Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Annoyed with Online Services (Gripe, gripe, gripe)

You know, one thing that really annoys me about a lot of online services is that they keep don't give you enough information about their purported product before they ask you to "sign up" and pull out the credit card.

For example, I have been looking at different webhosting services as well as blogging services, and a lot of them have tacky flash images floating across the screen. They don't give much information about how much the product costs, what I will get, what it will look like or anything!!!

Basically, its so hard to find a link for anything beyond "sign up here" or "free trial".

What if I just want to find out more information about the product before I share my personal information with the website?? Netflix does this, a zillion other sites as well. I think the problem is that a lot of things sold on the Internet are more like services rather than actual products.

A service being a rather intangible thing, I feel its important for the seller to clearly describe the product! I want to know what I'm buying!!!

What are some other websites/providers which do this annoying thing? Tell me about them.

On another note, Sony Imagestation is also totally annoying! I signed up for a Gold membership because the site promised me 100 free prints. After doing the math, I figured out there was more value in paying 5 more dollars for the Gold membership instead of only doing the Silver membership as I had originally intended.

Well, not only did Imagestation not give me the coupon or show any indication that I had a credit for 100 free prints, when I contacted customer service (several times via email and several times via chat), they totally did not respond!!!

Of course, the credit card charge went through immediately. Sigh. Why are there so many slimy vendors out there?

Well, Imagestation did finally come through and give me my free prints! Unfortunately, the quality of their prints is sort of lacking, since I ordered a few photos from them earlier. They waaay too yellow. Maybe I should make my images too unyellow so that they will come out right?

BTW, I chose Imagestation for membership since I like sharing photos with people online. But, sites like Ofoto or Snapfish don't allow visitors to download original full-size images, and I know its important for my Mom and others to have the original without hassle. Getting a Silver level membership at Imagestation is $9.99 a year and you get unlimited storage of photos (for now anyway, another gripe! How can websites just change their service just like that? *snap* Its like, that's not what I bought! At least with a tangible product like a bar of soap you don't have to worry about it morphing into half its size or something.).

I just saw flickr today, and I sort of want to try it, but I'm the sort of person who signs up for everything (I have zillions of accounts all over the place, as you can imagine, its quite an effort to keep track of my personal finances), so I dunno if its a good idea. What do you think?

I also like flickr's corporate philosophy... Unfortunately, the legal purpose of a corporation is to make a profit, as shown in the documentary Corporation (a flick I dragged all my friends to see last summer). Thanks for coming, guys!