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Dear Retailers – Please Check Your Review Systems

Written: November 11, 2018

It’s popular with online retail shops to offer their buyers a review section, written by real customers so that I can decide if the product is a good fit for me or not before the purchase. Today I received an email from Performance Bicycle, and they requested that I review a recent purchase of cycling gloves.

Review Request

Review Request

OK, that sounded reasonable, so I clicked the Green Button and went through an entire page of questions to get my review all ready to publish, but then, uh oh. The dreaded error message from their web site that wouldn’t accept my review:

web failure

Web Failure

So here we have the classic Catch-22. A company wants my review, I comply, but their system isn’t even working, so they get no review.

I would expect that a large, public company like Performance Bicycle would have a web development team that does not only development, but they also test their own system, but not in this case. The frustration on my part is large enough that I will now avoid their store all-together, and just shop at Western Bike Works, River City Bicycles , Lakeside Bikes or Bike Tires Direct.

So the moral of the story is, build a web site, then test your own web site before your customers do. That way your customers are happy and return.

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Upgrading Internet Speeds

Written: October 19, 2018

I’ve been using Frontier FiOS as my Internet provider for several years, however my entry-level package had speeds of just 25M/25M and I wanted to know about upgrading to a faster connection. Yesterday I spent 25 minutes on the phone just to find out if:

  1. What packages do you offer?
  2. What does each package cost?

Ironically their website does list the Internet packages, but there is no mention of pricing. Why is no pricing listed?

My speedtest.net results were pretty close to the advertised rates:

Frontier 25M/25M Speeds

Frontier 25M/25M Speeds

My support person on the phone didn’t know if upgrading from the 25M/25M plan to the 50M/50M plan would require new hardware and an installation person to visit, but then she thought that it would be OK as-is. Hmm.

This morning I logged into my MacBook Pro and ran the www.speedtest.net again and I noted that Download had increased to 48M, but the Upload actually slowed down to just 15M. I started a Chat session at the Frontier web site and Tiffany started to help me, but then my Internet connection went dead and Tiffany phoned me. She asked me to turn off the WiFi Router and wait about 15 seconds, then powered it back up. Success, I now had faster speeds:

Frontier 50M/50M Speed

Frontier 50M/50M Speeds

For just $8/month more I have double my Internet speeds, so yes, I’m a happy camper, and probably a bit more efficient in running my web business. I would’ve preferred to upgrade online, without intervention from a support person, but that’s just how it is with Frontier FiOS, they have secret pricing and their upgrades require technical intervention remotely to completely work.

For personal use our household likes to stream Netflix, so I expect to see the biggest improvement in viewing movies in the evening, after work hours.

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Monday Morning Blues and an Apple Kernel Panic

Written: October 15, 2018

Ah, Monday morning, the least enjoyed day that starts out every week. I had a 9AM appointment with my physical therapist, but then they phoned to cancel and suggested that I reschedule for Tuesday. Hmmm. After breakfast I went to my office and clicked the mouse, which was supposed to wake-up my Apple MacBook Pro, instead I was met with the dreaded kernel panic message:

Apple Kernel panic

Apple Kernel Panic

I bought this laptop about two years ago, so I think it’s still covered under the Apple Care program. Once the computer started up I dutifully filled out the report and sent the info to Apple engineers.

apple trouble report

Apple Problem Report

No computer operates perfectly all of the time, so buyer beware, I recommend purchasing that warranty on your new computer, especially if you use it in business and cannot afford to be without one for any period of time.

Well, at least my laptop is working again, so I can dive right into reading my client email messages and planning work for the day. Bonus, it’s a sunny morning in Oregon, how nice is that for October?

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Mailchimp Unsubscribe, Epic Fail

Written: October 11, 2018

There are many ways for business owners to keep in touch with their clients and prospects, email being a big one as a marketing choice, however you must remember to let your email recipients opt-out of your messages. It’s part of Federal law called the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) passed back in 2003.

Today I received three email messages from three different organizations and I politely, but quickly clicked the link for Unsubscribe on two of them, and was removed from their lists. The third Unsubscribe link was from a message sent by the popular email firm Mailchimp:

Mailchimp email

Mailchimp email

Mailchimp unsubscribe

Mailchimp Unsubscribe

Clicking the Unsubscribe link brought me to a page on their site, where I dutifully filled in my email address, only to be shocked that the page didn’t accept my address:

Mailchimp fail

Mailchimp fail

Hmm, that’s not a good response to someone who honestly doesn’t want to receive so much email, and Mailchimp is a large company with many years of experience with email marketing, so somehow their system doesn’t think that my address is proper. I had to browse the mailchimp.com site to find a place to communicate my dilemma in more detail, so hopefully Mailchimp will fix the glitch in their web site so that this doesn’t happen any more.

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