June 09, 2003
A Sign of The Times

I have noticed a rather interesting sign of the times: On old portable macs (powerbooks) the Apple logo on the cover faced so that it was right side up, when you had your mac in front of you - ready to go to work,but with screen still not lifted. In short the Apple logo was there to communicate with you: This is a Mac you're about to use.
On newer iBooks the apple has been reversed so that it is right side up when the screen is open. The iBook user of course cannot see the apple when the sceen is in that position, so the logo is now clearly there to communicate to onlookers. In short the communication is now a combination of user vanity (part of owning a stylish white keyboard iBook is having everybody know you have it) and then very importantly: The Mac owner as Mac advertiser. The latter should not be underestimated. The commercial pressure on you - even from products you have bought and paid for - is mounting daily. Buying Windows today is like buying a Microsoft ad-serving platform. Other products are no better as illustrated by the Apple logo.
It is becoming more and more common for corporations to assume full commercial ownership of your relation with them. If they want to market to you, they assume they can. They assume your address is now owned by them for marketing use. And certainly any information you exchange with them is commercially available to them. More and more products come with bundled advertising. In the least obnoxious cases this is presented as 'product information' from the vendor you have a relation with. In worse cases, it is direct advertising from a third party.

Related to this is annoying 'upsale' on every contact with e.g. your phone company or your bank. The notion that every employer is a sales person, is probably considered good aggresive management, but good personal service it is not. As every Amazon.com user will know there's a fine line between good customer service ('related' links) and obnoxious advertising (off category sales pitches and 'page you made' suggestions for top selling products remotely related to your search. Nobody likes to feel like a cash cow.

Posted by Claus at June 09, 2003 02:28 AM
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