The Comedy of Errors Known as AT&T

Left Hand, meet Right Hand.

“There you are, your own number on your very own door. And behind that door, your very own office! Welcome to the team, DZ-015.”

Telephony NirvanaMy recent switch to AT&T Uverse had me feeling like a character from Terry Gilliam’s cult classic movie Brazil. Every step of the way we discovered a different department that operated some obscure nuance of the AT&T bureaucracy- yet operated as a wholly independent entity. The Uverse people can’t help you with wireless services, a traditioinal landline is another department, legacy DSL is handled completely separately and on and on.

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Still Your Buddy?

The popular website and mobile app GasBuddy has been acquired by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS).

GasBuddyThis is probably good in the near term, as it means better access to a database of wholesale gasoline prices. Most of the current pricing information provided by Gas Buddy comes from volunteer price spotters. But consumers should probably prepare for more ads as the integration with OPIS matures. They plan to accelerate development of OpenStore, a system for c-store owners to promote their car wash and burritos through social media.

Gaithersburg, Md.-based OPIS, a subsidiary of UCG, is a leading source for worldwide petroleum pricing and information It publishes daily spot prices for all refined products, more than 30,000 wholesale gasoline and diesel rack prices and more than 110,000 retail fuel prices Through its subsidiary, Axxis Software, OPIS also provides software for petroleum marketers to automate price collection, data storage and repricing of dealer and commercial accounts.

Source: CSP Daily News

What’s In a Name?

Bad Marketing Idea No. 237

Earlier this month the well known e-commerce site Buy.com officially changed its name. The new name is about as forgettable as, well… as the old name is memorable.

Buy.comThe short and sweet simple moniker has been replaced with “Rakuten Shopping.” No, I’m serious. They’re eventually ditching the domain and all branding which they claim “unifies its brand internationally.”

Buy.com has been around since 1998 and sold $111 million of goods in its first year. A record for first-year sales at the time. Originally selling only electronics and computers, the site is based on a marketplace approach- in other words they hold no inventory. Instead they represent thousands of sellers offering over 17 million products.

Rakuten is a Japanese company that is also a big player in this e-commerce enabler game. In 2010 they bought Buy.com for approximately $250 million and announced plans to rebrand it last January.

In my opinion the name change is a tremendous faux pas- one that rivals New Coke enormity. Consider that Rakuten sounds a lot like racket- which isn’t exactly a favorable business term in English. Ditching such a simple and easy-to-remember name like Buy.com for something so, well… foreign- just seems like a huge mistake.

Made to Stick

The Heath brothers wrote a column for Fast Company magazine from 2007 to 2011. I found their articles insightful, clever and very often eye-opening. Their essays are sort of business advice with a mental exercise tossed in.

Turns out the best of these columns is available in an e-book called Myth of the Garage. From the best ways to spread great ideas to exposing the true cost of bad decisions- they’re all in there. It’s also absolutely free.

It’s a great read– let me know what you think.

Myth of the Garage

 

The AA Logo Blandishment Project

Another iconic logo falls by the wayside.

American Airlines unveiled its new logo yesterday to mixed reviews. It replaces the iconic AA brand designed by Massimo Vignelli over 40 years ago.

american-airlines-logos

To call this new “flight” design generic is almost a compliment.

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