- When I arrived on the checkout page (from the link in the nice email you sent), you had tacked on a $8 digital backup fee. That is a complete bullshit charge, and you added it by default with no explanation as to what it was, or why I would want it. It was also not particularly obvious whether or not I could remove said add-on. It is a shameless, low class, money grab.
- I switched my pricing from USD to CAD, and you added $10 despite the two currencies trading at parity (I quickly swapped back, and just paid in USD). Another shameless, senseless money grab.
- You require my name, home address, email address, and phone number in order for me to purchase downloadable software via Paypal. You do not need any of that information. You want it so that some tool in marketing can have pretty powerpoints. It should be optional. (Making it required simply requires me to make up information; a waste of both our time.)
- The “send me email spam” checkbox was checked by default. The only reason for this is to get permission to spam people too lazy to pay attention to the checkout. It’s another tasteless scam formulated by a greedy, customer hostile executive tool.
- After purchasing, I entered my serial number, and was informed that I would have to register to receive updates to the software I just purchased. I cannot explain to you how incredibly asinine I find that policy.
- The registration process once again required information I didn’t want to give you (requiring me to give you fake information)
- After registering, and confirming my registration via email, and entering my email/password combo into the application I was told that I had given invalid credentials, and to try again. (I hadn’t. I’m pretty good with copy/paste.) So I guess NO UPDATES FOR ME?
This is actually less for marketing purposes and more for running anti-fraud analysis, which is a key consideration when you sell software at their scales. When I write my (totally legitimate) Japanese address and phone number combined with my American credit cards, it often ends up in an order getting held for purgatory for 48 ~ 72 hours until I can point them to the resolutions for the last four orders I did through them and the fact that none were chargebacks for being stolen credit cards.
Steam also does something similar. You can thank your local pirate.
The digital backup fee is scamtastic, and (shockingly) isn't the worst thing they have pulled over the last few years (that would be automatically adding rebill fraud 'coupon booklet' subscriptions to the orders). They split the fee $7 to DR and $1 to the software publisher, which means that for sales of $50 software they make substantially more from that addon than for the software itself at almost all of their (myriad) pricing schemes for the core DR payment processing experience.
For example, an annoying system which will decrease chargebacks is "If your IP address goes to a country other than your billing address, shoot first and ask questions later." It bites me all the time, but there are sensible business reasons for it.
* Even though you _can_ opt out of it (click the grey cross on the right of the product list), the "backup" fee is almost an extorsion scheme. When you buy Parallels, you buy the right to download it once. After that, it's up to you to properly manage your backups. If your hard disk crash and you didn't, you must buy a new version (unless you bougth the "extended download service").
* I'm in Europe, and they silently switched the price from $80 to 80€. This is almost $110. You can't switch back to USD, only to GBP (£65 which is as expensive).
That's enough. I didn't wan't to know what other dark patterns they'd pull out further down the road.
 Actually, I've checked while writing this post, and it is possible to get the US shop in Europe too, but I couldn't find the way to do it a few months ago when I contemplated purchasing their program.
Oh, and I didn't know there was a free, quality alternative until shortly after. A painfully bad checkout is the price I pay for being too lazy to do any research. ;)
It is a shameless, low class, money grab. (twice)
It’s another tasteless scam formulated by a greedy, customer hostile executive tool.
Surely there are competitors in the marketplace?
We vote with our dollars.
You can't really infer credit card storage from them keeping the last 4. Merchants need to keep the first 6 and last 4 in order to process chargebacks and refunds. When a customer charges back all the bank tells the merchant is first 6, last 4, and amount of charge back (oh, and the date of the charge back). Furthermore, the amount does not always match an amount the merchant charged. So, the merchant needs to be able to look up orders by first 6/last 4, approximate amount, and date-that-it-must-have-been-before.
PCI allows first 6 and last 4 to be stored unencrypted and kept as part of general customer information. The strict security requirements (encryption, kept off of networks not involved with actually using the card, and so on) only apply to the rest of the digits.
You can also by-pass the requirements by storing a (somewhat non-reversible) hash of the entire card (or last x digits, in this case 5)... As long as the hashing and the storing is done on two separate systems.
If there are no other reasons, this is why I want a solid App Store on Windows that has every app I'd want to buy. Seriously; it's just too much trouble to give companies money sometimes!
You don't have to agree, but don't poo-poo his desire for a unified, simple application purchasing experience in his OS of choice. That's a customer talking about what they want out of a product.
Its just about as fast, has all the same features (including 3d support) and best of all its free and opensource
VMware worked immediately.
I suppose you could use a snapshot VMDK to put the FS changes into a file, which you could then keep or discard. No idea if VBox or even VMWare actually supports this behaviour. Nor can I think of any particularly good use for it!
Unless you mean that there is a difference between what merely happens to work and what the developers strive to ensure works. In this case, VirtualBox definitely "supports" using physical disks and partitions (though they describe it as an "advanced" feature).
I'm sure they'll improve it in time though, and VirtualBox is otherwise a fine piece of software.
EDIT: Word's been passed along. Don't know if anything will actually come of it, but (at least some of) the people whose problem it should be are aware.
- Very simple purchasing - a single page
- Perpetual download codes
- No DRM
Go ahead. Click it.
Regardless, it's their software. After all that, it's not even an expiring URL, or obfuscated, or anything.
Recently started using Vagrant http://vagrantup.com/ to configure virtual machines with VirtualBox and Chef. Awesome. I recommend this combo to all devs.
The last few years of dealing with vmware have shown me quite clearly that vmware doesn't care about little guys. They obviously make all of their money from large business customers.
I am curious how it stands up to all the others. Virtual Box didn't have it in their grid.
- I bought a product that needed a license key;
- in order to use it, I was sent to a 3rd party site I had never dealt with before that provides the keys;
- the site requires me to enter part of my credit card as my proof of purchase to use it;
- it then takes me to a totally broken page, which, thankfully, has a license key;
- that license key is rejected for some indeterminate amount of time by vmware.com due to a known slowness problem with their key distribution system;
- once it’s finally not rejected, vmware.com still merrily asks me to give it an email that it knows damn well it didn’t give me but still accepts just the correct key from the key distro site anyways
There, I fixed it so it's not such blog spam, buy software much?
As far as I can tell, some guy bought a copy of VMWare Fusion with a moderately poor customer experience, can't activate it within the first half hour, writes a blog post to complain and gets his buddies at Fog Creek to upvote.
Why on earth did you think other people would be interested in this?
It's this kind of crap that drives people to piracy (with justification).
When VMWare moves to a simpler (perhaps iTunes-like) system, then pirates have no rational justification.
I get that you should make it easy for people to buy your software legitimately. But I don't buy the argument that if you don't, they are "justified" in stealing it. Everybody rationalizes whatever they do. That doesn't make it right.
> Why on earth did you think other people would be interested in this?
Well, right now it's top on HN. Seems pretty self-explanatory.
There are an infinite number of ways to communicate how not to do things. Enumerating them only serves to decrease the entropy rate.
What I suspect is most people enjoyed this article because VMware made a fool of themselves, but not, as you suggest, because it provides an enlightening anecdote that will inspire the reader to avoid a common pitfall and yield an effective checkout process.
Someone once said to me "A smart person learns from their mistakes, a brilliant person learns from other people's mistakes."
Positive examples show you what you should do and how you should do it, but they often leave out why. A negative example makes it very clear why you should do things a certain way and avoid doing them other ways.