Monday, 3. May 2010

Adobe makes me whine: 4 ways to screw willing trial users

Today we bought a HP Photosmart C4780 printer, the best deal in ages. It has scan, print, wifi, and it connects itself to our network - for only 80 EUR! Charm. Part of the software installation is a trial for Adobe Photoshop Elements. In my endless path to enlightment of "being a bozo customer" I of course clicked "yes, I want to try that 30 day trial". As part of being a CEO of a web startup, I need to learn how professional marketing is done and this bundling deal sounds like a good marketing plan - I just bought a printer, and using Gimp for the rest of my life will cripple me mentally anyway, so why not try Photoshop Elements.

WARNING: the rest of this article contains words such as FUCK, SCREW, SHIT. This is because I am really disappointed now. If you are offended by this, go see kittens. If you are from Adobe and wonder why I am so negative, please reconsider how conversion funnels and conversion goals work for normal companies (well, companies which are not gigantic) and that I expect as customers that your trial version really drags me in and not shoots me out. Or go one reading this really long rant & bug report.

So, back to the trial. I click "yes, hit me with your trial".
First fuckup: they embedded the internet explorer ActiveX control into a much too small window, so the page at Adobe looks like 1995 scrollbars, and these fuckers did change the properties of the win32 window to "no resize, NAHAAAAA, you have to scroll around dumbass user, we will not give you the "full size" button. I am a ubercool haxor and know how to do borderless non-resizable window and I work for Adobe/HP/bigenterprise so user, you suffer now by scrolling around". Ok, I admit, you dear funny developer lover of scrollbars, you are right to screw me and having me to scroll. I didn't scroll in the web since 1995, but ok.

Adobesucks

But anyway, I am a bozo customer, and you can't stop me now, so I press that "get the free trial" button next to the "buy product now for $80".
Path to enlightment, here I come. I am a trial user, I want to be entertained, give it to me...!
Then I am greeted with the worst thing you can do to a trial customer: register before download.

Adobe register for trial

WTF? I was just convinced to do a 30 day trial. I have bought a printer. I didn't want to trial this PS elements thingy. I just clicked this button casually. Actually I wanted to go to bed, its late. Or I want to get a beer from the fridge. But no, you fuckers really think someone will now enter his email address etc... OK, NEXT REASON TO LEAVE THE CONVERSION FUNNEL: I WILL NOT REGISTER. I WANT TO DOWNLOAD. NOT REGISTER ARGH!!!. Anyway, my path to bozodom, the numbed customer is steep and high, and I register. I even use my real email address, because I still love you, Adobe.

Then - WTF? I press the download button, a popup window comes, but IT CLOSES. In lightning speed. Without a notice. Nothing happens. If I were the normal bozo customers I would go whining away now, probably printing some pictures of happy puppies and kittens on my new HP printer and immediately forget about that bad bad Adobe website that just disappeared after I filled their long, long registration form. WTF? But not me, I am bozo on way to enlightment. Down the conversion funnel, it can only be a click away to make me a happy trial user. By fumbling around in the Internet Explorer Active X control (the old trick: right mouse click, page info, copy url, open in IE) I am able to open the same page in Internet Explorer. Horray!
I click download again and then - BOOOOM - it wants to fucking INSTALL AN ACTIVE X DOWNLOAD MANAGER (to further run anything they want on my machine?). And thats it.

WTF? Trial download from hell

WHAT THE FUCK!!!!??? Did nobody never quality-assure this "get a free trial" window?? I am a normal bozo user. I did not change the Internet explorer Settings. The free trial window could have never worked on my machine because the Internet Explorer ActiveX control of course did NOT allow any 3rd party download manager activeX to be executed. Of course not, and that is good. So I was never ever able to download this trial with the default path - clicking through this "get the trial" window that was shipped. On CD. To millions of people. Great. The only way I found out that the ActiveX download manager is the problem was by cleverly right-clicking on the ActiveX and finding the link to the real page and copy-pasting it into Internet Explorer and ... ARGH!

Ok Adobe, I give up. I can't really click an ActiveX download manager, this is against even my bozo-path-to-enlightment faith here. Not even the dumbest bozo should click "yes" on ActiveX controls. Please give me the HTTP link to the trial for download. I have to leave the path of enlightment and refuse to go any further down this screwed up conversion funnel of the Adobe Photoshop Elements trial download.

To sum, up the things that make me whine are:
  • scrollbars in a windows
  • complete fail of activex control with security - making free trial impossibel for me within the shipped trial application
  • kind-of-fail by not providing a HTTP download link on the trial page on the normal download page
  • why do I have to register to trial? you want to convert me, so please make it easy
  • extra: only a company able to send this thing to millions of people can go with a "magical 5" 0.00001% conversion rate of "user clicks trial on printer marketing campaign->buys product"
ah, good, now I feel better. Rant over. Thanks internet. I go watch kittens now. Maybe I print some kittens on my new Awesome HP Photosmart C4780, best deal in ages!
QR barcode by i-nigma.com/CreateBarcodes
leobard - 4. May, 09:48

illustrative video

This video gives quite the impression I had:
//www.youtube.com/watch?v=in6RZzdGki8

btw, could someone else who went through this maybe do a video of it and put it on youtube? Especially the moment where the window disappears is gruesome.

alton100 - 13. Dec, 05:43

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