Business

Web-Advertised Houses Generate Higher Prices

This is a US story so the differences might not be as stark in Ireland, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if a seller puts some time and imagination into the process, it will still be appreciable. In the example cited. using a realtor rate of 6%, that difference is a whopping $12,225.

(I don’t say “whopping” very often, but that really is whopping.)

Aodhan Cullen nominated for BusinessWeek award

The founder of StatCounter has been nominated for a BusinessWeek Young Entrepreneur award, and in my opinion he deserves a vote. Aodhan started the service when he was 16, and the way he developed the service, both technically and professionally, is quite honestly mind-boggling for someone that young chipping away on his own.

The service itself – a remote web stats application – has consistently been the best available, and his attitude to customer service and communications has impressed me since I first bumped into him on Boards.ie some time ago. You can read a note from Aodhan on the StatCounter blog. You can tell he didn’t actually write the post himself. :)

Bank of PayPal

The FAQ is here, but in a nutshell they’re saying their transfer to Luxembourg won’t affect you. In reality probably will, although whether it’ll be good or bad remains to be seen.

VC sexy, graft not

Matt from WordPress has an interesting post about the way the press view and deal with entrepreneurs, which I agree with 100%. Not least because of the reporter that recently contacted CIX about a piece that they might be able to work us into. Or not, because the piece is mostly about funded companies. My partner in CIX, Jerry, can deal with this with a lot more – deserved – scorn than me:

Is there something ironic about companies that get funding being more newsworthy than bootstrap companies? If we get outside funding we’re sexy but if we agree to roster night shifts and build the thing on a shoestring to save money we’re not as interesting! If publishers reflect the desires of their readers then readers want to hear about sexy startups that use other people’s money and don’t require hard work. This country became very lazy and I didn’t notice. When did it happen?

Shit CS #2: Sky

Today’s lesson in Shit CS covers Sky, which is trolling whole new depths of Shit CS. I had to send this via the addresses on the investor relations site, until I get an actual person I can hit with it. You can send that info to adam AT beecher DOT net.

Sir,

I’m unable to post meaningful feedback on the Sky website, as your feedback forms only allow 500-512 characters. How stupid is that? If you’re unwilling or unable to deal with an angry customer, please pass my email on to someone who is willing or able.

I just tried to upgrade to Sky+ on your phone line. I’m unable to upgrade on your website, as Sky seems to believe Irish subscribers are second class citizens, despite the fact that we pay more than our British cousins. How stupid is that?

The call was answered by someone in India or wherever it is you’ve outsourced your call center to. No more lovely Scottish accents, now I’m faced with someone whose english is average at best. I had difficulty understanding him, and he me. He asked me many questions, many of them with no bearing on the topic in hand.

After an interminable authentication procedure that in the end didn’t actually authenticate anything, he transferred me to another gentleman, who again didn’t have english as his first language. He asked me more questions, although most of them duplicated the questions I had already answered. I believe he was as frustrated as I was.

He asked me if I knew about Sky+, despite the fact that I was calling to order it. He started explaining it to me, despite the fact that I told him I was familiar with it. He asked if I was interested in Multiroom, despite the fact that I had told the previous gentleman I wasn’t interested. And he quoted me a price in pounds, despite the fact that I had explained to the previous gentleman that I’m in Ireland. Twice.

Then he told me that installation is €75, despite the fact that it says FREE – in caps, hence my emphasis – on your website. Of course I notice afterwards that despite the caps, there’s tiny print below that mentions Multiroom is required. So it’s not actually FREE, now is it? And, as I explained to the gentleman, I already have a quad LNB, and I’m not paying €75 for a guy to plug in my Sky+ box.

And this is your sales line. I can only imagine what your support line is like. Do you route those calls to tribesmen in darkest Africa, where you can pay people with chickens?

Unfortunately I can’t drop Sky completely, as our cable operators are even worse than what Sky has become, but I won’t be upgrading to Sky+ now. Or adding Multiroom later, as was my intention.

And do you know what? If someone that understood me actually came on the phone and treated me like a human being rather than a Sky card number, I might just have gone with the deal you’re trying to push anyway.

Get your house in order, for god’s sake. You won’t have that market share forever, eventually your decreasing levels of customer service will come back and bite you in the ass.

My Sky card number is XXX XXX XXX. I’m tempted to shred it.

Regards,
Adam Beecher

More Shit CS posts to come, featuring the ESB, BOI Card Services, and Church Road Motors in Tullamore. No doubt there’ll be more about BT too.

BT Ireland: Officially Retarded

After all I’ve been through with them, they just sent me a bill. I cancelled my account with them at the end of December. The line is dead. Try it yourself: 021 429 1443.

The number you have dialled is not in service.

Here’s my email to them. I kept short, so they don’t get confused:

I closed my account in December. See attached. Are you people retarded?

I swear to god, it’s only a matter of time before I go postal on these morons. Maybe that’s what they want? Or maybe they’re just suffering from institutional retardation.

SEC: You Pump, We Dump!

This is one of those rare anti-spam measures that will work, and will continue to work, and fair balls to the SEC for doing it. There is one small problem though, and I hope the SEC has thought of it: the second this item appeared in a ticker on Bloomberg, some scumbag CEO fired off an email to his on-call spammer, and told him to pump his competitor’s stock. So expect a small peak before the tail Justin. ;)

Washington, D.C., March 8, 2007 – The Securities and Exchange Commission this morning suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies that have been the subject of recent and repeated spam email campaigns (see examples). The trading suspensions – the most ever aimed at spammed companies – were ordered because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about the companies.

I expect several compliments on my headline btw.

Trinity switches to Gmail

A college that can’t manage their own email? Next you’ll be telling me about a college that can’t develop their own website!

ENN: Trinity College, Dublin has become the first European university to adopt Google’s Gmail application as its standard e-mail system. The college’s 15,000 students will change over to the system in October, and will retain their @tcd.ie e-mail suffix on the Google system for life. Welcoming the announcement, Google’s European sales and operations director John Herlihy said: “We are very excited to be partnering with an august and progressive college such as Trinity on this project. Their vision of how technology can enhance student life and build a long term relationship with college alumni is shared by Google”.

EDIT: Peter asked me to point out that UCC does manage their own website. In fairness though, I never suggested they didn’t — development is about design and implementation, and configuring a third-party CMS is hardly implementation. If configuration of the CMS takes up more than half the work, why bother with it in the first place?

Peter also remarks that UCC doesn’t employ any full-time designers of it’s own, but I’d bet that out of the thousands of students in UCC, there are more than a few that would produce far better than the frankly quite drab end-result. They’d appreciate the money a hell of a lot more too, no doubt a ridiculous amount?

ENN Journalism

I don’t know why ENN is even still in my reader. Here’s an article about a new SIMI website that apparently lets you grep the history of a car. 200 words in the article, and not one of them is linked to the website, despite plenty of opportunities. Click on the author link to report it, and you get an empty mailto. I despair, so I do.

The website is here by the way. It took me five seconds to Google SIMI to find it, and paste it into this post. The site is a turd, but that’s a whole other post.