Yesterday I mentioned that someone from Edelman, a big PR agency with a growing practice in internet media, had checked out my post on the way Microsoft cripped “the Social” which is the Zune’s main distinguishing feature.
That second mention brought visits from 5 more Edelman operatives, who did a much more thorough job checking out my site. The interesting thing is, they didn’t pay me a visit because I mentioned the Zune again. They visited because I mentioned Edelman.
This suggests that Edelman is roughly 5x more interested in their own image than that of Microsoft, who is presumably one of their clients. Not a surprise, really, especially after Edelman’s recent missteps.
I’ll be interested in seeing if this post generates the same scale of response, or if I’ve already made it into their kill file for being a crank without a large audience.
As I noted yesterday, a site called Zunecomplaints.com, which is made up pretty much entirely of text taken from other blogs, has cribbed the bulk of a couple of my Zune posts. They’ve since pulled my posts I left them comments on both pointing out that they were essentially building site with “borrowed” content, without adding anything of their own. Of course, they haven’t done anything with all the posts they’ve cribbed from other blogs. I may spend a little time tonight bringing things to the attention of their other victims.
My posts about the Zune have been picked up by a dubious website called ZuneComplaints.net. My first thought was that it is some sort of automated scraper site, but the volume of postings is low enough that there must be a human involved somewhere. However, all they seem to be doing is excerpting a significant portion of the post (40-75%) and posting it with the same title, and a single link back to the original post. No commentary is added, not even a little bit. Of course, they are using Google ads on the site.
If I have a chance tonight, I’m going to file a DMCA take down complaint against them. If they’ve been republishing your blog posts, I suggest you do the same thing.
Speaking of Zune and Sleaze, I noticed that someone from the Seattle branch of a big national PR company (Edelman) read my Zune posts.
Well, it didn’t take long. The first Zune virus has been spotted in the wild. The virus prevents users from wirelessly sharing songs with other Zune users using the much hyped “Social” feature of the Zune. Apparently this afflicts a huge percentage of the music purchased from the Zune store.
Actually, technically, it probably isn’t right to call it a virus. It’s more like a trojan horse, and as it turns out, it managed to infect Zunes before they even left the factory. It was placed by Microsoft and the major records labels.
Yup, you’ve got it right. The Zune’s major distinguishing feature is “The Social,” the ability to beam songs that self-destruct after a few listens to other Zune users (if you can even find them), and then they go ahead and make the feature broken by design in order to appease record labels who don’t want free promotion.
The record labels are even worse. The promotion isn’t free, it’s actually revenue generating, because Universal (one of the major record labels) get $1 for every Zune sold. Moreover, it’s not just promotion, it’s people recommending things to their friends, which has got to carry more weight than just about any promotional channel.
The Zune is Microsoft’s latest attempt to compete with the iPod and get a slice of the paid music/media download pie. It’s priced the same as the iPod, so why would anyone buy a Zune? Why “The Social” of course. Zune users can beam songs to one another over a crippled WiFi connection. These songs can only be played 3 times before DRM kicks in, but it doesn’t sound like too many people are having that problem because Zune users are finding it hard to meet other Zune users.
I’m surprised that Microsoft hasn’t been organizing big “Zune” parties, so I looked at the Zune site to see if my Zune-apathy caused me to ignore overwhelming evidence of their existance. Naturally, I clicked the “Social” tab, and what I found was, well, lame.
The closes thing I could find was an announcment that “We’re coming to six cities across the U.S. in the next year to auction off customized Zune™ players. The players will be designed exclusively by select boutiques, bringing a whole new meaning to personalization. Each digital media player will also offer unique content chosen by the designer.” Great. Six cites. In the coming year. Boutique customized Zune players, not given away, but auctioned (like that is going to make up for the lovely brown color option).
How about this. Hit a hell of a lot more than six cities, do it early in the year so that students who got Zune’s when they were home for christmas can show off. Don’t action off players, you give them away, a lot of them. You give every Zune owner who comes an excellent chance to win door prizes (like credit at the Zune store). Zune owners should be encouraged to invite their non-Zune owning friends and those friends should have an excellent chance at winning a free player and bunch of store credit. There should be some way to start buying tracks with won devices and credit right at the event.
In addition, they should be doing Zune meetups. Or maybe they shouldn’t bother, because a quick search of meetup.com doesn’t turn up any Zune related meetups, anywhere, ever.
I wonder how long it will take until there is a virus/worm that takes deliberate advantage of the Zune’s promiscuous design.
Probably a long time, if Zune doesn’t sell well.