Renewing .Mac

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
September 9th, 2003 • 4:17 am

Tis the season of renewals… or so it seems. Today I got an email from Apple indicating that my credit card information for my .Mac account was no longer valid. A nice way of reminding me that the account itself is up for renewal… At least they didn’t wait until the actual renewal to CHECK and make sure my credit card information was up to date.

(I’ve now added my .Mac account to the list of things I have to UPDATE whenever my credit card information changes… I’ve already been caught by surprise a couple of times with other services that weren’t kind enough to notify me beforehand. Really it’s a bit much for fully computerized services to ask their customers to remember to UPDATE their credit card information, when it would be so easy for them to send a notification, like Apple just did for my .Mac account.)

So Apple chose to turn the “automatic renewal” option ON for my account by default… I’m not sure I find this approach 100% honest. After all, they must know that a lot of existing customers are not quite sure that they will renew at the full $100US price this year. Turning the option OFF by default and sending a notification by email that the option was available would have been less pushy.

In any case, the process of updating the credit card information is relatively painless. And at least the notification message that I got had a plain text alternative instead of only containing some lousy HTML-only “e-mail” message. (Still, the quality of the plain text formatting could be better.)

I decided to renew for a few reasons. One is the simplicity of the synchronizing process for Safari bookmarks, Address Book entries and iCal calendars using iSync. Another one is the several “goodies” that were given away during the first year of the service. I actually enjoyed some of the games that they offered, and there were other software titles that looked interesting (including the recent offer of a copy of StickyBrain 2).

I don’t really use my address much these days, and even if I hadn’t renew, I understand that I would still have retained ownership of the account name for the (free) iChat service. So I didn’t renew just in ORDER to be able to keep my user name (igot).

The last reason why I renewed was the special offer of a $30CDN rebate as part of the subscription renewal (there are two other alternatives: a copy of The Sims, or a copy of EverQuest — neither of which I am particularly interested in). Of course, it’s almost completely offset by the fact that I now have to pay Canada/Nova Scotia tax (15%) on my .Mac subscription, because Apple noticed that the country in my mailing address was Canada and decided to charge me in Canadian dollars “for [my] convenience”. But I guess a tax-free service was just too good to be true.

The only problem I have with this rebate thing is that, on the page where I chose it, Apple stated quite clearly that the rebate would expire on September 25, 2003. Then, once I indicated my choice and asked the web site to process it, I was taken a “Thank you” page that said:

Thank You!

Your special gift will be sent 4-6 weeks from October 06, 2003 PDT.

Mmm. If the rebate does indeed expire on September 25, 2003, we are going to have a slight problem here… (I’d send some feedback to Apple on this via the .Mac Feedback Form, but the options for “Operating System” only go up to “Mac OS X 10.2.4”. I’m using Mac OS X 10.2.6. I guess they don’t want my feedback.)

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