Sunday, August 4, 2013

Amazon, don't be disingenuous

I like Amazon a lot, in most ways. But I don't like their Win-All-Or-Die attitude to business, and I don't like how they are sometimes too comfortable with leaning against the borders of disingenuousness (dishonesty).

One example was last big event, where they carefully avoided telling us that the new, lower prices of Kindles were only for the ad-supported varieties. Another one I just saw today, see this message from Amazon:

... Particularly the language "Please ensure that your device is connected to Wi-Fi to receive your content" is almost dishonest. "Ensure" tells us that we must do this, otherwise we won't get the content. But my Kindle is a wifi and 3G Kindle. I paid extra for this, and Amazon knows full well exactly which one I have.

They are apparently trying to get people weaned off using the 3G (cell phone network) in order to cut down their own bills. That in itself is OK, but virtually lying to people to get them to do this? That is not okay. They may waste collectedly a lot of time for people who may have better things to do, and they may make many people anxious about getting their content, if they are not experts on the technology.

If people paid for their 3G model, Amazon must deliver what they promised, delivery wherever there is coverage, and not try to weasel out of it. This promise has been at the heart of the Kindle experience which was promised so beautifully and so loudly in their commercials.

The message could be turned completely honest and straightforward if the sentence was changed to: "You may receive your content faster if your device has wi-fi turned on."


Side Quest Publications said...

I just got that "please ensure" message today. And I found it... puzzling for a couple of reasons.
In part because of what you said--I paid extra for a model that has 3G precisely because it gives me access to my purchases even if I don't have access to WiFi.
But also because, having seen that message today, I decided to test it by switching off my router and thus my WiFi... and was able to download the book via 3G.

In either case, why should I need to "ensure" that I'm connected to WiFi, if Amazon is providing me the 3G that they promised in exchange for the money I've already provided to them?
The point of the 3G, after all, the reason I BOUGHT the 3G model, is that I have access to my purchases and archives when I DON'T have access to WiFi... if I didn't have that option, I would've bought some other brand of e-reader.

Given that this is the first time I've received this message on a book that was not WiFi exclusive (e.g. neither Overdrive library books nor audio books will, to my knowledge, download over 3G), the only thing I can think is that we'd just added a new Kindle--my dad's--to my account a few days ago, the book I just bought was the first purchase since adding his device... and his is not 3G-capable and Amazon's "thank you" screen is incapable of distinguishing between the different devices.
Or that Amazon is reminding me that HIS device needs to access WiFi in the event that he wishes to read the book, regardless of which device I told Amazon to send it to initially.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yeah, dunno.
Admittedly, I don't recall when I last saw that message.

TC [Girl] said...

Amazon just came out w/a phone!! :-P

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I know.
It does not seem to solve any present problems. And I wish it was half an inch bigger, to be a good pocket reader.