Goodbye Netflix

I did it. Again. For the second time in six months, I canceled my Netflix membership.

I initially cancelled last year after Netflix’s ridiculous price increase. It never was about money – I can afford an extra $6/month. It was a matter of principle. You don’t get to increase the price of a service by 60% without bringing any additional value in. So I cancelled, and then a few months later, I signed up again because I missed it.

Then came Chloé, on December 11, 2011. Since having a baby, we have much less time to watch movies. This plus the extremely poor selection of movies available for streaming made it a no-brainer that I should cancel again, for good.

From now on, if I want to watch a movie, I’ll get it directly from iTunes or I’ll just walk my ass to the Red Box at 7 Eleven, a couple hundred yards away from our house. It will be more convenient and cost effective.

Working At Google Is Not As Great As You May Think

TechCrunch as a very interesting post today about why Google employees quit. Google’s HR department interviewd a group of ex-employees and asked them why they quit the company. Read some of the authentic posts to the thread below and think about it for a minute. I love how some of them are so sad they quit MicroSoft for Google, thinking it was gonna be the promised land. By the way, I still stick to my prediction that you will hate Google within a few years from now. (more…)

Prediction: you’re going to hate Google. Soon!

OMG what did I just say? Why in the world would you hate Google? Google is so awesomely uber amazing. I mean, without Google, you’d still be using Yahoo for your searches; you’d still be using Hotmail for your emails; and you’d still be using MapQuest to get directions. Isn’t Google a life saver?

The fact is that Google is not a life saver. Google is a life creeper! Google is reducing your vision field and the worst thing is that you don’t even notice anything, and you’re probably asking for more.

A look at Google products and future products is scary. Mail, blogs, search, browser, health, advertising, video, books, maps, images, office tools, and so much more… Tell me one thing Google doesn’t do and chances are they’re already working on it.

What really scares me in the trust people put in Google. Their moto “don’t be evil” has been obsolete for quite a while – in case you didn’t know, Google gave away info about dissidents to the Chinese government. For a company that aims at not being evil, that’s a miss…

My prediction is that in less than 5 years we will see associations of people against Google. Remember how MicroSoft was hated by everyone in the 90’s? I predict it’s going to be much more than that. I also predict that sooner rather than later there will be a financial scandal shaking the market’s trust in Google.

You must think that I am crazy and that I have nothing to support what I am saying. You’re right. I am crazy and I have no evidence but please remember me in a few years when you blog about how much you hate Google…

When commenting on blogs goes wrong

As a marketing guy working in the franchise industry, I keep myself informed by reading the news, and subscribing to blogs. The problem is there is not many good franchise-related blogs. Most of them are created by franchise directories with the sole purpose of writing articles stuffed with links to various pages on their site. That is pure blogging for SEO.

However, there are a few good blogs out there: Blue MauMau, the Franchise Pundit, and Franchise Pick to name a few… I subscribe to their RSS feeds and read their latest posts almost on a daily basis.

Last week, one of the blogs I follow (note that I am not linking to it) posted about how one of Guy Kawaski‘s people approached him to help create the new franchise page on AllTop.com. I thought it was pretty cool so I commented the following, adding my name and my company’s URL as it is common practice to do when filling out a comment form:

Congrats on being noticed by Guy’s team! Do you know how I can submit franchise-related content to the alltop?

That was a totally genuine comment. I was truly happy for this blogger that AllTop got in touch with him to put up the franchise section together.

The next few days following this comment I had made, I also posted two additional comments on his blog. These comments were related to choosing the right franchise and buying an existing business.

Today, I went back to the site to read a new post and realized that my 2 previous comments were not there. Hmm. I scrolled down and saw that my comment about AllTop was there with an additional comment so I opened the post to read this follow up comment. This comment was posted by the blogger, telling me I was spamming to get links back to my “weak ass franchise site”.

I picked up the phone and called him as he gives his phone number on his blog (which I think is a great idea). I told him my name and he didn’t seem to connect the dots as he was welcoming me with a warm “Hi Sebastien, how are you?”. Then I told him I was the guy who commented on his blog and that he accused me of spamming. The tone of his voice changed right away and he went on telling me he gets many spam comments every day and that I was just commenting to get a link back.

I was really hurt that this guy labeled me as a spammer. I tried to explain to him that I don’t care about his link back for several reasons.

