This is frustrating (but kind of funny at the same time).
Recently we were presented with the option to register with a reasonably well-known company website that publishes and shares outside parties blog content. They tout that they can provide ones content to 200,000 viewers. They are not the first to offer this up and they will not be the last.
We had picked up on this company when they first started up and now they were here offering this. We were not interested in the offer, but we were intrigued by the business. We decided we would do some digging. We wanted to find out more about their platform and operations.
We visited their site and in order to progress, one had to “sign up” and setup a profile. Here the first warning light came on. We have enough profiles on various platforms that we do not need another one. Added to that, most worthwhile sites allow you to use an already existing profile (IE Facebook, Twitter) to sign-on. That said, we decided to go ahead and work through the sign-up process and see what else we could find.
Now ordinarily when one begins the sign up process for a new site, one can quickly discern what type of site it is based on the questions they ask and the protocol they require for signing up. Until you provide the necessary info in all of the fields and click that button that says you agree/confirm/sign-up, you can still back out.
And back out we did. Why? Here is why.
We were given the option to not subscribe to their newsletter. Perfect. We didn’t want to. A great option to include as we have enough emails to contend with. We un-ticked the box that subscribed us to their newsletter (I reiterate here that they graciously gave us this option). We then clicked to proceed to the next step of the sign-up process only to get an error message saying that “There was a problem with your submission. Errors have been highlighted below”
Low and behold! Because we chose the option (that they gave us) to not subscribe to their newsletter, we were no longer permitted to sign-up.
Got that? They gave us the option. Then when we took it, they turned 180 degrees and said “Nope, that isn’t an option”.
I just shook my head. How is this type of poor design and communication still happening in our digital age? Look at it this way, if you go to a store and attempt to make a non-essential purchase based on certain information, then at the time of check-out are told “nope sorry what we said isn’t what we meant” – what kind of message does that send? Will you still make the purchase? Do you think you will hurry to return to this store for future non-essential purchases?
Added to that, we were essentially doing them a favor by visiting their site and going through a tedious sign-up process and for what? to give them content through which to drive up their traffic and advertising dollars.
This isn’t a great way to treat consumers. Whether online or on the street, businesses need to have more respect.
1. They want me to “sign-up”. Why?
- Because they want to market to me. They want my information. Fine.
2. I MUST subscribe to their newsletter. Why?
- This provides full guarantee that they wish to market to me. Don’t be fooled, this is what newsletters do.
3. They want me to submit my content. Why?
- No cost content. It is submitted to them for free.
- No labor content. They simply have to sift and filter to get the best available.
- Ad dollars via traffic. This *free* content will driver their web traffic and online advertising dollars.
4. They will provide “exposure”. Ok.
- That has yet to be proven. Prior to signing up, they provide no options to see HOW they provide an audience of 200,000.
- They are using my content. For free. On a loose promise of “exposure”.
- Our take on doing free work for “exposure”? No thanks! (Read more on that here).
The fact is that their promises are bad and they should feel bad. I gain little or nothing from their offer. Why should I do all this work to sign-up and provide content for a company that is clearly so unorganized? How can I expect an unorganized company (that backs out of its promises) to provide me with anything worth my time?
But more to the point of this post I don’t trust a company that isn’t consistent in its message. Why would I? Why would anyone? They cannot even figure out whether people should have to sign-up for their newsletter. They made that clear with their terrible platform for registering.
If you cannot organize your business enough to send a consistent message. If you cannot even figure out internally whether people should have a choice on whether or not they allow you send them spam, and if you are so unorganized that your website is designed to broadcast that inconsistency, then I have better things to do.
What is worse, is that this poor execution (in offering the option and then backing out) only acts to highlight the fact that signing-up with their site means signing-up for their spam. It is possible that this was purely intentional, that they had always intended for EVERYONE to subscribe, but then why offer it as an option?
From a design & communications standpoint they are better off to remove this (non-existent) “option”, then to broadcast that it isn’t actually an option.
Turned us off right away. What about you?
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