An article from the Business Standard entitled “Cheap laptop price tags can mislead users” (by D’Monte & Shinde, Mumbai, India, January 24, 2008) warns consumers about the pitfalls of buying a cheap laptop in today’s market. It doesn’t focus on suboptimal hardware offerings, or limited expandability, or the defect-rate of cheap components, or even the impact of pre-loaded bloatware on the unit’s usefulness. I expected any or all of these when I first clicked on the link. Instead, it focuses on the OS cost component and how Linux is being used to bait customers on price point.
The authors (almost) immediately write Linux off in the fourth paragraph, citing the general lack of support for the OS (FUD Pattern #2), commercial offerings of Red Hat and Novell excepted. Once again, the business-centric concept of “good support” – evidenced by a toll-free phone number and a paid staff – is reinforced in the mind of the reader. This simple statement effectively obscures the wealth of online Linux support information and gives the OS a second-rate appearance at best. It also sets the stage for the remainder of the article, a discussion of the popularity of Microsoft’s products in India and the unfortunate piracy rate. The only disparaging remark about Linux after the fourth paragraph is that the affordable Vista Starter Edition has successfully displaced Linux on most new cheap-laptop orders.
On a side note, essentially all of the initial comments support Linux, several even calling FUD. I was impressed with these fourteen opinions…so strong and impassioned, so consistent in thought… so written by only five distinct users. I get the impression that the comment input-box was too small and that two comments had to be spread over eleven submissions. Still, many good points were made in these rants.
This is completely unrelated to Linux, but I’m so completely livid that I’ve had to post in outrage at the completely unprofessional Logabottle.com website for everyone to read.
I signed up to this website a little while ago while looking for a good online wine journal/social website/forum.
Today, I received an email from them describing two new features that were added to the site. (These new features are unimportant.)
What caught my attention was the 498 email addresses of logabottle.com users in the To: line for everyone to see! And they used a Gmail address to boot!
Here’s what it looked like (click to see full size):
I replied to them saying:
How about a new feature called “Respecting people’s privacy by not including everyone’s email address in the To: line for everyone to see!” That was extremely unprofessional and you’ve probably pissed off a lot of people, including me. What the hell’s wrong with you???
Their website even tells users that:
At logabottle.com we respect your privacy.
Your e-mail will only be used for correspondence between site administrators and yourself in the event of account problems, questions, and for our site newsletters, which typically have been sent out only every few months.
Your e-mail will not be given out to advertisers, affiliates, or other third parties.
Yeah, uh huh. Sure, you stupid f!#$%#$!! Other users of the website are third parties!
I am completely pissed off that my email address was made available for every user of the website that received that email. It’s unprofessional, if not illegal. I don’t care at all if it was done by mistake. There is no excuse.
I complained about it on their forums. I’ve complained to them by email. I’ve also notified all 498 users about it by email, urging them to abandon the site and complain.
What else can I do? Submit this post to Digg? Notify prominent technology blogs? Ask you to post about it on your own blog? I don’t know.
Thanks for reading my rant.
UPDATED: Logabottle issued an appreciated apology to me and to all users by email, in the comments below, and on my forum post on their website. The email read:
Dear Valued logabottle.com members,
We value the privacy of our members. We strive to keep messages to our users to a minimum and send them only when we feel that there is important and useful information to share with you.
Therefore we apologize for not only needing to contact you again so soon, but to also inform you of a recent error with our most recent communication to members.
Recently, we sent you an e-mail regarding new updates to our website, which we feel could enhance your logabottle.com experience. Unfortunately, we made an error in addressing this e-mail which allowed for the user e-mail addresses to be seen by all recipients of the e-mail.
We have also been made aware that you may have been contacted by another logabottle.com user regarding this incident. While we understand that this user wanted to share his views with you about our recent error, we feel he has slightly exaggerated the issue. Furthermore, we keep your e-mail information private from other companies to prevent unsolicited mass/spam e-mails of this nature.
We must also ask you now to respect the privacy of your fellow logabottle.com members and refrain from replying by e-mail to the group. A forum topic has been opened regarding our mistake, and you are more than welcome to share your comments there: http://logabottle.com/board/board.php; or to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, you may also change your mailing list preferences in your logabottle profile, accessible from your logabottle home page.
In the past you have trusted us to ensure your privacy and we must now ask that you give us time to restore that trust.
Please accept our apologies,
Jon, Katie & Steve
~never forget a great bottle of wine~
What is in bold in the email above is what I did not agree with and my response can be read on their board.