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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

.mac, Apple's Forgotten Stepchild

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Member Since: Aug 01, 2007
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This post paraphrases a posting I placed on the Apple forums on July 16th. The post was removed in an apparent "snub" about it's contents.

I made an observation, as a longtime .mac subscriber, that .mac seemed to be among the most neglected Apple products or services. I'm not a rude guy, and I don't generally call any other individuals out on a forum or otherwise flame anyone else. I illustrated that valid point by noting the improvements to the service, little software apps and "tips and tricks" that had been offered to .mac subscribers in the three years I'd been there, especially with a focus on the past year or so.

Here is that analysis:

In the first two years as a .mac subscriber we experienced a) increases in storage, b) new special offers or free software apps for .mac users about once every two months, c) improvements to the e-mail interface and generally decent attention.

Over the year from July 2006 through 2007, however, there was a noticeable drop-off in the service:

Let's look, even at the past 18 months of just the "tips and tricks", and ignore the fact that there have been no service increases or other special offerings to .mac subscribers over the past several months.

In Feb. through Apr. '06 there were 18 posts in the tips and tricks
In May through July '06 - 17 posts
August through October '06 - 15 posts
November '06 through January '07 - 13 posts
February through April '07 - 10 posts
May through July '07 - 5 posts *

* it is interesting to note that of the 5 posts in the most recent quarter, two of them appeared after I pointed out on the .mac forums that there had been a lack of attention (those posts are dated July 17 and July 31).

Let's be honest, "tips and tricks" is not the only measurement of service offered to .mac subscribers but it is (in my opinion) one of the easiest and least costly of the tidbits that Apple can throw out at us. A more in-depth analysis of offerings through .mac would show a similar drop-off in service improvements and tangible benefits like member-only software offerings.

Okay, so it does seem that .mac is languishing a bit. I think what I've presented is at least a valid observation. So, after posting this information on the Apple .mac discussion forums (which are, by the way for user discussions), I found that my post vanished.

Yes, sadly, I was censored. No comments or replies. No healthy debate. No, "gee it seems that there is something more that could be done with .mac, thanks for helping us recognize the issue".

Why have a discussion forum if there is no intent to actually discuss? As a point of reference, businesses host forums and blogs to improve their interaction and receive feedback from customers...that feedback becomes a part of the company's message. So, if you don't want to dialogue with customers - don't do blogs and discussion forums and simply use top-down delivery for all your communications. Why? because censoring someone's valid points defeats the entire purpose of dialogue - having a blog or user forum says "we want the discussion" and then censoring certain posts that make valid observations but may be critical of services or products (legitimately critical, I might add) is like saying "we only want discussions that make us look good, and we'll shut anyone else up".

Note - I'm still a .mac subscriber and I still love Apple products, but I don't love Apple's approach to engaging (or more accurately not engaging) on what I see is fair comment on the products and services. Thank you though, Apple, for actually responding to the issue by starting to post "tips and tricks" again - I feel valued....really I do. I swear.

Why treat .mac subscribers, the most avid Apple users, as if they are unimportant?
Why delete the valid observations of members of that user group on discussion forums?
Well, what's a guy supposed to do after that? I guess the Apple forums will not be the only place I have to raise the issue.
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I don't know about Apple's official blogs, but a couple months ago, Steve did comment about .mac directly. He acknowledged the fact that .mac has been neglected and added that they would be making up for lost time "in the very near future". I think this means there will be some major updates/additions/changes to .mac service by the end of the year.

I'm excited to see what they do with it. .mac really has a lot of potential to do great things and a company like Apple is just the sort of company that can make some really great things with it.

"Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"
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