This morning, one of my regular check-in sites, Mashable.com, posted a link for a movie promo partnership they initiated with Cinemanow.com. They were giving away free digital copies of Terminator: Salvation. I’d never gotten a chance to see the movie, and I’m always curious about new streaming movie technology, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

If you’re not aware, I’m a tech savvy guy. A master programmer I’m not, but anyone who knows me will tell you I’m an honorary member of the Nerd Herd, and generally the go-to guy for computer issues. Well, from the moment I set foot on Cinemanow.com, this “simple movie download” was anything but simple.

First, I click the download button. It doesn’t work. So I think “browser problem” and move from Safari to Firefox, which gives me the following insightful error: “You must use Explorer or Firefox.” Um, really? Pretty sure I just did that. Back to Safari. The internet gods smile upon me and the button magically works this time, but now leads me to a “Download this software” page. It starts to download an .exe file — as worthless to my Mac as a clock in a DMV office. At this point I’m strongly considering giving up. Then I recall reading somewhere that you can use DivX, so I install DivX and reload the page. It now gives me an option to actually download the movie, which I consider to be a helpful step in the right direction of actually watching the movie. Unfortunately the DIvX player is clunky and flaky on my machine, but it seems to be working. I’m in business!

But is this a success? I’m not sure.

For any organization, this is the downside of the new economy: choices. Consumers have a nearly obscene number of options for places they can go to get whatever it is you do/sell/provide. I don’t really care what it is you do/sell/provide, with Google on the side of the customer, they can always find somebody else.

We don’t get many chances to get it right anymore. Most people will click the link to your free movie and when it doesn’t work, move on with their day and forget all about you.

Best to get it right the first time.


2 Replies to “Choices Will Terminate You”

  1. Kevin says:

    Dood. You’re going to lose your “nerd heard” membership with posts like this. As a Mac user you should be used to being denied certain things on the internet. CinemaNow is no different, my friend. READ, READ, READ their Mac policy: http://bit.ly/9WAZ7z

    in short, they don’t support them!

  2. Hey Kevin, even though I don’t really believe in anonymous comments I’m going to allow your thoughts here because I think you highlighted a few important things I may not have explained well enough.

    First, it appears you missed the main point of my article. It is not my intent to slam CinemaNow for their lack of Mac support. You’re right, they do state that (albeit buried in the support section). The big idea I’m trying to get across here is that companies don’t get as many chances as they used to to make a positive connection with a potential new customer. There are simply too many choices on the internet! So, as leaders, we need to make sure we do everything in our power to make every customer interaction an overwhelmingly positive one. I don’t care what company you lead, this is true, and becoming even more important in the new economy.

    Second, I don’t think alienating Mac owners is a good business strategy, particularly in the video content world. Like it or not, Apple customers are often some of the most passionate and progressive consumer-level technology users.

    Lastly, as I mentioned, the lack of Mac support is buried in the support section. If you’re going to pursue this direction as a company, make your compatibility issues clear on the front page.

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