Tell me what you come here for, boy

Sean’s having trouble finding vendors that try to Keep the Customer Satisfied; in fact he seems to be doing better at finding Deputy Sheriffs, according to his recent post.

Deputy Sheriff said to me
Tell me what you come here for, boy.
You better get your bags and flee.
You’re in trouble boy,
And now you’re heading into more.

Sean’s example of CNBC.com and its archives policy made me wonder about something. Why would anyone do something like that? Why would anyone take something that was already made available for multiple devices and then pay to reduce the market opportunity?

Three possibilities:

  • One, incompetence. They didn’t know they were doing the restricting.
  • Two, greed. They were paid to use a walled garden.
  • Three, line-of-least-resistance. They could not find a way of implementing their DRM without restricting choice further.

Even the optimist in me thinks it is possibility 3. After all, we live in a world where people can come up with rank stupidities such as Region Coding.

1 thought on “Tell me what you come here for, boy”

  1. This looks like another opportunity for narrative analysis! I remember once using a comment on this site to play out what a narrative analysis looks like. However, rather than try fiddling with your search engine while trying to write this, let me just give the pointer to the revised version of that comment that I posted on my own (previous) blog:

    http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-Mff23hgidqmHGqbcv.lfskakEtS6qLVHUEMFUG4-?cq=1&p=176

    The point I would like to make is that there is a major source of confusion in Sean’s use of the pronoun “they,” which JP then translated to “anyone.” The confusion lies in the assumption that CNBC.com was the AGENT and that “something like that” was one of the agent’s MOTIVATED ACTS.

    I recently ran into a similar case of silliness in the way Comcast handles their On Demand service. So when I heard one of the Comcast flacks pitch this service at a marketing seminar, I help my tongue during the Q&A and then confronted her face-to-face. I pointed out the instance of silliness; and, of course, the first thing I encountered was that she was totally unaware of it! That was what I expected; but I pushed forward with the question pretty much as JP phrased it: “Why would Comcast do something like that?” This time I should have been better prepared for the answer: They didn’t (at least not directly)! Everything about the On Demand service, functionality and interfaces, had been outsourced! All Comcast did was enable subscribers’ set-top boxes to link in to it! On the basis of the beginning of my encounter with the flack, it was clear that there was little, if any, review of either the design or the implementation of the service.

    So, invoking the principle that “as Comcast goes, so goes the world of mass media” (at least in the United States), my guess is that CNBC.com had no active hand in what Sean encountered and was probably not aware of subscribers encountering such silliness. From that point of view, JP’s first possibility probably hits closest to the mark. No one at CNBC.com knew what was happening. However, the incompetence goes deeper that setting access policy; it has to do with responsibility for all services provided to subscribers (and, for that matter, visitors). There is nothing wrong with outsourcing in theory; but, if the customer (in this case Comcast or CNBC.com) does not take the responsibility of REVIEWING what the outsourcing agent is required to do and what actually gets done (at a bare minimum, since I am a rabid advocate of mid-stream review), then no one should be surprised when the whole outsourcing process screws the pooch. (Hey, if that language is good enough for LAW & ORDER, it’s good enough for me!) So, rather than accuse CNBC.com of incompetence, I would write the whole thing off to laziness (which, more often than not, is the underlying cause of incompetence)!

Let me know what you think