Journalists suck at tech

· by Peter · Read in about 3 min · (433 words) ·

Recently I’ve revived my subscription to Wired. I’ve bought yearly subscription for $5 which is a great price. I’ve used my Gmail address when ordering it and received confirmation to this address. However, after logging in I’ve found out my subscription wasn’t active and I couldn’t activate it. Let’s create a support ticket I’ve thought and off to the support page I went. I needed to log in again and it’s asked me to activate my subscription, again. Only then it’s served me with an information that my subscription is already assigned to a different account. WTF?! But OK, I’ve remembered that I have another account with them using my Outlook address. However, I didn’t use it during this purchase. Nevertheless I’ve switched to this account and voila, subscription was there, active.

Few months ago I’ve bought a subscription of MIT Technology Review. Which is great magazine BTW. I’ve used Polish special characters (ąęćźż etc.) in the address fields, because my home address contains them. In confirmation email I’ve received from them these characters were turned into rubbish. Now, I know most people/companies for whom English is the first language don’t care about unicode. But it’s the international standard and magazine associated with one of the greatest tech universities in the world should be using it. I’ve not received a single issue of the magazine yet, thankfully it came with digital subscription as well, even though I’ve corrected my address immediately:(

Plus there are papers which won’t allow you to cancel your subscription via their control panel, which makes me wonder why they’ve built control panels in the first place, but you need to call them. The best from the worst is The Economist as you can send them an email and they’ll cancel the subscription for you. But then they’ve charged me anyway and I’ve needed to raise a ticket with their support:( So maybe they’re not so great after all. With New York Times at least you have a PayPal where you can cancel your pre-approved payment with them, but then you have a lot of dangling subscriptions and they’re not very willing to clean them up for you. It’s really bad way of keeping your customers by making it inconvenient for them to leave.

I recognise the need for professional press. One can’t get all their news/knowledge from blogs or sites created by enthusiasts. And I like all papers listed above, they provide interesting and high quality content. However paper media should really catch up with technological progress already and modernise their sites with user experience as their top priority.