Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I'm Ticked at Samsung

I consider it generally bad form to air my personal disputes in public.

Personal opinion is one thing - and I generally am not shy about that, but I at least pretend to retain some air of decorum.

But this time, well, I'm not sure I have any other meaningful recourse.

So, here come the sour socks and pizza-stained tee shirts - I'm digging out a bit of dirty laundry.

It all started when I went to Pricegrabber.com's web site, to do a little comparison shopping on a computer monitor, to replace one which recently went to hardware heaven. I had already identified a suitable candidate, in the right price range and the right features. But before buying, I wanted to simply see what retailers were offering it for what price.

No big deal, right?

Well, no big deal, except that Samsung had placed a banner ad with Pricegrabber.com. Not just a simple, static graphic banner, nor a basic animated banner. This one contained what I call a "pop-out". The dimensions of the banner seemed pretty well defined - but this ad overstepped its boundaries. And covered literally half of the web page I was looking at. Including the links to the retailers that Pricegrabber had produced from my query.

The Samsung ad was for HDTVs, priced starting at $500. Okay, HDTVs sort of look like computer monitors. But they're not. And I was looking for a sub-$100 piece of work. So the ad was completely irrelevant to my search.

Irrelevant, except that it obscured my search results as effectively as bird poop on my glasses. What a spectacle that would be. And no matter what I did, I was unable to display the page without the ad. Here are a couple of attempts, with the ad "page" both closed and open:





So, what to do?

Simple. I'm not buying anything from Samsung. Ever. And I'm telling my friends, dear reader. Please let me know if you think I'm on target or off the deep end. I could also rant about corporate civility and generally acceptable manners, but this is enough to vent my boiler.

The full text of the note I submitted to Samsung Public Relations is included below. I'm blaming grammatical errors on the heat of the moment. I also provided Samsung with my real name along with internet and postal mail addresses. I am waiting for a response.

Hi,

I am angry with Samsung's television division.

I was attempting to research a computer monitor on the Pricegrabber web site. I was looking for information on a very specific make and model (which was not Samsung). Unfortunately, I was unable to get the information I needed, because of an extremely intrusive Samsung HDTV banner ad, which opened a Flash animation which covered nearly half of the Pricegrabber page I was looking it. I was unable to dismiss the ad using either the embedded Flash controls or the Flash Player settings. Consequently, I was unable to view the information which was of interest to me.

I was NOT looking for information on HDTVs, and I was not looking for information on a Samsung product.

Banner ads should remain in the banner, and most definitely should NOT obscure other content.

I have had respect for Samsung products for many years, but this intrusive ad has destroyed any good will I held for your company. I will NEVER purchase another Samsung product, and should the
opportunity arise in my employment as an IT manager, I will strongly recommend against purchase of any Samsung components.

I will also be socializing this incident with my online contacts, unless I receive written assurance that the ad has been pulled, along with a list of web sites where the ad was placed, so I can verify that it has been removed.

Sorry to be the Grinch, but Samsung has no right to interfere with my personal business.

jeq

7 comments:

Bill Cameron said...

I have joined the boycott.

DeadlyAccurate said...

Try Firefox with the Adblock Plus plugin. There may be adblock software for IE, but I use it so rarely I don't know.

Jonathan E. Quist said...

Yes, I could use ad blocker software (I'm using Firefox without it, BTW) but I should not have to change my behavior to evade an intrusive advertisement, any more than I should have to drive on the wrong side of the road to evade a drunk driver.

It's one thing if I object to an ad that has stayed within its defined boundaries - I may find it annoying, but I can easily (and do) just ignore it. This one literally colored outside the lines, and obscured other content on the page. There was no way around it, and there was no button to click to collapse the ad back into its metaphorical cage.

Tim said...

Good for you. Hit 'em where it hurts, in the pocket.

Tell you what. I'll join you if you'll join me. I'm boycotting Canon because they refuse to write drivers for their printers in Linux. This may sound like geekland, but I infinitely prefer a Linux desktop to Microsoft bloatware, and yet I have to keep Windoze on my HD why? To run the drivers for most of my printers and cameras. I've written Canon twice and gotten the same corporate gobbledygook both times: "We have chosen to support certain platforms over others," essentially. So I've stopped buying Canon, which is hard to do because they make good stuff.

There. I needed to vent.

Timothy Hallinan

chat de pookie said...

Hi, I am from PriceGrabber. Can you 1) see if it is still doing it? 2) email us at feedback(at)pricegrabber.com so we can help? Thanks

Jonathan E. Quist said...

Pookie's Cat?

There are two problems here.

1) You have provided no verifiable identification or contact information.

2) My beef is with Samsung, not Pricegrabber, and they have not responded.

If you know some reason why I should believe this really was Pricegrabber's problem, fess up. Public confession is good for the soul. But I provided Samsung with all the direct contact information they could possibly need to get in touch, should they choose to exercise the common courtesy of a reply to my complaint.

JJM said...

Just a stray note: sometimes, these ads pop up if you by chance hover the cursor over a link. I can't know if that was the case here, of course, but sometimes the way to dismiss such a thing is to move the cursor.

I am, of course, in complete agreement with you re: pop-up ads, however activated.
--Mario