Slimy Opt-In Tactics

by Chris Kenton on March 7, 2007

After upgrading my system, I just tried to view a RealPlayer video file for the first time. As opposed to Flash video players, like YouTube, or the kind I recently launched for MarketingRev, RealPlayer has a dedicated client application that sits on your computer to play RealPlayer files, and oh yeah, communicate back to Real. These pods that communicate back to the mother ship have been abused enough to make consumers leary of them, but if it’s something you really want to watch, you just shut up and let them play.

So I’m forced to go through an initializing wizard with my RealPlayer. Of course, it first tries to take over all my video files by helpfully auto-checking the box "Make RealPlayer My Default Media Player", but I catch it and decline. It’s the next screen that Really pisses me off. It’s an opt-in screen that invites me to subscribe to a list of Spam-bot feeds with lots of FREE RealPlayer content. You can see four  feeds in the small selection box, and to my surprise, they’re not automatically checked for my opt-in permission.

Real1

Okay, I’m not being hoodwinked on this screen. I’m about to click "next" when I notice there’s a scroll bar on the selection box. I scroll down, and low and behold, when get below the fold there are a lot more Spam feeds, and these hidden feeds are auto-checked for opt-in permission.

Real2

Those scum sucking slimebags.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that this box was set up to purposely deceive users into opting in to email they had no intention of subscribing to. The unchecked subscription boxes are shown to users so they let down their guard, while the auto-checked boxes are hidden in a way that the vast majority of users would never notice. This kind of tactic is a tacit admission in my mind of an inability to effectively market information people actually want so they have to resort to deceptive tactics in order to fool people into subscribing. I can only imagine what their spamming tactics are like.  

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike March 12, 2007 at 10:55 pm

This ticks me off too. These inclusive tactics have done more damage to more peoples computer than needed. I have found the same issues with Winamp, and most Search Engine downloads like Yahoo, MSN, and Google. While some are better at asking you the right questions in what you want added in the installation process I have found other to be hard to understand and hidden. The only good thing I can say about these is they dont require much email validation since you are already installing the main peace of software. Either way it SUCKS and hope they get a clue when it comes to SPAM offerings.

Chris Kenton March 12, 2007 at 11:03 pm

And the part that really sucks? I really like their product. I’ve grown tired of keeping my iPod up to date, and now I’m just listening to commercial-free radio feeds from their RadioPass product. Tons of music I’ve never heard before, and about a 95% fit with what I like.

They need to recalibrate their marketing mentality…

Helga June 26, 2007 at 7:08 pm

It`s awesome!

See you.

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