About two weeks ago, I got the following message from Microsoft Entourage (the bastard child of Outlook and OS X) when I attempted to connect to my free Hotmail account:
You can bet I was pretty upset to learn that access to Hotmail was going to cost me an additional vig each month when I've already paid for
this particular access client — Entourage. It's not like they made Hotmail a pay-only service and Entourage was just another, undifferentiated gateway into its special little world of wonder. Compounding my blind rage at this point was the fact that my introduction to this new business model was delivered through a freakin' modal dialog error message. I couldn't recall seeing a message or announncement in my Inbox in recent weeks or months that might've prepared me for this. No. It was just, >boink<, and at that moment I'm on the outside looking in. No spam for you!
Oh, and if you had the chutzpah to click Learn More...
? I think you ended up at some very generic "Upgrade your Freeloader Account Now!" appeal. Not unexpected. But hey, how about at least a "Valued Entourage User! Get Hotmail Plus for the first 6 months for just $1.99!" or something to reflect that fact that I was already bought in. Just personalize the gesture a touch more, and I might've given it a second thought.
I have a feeling someone high up in the program management food chain at MSN relented, though, because a few days later this message did not appear again when I dared connect to my Inbox through Entourage. Been moving along just fine ever since.
Do you connect to Hotmail through Outlook using the mother ship OS? Did you ever see this dialog box, even just for a couple of days? I wonder if I was part of some sort of test-marketing campaign. I don't remember anyone declaring "Microsoft PR crisis brewing in the blogosphere!" or any other hue and cry rising from the blogmasses around this issue. I'm still just a bit baffled. Even if MSN's fair intention was to convert freebie Hotmail users, going about it through the error handling UI of the mail client is no way to make that winning first impression.
Labels: User Experience Observations