Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

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Making it hard for people to upgrade

There's a TV recording service here in Germany that lets you record free-to-air television and then download the result later on.

It comes in two flavours: free and paid. The free version is quite a bit more bare-bones and makes you program things by clicking on the buttons of a VCR picture (and each button has a one-second delay, so punching in 23:59 would take 23+59=82 seconds), while the paid version lets you set up one-click recordings from an electronic program guide, record all episodes of a given series, etc. etc.

When I signed up, IIRC the choice was between one of the three paid plans (depending on how many months you pre-pay for, the cost per month varies) and the free one, but the free one came with a one-month trial of the paid version (which you had to cancel if you didn't want it to convert to a 12-month paid version).

So, I picked that one and tried out the paid version, and it's all rather spiffy, but I also found that what I had most wanted to use it for wasn't possible since that particular channel couldn't be recorded due to "technical difficulties"; I contacted support about it and they told me that it was a known issue with that channel and they didn't know when it would be available again. So I cancelled the free trial, and at the end of the month, it turned into a free membership.

Now, the point I'm trying to get at. Occasionally, I've considered upgrading to paid membership anyway, at least for a while, because it is a bit annoying to program the free version (though thanks to Firefox's Web Developer Toolbar, at least it doesn't take that long since I can fill in the hidden form fields directly)... but there is no obvious way to upgrade!

The front page (pre-login) still mentions the paid versions, but when I log into my account, there's no button—let alone a prominent one—saying "give us your money!"! I'm astounded which marketing genius thought that up.

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