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Advertising Rights Management ARM

When you venture out on the web, and go places like here, you are a guest. Normally guests are treated with respect, and are not subject to ID checks, cavity searches, pickpocketing or data theft.

Commercial websites do not treat you like a guest, but rather squeeze you for every morsel of information they can grab from your computer to sell you shit you can probably do without.

Advertisers, Marketeers, and websites that are supported by advertisers think that your personal information from your IP address to your browser history, cookies, Local Storage Objects and other information on your personal computer is theirs for the taking.

Cookies are not required to build or present webpages.

Anybody who tells you that they are required is lying.

The current scheme is having a Third Party manage advertising is what is creating this crisis in privacy.

You have the choice to deny info thieves anything but what you choose to share.

Privacy is not the default setting in your browsers. Although that is changing. But there are things that you can add to deny data collection, tracking and restrict invasion of your privacy.

I like to call it Advertiser Rights Management. ARM
Here are a few things that you can add to your browser to take back your privacy
My personal favorites are
AdBlock Plus
AVG Do Not Track
Albine Do Not Track Me
Ghostery

This is your internet. Take it back from the pricks who think that you are fodder for marketing.

VRM Quote of the Day

“I don’t want you to fix this issue for me, I want you to fix this issue for everyone.”
Tara HuntHPC

AT&T: Modem Thinking in a Wireless World

In the race to the bottom of disconnectivity is AT&T, whose has been and currently under fire for its lack of capacity for the I Phone. The groundswell of discontent from its customers is not only real but can be laid directly at AT&T’s door step. The I Phone is a multifunction communications device allowing you to make phone calls, instant message,  surf the internet and use any number of the thousand of independantly created ‘apps’ that all rely on the same bandwidth to work.

There in lies the problem. Prior to  smart phones the internet used one channel for connectivity over phone lines with the use of modems. Back in the day when you plugged your computer into your phone line and ‘dialed up’ to get to the internet. When you were online, your mother couldn’t call you. ISP’s provided connectivity using the 10% rule. They sold 10  accounts for every modem slot they had, as early on only around 10% of its users would be online at any one time.

Despite the advances in multiplexing, and other technologies, smart phones suck up bandwidth and owners use them. All the time. AT&T is a phone company, still living in a modem world. Until it builds out its network, it will continue to fail. Recently AT&T petitioned the FCC to get out of the landline business.

This won’t help them nor attempting to disconnect 1 in 5 folks in the US who only use landlines. That’s right, 20% of folks make phone calls and don’t want to have anything to do with the internet. Most days I can’t say I blame them.

Pacman Merchandising

I used to shop at Wal-Mart. . Having been lured by low prices and even lower quality, I don’t buy much there anymore.  My purchases had come down to movies and dog food. I buy my movies elsewhere because I get better prices and a larger selection. Basically my last contribution to Wal Mart was dog food.

pacmanmerch

Today  that changed. I used to park in the back, walk in through the garden center, two aisles over, pick up the bag and out to the register and on with my life. Even on busy days, 10 mins. tops.

This morning I discovered that Wal Mart has become what I call the latest Packman Merchandiser.  Target being the first one of these I encountered. Instead of regular clear aisles, they redesigned their stores to resemble a pacman maze. You go down one aisle, and come to a corner where you have to go somewhere else hopefully not getting lost, and maybe finding what you are looking for.

After spending 30 mins. following blind alleys I finally found where the dog food was. In the very back of the store. They hadn’t stocked it yet. That was my last trip into a Wal Mart. Somebody else can play that stupid game.

Marketeers have long dictated store design to attempt to empty your pockets, under the assumption that everybody who enters their stores has no life outside of the spending universe.

Consider your grocery stores. Milk, bread and eggs. Always in the farthest back  corner of the store, hoping that you will feel guilty pushing that large empty shopping cart through the store from the back, and that your arms will spasm and rake product from the shelves into the cart, fufilling their dreams of sales. Or slamming into the ‘end cap’ with whatever overstock product they are trying to move before its freshness date expires. Like you need 37 boxes of tuna flavored rice cakes.

I’m just waiting for the first body to be discovered from one of these stores.

“According to reports, Mrs. Johnson, mother of three was discovered in the corner of the Garden Center, and had starved to death. Her oldest child cried, “We live in a condo and don’t even have a yard”. “She went to the store for milk and notebooks”. Authorities are investigating. BigBox.Co had no comment.”

