drop-down list and then “U-n-i”-[down arrow]-return to select the U.S. (I navigate sans mouse whenever possible.)
As for the zip code thing, it’s always puzzled me why everyone on the planet asks for “city, state, and zip.” [City, state] are completely determined by zip code. Why not skip to the zip and save everyone the incremental hassle? The only reason I can think of for asking for both is as a redundant check (if city and zip don’t match, query user again), but as far as I can tell, they’re not actually doing this. They just fill in the empty boxes. The few times when various stores clue into this, and only ask for my zip code, I make sure to give them positive reinforcement.
Good luck with the celestial spheres. I’m sure you don’t need a marketing partnership to master the necessary skills. 🙂
MINUTES… maybe not even… maybe seconds after reading this, I got an email from my brother who was trying to sign up for a Small Business Server webcast on “Recovering from Disaster: Restoring a Small Business”. He was writing to share that he had just gotten notice the webcast was postponed due to a server crash.
The large company is just not having a good day!
Kiri – Not a bad idea. (Did I mention the tab ordering on this form was a little crazy?) I totally agree with you about the zip codes. That data is a lot easier to clean up than textual cities.
Actually curious thing I have with online ordering is because I live in an unincorporated area of the county, the online vendors handling any order processing often freak out about which taxing boundary I fall under. I could go outside and looked for the dashed line around my neighborhood, or I could guess! (I guess.)
Shortly after I posted this, a friend sent me a link to http://www.bugmenot.com – it didn’t work too well on this site, but would be useful for others 😉
Susan – ah, this was *another* former stomping grounds, think further back to your tenure on the east coast.
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