I'd tell them about it but that's where the trouble starts - support, or lack of. Then add on top their hidden appropriation of your property and the sudden demand for payment to view and they lost me.
A saga of support, or lack of it
It started when I made a simple support request about their alerts system which was filling my inbox with irrelevant references. Nothing complicated I just wanted to find out why it didn't seem to work as I expected. Here's the history:
- sent and acknowledged 8 July - ticket #68653;
- 13th July I reply with ticket # asking how it was going;
- 15th July replied again with ticket # asking if someone was going to respond;
- no response at all - nothing, dead;
- about August 8th I decided to twitter @scridb with the details asking if there could be a response
- August 10th I received an email:
- ScribdGary, Aug 10 05:52 pm (PDT): I sincerely apologize for the delayed response. I have submitted a report to our engineering team to research this issue, and I appreciate your continued patience while they work to resolve the matter.
OK, frustrating, why did I bother, but I did at least get a reply to my Twitter effort which in itself is a bit of an experiment, and they are going to get back to me, thanks ScribdGary.
August 25th I saw an email from Scribd in my inbox, nice, I have an answer, let's see what they say:
This is an e-mail to notify you that your request (#68653) has been pending for more than 14 days, and we have not received response. We are closing this ticket at this time. To re-open and update your request, please reply to this email. Cheers, Scribd Support.
Ah?! Scribd requested me to be patient, which I was, and then canceled my request because of "inactivity", after I've been trying to get an answer for 7 weeks. Heck, this is worse than Linkedin "Support", so I gave up on Scribd "Support", deleted all my alerts, and decided that I must write a post about this experience.
Non-existent "support" wasn't driving me away
Actually I wasn't really that annoyed about the lack of support, even if I was frustrated. It gave me the topic for a blog post, and in that post I was potentially going to comment on how we have all become tolerant of a miserable level of support for our online services. Whether it be Google, or Microsoft Online, or Facebook, or Linkedin or Apple or Twitter or Scribd they've worn us down to accept non-existent support.
You can get some good response for the iTunes store and purchases, but try to get a response for other iTunes issues like software problems - the service providers all rely on their community to pick up the burden of answering you. Have you tried to get answers about Google's Picasa for example? If you have you'll know that you are just firing questions into a black hole, Google never appears, but their uber community members do try to sort you out.
So at this point I was frustrated but tolerant of Scribd's lack of support, and intended to maintain my account. I just figured that they run on a shoestring so to expect very little of them in the future.
Secret appropriations of our documents was the killer blow
However! Last week while searching a Linkedin Group I found a person had posted a link to a Scribd document they'd prepared, and said "feel free to download". I went there, found it to be useful and then hit "download". I got a message that I now had to pay!! In order to download I had to pay a daily or weekly or annual fee - up to US$59.
Now I was really frustrated, and confused:
- Was this person just scamming me to get a commission on their "free" documents, using Linkedin to post link bait? That didn't seem likely when I checked that person's profile.
- Where did this new "feature" come from and who is getting the money?
- How about my documents that I had uploaded as "public" - can others still download them for free?
Then I hit Google to search, as others somehow must know all about this even if I am in the dark.
Scribd took our documents and made others pay
Sure enough - rage and anger.
Here is the amazing answer:
- Scribd decided arbitrarily to appropriate every subscribers public document and lock them into a "vault";
- The total 100% payment for others to download your public documents goes into Scribd's bank account.
If that alone doesn't stun you, then also consider that Scribd made no announcement and offered no opt-in. I kind of got the impression that they may have mentioned on their blog, but they certainly didn't email subscribers and they certainly did not ask their consent and for a opt-in.
I guess the reason for not notifying and asking subscribers to opt-in is obvious:
Hi, This is your friendly team at Scribd. We're offering a fabulous new feature whereby we want you to allow us to take control of all your public documents and sell downloads for a fee. Your share of fee will be zero (0)%. Please click this link to allow us to offer this service on your behalf.
Well... OK, I see the value in that for me ??!!
As a result of the flaming Scribd has come out in the last week and said something like "Sorry, we probably should have told you and also because you all seem so unhappy we've urgently implemented a feature giving you the ability to edit your uploaded documents one by one and opt them out of our vault".
You're welcome! So I have to edit my own documents OUT, one by one?
They are serious!!!!
So on the basis that Scribd has completely lost the plot I will be editing myself completely out of their system by deleting my account. You might get Scrod in Boston, but you will be Screwed by Scribd.
Goobye Scribd hullo Issuu
I'll try Issuu and see how that works, it might be a blessing in disguise if they actually have Support that works!
Were you aware that Scribd had, or was planning to appropriate your documents?
How do you think they could have managed this objective better?
If you were Scribd, does this move make sense?
What do you use instead of Scribd, is Issuu the right choice?