Optimum Online v. Verizon FiOS

Ever since FiOS lines were installed in Hoboken, Verizon has been fairly aggressive about getting people to switch over from Optimum. They were in the middle of a massive lawsuit that year—over a free flat-screen TV offer, phone bill cramming, pension cases, or something…who can keep track?—and they still had people going door-to-door at least once a month. Read more

Free, Online, Too

Every once in a while, I receive an email like the above, which reminds me that there are honorable companies out there that strive for their positive initiatives and ethical practices to help sell their products (Notice that Dropbox doubled our storage capacity ‘as a thank you for being a Dropbox Pro customer’ and uses ‘an extra thanks’ to help promote their paid services to our friends, colleagues and/or family members.)

In light of my post about online companies promoting free products and gradually stripping them away (Free, Online), as well as the recent rant, Don’t Upgrade Quickbooks, I decided to compile two lists of  online businesses:

1. Bad Practices: Those that have been guilty of luring customers in and paring down their offerings (or steepening their prices)
2. Good Practices: Those that have withstood the trend by doing the complete opposite, providing additional free services.

I’d love your help with these lists, citing company names and examples of how they’ve fallen into one of these two categories. Send me an email or comment on this post to be added to the list.

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Free, Online

As we all know too well, free doesn’t always mean free. How often have you clicked on a link in emails or from search results only to be brought to a page that informs you that you must enter a credit card or complete a series of obstacles in order to get access to the elusive free product? Television offers for games, such as McDonald’s Monopoly game, always boast the “no purchase necessary” option to play. Gevalia touts a free percolator while also subscribing you to a coffee-o-the-month club for outrageously overpriced java. And dozens of pop-up “Free iPad” sites require you to enlist friends, sign-up for credit cards or buy magazine subscriptions in order to qualify for free products that you probably will never see. In fact, most spam blockers specifically look for the word “free” in the subjects or bodies of emails to elevate the email’s spam ranking simply because they know that free, online, isn’t always free. Free, online, means “free trial,” “free if you enter a credit card,” “free if you complete these tasks,” and “free*“. Read more

Vector Scrollbars

I consistently needed a standard vector scrollbar for the browser in UI/UX mock-ups in Adobe Illustrator as I got tired of creating screenshots and tweaking lengths in Photoshop. If you do, too, grab this zip. It includes the CS4 .AI, .EPS and .PDF version of both the horizontal and vertical scrollbar. You’re welcome. I’m also thinking that someday it might be beneficial to create a vector version of the mouse hand and arrow, though I’m debating whether I should keep the stair-stepping of pixelation at that size, and how best to handle the drop shadows. If anyone has a suggestion, let me know what you think.