Backstage: Where are the Summer iPod promos? | iLounge Backstage

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Backstage: Where are the Summer iPod promos?

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Sunday, June 12, 2005
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An iLounge reader asked me a great question this morning: it’s Summer here, so with students ending classes and families starting or about to start their vacations, where are Apple’s “it’s time to buy an iPod” promotions?

I had an answer, but not a good one. “Did you see the Coconuts 20% off deal?,” I asked. “That’s pretty aggressive these days for an iPod.” But his point was bigger than that. “It’s summertime, and all sorts of people are traveling and want to carry music around. Why isn’t Apple offering some sort of incentive to push them in that direction?”

The simplest response would be, “well, when you’re selling over four million iPods every three months, maybe you don’t (think you) need to offer incentives.” Yet obviously by the time a company reaches certain sales volumes, there are ways that it can increase those volumes even more - to five or six million, still with plenty of profit, and thereby create an installed base that’s just that much harder for any competitor to touch.

And yes, competitors are still trying to capture market share. A Dell newspaper advertisement today is promising free Pocket D.J. units with the purchase of certain Dell computers. Admittedly, it requires a $199 rebate that the shoddy company might never actually pay you (or might require you to call Bangalore, India five times to get processed), and it’s still a Dell Pocket D.J., but yeah, it’s theoretically free.

By comparison, the best iPod deals most stores are offering these days are freebie accessories with a purchase. CompUSA’s ad today offers a free Griffin AirClick with the purchase of any iPod photo, and a free belt clip with any iPod shuffle. Others are providing $20-30 discounts off of Altec speakers with the purchase of an iPod or iPod mini. These deals are better than nothing, and will likely maintain iPod sales at an enviable level, but they’re not the sort of promotions best tailored to capitalize on summer - a season when people are ready and willing to buy portable entertainment.

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Comments

1

Deals will come but unfortunately only 30 days prior to the iPod video launch. iTunes Video will incorporate some PVR functionality allowing you to record TV shows and sync them with your Pod for playback on the road.

Posted by LastLaugh on June 12, 2005 at 1:27 PM (PDT)

2

It is strange, but they will probably start when the 5th Generation is released.

Posted by Emultion_Rawks on June 12, 2005 at 2:10 PM (PDT)

3

“Admittedly, it requires a $199 rebate that the shoddy company might never actually pay you”

What the hell?

What makes it OK to say this?  Has Dell ever not paid a rebate?  How about some facts and less editorializing without evidence?

Posted by stark23x on June 12, 2005 at 2:17 PM (PDT)

4

Excuse me, Mr. Del… I mean, stark23x…

It’s quite common for rebate “offers” (read: scams) to be denied or “lost” in processing. Do some research yourself.

Posted by ash8080 in Florida, USA on June 12, 2005 at 2:42 PM (PDT)

5

Not a great one- but I did receive an email from Apple (the educators list) for free engraving when purchasing an iPod (as a graduation present).

Posted by George Masters on June 12, 2005 at 3:22 PM (PDT)

6

ash8080, I have no affiliation with Dell at all and I own four iPods.  Nice try though, kid.  I simply want FACTS.

It’s well known that some rebate offers are way too hard to get and some are intentionally manipulated.  I asked if Jeremy Horwitz had any proof that Dell was one of those companies.

Posted by stark23x on June 12, 2005 at 3:27 PM (PDT)

7

Well, their seems to be an offensive going on in amsterdam.. i give you an example.. i was there just a few moments ago, to see the new star wars movie, and well, we we’re walking up to the cinema, and i already saw two HUGE billboards hanging, like 10x20m, then, when we were in the cinema, their was a new ipod ad shown, which had all sorts of ‘moving’ people, like, skaters doing weird tricks, really the summer vibes you know..

Posted by Jesse on June 12, 2005 at 3:36 PM (PDT)

8

Yes. I wouldn’t have said that if I didn’t have proof - and personal experiences. Dell’s rebate processing, customer service, and technical support are loathsome on a level that I cannot begin to summarize in this comments box. If you really need further substantiation, try searching for “Dell rebate” on Google (note - the second result is a complaints link if that’s any indication of how bad it is), or just go straight to that second result: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/computers/dell_rebates.html.

“We are awash in complaints about unpaid Dell rebates. The complaints below represent just a tiny fraction of the megabytes of complaints we’ve received over the last few years. There is no sign the situation is improving, so buyer beware!”

Just a few of the comments from that thread:

“Obviously I have been a loyal customer to Dell, but because of their deceptive business practices they have lost a customer for life. It will cost Dell a lot more than a $500 rebate for their mistake.

I purchased the tv expecting it to cost $2999 after the rebate. Instead it has cost me $500 more. I feel Dell stole $500 from me. They will not take the tv back because it is past the Dell satisfaction guarantee period.?

“Dell has refused to reissue the checks on three occasions now. It was an expensive lesson for a senior living on an extremely low fixed income, but I will never buy from Dell again based on this experience. This was my third Dell, and I needed two more for friends I have introduced to the net. Forget Dell.?

“I’m supposed to be getting $250 in rebates back from my computer but they keep losing info on my status (so they say). I’ve called 4 times now and I get the same result - they can’t find any record of it.?

I will go so far as to call the company’s conduct on rebates and advertised specials criminal. If I was a litigator, one of my first goals would be to mount a class action on behalf of the many, many people who have been deceived and ripped off by that sleazy company. I consider it a personal mission to inform and warn people I know about these practices, so that they don’t have to go through the problems I have.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 12, 2005 at 3:47 PM (PDT)

9

Can anyone say Owned?

