Archive for October, 2009

Why Safari Books Sucks

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Safari Books Online 5 Stars for bad relationship managementAs part of a collaboration with a book publishing colleague I signed up for a free trial at Safari Books Online to see what it had to offer the book reading & buying community. Not much, as it turned out. Each time I visited I found it pretty useless. It looks like they have taken the Amazon Books “Peek & Read” idea and tried to make a business model with it.

But what really sucks about Safari Books is the ham-fisted, clumsy and lazy way they handle their email relationship with potential fee-paying subscribers like me. I signed up for the Free Trial many many months ago, and this morning comes their huge and dense email asking me to make 1 of many decisions. It starts with a breezy opener:

“Andrew,
How time flies! This note is just a reminder that your complimentary trial to Safari Books Online will expire in 5 days.  To ensure your access to Safari Books Online — and the thousands of technology, creative and business titles it includes — doesn’t end, sign up today to continue with the service. …”

Then follows a set of links and options – none of which I’m interested in – before it ends with this:

“Or you can do nothing and on 10/29/2009 we will begin your paid subscription at the price of $22.99 per month plus any applicable taxes.”

What?! Is this Stealth Subscribing? If I’m too busy or lazy, Safari Books will take my money? So, why did they open the email by telling me I’d lose my subscription if I don’t act?

Safari Books gets 5 Stars for bad relationship management, and the “thumbs down” for trying to get my subscription by stealth.

You’d think two major publishing companies like O’Reilly Media and Pearson Education would know better wouldn’t you?

What’s Hot & What’s Old Hat…

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

After 20 years exploring and working on the internet – from the earliest days of the academic free-thinking Net – we’ve seen so much hype and so many “hot” topics it becomes easier for us to question the validity of many of today’s “next big things”. A few years ago Java was going to rule the world. In coming weeks I hope to review some of the latest “must have – must do” topics, and perhaps unearth the constants. (Some things have always worked and still do, even with a new coat.) We’ll also be looking at some of the simpler ideas that promise new potential.

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