Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dr Brian Jude buys email lists. So much for credibility.


Oh, the bitter irony in my inbox. A supposed expert on selling and marketing, who resorts to spam email. This method is second only to SMS spam and call centre marketing calls as the all-time most annoying method of selling stuff.
"Sales people are not born great. It is only with good quality training that they can learn, develop and polish the skills that will make them great. A small investment [R595] in this seminar will pay for itself hundreds of times over.
"Presented by Dr Brian Jude
"This programme explores the do's and don'ts of superior selling. Turn prospects into customers by following tried and tested professional methods."
Well, Dr Brian Jude listen up: Spam is bad. Spam is illegal. Buying email lists to send out spam is just plain stupid. (But then it is morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money, and you were suckered by Brent (a.k.a. Mike) at MLD Marketing. Hook, line and sinker.)
What's more, MLD Marketing, doesn't even have a web site: that's how internet-savvy they are. But then you wouldn't know about the internet, because you don't have a web site either, and spam is so last century. And if you think I'm going to pay you R595 to be told how to do "effective marketing" then you can think again. You wouldn't know an effective internet marketing strategy if it hit you over the head. You should stick to the "tried and tested professional methods" that are professional, and sending unsolicited emails is not one of them. Not to mention that you are breaking the law. (Are you really a doctor? Of what? Conferences? Stupidity?)
Update 7 Dec 2009: some loser called "Mike" phoned me today to claim that MLD Marketing bought their list from Mark Tribelhorn, listed in the ISPA Hall of Shame. I found an email and cell number here, but it isn't the same as the one given to me by "Mike". "Mike" wouldn't give me his name or phone number, and his caller ID is blocked on my phone. Also, he made bogus claims about his email program, so I don't know whether to believe a word he said. He sounded very smug. He also said that he had "only" sold the list to Dr Jude for R500 "to get his money back", and knew nothing about "Front Foot" or "Vibrant Media". Yet they gave me the logo (above), and used an email address "mlb@vibrantmedia.co.za". Someone is lying, Mike.
Update 10 Dec 2009:I phoned Mark Tribelhorn on his mobile number 083-298-1825 and he was as smug, slimy and evasive as Mike. He claimed that he had "verified" my email address by means of software, without actually sending me any emails. Now there's a new one! Mark you are unethical and I'm glad you have been exposed by the ISPA for lying to people and misleading your customers.

Mail Burst: spammers who break the law

Today I got an illegal email from Mailburst, another marketing organisation that claims to be legal and above board, and compliant with the ECT Act. They also claim to be members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). One of these two claims is faulty.
Both my email addresses and my wife's email addresses are listed in the DMA's Do Not Call list, and has been for several years. In 2007 they "apologised" for sending me spam on behalf of their client 1LifeDirect. So I wonder where they got my name this time? From my bank, who is the only company that uses my private email address, or did they steal it from 1LifeDirect again?
Of course when I phoned to ask about this, the person who answered the phone had no idea, but promised to get back to me. I await Andre Nel's reply with interest.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Nightmare buying DRM audio books from ClearAudioBooks.com


I really don't mind paying for audio books when I can find them, but this experience has to be the worst so far. I was looking for a J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts book for my wife, but Audible didn't have it, while Borders wouldn't sell it to me. So I found it at ClearAudioBooks.com, an outfit I haven't tried before.
Step 1: The first hurdle was paying for the book. I have resisted using the Verified by Visa system since it was introduced in 2006 because it relied on popups. After going round in circles I was eventually forced to call my bank with an "Error 11" and they enrolled me in the plan, like it or not. So we were off to a good start.
Step 2: Next came the problem of downloading the book. You have to set your download manager to collect only 1 piece at a time, because if you do several pieces then the server gets confused and wastes your time. At 451MB for the 64k version of the book, that's a lot of wasted bandwidth, adding another $5 to the $24.99 purchase price, but I digress.
Step 3: When I tried to play the audio file, I was confronted with yet another hurdle: the Windows Media license nightmare. I'm running Windows Vista and Windows Media Player 11, with all service packs and updates galore. Do it should be a simple case of click on the file to play. Wrong. You have to log in and give a password. It didn't work. See error message at the top of this article. I tried 3 or 4 times.
Step 4: Contact customer support. This is easy because there is a "click here" link hidden away in the bottom right hand corner of the Windows Media login screen. Never mind that the link is for a lost password. Now you have to register on a different system in order to log a support call. Yet another user name and password later, I managed to tell them about the problem. They'll get back to me: Ticket ID: SZQ-150802. No, wait, I have to visit their site to find out the status of the ticket.
Step 5: Keep clicking in desperation. Eventually the verification works on the free The Very Best of BBC Comedy that I also downloaded. I guess they knew I would lose my sense of humour, so they tried to give it back. Eventually it worked, so I tried the purchased book. Another error message:
Step 6: After this message, the book started playing. This is the point that I convert it to MP3 format before the computer changes its mind. Don't you just love how simple DRM technology is? Much easier than buying an MP3 from Simply Audiobooks and downloading it and then clicking "play", don't you think? Now if only they would sell me the book I was looking for ...
Update: When I click on the link to see the status of the ticket, I get an error message: "ERROR: You do not have enough permissions to access this page. Please log in by entering your Email Address and Password." This continues in an endless loop, even though I have logged in with the correct user name and password, supplied by email along with the link. I think I'll have to listen to that BBC comedy again, just to deal with the stress. I think I'll have to send this post as a glowing testimonial for their web site.
Update: I reported the error message to the people who make the "help" desk software, and got the following UNHELPFUL reply:
Yes, you are right, they are using our software but the issue which you have reported could be at their end. There might be a possibility that our client has made some changes in the software settings because of which you are getting this error. Our client will need to report this to us, so that we can take action on it accordingly.
Please note that our software provides both the options i.e. a customer may submit a ticket directly or he/she will need to login to submit a ticket. So, it entirely depends on how a particular client of ours has configured the system.
It's all the client's fault and responsibility to fix the third party software, and there isn't the remotest possibility that the supplier could offer to help, or even express any interest. That's just the kind of service you can expect from the sales team at Kayako Infotech Ltd.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Defrag paused, for now

Readers of "The 2009 Defrag Shootout" are probably wondering why there are no reviews. Let's just say I have been overworked. Also, the FRAGG test machine was commandeered for development work, and is returning to its former existence as a defrag testing machine as I write this.
On Thursday my wife will be having a hip replacement operation, and on Tuesday she writes an exam. Sometime life will return to normal and I'll be able to resume defrag testing.
The PerfectDisk review is 60% written, and was posted by mistake in my RSS feed. I will complete it and post it soon, and then write the WDD review, and start testing PuranDefrag, followed by the new MyDefrag and JK Drefrag. Real soon now, I promise! It had nothing to do with the 20/20 Cricket tournaments.

Warning: The NSA and 4 million other sick weirdos with "security clearance" have intercepted this page and know that you are reading it.