Posted by Cliff on June 12, 2005 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

10

haha how about pwned cliff?

Posted by ryan on June 12, 2005 at 7:33 PM (PDT)

11

Yes—there is no connection to a company’s mindshare and their reputability when it comes to rebates.

Our family has submitted 3 rebates for new phones with T-Mobile, and not a one of them have been received.  They either go completely ignored, or we get a cold robotic letter telling us some mundane reason why we didn’t qualify… it’s ridiculous, and certainly criminal.

Posted by Jerrod Hofferth on June 12, 2005 at 10:22 PM (PDT)

12

Jeremy:

THAT has completely convinced my of your position.  No offense, but all you had to do to be a much more responsible tech reporter was to link exactly what you linked in the comment and I would never have balked at your characterization.

I’m honestly not trying to be a jerk, I just see way too much mudslinging and not enough evidence when it comes to tech writing, so I wanted to be convinced you had a point.  You completely convinced me.  Thank you for following up.

Posted by stark23x on June 13, 2005 at 6:58 AM (PDT)

13

That Dell comment caught my eye as well, because my experience with Dell & rebates has been extremely positive. I have had occasion to get two rebates from Dell over the past two years (one for a Dimension desktop in 2003 and one for an Inspiron laptop last year), and in both cases the rebates were simple to fill out and send in, and were fulfilled in less than 3 weeks - extraordinary performance as far as these things go.

Now am I saying these folks on on the linked site are liars? Of course not. The problem is that we are dealing with anecdotal evidence (mine included, of course). Every large company is going to make mistakes, and the customers on the receiving end of same are going to speak up louder than the satisfied ones (as they should). But unless there are hard stats (and a phrase like “megabytes of complaints” is FAR from qualifying as real data), some kind of damning internal documents, or actual indictments, I think it’s a little over the top to call them criminal.

FWIW, the beloved Apple has also made that site’s “Dellish Rogues Gallery”:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/computers/apple.html

Now frankly, I wish rebates would go away. If congress or the state legislatures would decide to outlaw them that would be fine with me. Every company offering them will go to every legal length available to avoid paying them. If you don’t dot every “i” and cross every “t” EXACTLY as specified in all the fine print, you’re going to be denied. Is it right? No, but it’s reality. I don’t believe an educated consumer should make ANY purchasing decision based on some rebate they may get back. Buy if you think you’re getting a good deal on an item you want, and look at the rebate check (if and when it comes) as a bonus.

“If I was a litigator, one of my first goals would be to mount a class action…”

Oh man, don’t get me started on class action lawsuits. This editorial published in last week’s Houston Chronicle reveals the ugly truth about many class action suits:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/steffy/3215955

Hey, I am a party to the class action that was settled against Creative recently. And what do I get?? 25% off any Creative product if purchased directly from them!! How does this punish Creative?? Class action lawsuits like this are a joke.

Now, if some of these litigators actually had the nads to haul these companies into court and in front of a jury, we might get somewhere…

Full disclosure: I am a satisfied customer of both Dell & Apple, owning two Dell PCs, two iPods, and soon an iMac (due at my door on Wednesday).

Posted by Fangorn in Texas on June 13, 2005 at 11:22 AM (PDT)

14

Jeremy,

FYI, I ordered a 30gb photo ipod from FYE, same as Coconuts, with the 20% off sale.  Price would have been 299, but my order was cancelled with the following explanation:

Our supplier recently informed us that item #90145150 “Apple iPod Photo 30GB” on your order was listed with incorrect information. Because of this, the product has been automatically cancelled from your order

Posted by Geo Webb on June 18, 2005 at 8:02 PM (PDT)

15

Stark23x: Backstage is my (and supposedly, other iPodlounge editors’) blog. I’m not necessarily looking to justify/provide infinite details on every little aside in a blog entry I write - just provide some additional information and let people make of it what they will. But if I feel that I need to do so, I’ll respond to a question on something here.

Fangorn: Re: class action litigation, I’m as put off as you by the settlements typically negotiated. But in the absence of these suits, the companies would never be punished at all. And the real problem here is the lenient judges who approve settlements that benefit the lawyers and settling companies more than injured consumers.

On consumer complaints, besides the fact that they’re not of recent vintage, the complaints against Apple on that site aren’t even in the same league as the ones against Dell. And I’ll say, again from personal experience, that Dell’s sales/rebate practices are literally illegal. Their violations of federal and state laws on advertising and delivery of goods, amongst other things, suggest the sort of systematic (“it could only happen with approval from the top”) sort of fraud that gets executives jailed these days - or fined millions of dollars. Just try running some searches on Dell concession codes and the circumstances that have required people to seek them.

Geo: The coupon is probably expired or discontinued for Apple products at this point.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 19, 2005 at 1:09 AM (PDT)

16

Fanghorn said (among other things)...
“FWIW, the beloved Apple has also made that site’s “Dellish Rogues Gallery?:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/computers/apple.html”

If you follow that link you’ll see that the only examples of Apple’s Dellishness come from Dorian of LA on 9/11/02 and David of New Jersey on 7.24.02. C’mon, we’re half way through 2005 for crying out load!

Posted by Rikk David on June 21, 2005 at 9:48 PM (PDT)

17

I bought the HP 1320 Laser printer with a $100 rebate and they actually sent me the check.  Their are still some decent businesses out their.

Posted by jeff on June 23, 2005 at 11:29 PM (PDT)

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