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How to Lose Impulse Sales, e23

Rare Sunday post!

I just (at the time of this writing) tried to buy something on e23 because I couldn’t find my copy physically around — GURPS Cabal, by the master of gaming horror, Kenneth Hite. It’s been years since I used my e23 account, so I’ve forgotten my username. Here’s the really crappy user experience I just got to deal with on the login screen:

If you don’t remember your username, or you’ve changed the e-mail address you registered with, please contact us for help.

Which directs me to a form that apparently goes to a human. It’s 1am Sunday morning in Austin. No human’s reading that. Whee.

I used to write this sort of software for a living. It takes, like, 10 minutes of code to add to what they have now. Hell, with rigorous testing, half an hour. And it’s just as secure as the human method–both methods are just going to look up an email address, find the corresponding username, and email it to that same address. So if the email address is compromised, either way that user’s fucked and the other end has no way of knowing.

Which is to say: security is no excuse here. It’s just an oversight, but since e23 has been around for several years, I find it disappointing.

To add to the frustration, the reset password page is misleading:

If you don’t remember your username, please enter your email address below, and we will send you a reminder.

And if I follow those instructions, hey, no dice. I get the joy of this response:

Error – Please enter your username and a valid e-mail address.

How I know this? Because my eyes went to the “reset your password” link before seeing the first text I quoted, and was then frustrated that the page lied to me. Then further frustrated that I have to wait for a human to get back to me so that I might have the privilege of giving that human money.

(That gets into a long lesson about user experience, expectations, and things like that. But that’s a derailment.)

I’ll probably find my copy of GURPS Cabal before then, so it’s doubtful that I’m now going to give that human my money.

[EDIT] Further awesome: It’s nearly 1am on Tuesday and I haven’t received it yet. Yay for human intervention systems.

– Ryan

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4 Responses to How to Lose Impulse Sales, e23

  1. buzz says:

    Companies typically fail to realize that everything they do that touches the customer in any way *is* their brand. Brand = reputation = customer experience.

    Granted, who knows what kind of resources SJG has allocated to maintenance of e23.

  2. Did you link them this so they can learn and perhaps improve? If not by email, then a tweet to their Twitter or perhaps to Phil Reed?

  3. Philip Reed says:

    Ryan, my e-mail this morning included a link to this post. I am sorry to hear that you had problems, but today if the first time I’ve been pointed at this specific issue with our website. I’m looking into it now. I know this doesn’t help you out any, but I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience with e23.