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01 August 2005

Why does the BBC use Real 'Obnoxious' Player?

Okay, this is from last year, but maybe others have thoughts on the very serious issues it raises about the deals that Real is tying the consumers of their material into. Personally I have always steered well clear of Real seeing it as spyware and the wonderfully termed 'bloatware', demanding spurious uploads and downloads and using far more resources that any other video player.

Tony Gosling - Bristol branch - 0117 944 6219


"What we found in the process of this project was very concerning. Real as a strategy had for years intentionally obscured the free download link. Even when users found the link, the download process would try and trick (there is no other word for it) the user into downloading the pay version of the software. Real would even test multiple versions of their design to see which ones were more effective at this."

"Real would resort to even more disgusting (and probably illegal) tricks. One page in the process would show the user some very legitimate choices above the "fold" (the bottom of the area of a web page that can be shown in a window without forcing the user to scroll). However, beneath the fold, Real had options for additional plug-ins with dubious value such as sound enhancers and web accelerators, that were selected BY DEFAULT. If a user did not scroll down (and the design cleverly did not signal to the user that they had any reason to do so) they would not see that there were choosing to purchase around $50 in additional software. Real told us that this page alone was responsible for driving their average order up by $25. They even told us that most people didn't even know they were buying the additional software. When we told them that we found these tactics user un-friendly, unsustainable, and bad for the brand, they agreed. But they also told us that they were "hooked on! it like heroin" and didn't want to change anything for fear of loosing revenue. Despite the fact that Real was knowingly misleading customers, and that it was driving down the value of the company and the brand, and we had designed a solution to the problem, Real refused to implement it."

UNRELATED - see also - How To Promote Your RSS Feed


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