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Barnes & Noble Stuck On Stupid

By Abu Yahya ·
I recently visited my local B&N store this AM with the idea that I would check my email before going into the office. I usually purchase a $3.00 cup of coffee first and then check email, answer email, etc.

When I tried to log in, I got a "Freedom-link" (spelled $$$$) screen providing info on how to log in and/or purchase surfing time. The fee (in Baton Rouge) is $4.00 for 2 hours. I folded my PC and headed for Charlies at the local Walmart down the road where the wireless was free and the coffee cheaper. It's not that the $4.00 would break me it's just that the whole incident stinks of unmitigated greed.

I am sure the B&N Harvard MBA marketing types did their homework on this but it is hard for me to figure out how this business model brings in more customers. As an example, I met there a couple weeks ago with two of my friends. We probably spent $10.00 for coffee and snacks but purposely picked B&N because we wanted to confer about a web site, which took all of about 10 minutes internet time. Do you think we'll meet there again? Not!

I thought I knew something about a proven merchandising model but I guess I was wrong. I always thought that getting someone to come into into a place of business was the first step. Once they are there, you try to get them to stay long enough to look around and buy something. Who knows? They may buy a cup of coffee, pastries, books, magazines, etc.

C'mon B&N, it can't be about money. The newspaper just reported that your profits in this town have at least doubled over last year. Why the squeeze? Do you really think this is a good way to draw more people into your store? I think that many, like me, will seek out one of the other 2-3 places within a mile of you to find a more consumer-friendly spot to have a cup of coffee and check email.

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Get used to it

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Barnes & Noble Stuck On S ...

B&N is probably just on the leading edge of the trend. It's the cocaine model of marketing: the first one's free. Now that there are enough people hooked on the idea of accessing the web without having to provide their own network infrastructure, start charging them for it.

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Been to Starbucks in the last couple of years?

by jdgretz In reply to Barnes & Noble Stuck On S ...

This is not a new thing - Starbucks has been doing it for a couple of years now and they have no problem filling the stores and selling time. Same goes for FexEx/Kinkos. You can use their network for a fee.

Sure, I'd rather my favorite hangout gave away Internet access, but if they don't that's no big thing for me - I can go home and use it, or stay at the office for a bit longer, or park outside almost any apartment complex and find an open WiFi connection, or.... you get the idea.

Heck, why don't you purchase a broadband wireless card and service from your favorite provider and you don't have to worry if a store provides access or not.

Oh wait, that means you would have to pay for a service you find valuable.

Silly me.


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Silly You

by Abu Yahya In reply to Been to Starbucks in the ...

Jdgretz, I was hoping to find more a more sympathetic audience but, silly me, you certainly proved me wrong.

I was basically commenting on Barne's and Noble's unusual interpretation of market forces in that they are attempting to get people to pay for something when they can get that something free, or perceived as free, from a competitor close by. Again, silly me, I assumed that TechRepublic's readers had some basic education beyond a tecko/geeko arena of knowledge (e.g. Marketing 101) but, silly me, you proved me wrong. I get the impression that you are one of those people who love to pay taxes.

You are profoundly correct in that I do find internet services quite valuable. But you lost me in your subsequent logic as to the justification of paying for any service I find valuable. I, for instance, regard potable water as extremely valuable but have rarely been asked to pay for it when visiting a favorite restaurant. Your argument was what most first year high school logic students learn as being an ad hominem argument or a logical fallacy. A makes claim B; there is something objectionable about A, therefore claim B is false. I assume you opted out of those classes also.

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by CharlieSpencer In reply to Silly You

You're not getting it for free at the other places. They've just hidden the cost in the price of other things you're buying there. ALL the customers are helping to pay for the service, whether they use it or not. At least B&N is up front about the cost and isn't spreading it across customers who don't use it.

Why do you expect to get either bandwidth or water for free, just because that's what you've become used to? I believe many other countries charge for water in restaurants; I'm sure TR members in other countries will correct one of us.

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Marketing 101

by jdgretz In reply to Silly You

Let's see - I think that breaks down to What Ever The Traffic Will Bear.

If the management of B&N felt they should provide this as a free service to entice customers into the store, to stay longer (hopefully purchasing something along the way) or bring new customers into the store, I'm sure they would have done so.

Do you truly believe B&N did this without doing market research first???

It is a shame (for you at least) your wishes for a sympathetic audiance have not come to fruition so far, but you didn't stipulate in your post that you only wanted favorable or supporting posts.

Since I disagree with your thoughts and you do not wish to hear divergent opinions, I'll move on.

Have a nice life.


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B&N Website stuck on stupid

by Dr Dij In reply to Barnes & Noble Stuck On S ...

try this:
goto and search for 'microstrategy', a popular report creation tool similar to crystal reports.

you'll probably find 3 or 4 books, all of which has microstrategy in the title.

now goto
repeat this search.

you come up with 15,000 or so books, and apparently NONE have anything to do with 'microstrategy'. they show 'microsoft' instead. it works this way with some other words beginning with 'micro..'

their search engine is either retarded or they've been bribed by m$ to make anything with 'micro..' turn up microsoft.

I've mentioned this to their help line months ago with no response. so major company has retarded website? wow. I wonder what their CIO, ceo, etc would think.

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