  1. It’s a TyPad blog (I hate those). When you post a comment, your link doesn’t even show up as it does on WordPress with the nofollow tag. Instead, the URL showing is a redirect from TypePad to my site. So if you put your mouse over my name, you will not see http://www.worldfranchising.com as the URL, but you will see something like http://www.typepad.com/t/comments?__mode=red&user_id=2125124&id=132339572. While Google supposedly pays no attention to nofollow URLs, it has been demonstrated in the past that Google actually use these for “discovery”, aka, finding new pages. However, I have nothing to gain by having a redirect such as the one mentionned above to my site. The only benefit would be that someone may click on my name and go to my site, which brings me to point #2.
  2. This blog is never commented on which could mean several things: a) it gets no traffic. I really doubt it though as it ranks pretty well for some key keywords. b) there is traffic but traffic leaves the site right away, which is likely to happen as people come here looking for franchise info and most likely don’t find what they want. c) comments are deleted by the blogger himself as they come, in which case, why don’t you turn off the commenting feature?
  3. Understanding the 2 points above, why would I waste my time commenting on his blog, other for the genuine purpose of commenting and creating a conversation on some of his interesting posts? That’s the question.

I tried to convince him that I wasn’t spamming him, told him about the other comments that were meant to show a different point of view (ie. he was saying you have to love a franchise to buy it. I was saying that it’s true, however some businessmen buy franchises without giving a shit about the product. These are the true business people who are not involved in the day to day operation but they are highly involved in creating a business vs. operating it). On the other comment, I was trying to get the blogger’s opinion as he pointed out to an interesting article that basically said that it is safer to buy an exisiting business. I asked the blogger what he thought about it. After all, I come to his blog to get his opinion, not the one of a newspaper article…

My attempt to convince him of my good faith was vain. He still thinks I am a spammer and that I do this to get links back to my “weak ass franchise site”. This was very insulting too. I asked him if he knew my boss. He said he didn’t. Very strange, as everyone in this industry knows Rob.

During our phone conversation he mentioned he had relationships with other franchise directories (our competition), which I think was the real reason for not adding my comments. He just doesn’t want people to potentially leave his site to go to mine.

I asked him to at least kindly remove my comment and his comment about me being a spammer, which he agreed to. He didn’t have to but I think it’s fair. I just checked the post again and he just removed his comment about me spamming his blog. He left my comment on and I can appreciate that.

The moral of this story is that if you have a blog, you will always expose yourself to spamming. I get a lot of spam every day (especially on the iPhone Download Blog – which by the way reached over 8,000 people yesterday!) and if it is too flagrant that it is spam (like “I love your blog, thank you so much”), I simply delete the comment and mark it as spam. If the comment is somewhat genuine and the URL is the one of a personal blog, I approve it. If the comment is somewhat genuine and shows the URL of a foreign currency exchange type-of-website, I just edit the comment and remove the link. Doing this, I don’t give the SEO juice to the spammer but I keep the community feel of my blog alive. Because that’s what blogging is all about: telling what you think and also being able to hear what others are thinking.

Check me out in Riviera Magazine

Last month, Tina, Jason, Scotty and I went to a party thrown by our friend Nate for UnScene, the Urban Navigator, at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Riviera Magazine was here shooting pix and we got to be in front of the lens.

Jason, Scotty and I made it in this month issue and I have to say we look good! I would have preferred a shot of Tina and I but she was away when the photograph took pictures of us…

You can see the electronic version here, page 118-119.

Someone lost his job today at Amazon

It was first reported by Twitter that around 10 a.m., Amazon.com shut down, giving an error code to anyone visiting it. It is now back on track but Amazon lost big money.

Amazon PR:

The Amazon retail site was down for approximately 2 hours earlier today (beginning around 10:25) – and we’re bringing the site back up.

Amazon’s systems are very complex and on rare occasions, despite our best efforts, they may experience problems. We work to minimize any disruption and to get the site back as quickly as possible.

Amazon’s web services were not affected nor were our international sites.

According to TechCrunch, Amazon loses $31,000 per minute they are not working. That’s about $3,286,000! No doubt that someone got canned today at Amazon…

George Orwell’s 1984

big brother is watching youOpenCulture found out an audiobook of my favorite book: 1984, by George Orwell. If you haven’t read this book, well, at least now you can listen to it!

1984 is a novel that was written in 1949 by George Orwell, the author of the popular children’s novel Animal Farm. The book has been translated into over fifty languages and has had a major cultural impact in America. Terms such as “Orwellian”, “Big Brother”, and “Room 101”, all originated with the book.

In 1984, the world is divided into three countries, Oceania (North and South America, and Australia), Eurasia and Eastasia. Winston Smith (the book’s protagonist) lives in Oceania, which is a totalitarian society. Winston hates the fact that his life and every moment thereof is closely monitored and controlled by the government. Winston longs for something more. Winston eventually meets and falls in love with another character, Julia, whom he has enjoyable routine sexual intercourse with (an act prohibited by the government). Winston and Julia join the Brotherhood, an underground society of rebels (or so they think). The Brotherhood is actually a trap set by Oceania’s government to catch freethinkers.

Winston and Julia undergo many months of intense torture until they’re forced into total submission and renounce everything the government denotes as un-kosher.

Orwell maintained that the book was written with the explicit intention “to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society they should strive after.”

Visit OpenCulture to download this FREE audio book.