Posts tagged “earthlink”

Earthlink sez you decide – about them?

EarthLink You Decide 5 6 2005 12 01 57 PM.jpg

Earthlink is running a promotion now where you the customer (or prospective customer) can decide which of their employees deserves a $1,000 bonus. Of course, the two employees represent key benefits of Earthlink that they are trying to highlight – virus-fighting and spam-blocking.

The site [no longer active] offers you the chance to look at their desks and see how hard they are working, etc. It’s a weird sort of sales effort, perhaps bringing in the American Idol-esque participation all the while promoting these benefits of their service.

It seems that the more innovative companies are focusing their story around co-creation (an emerging buzzword) – where the customers are involved in stuff about the company, but in stuff that is relevant to them (i.e., what type of products or services are offered) – contrast this promotion with the recent AOL ads in which customers appeared at HQ to demand services they wanted. Earthlink is taking a step way back here, asking us to get involved with and care about the workaday lives of their employees, and their compensation? I don’t want a job at Earthlink and I don’t want to have to think about it. I want Earthlink to think about me and what I want and need. They’re getting at that here, but in a completely roundabout way that seems out of step with the times.

Of course, for every trend there is a counter-trend. The counter-trend that Earthlink is latching onto is participation. Going to Costco lets you feel a bit like a stockboy, open kitchens in restaurants involve you in the cooking process, etc. But in those cases, the participation supports a value (low warehouse-direct prices, freshness and quality), not simply participation for its own sake.

anti-spam measures

I encountered one of those new spam-blocking services from earthlink. The sender’s email is not delivered, but instead placed in email-escrow, meanwhile, they are sent their own message with a link to a website where they can explicitly request that their email be delivered. The receipient gets some sort of request-for-permission from the sender, and if they grant it, the message (and all others) will be delivered.

Many spam messages can’t be properly replied to, so that takes care of a lot of the spam, and then others presumably won’t ask for permission, and of those that are left, well, presumably the recipient won’t grant them permission.

Anyway, this happened to me because I replied to someone. They sent me email. Shouldn’t Eartlink know that their customer made an explicit choice to correspond with me? When all I’m doing is replying, I certainly don’t expect to be challenged. But why should Eartlink care, right? They are protecting their own customers.



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