Washington DC metro area information architect and occasional blogger, with interests including personalization, the paradox of the active user, social apps/media, mapping and wayfinding, and rich Internet applications.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Whatever happened to the hamster dance?

A co-worker and I got into a discussion the other day that somehow ranged into the hamster dance, which I can't say has crossed my mind in many, many years.

Out of curiosity, I went to hamsterdance.com to see what had become of one of the best pointless Internet phenomena ever. Gone is the tinny audio and goofy animated gifs. Instead it's all techno and merchandise. How sad. I went to the "Hamster Classics" section to see if I could find the old dance. But the original dance was definitely lacking the full cheesy audio. Even years later I can still remember there was far more to the song.

Attempts to find the original version via Google first led me to this technofied version which at least had the original gifs. A little further down in the results, though, were several versions of the original original. Pure, unadulterated, pointless hamster dance. Sometimes, that's just the way the Internet should be.


posted by Carrie G  # 7:34 PM   0 Comments

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Bordering on creepy

I got this email from World Market that I've been meaning to post for awhile. I'm pretty sure I wasn't signed in when I added the items to my cart, so I'm assuming I was in a remembered state.

I love personalization, but this is crossing the line. It made me feel like one of my fundamental rights as an ecommerce shopper -- to put something in my cart and then leave the site without hassle -- had been violated.

A friend and I were joking that the bricks and mortar equivalent of this would be for the sales associate to chase you out of the store, shouting, "Wait, are you sure you don't want that teapot you were looking at?!?" To me, that's very different than a sales associate or a web site knowing you and saying, "Hey, I know you buy a lot of tea. We just got these really great looking teapots in if you want to take a look."

Beyond the creepiness of it, it's so ambiguous it's not really serving its purpose. What did I put in my cart that's so great I should go complete the checkout process? Not that I'm advocating doing that, but somehow creepy and unhelpful is much worse than just plain creepy to me.

And "Dear Customer"? You know I have stuff left in my cart and you know my email address, but you can't be bothered to call me by my first name? So now on top of everything else, I'm also a little bit insulted.

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posted by Carrie G  # 7:44 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Netflix profiles

My favorite blog right now is The Consumerist, which features a nice combination of consumer news and customer service tales of woe.

One of the stories they covered this week was Netflix's decision to remove its customer profiles feature, presumably to help simplify the site and free up more room for new features. Profiles are used only by a small portion of Netflix users, so it seemed like a good decision.

The problem is, for that small portion of users, profiles were central to their Netflix experience. They allowed husbands and wives and kids to maintain separate queues within the same account, managing their DVDs independently. Enough of them wrote and called Netflix that the company reversed and is now keeping profiles.

Like many Consumerist posts, the comments are quite interesting. Kudos to Netflix for listening to customers. For the rest of us in the ecommerce world, it's a reminder that the numbers aren't the whole story when we're trying to evaluate whether a feature stays or goes.


posted by Carrie G  # 11:51 AM   0 Comments