Mostly useless sorting and filtering

I was perusing fountain pens today because I felt like treating myself to something fancy. I then came across this gem:

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So, you mean to tell me that I can sort a line of pens by gender? My pens have a gender? My pen can be feminine or masculine? SAY WHAT? …

Reminds me of the BIC for Her Retractable Ball Pen debacle not too long ago —

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:: slowly backs away ::

Marketing, dressed as charity


Seriously? People died and survivors need help and you want to profit off of that?

Here, a gaming company is urging their users to log in and play games and win a certain amount of points in order to make a donation:

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This type of messaging makes it apparent that they are holding their donation dollars hostage until such time that the public complies with their requests.

Why don’t they just make the donation to Direct Relief, and then build other in-app experiences based around raising awareness for Direct Relief instead? Here are some ideas:

-Go to their current in-app advertisers and ask who would agree to substituting their ad spots with a Direct Relief PSA instead. Take the money that Words With Friends would’ve made on that placement and direct that towards their contribution.

-Create calls to action for players to donate to the charity, directly from the app

-Create skins/themes for games to raise awareness for Direct Relief.

-Augment standard point system by allowing relevant wordplay that is related to Direct Relief’s efforts to gain extra points. (Some words could include, antibiotics, help, rescue, earthquake, Nepal, survivor, and so forth).

-Have a specific game leaderboard for players who have donated to Direct Relief (no minimum dollar amount required).

UPDATE: Looks like Zynga just laid off a bunch of staff today. Must be hurtin’.

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The Best Upsell is the Soft Upsell

Oh Vimeo. Way to try to capitalize on my impatience.

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I love the animation around the time. No one likes to wait in line! No one likes to see the seconds of their life tick by! All of these small details adds to my impatience. About once a semester — everytime I have to load a presentation — I feel this pain. I usually don’t mind the wait, though, because Vimeo is such a great service already.

One of these days, they’ll wear me down enough and I will be glad to whip out that credit card. Thankfully, I have time to multi-task today!

UPDATE: I upgraded a few days later. Apparently there is a weekly MB cap on uploads, and I had another class presentation to upload. The internet took my money!

When Marketing Interferes with User Goals

Once upon a time, I clicked on an interesting article title on Facebook. They launched an in-app browser and the page begins to load. I started scrolling down and then I was met with this interrupting interstitial:


Wait, what?

Let’s keep what going? This non-conversation? You just interrupted me while I tried to read an article. Why would I want this type of interruption ever again? At the very least, they make it relatively easy to close out of the modal and return to the article:


As much as marketing and growing a subscriber base is important to the bottom line for publishers, it really isn’t worth negatively impacting the customer experience. How many people who have already subscribed see this interstitial again? What are the logic rules in place to ensure that people who have opted out of this don’t see the prompt again for a period of time?

Intrusive and interruptive marketing results in a bad user experience. Intrusion and interruption are, by nature, negative. Don’t do it!