O’Reilly’s Misleading Offer

So I was looking for some reference books, and since O’Reilly offers good books I had a look at their site. They’re making what seems like a nice offer: Buy 2 books, get 1 for free!

Here is the catch: They don’t mean titles, they mean items. Even though on O’Reilly’s product pages book/pdf bundles appear as normal items with their own prices, they are actually some kind of special offer and considered two items. This means you can not get bundle pricing with the buy 2 get 3 offer. Never mind the fact that buying the paper version covers the cost of the content and the marginal cost of adding the pdf is zero. It’s two items, stupid.

If you are buying a multiple of 3 items, use the code. If not, check the math because with four books it’s cheaper to not use the code, except for shipping, which is free with the code, might make it cheaper, but they don’t add shipping to the total until after you’ve entered your credit card info, which you have to do each time you check your total because they don’t save it.

Assuming the misleading offer doesn’t irritate you enough to go to someone else instead.

If you’re buying paper books, buy through Amazon – they’re cheaper.

Bad Market Research

I just got done signing up for Tumi’s “Advisory Panel”. Yes, I was hoodwinked into thinking that they’d actually selected me because of my extreme insight into luggage. In actuality, they probably culled my name from their bag registry when I registered a bag with them many moons ago.

Anyway, I took their survey, and the first signs this whole effort was underdone came when they asked what brands of bags I own & buy, and had only ONE place to add new brands. They didn’t list Red Oxx, Tom Bihn, Timbuk2, Chrome or anything else unusual. I haven’t bought a “popular” brand of luggage in years, mostly because they’ve all lost their way and have begun making luggage as a fashion accessory first and a functional item second.

So I took their survey and it was mostly incoherent because first they ask how many bags have been purchased, then they ask for the brands to be listed & ranked, but since they don’t have the brands I’ve bought the two sections don’t agree.

The rest of the survey was tired old buyer behavior questions on whether I prefer to buy brands I know and whether I’ll pay more for better quality. Sheesh! Can’t you buy that data from here?

Once I finished the survey I was directed to a site quickly cobbled together and asked to enter a profile, and then I was dumped into a set of polls (read: another survey). The link for the polls was actually “Forums”, but given that I can’t start a new thread, enter my own poll, or do anything else but respond to their questions I think they should rename the link to “Survey”.

Did I plan to continue checking bags with increased baggage fees? Do I think it’s important for my luggage supplier to be green? I entered my response along with the other 5 suckers respondents. Wow. I’ve known that Tumi has slipped further and further down the slope of fashion over function, as all gear suppliers eventually do once they get big (TNF, Eddie Bauer, countless others) but I thought their marketing was more together than this.

Not one question about why I wouldn’t buy from Tumi, or why I like other brands, or even what I want in luggage.

Jim & Tom seem to have this insight, and without asking me to join some bogus panel.

I guess it’s because Tumi’s really not in the luggage business anymore, but in the “pretty thing for sale at the mall I’ve got to convince people they need” business. Great.

Better at branding than I thought?

I’ve always thought JibberJobber was just a clever idea. It’s a site designed to help job hunters manage all the stuff they need to be effective. What I really liked about it was that it’s inventor, Jason Alba, created the site while he himself was out of work. I think by now it’s successful enough he probably isn’t looking for work any more. How can you not admire someone like that?

Anyway, a while back he started a rebranding contest, and I was one of two winners. I thought my entry was good, but I didn’t really think I’d win. What a fantastic surprise!

Don’t think too hard about that video, Dr. Joe.

You know you’re out of touch when a friend sends a link to a YouTube video, which you forward to friends in the press only to find they’d covered it a week earlier. That happened to me a few weeks ago when I forwarded the now-famous-among-printers Pazazz Printing video to Adam Dewitz at PrintCEOBlog only to have him reply that they’d covered it more than a week earlier, and just what rock had I been hiding under?

What can I say? I have kids. I just moved. Work’s been busier than usual…and I’ve been out of touch. Ouch!

Anyway, Dr. Joe Webb wrote a short bit about it last Monday,(paid subscription required) that was generally not too flattering.

Lighten up Joe. It’s a YouTube video. It’s “New Social Interactive Media 2.5”. It’s all a grand experiment, and while the language and attendant bleeping was a bit tiring it was very refreshing to me to see a) folks excited about printing enough to make any video, or even a book with that kind of message, b) printing folks internet savvy enough to make the video and see any benefit to doing to, and c) a printing company president gusty enough to do it.

My parent company’s web site, qg.com, has an Alexa rank of ~622,000. Lower is better – Google’s rank is 2. My best-friend’s wife’s site, www.breakfast-and-brunch-recipes.com has an Alexa rank of ~250,000, just lower than whattheythink.com’s 270,000. QuadTech’s site (10 million), as well as that of it’s competitors (qipc.com = 8 million, gmicolor.com not ranked) are generally in the millions along with this blog (2.3 million).

The web doesn’t seem to be very strongly embraced by the “ink-drinkers” in general. I think things are changing, and it will be some day. In the mean time, I say applaud those with the gumption to give it a try who can show the rest it’s not fatal.