The Real Redux

(this post had originally started out as a response to Jay Rosen’s comment here, but then one thing led to another and, well, you know how these things happen…)

Google search: “I hate RealNetworks“: 92 results
Google search: “I love RealNetworks“: 0 results

Real *is* an interesting case. One line of discussion could be: “How does a company that brutalizes customers, ruins desktops, forces actions, and bombards users with phony upgrade messages stay around?” However, I think the crunchier aspect is to ask the question “What are customers who are feeling brutalized doing about it? And how?”

Since there seems to be more work to do here, we’ll be chugging down a couple of parallel paths:

Path 1) If anyone has any stories, either pro or con, regarding Real, would love to hear them. Comment away!

Path 2) I will be going out and trying to collect and solicit some additional data points (not unlike the MSN Spaces discussion of last week), as well as see what, if anything, Real has done to address any of the issues raised.

That action taken, there is another interesting aspect to this discussion. Jay states:

“And here you’re [the] blogger for the social customer perspective and all you have is some lame, cliched line when Jarvis rips them: ‘tell us how you really feel?'”

In the case of that post, the answer is “yes.” Sometimes, I’m all about the cliches. And the snark. In case there was any doubt, I’m going to out myself right here: I heart the snark.

I personally have given up, written off, and completely exorcised Real from my online existence. The only time within recent memory that I’ve interacted with them in any fashion was during the 2004 debates, where I signed up for the two week trial of their service in order to get full streaming video of the coverage. I too despise them for having intrusive, overweight, and altogether clumsy products and services. (Full disclosure: I watched the debate and then cancelled that same night.) As such, I really didn’t intend to spend many personal cycles thinking about Real. They’re dead to me, so I had no reason to elaborate further. I simply found the Jarvis comment to be a good example of a customer who was speaking out in unambiguous terms about one of his service providers.

There are varying types of posts you will see in this space. Posts are the blogger’s tools. Some, like this one, are participation in an ongoing discussion. Some, like the posts on how technologies such as blogs, wikis, social networks, etc. are affecting the customer experience, will be researched and (gasp!) maybe even edited. Some other posts, like the post that initiated this whole discussion, may simply be pointers to other sources out in the media/blogosphere that seem to exemplify the idea(l) of the social customer.

The tool reflects the task.

One Reply to “The Real Redux”

  1. Bravo! I await your investigation.

    You said you would try to “see what, if anything, Real has done to address any of the issues raised.” Great idea. But this neglects the possibility that Real has no intention of “addressing” the complaints, because the company knows we “despise them for having intrusive, overweight, and altogether clumsy products and services.” Perhaps it intends to rule by force, or by taking advantage of people’s laziness. Maybe that’s the business strategy– to be hated, and prosper anway.

    People who understand the Net will get mad. Real, I believe, knows that. You have to have some intention to serve customers to take seriously customer complaints, and to find them an “issue” in the first place. Isn’t there room in your imagination for the ant-social company that’s figured out a way to be hated and still prosper?

    Your search finding, 92-0, would seem to bear this out.

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