Topics include: programming, Apple, Unix, gadgets, large-scale web sites and other nerdy stuff.

Deutsche Grammophon and Web Customer Service

2007-12-01 17:54:38

I read about Deutsche Grammophon's music download site on Gizmodo. They said it was a good store with high-quality downloads and no annoying DRM. I love DG recordings, so I browsed over their to check it out. Within a minute I found a Beethoven piano concerto to buy.

The purchase process was a little clumsy; I had to link out to another shopping cart site, and it was hard to find the shopping cart link. Then I got sent into this extra level of MasterCard security where I had to choose a new online security code for my card. Fine. But I finished all that and got dumped back into the checkout process. Fine, so I go through the credit card entry again, and this time I use that security code i had made. But then I get dumped back into the checkout process again. Now I'm worried. Did I just buy that album twice? What's going on? I guess there are bugs in their checkout system. I decided I'd just log a support case and see what happened.

But, guess what? There's no way to send a help request. There are some stupid FAQ pages about how to download music once you've bought it, but there is no feedback or purchase problem help link. At least not that I can find after looking for 10 minutes. Are you kidding?

Where I work, we don't sell anything; we make all our money through tiny bits of ad revenue. Our average revenue per visitor from ads is way less than $1. But we have feedback links ALL OVER THE PLACE. So if users need help, we give it to them, usually within a few hours, sometimes within minutes. So here's a web store (DG) that is selling stuff that probably has a gross margin of 90%, where they average purchase is probably $5 or $10, and some people are probably spending a lot more. And you can't even get help so you can give them money.

It's sad. This stuff really isn't that hard to figure out.

(Of course, this prompted me to go to, where I found the album in their MP3 download store. And it was $3 less, and I could buy it with one click.)