Maybe they will wake up when they have to hire hunting parties to track down lost shoppers.

Health Care killed his father

Here is an interesting look at health care.
How American Health Care Killed My Father Some of the villains are surprising.

Maytag Major Appliances (Don’t Buy Them!) and Extended Warranties.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Let me expand on this.

I bought a bunch of Maytag products almost 5 years ago. At the Maytag Store (which are not owned by Maytag, but are independently owned stores that hustle Maytag Products) My ex and I had sold our house, we were both moving and were under the gun to get out of the old house. A 25 cubic foot Refrigerator,(which has had the compressor replaced already, and as I discovered my freezer has the same compressor) a 25 cubic foot freezer, and a ‘Commerical Grade’ washer dryer pair. My ex also bought the same refer (and has had the compressor replaced also) and a Neptune Washer Dryer Pair that turned out to be the Appliances from Hell. We also bought the factory Extended Warranties for these. Dave the salesman made a lot of money that day, but he is also a bottom feeder. (The Neptune was so bad that there was a class action lawsuit filed and Dave the salesman said nothing about it when I asked him point blank if there was any reported problems with the machines we picked out, to which he said No., which is why he is a bottom feeder.)

Normally I don’t buy extended warranties on products, as most stuff that I buy either works or breaks inside of the standard warranty time frame. I bought the warranty because I don’t want to be an appliance repairman above the stuff I already know how to do.

My Maytag Washer SAV2555AWW broke last Sunday. This is a knob operated non electronic washer. Simple operation for a simple guy. I am a beltline washer, above the belt is one load with the towels and sheets, and below the beltline is the other load. I do laundry once a week. Since I live alone, we are not talking about massive laundry action, which is probably more than you wanted about my laundry habits.

!maytagsav2555aww

So a scratch paper calculation would have me doing 520 loads over almost 5 years. Not what you would call real hard use.

I have an extended warranty for it. I tried calling on Monday from my cell phone, and ended in a voice mail repeating loop where the voice says “Select one of the following options”, pauses and says “Select one of the following options”. . .

Tuesday I called from home and after a significant wait time got someone with lungs, who ‘knew’ me and had my information on the screen based on my phone number. I am thinking this is pretty cool. Having my information at hand so things can move along. I described the problem, “got loud, started puking water on the floor from the bottom”.

To my amazement, I was scheduled for service the very next day. Cool I thought, moving on with my life etc.

Wednesday, the repairman arrived at the outside of the time window, and after describing the problem, he was able to diagnose it in a little less than 30 seconds. Cool I thought, thinking that he would repair it and my life would continue. Not so fast.

The repairman did not have the transmission on the truck with him, nor could he repair it. He had to go back to the shop and and describe the fix and get authorization to order parts, let alone fix it.

Here is the deal on this. Sniffing on the web brings up the triple lip seal problem which is not limited to my model but is also a problem on these models: which are Maytag and Amana units.

ALW110RAW, ALW210RAW, ALW210RMC0, ALW210RMC1, ALW210RMW

ALW210RMW1, ALW410DAW, ALW410RAW, ALW430RAC, ALW430RAW,

ALW432RAW, ALW450QAC, ALW450QAC1, ALW450QAW, ALW450QAW1,

ALW480DAC, ALW480DAW, ALW540RAC, PALW540RAW, ALW540RMC0,

ALW540RMC1, ALW540RMW0, ALW540RMW1, ALW680RAC, ALW680RAW,
ALW780QAC, ALW780QAC1, ALW780QAW, ALW780QAW1, ALW780QMC0,
ALW780QMC1, ALW780QMW0, ALW780QMW1, ALW880QAC, ALW880QAC1,

