Customers are talking: David Pogue’s “Take Back the Beep”

There have been expressions of customer outrage in the past, but this one feels different. David Pogue, the widely read tech columnist of The New York Times, wrote a couple of weeks ago about the instructions wireless companies force you to listen to when you leave a voice mail for a cell customer, or retrieve them from your wireless phone.

Pogue asserted that the lengthy instructions were intended to boost usage and thereby carrier ARPU. He followed the initial column with a series of posts (begin here) on a campaign he titled “Take Back the Beep,” in which he asked readers to contact their cellphone carriers to complain about this practice.

The campaign was referenced by bloggers Doc Searls and Umair Haque (creator of the Edge Economy blog and possessing a, say, radical view of the vices and virtues of corporate America).

What’s different this time? Pogue, Haque and Searls enjoy a large, influential audience via the blogosphere and Twitter. This gives them real-time weapons they can deploy without going through editors’ approval. And their voices support each other, and inspire other writers (um, like this one) to further spread the word.

How different this is to one enraged customer browbeating a poor customer service rep! Perhaps this is the first strike in the battle against companies customers hate.

Related posts:
Companies profiting from customers’ mistakes, watch out
Doc Searls runs up against Simply Everything’s limits

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