Posts Tagged ‘apple’

How to get rid of extra traffic for your website aka business as usual for the big guys

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I use Linux and Firefox whenever I whenever I get to choose. I also visit the Apple trailer site just a few times a year only to kill some time and just because they conveniently offered HD trailers. Getting the trailers from this site to work in Linux Firefox was not done by default – you have to do some work of some kind in the first place. But this wasn’t very hard to do after all.

… Until now because today I just had some extra minutes to kill and surprise: I can’t play any trailers from Apple site. First I thought they it might be a temporary network/file issue of some kind so I tried several movies. I have also tried the links with several players: xine, mplayer, vlc – none of them works. I did a quick search on the web and discovered that other people have the same problem and most of them share a common disgust of this “feature” by Apple and decided to look elsewhere. Apparently the Apple guys made some changes that either by Javascript or not check the user agent. Apparently they did this in order to promote their quicktime player which doesn’t come in Linux flavor.

What they succeeded in doing however seems to be getting rid of some extra traffic coming from Linux users. There are plenty of trailer websites on the net and after all we’re talking about trailers which are promotional stuff in the first place. So the big company decides to push the promotional stuff away from some users just to promote some other stuff that they give away for free. “Their stuff is not so free” you might say, “they just try to sell their notebooks and ipods and stuff”. But they also had Quicktime for Windows which I don’t think they’ve discontinued. So the push is not necessarily in their direction but rather away from anything free.

To me this seems another one of those mistakes done in their greediness by big companies which try to get yet another crumb of every penny they can get. Let’s not forget that Microsoft had a tradition in doing such moves which did no good on the long term. Apple should not forget that much of its share of computer business comes from previous Microsoft users. And these Microsoft users were indirectly drawn away from Microsoft by Microsoft’s use of such business “techniques”.

I have a theory about this tremendous Apple success which says that current Apple computer customers were drawn away from Microsoft by Linux anti-Microsoft lobbying. Linux users also have and probably always will complain about Microsoft’s policies, apparent lack of security and so on and so forth. On the other hand Microsoft concentrated its response on how Linux is very difficult to install, almost impossible to use and very immature and ultimately incoherent and untrustable because that’s what you get for free. Apple put its name back in peoples’ ears with their ipod, which was a true master hit. It was then convenient for many people to notice it as an alternative to the “big bad of the day” because Apple was not free. It was in fact even more expensive thus it must have been better altogether. That came of course with Apple design and quality which you have to admit are two of their distinctive features.

This is how I think Apple got its’ customers from Microsoft by Linux users lobby. Apple never really gave back to Linux anything and now apparently it decided to turn the back to them for good. Apparently there’s no money in something that’s free and where’s no money there should be no interest. What they don’t realize is that there was some money coming from the no-money business and they might “benefit” from the same effect that Microsoft has “benefited” from by doing the same Microsoft mistakes and annoying the same users. Greediness has definitely never been good.

It took me just a few seconds to search “hd trailers” on the new and come up with the beautiful which surprisingly seems to feature the same movies as the Apple site. So why then get rid of some traffic and give it to some other sites?

ma.gnolia – a case study

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I have found out just recently about ma.gnolia. I expected to find some social bookmarking site but instead I was presented with a mysterious announcement and a couple of links to some blogs that would explain something about how the entire site quickly disappeared at some point in time. I was curious to find out more about it and chose the video blog link. A number of things caught my attention:

  • Bad publicity is almost always better than good publicity. I found out about this project when there was nothing left of it but it’s true that this is a coincidence. On the other hand I would have left the site pretty quickly if I hadn’t been made curious by the misfortune of those poor people. So the bad publicity made me interested in the project and I’m most probably not alone in this situation. Otherwise the tabloids wouldn’t be so popular and we would all read science magazines only. This thing made me sad because I have always tried building positive things that somehow struggle to make it to the top; I could have added an extra-negative thing to them so I could have made things work out better for me but my sense of morality has always stopped me.
  • Good project ideas and good technical expertise almost never see eye to eye until it’s too late. In other words most of the entrepreneurs don’t have the technical knowledge but even worse they usually fail in finding somebody with the required technical knowledge while staying withing the budget limits. This is sad because it’s a loose-loose situation: the projects loose expertise and have a good chance of failing or loosing money and the people with the expertise (such as me 🙂 ) loose because they have a hard time finding projects that need their skills.
  • Perception and image became even more important than the product itself nowadays. Larry talks about how people thought that the project was bigger than it actually was and this probably led the project to a bigger success. Unfortunately the opposite is usually true for other projects: they loose because they cannot project an image that would allow them to get that bigger success. That’s why the advertising and PR industry is thriving; that’s why there’s so much money involved in this; that’s why so many of the internet services come for free – because when we buy a pen or anything else only a fraction of the cost is the pen itself and the rest is for the image we want about the pen which then pays for our free internet search engine, our free email service and so on. It is sad because we then complain about the quality of the pen and we shouldn’t – because we preferred the image instead of the true quality. Otherwise why wouldn’t you pay for your email services or your internet searches?
  • As a result the projects such as ma.gnolia often have a hard time becoming profitable even if they are successful. It is sad and dangerous that so many internet projects must rely on advertising as their sole income.
  • Why on earth would you ever use a Mac as a dedicated web server or database server or any other dedicated server? I couldn’t think of anything that would justify the extra-cost compared with a simple linux-based x86 server. This kind of sums up what I’ve written above: the lack of good technical advise or the image that becomes more important than the product itself. Apple products rely very much on brand and image. They are usually quality products but they are pretty expensive. The extra-cost compared to some no name products that provide similar quality goes on the Apple image: advertising, PR etc. Apple does not have users – Apple has fans.

All of the above can be applied to other projects as well. They are common snapshots of the internet start-ups of today. I hope that more people will acknowledge such things and this way we’ll make the internet a better place.