ALW880QAW, ALW880QAW1, ALW891SAW, ALW895SAC, ALW895SAW,

ALW895SAW1, ALW980EAW, ALW990EAC, ALW990EAC1, ALW990EAW,

ALW990EAW1, SAV505DAWW, SAV5300AWW, SAV5401AWW,
SAV5600AWW, SAV5701AWW, SLW330RAW, NAV2330AWW; NAV3330AWW; NAV3330EWW;
SAV205DAWW; SAV2555AWW; SAV2655AWW; SAV3655AWW; SAV365AAWW; SAV365ZAWW;
SAV3710AWW; SAV3855AWW; SAV405DAWW; SAV405DEWW; SAV4655AWQ; SAV4655AWW;
SAV4655EWQ; SAV4655EWW; SAV4710AWW; CW9500W; NAV5800AWW; NAV6800AWW;
NAV8800AWW; NAV8800EWW; SAV515DAWW; SAV515DEWW; SAV5710AWW; SAV571EEWW;
SAV5910AWW; SAV5910EWW

Source: Maytag bulletin

Which tells us that there are a lot of wrappers and not much innovation. The bulletin (PDF) goes into detail on replacing the bearing assembly including a whole bunch of special tools to get to it. The last page of the bulletin tells the repairman that he needs to buy a new tool to perform the repair described on the proceeding 7 pages.

I called Friday to inquire when my washer was going to be repaired, only to be told that they were waiting for e-mail authorization from Whirlpool, (who bought Maytag about a year or so ago) before they could order parts to repair my washer.

I have some Major Problems with this.

The first problem is that the warranty company is a 3rd party company doing business as Maytag, to administer this. And as I noted above waiting for email authorization is last on the list I want to hear. This is one of those deals that shuffles shit around, like claims payers for health insurance which just adds more layers of crap between a company and a customer.

The second problem from a cost effectiveness standpoint is not having enough information or utilizing it. The warranty company has all of my information on file, phone, address, Model number, etc. What they don’t seem to have is information from Maytag on these machines breakdown history. By this I mean, by model number the various parts and fixes that have happened over time. This used correctly would have sent the repairman out with the parts to fix the machine with one trip. This sucks for the repairman who as you may guess is not a Maytag employee, but is another third party company doing work on contract to Maytag.

Every repair that I or the ex has needed has required at least 2 if not more service calls to fix. Most of them have been caused by not having the parts in stock at the warehouse and needing to order them from the factory if they were not already on back order, because of “popularity”( you know the shit that breaks regularly)

The third problem is this is standard operating procedure for companies. By doing the Tom Peters Downsizing, outsourcing, and third party claims and service, it looks good to the shareholders, since the whole service, warranty and repair problems can be swept under the rug and not show up on the balance sheet.

But the people on the point of the transaction like me the customer, who actually buys this stuff so that they have jobs and who just wants stuff to work, are screwed, the poor bastard from the repair service who must want to cut his throat at night having spending day after day knowing what the problems are how to solve them, but having his hands tied, and gagged, by a system that does what it can to make fufilling their obligations as complex as possible.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Now that Whirlpool owns Maytag, I wonder how long before Maytag gets replaced by Whirlpool and they hope that we will not remember getting screwed.

Knowing that my freezer shares the same compressor that failed in my refrigerator 3 years after I bought it does not fill me with optimism nor does it endear me to a company that seems to be all hat and no cattle.

Your choices for major appliances are limited as Amana is just re badged Maytag, Whirlpool is probably gonna use all the cheap Maytag parts, which cuts out a lot of Samsung models as they make the parts for Maytag.

I really just want to do my laundry and not have to bitch slap companies or tell them how to run their operations so that folks will actually buy their products again.

Having a connection

Having a fast internet connection is great until you don’t. Having a single source for TV, Internet and phone is great until it breaks. Being in Arizona and having Cox, when it works, is great. Unfortunately the heat is kicking the ass out of the equipment that Cox uses to get the signal to my house. Sometime I have TV and phone,  sometime I have internet and TV, sometime I have phone and internet, sometime I have nothing.

The heat over about 103 causes my connections to break down. Which of course sucks. Now that it is raining and the temperature is around 80, it is working fine.

Calling for service when your phone is down presents challenges. Having a mobile phone line is sort a hidden tax you have to pay when Cox falls down on the job. Recently calling Cox has a new voice answering system, where you speak your problem, and it provides a canned response like “we have technicians working on the problem”.

I hope the money that they think they are saving goes to upgrade the equipment to something that can handle the heat.

Digital Thug – Abandonment Tracker Pro

Online website sales provide a company a cost effective way to offer products and services without a lot of the overhead with physical locations. They also provide physical stores the ability to reach prospects on a global scale.

