Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How not to sell to me

How not to sell to me

From http://www.limofoundation.org/solutions/index.php

comes this gem of marketing speak:

MOTO U9 is designed for those who want to talk, rock, capture memories and send messages in style.

Sorry, but this is not an effective way to sell a cell phone to me.   Tell me how it makes it easier to send or organize my messages, but don't tell me how stylish I'll look when I'm using the phone.   Now maybe the marketer who crafted those words will smile and shrug and say "obviously I'm not in their target market", but I think what bothers me is the amount of stuff that gets marketed without any meaningful distinguishing characteristics that make the product worth its price.   I guess that explains why I use Linux and OpenOffice (both "free open source software") even as I help people with virus and malware afflictions on their Windows PC's.

My most recent adventure with a Windows Vista PC was a friend's HP that was afflicted with something that kept it away from Internet sites that might have been useful for curing what ailed it.    My friend had purchased Norton 360 Premier, but the infection on the computer kept the Norton package from being able to "Activate".   I tried bringing a copy of the install program for the AVG free (for home use) antivirus to the machine on a USB solid state drive since Google could find the site but when I'd click on the link on the infected machine, the browser would tell me the link is broken.  I checked the etc/hosts file, but that file wasn't what was mis-directing the http traffic.   I was disappointed that the AVG program wouldn't install from the USB drive.   Seems that much like Norton's "activation", the AVG installer looks back to an avg.com site to fetch the actual software to install.   For the next round, I rebooted the PC into "safe mode with networking".   From there I could install AVG.     After I got AVG installed, I ran it and it found a Ddnsfilter.dll file that it didn't like so it got rid of it.   Once that file was out of the way, Norton activation, et al was happy to run.   After scrubbing the machine with AVG, I scrubbed it again with Norton, finding another small number of comlaints, which were cleaned.    Then I scrubbed again with Windows Defender, ran Windows update to install all available patches.   Uninstalled AVG so there isn't the conflict of having 2 anti-virus scanners competing with each other, found some Adobe reader updates that wanted to be installed, so I let them in, found some HP updates, including an update to the PC's flash BIOS, so I let them in, scrubbed the whole thing with Adaware, finding only some cookies and the usual WildTangent garbage, scrubbed the whole thing with Spybot, finding very little to complain about.   If he had decent backups of his files, I'd have felt more confident in reloading the hard drive from scratch, but I think the machine is now as clean as it'll get.    I was impressed that Norton 360 Premier is more than just an antivirus for the money.   It also did a registry clean-up, a disk optimization and even made off-site (via the Internet) backups of something (his data files?).  If it chose wisely what it backed up, that makes it a pretty good deal for what I think amounts to about $35/year.

But I've gotten off the topic of this Blog entry:   "How not to sell to me".   From http://www.netezza.com/testdrive/ comes yet another approach to offend my sense of what I want from an ad:

Get meaningful, actionable analysis faster than you thought possible.

We'll tell you about the low price point later. Right now, just stand back and

watch Netezza TwinFin™ perform!

The good news for the marketeers is that I was only visiting the web site because the product name intrigued me enough that I wanted to know what it was.   I learned only that it is some kind of data warehouse server of unspecified capacity and unspecified price point, but they'll loan me one to try if I'll just fill out their lead-collection form.   All will be revealed to me later.    No thanks.   I was especially unimpressed that they had a link on the site that was supposed to take me to a video about the product, but just dumped me back at the promo page for the free loaner unit.  And don't get me started about the word "actionable"!