They Only Hurt The Ones They Love

To keep myself up to date with all the latest movings and shakings in the industry so that I can mock them appropriately, I subscribe to a number of the free industry magazines. Hey, if someone wants to send me a magazine just because I’m the owner of a small business in the IT field, all the better. However, every couple of months, the publishers like to poke me into “renewing” my free subscription, which means that I have to go back and fill out three or more pages of survey forms. Survey forms I’ve already filled out when I subscribed and when I resubscribed every quarter since.

They don’t bother to prepopulate my previous answers, oh no. Instead, I get pages of checkboxes (check all that apply) to identify what portions of the company I manage. As a small business owner, I manage them all, but there’s no “All of the above” or “Any of the above if I need to.”

So I get frustrated with them and rely on random answers. But enough about that. Let’s talk about InformationWeek‘s problematic renewal forms.

For starters, as I mentioned, I got so frustrated that I intended to abandon the form on the second page full of drop-down lists and checkboxes (check all that apply). All of the pages, by the way, have a JavaScript error on them:

In an election year, even the forms are down on the state of the country
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As I mentioned, I was about to abandon the form here and I lamented the way I had to fill out the forms. Fortuitously for InformationWeek, I got a call from eWeek at the very time the form was in my browser getting abandoned. Instead of filling out an online form, I got to talk to someone from a call center overseas for 10 minutes, asking for questions to be repeated and admitting, over and over, that I don’t do $50 million in business with 500 or more employees every year.

So I had a change of heart and thought that the online form wouldn’t be so bad, especially if I relied on random mouse clicks to handle the heavy workload. But I got called away from my desk before I could fill out the last of my bogus information, and when I got back and submitted the last of my heart unfelt pack of lies, it told me my session timed out.

So I clicked back and tried again. Whereupon it displayed a success message. Because I refreshed my session or something. I clicked a Continue button, so maybe not:

Oddly enough, that's my nickname.  My real first name is ${firstLongName}
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Oops. Well, did I resubscribe or not? I guess time will tell, but early indications (an e-mail) indicate I did, somehow. I guess I’m finished here. A quick selection from my bookmarks to go elsewhere, and….

We're not finished with you yet
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A custom warning message that doesn’t want me to leave even though I’m on the success page. How many grammatical/typographical errors are within that custom message? 3? 4? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.

So what’s my point? Oh, yeah, these things are unusable and full of junky errors. Much like most things, but since I have to use them to get something I want, the problems stick into my craw more existenially than most of the things I enumerate on this site.


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