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February 22, 2012
When Tim O'Reilly Gets It and the Cartel Doesn't
The Oatmeal comic "I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what happened"
is getting a lot of talk in social media space, not least because Tim O'Reilly linked to it.
The comic shows a fanboy who has just finished reading the George R.R. Martin book and wants to see the HBO series based on it. He's hip, with paid subscriptions to sites like Netflix and Hulu, as well as iTunes and Amazon accounts and... he can't get what he wants. Even going to hbo.com just leaves him frustrated. So what does he do? He torrents it.
The user experience is something I've talked about many times here on Copyfight (see here, or here for just two recent examples). I make my living creating user experiences and it's stunningly clear that the Cartel does not understand my domain of expertise at all.
One reason the Oatmeal comic works so well is that its message is simple:
The purpose of having a digital version of "Game of Thrones" is not to try and sucker more people into buying your crappy cable channel subscription. It's to make money by giving them what they're looking for.
There are thousands, maybe even tens or hundreds of thousands, of Martin fans out there right now who will happily pay you money for this product, which you can give them. Their wallets are open. They are trying
to give you money and you are stopping them. That choice remains as stupid as it ever has been, or maybe more stupid because people are now - more than ever - used to buying at the click of a mouse. And if you continue to be hostile to your potential customers then I am damnedsure not going to be sympathetic to your whining about your supposed misfortunes afterward.
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