What happens when your message isn’t congruent with your actions?
I just got around to installing Windows 7 (an absolutely terrible operating system if you do anything more than email and web browsing) on one of the workstations at the office and I needed to read through a PDF document but didn’t yet have Adobe Reader installed.
I know Adobe Reader is a slow piece of bloated, bug-ridden nonsense and thought it might be time to look for alternatives.
Googling around I find out about Foxit and have heard good things from a few people so thought I would give it a quick whirl.
And I got slimed.
Installing the software just feels like a nasty, slimy experience as you click through all of the “No, I don’t want a new toolbar. No, I don’t need you to re-write my homepage bookmark. No, I don’t need eBay stuck on my browser either.”
By the time I hit the “would you like us to stick bookmarks to trusted websites you already have in your browser?” I was done and it was time to stop the install process.
The wording of each option is very forked tongue.
I had flashbacks to the 1990’s with the beginnings of the Internet and my first encounters with “behind your back, let me fuck your machine up” software installations.
AOL strangely comes to mind.
The phrasing of each option is done in such a way that you either aren’t sure if you need the toolbar for the software to work, whether you’re turning it off, turning it on, or are just asking to be bent over and taken without any kind of lube.
Okay, let’s stop this installation.
But there’s no “Cancel” button.
And No “Back” button.
”We’re so convinced you’ll love our software and all of the bloat that we bundle with it that we don’t need to provide you with the option to cancel.”
I quickly decide to bring up Task Manager and just kill the install process before this goes any further.
Here’s someone else who had the same issues with the software installer I did. http://www.vitalsecurity.org/2009/05/why-i-flushed-foxit.html
The marketing message states one thing, the actions of the software, and the company behind the software, are clearly something else.
So what other products does the company behind Foxit produce and sell?
I don’t know.
I don’t care.
I will never find out because through a single experience of dealing with a slimy piece of software that left a bad taste.
I won’t ever consider using any of their software in the future.
This is what happens when you have an incongruent message, you switch off your potential customers.
You destroy a future relationship.
How much money are you making by bundling distasteful practices in to your free software, to make a quick buck?
You louse up potential future sales because the user is no longer interested enough to look at what other products you create.
At least with Adobe Reader I know how to turn off what I don’t want and the registry patches you need to apply are clearly documented on various websites.