In the online world there are many tricks that websites use to track you. From requiring cookies to be turned on to use websites, placing multiple cookies on your computer from third party ad servers, to requiring registration with personal information for use.
The goals of these are ‘stated’ as being necessary to bring you superior service and separate you from your money. Everybody says that they keep this information private, and only share it with the people in the company, and online partners, who they disclaim and disavow in terms of what they do with this information. Basically your ass gets sold down the river to anybody with a checkbook.

Online Shopping carts get abandoned all the time for any number of reasons. One of the biggest factors in this the ability to get Quality, Price, and Service, which, off line you had to settle for one or two and could not get all three.

Getting you to buy is magic. There is no script, offering, or sale that will convert lookers into buyers. Online merchants have tried all sorts of things. Usually when you left a site, you were done, just like walking out of a store at the mall. You moved on, they moved on.  But there continue to be various digital schemes to convert you into a cash cow.

The latest scheme is the Digital Thug of the Week – Abandonment Tracker Pro

This NYT article Just Browsing? A Web Store May Follow You Out the Door gives you a good overview of how this technology works.

Abandonment Tracker Pro which says “Abandonment Tracker Pro’s real-time behavioral targeting algorithms automatically tune themselves to your site’s unique characteristics,” like these:

Automated abandonment follow-up campaigns

* First response in real time
* Multi-stage campaigns to maximize conversion
* Intelligent handling of repeat visitors ensures offer integrity

Self-learning behavioral targeting

* Self-optimizing follow up optimizes revenues
* Advanced behavioral analytics
* Learns when an offer is needed to maximize conversion

Easy integration

* Prepackaged integration with major email systems
* Prepackaged integration with major CRM systems
* Easy integration with your internal systems

Source http://www.seewhy.com/atpro

This is digital thuggery.

Imagine walking out of a store and having a salesperson following you down the street, screaming “Why didn’t You BUY!!!” This is the digital equivelent of what these people are offering. You get demoted from customer or prospect to ‘abandoner’.
Getting an email and or a phone call from an online shopping expedition is the ugliest thing I have encountered to date. Companies that use this technology, may see a short term sales rise, but once the implications of this sink in, they will not get any repeat business.

Offering me shopping is one thing, but stalking me because I didn’t buy, guarantees that I will never darken your site or door again.
The sites that will take the biggest ass whooping are those that make you put items in the shopping cart to see the ‘best price’.

Here is their most recent customer list. At least those that actually admit to using this.

Google is a Next Guy.

In the real world there are two types of folks, Other Guy and Next Guy.
Other Guy is the one who does the absolute minimum and in case of any problem blames the Other Guy.
Next Guy is the one who anticipates what is coming next, and does their job with an eye toward making it easier for the next guy to do their job. These two types live online also.

Google is a Next Guy.
People bitch about Google incessantly. But when you look at their bitching, it pretty much ends being an Other Guy whine session.
Google is not an advertising company. Despite all of the whining by Agencies, Newspapers, and Magazines, and the whole Social Media PR industry, Google figured out how to make advertising work on the web. Text Links. Basic and entirely too low tech for the Web 2.0 crowd and your Flashturbators, whose idea of a good ad is to yell at you. Putting the guy who is actually paying for the ad budget in control was a stroke of genius. Sharing some of that with independent web site owners closed the deal.

Google is not a search company. You wouldn’t know it especially since Googling anything is usually the first step in finding things on the web. Here again, stripping it down to the absolute basic, pointed out that Keeping It Simple will win every time. I think that the Chief Googlers have gotten over the whole verb thing as well.

Google is an Information Company. They collect information, collate it, store it, and spit it back out. They are not evil incarnate, nor are they the savior of civilization. Information has a neutral value. People fuck it up.
Google is a Next Guy.
Here is a slide of what Google is doing.
solution
You might want to print it out and mount it above your mirror.

Targeted Advertising is for Morons

Brian Micklethwait brings the rant of the week, and it is a good one.
The Fixed Quantity of Advertising fallacy and the menace of targetted advertising
Adriana Lukas sings the chorus.

Since my last searches involved twist drill bits, shelving units, some weird lamp fixture, and a blogger in peril, how the fuck are you gonna sell me shampoo?

The good news in the short term is all the Targeted Advertising behaviorists will keep their jobs at advertising agencies and not ask us about large fries and super sizing for a while.