Monday, July 9, 2012

Web UE: Keypoint vs Ally

Thought of sharing this small observation for 2 online banking sites:

Notice the phone number listed here. However, I don't know whether
a)  this is a 24/7 line or 8-5pm line (I logged in at ~10pm PST)
b)  "Chat with us Now" is not a hyperlink... may be "Now" is a hyperlink that lights up during business hours.

However, to my surprise I called and it was picked up within 30 sec. I loved this service... but I was almost tempted to not call (remember those 

1-800 service numbers where you dial in, enter your account information, spend 5 mins and are later told that the offices are closed at this time). 

Net result.... excellent service but not so well marketed.

Now, let's take a look at another bank... Ally Bank.

Now, note what they have on their main web page

a) tells me 1-877 is 24/7 right away
b) this is best-in-class!!!  it tells me my current wait time.  Wow!

This is awesome. If you bank with Ally, there are more awesome features in their website. Now one wonders why keypoint or wells fargo or bank of america or name-your-bank website is not as awesome as that of Ally Bank....  may be because the website is the ONLY face of ally bank to its customers (Ally is an online only bank) and as such they spend more time on the website than any other bank!

I was trying to find out who created the website... was it outsourced or developed inhouse... than I though wait-a-minute, an online bank company shouldn't outsource its key component of go-to-market and lo and behold... LinkedIn indicates that they have a big UE team. No wonder... :-) 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blockbuster vs Netflix (How IMDB can help)

I have been a Netflix customer for many customers.  I am also a frustrated customer -- reason being its becoming harder and harder to find the movies that I like to watch and that have a good rating as well.  My biggest pain point is that Netflix doesn't allow me to search movies by rating. Moreover, I think their collection no longer rocks. My frustration causes me naturally to look sideways for alternatives.

Welcome Blockbuster (willing to give them another chance).

To me, collection of good movies is the top criteria but sadly there is no quick and easy way to find out which company has more collection and also that of good movies. To qualify what is a good movie, I think IMDB movie rating can serve as a good indicator. So I am trying to find out following:

1)  How many % of IMDB movies does Netflix and Blockbuster have (Coverage)
2)  How many % of IMDB movies with rating > 6 does Netflix and Blockbuster have (Good movie coverage)
3)  How many 2012 movies Netflix/Blockbuster have (New movie coverage)

Simple questions but to find the answers, I will have to resort to my favorite past time programming -- web scripting using wget/perl/grep/ etc.

Let me know what you think of this problem and if you are interested to see the results,



To find out what cell phone and what OS/browser one is using, typically one resorts to looking at the browser user-agent (check whats-my-user-agent) that the browser on the phone will send out in any web transaction, but that would require the user to do some browser activity on their phone. Note that hackers require this information to find out what viruses/malware they should throw at your phone.

Well, Apple with iOS 5 made their job a heck lot easier.

The hackers can now find that out by just sending a text message.

Welcome, iMessage.

As you may have noticed, if you send text to anyone who has iPhone and is using iOS 5, the message automatically turns "blue" indicating the message was sent using Apple's internal servers and NOT through the service provider. It also indirectly (and may be inadvertently?) informs the sender that the recipient has an iPhone with iOS 5.

Do you think this information helps hackers?  Do you think its a privacy concern? Or just a topic for someone to blog about :-)

I for one think its fodder for hackers.