Corporate Web Site Blunders – The Wall Street Journal Example
Like so many of my friends, I’m very, very tired of corporate America wasting the time of millions of users of computers through buggy software and buggy web site changes. Indeed, as a small business owner, I consider bad software and bad web sites a FAR greater problem than any government regulation. The latest example of a buggy web site arises from the Wall Street Journal web site. I’ve been an online subscriber for many, many years, and have been using the same user name and password since June 2011. Since then, nothing has changed at my end for that account – zip, nothing, nada. And I use password keeping software (Dashlane) in order to avoid sign-in hassles. So, imagine my surprise when on Monday November 17, 2014, I suddenly could NOT sign in to the WSJ from my main office computer (which has not changed for well over a year.) After much wasted time, a “help” person on “chat” finally said I should reset the cookie by going to the address bar and typing in: WSJ.com/delete_cookie I followed the instructions and then was able to get back in to the web site. But not for long.
Tuesday evening (Nov. 18), I tried to log in to the Journal, from home, on my desktop computer at home (it too has not changed for over a year). But, of course, you guessed it, I was once again locked out of the WSJ site. So, back to more time wasting with the WSJ chat line. Needless to say, I inquired rather pointedly about what changes were made to the WSJ web site to suddenly cause this problem on two different computers. But of course, there was no answer. Just malarkey from a chat person, who denied any changes, but the chat person of course has no clue what has been done or not done to the relevant servers. The chat is pasted below, in full.
The bottom line? The once-proud and useful WSJ now falls even further. If it were an upstanding company, it would warn users – up front – that changes were made, and that users must enter a new password. Instead, however, the WSJ failed to do that, and left users to waste their time trying to understand and get by the problem. So, here’s a 1 finger salute to Rupert and his tech minions. Meanwhile, I’m still locked out and have NOT received the promised telephone call from a “supervisor.” If I could get in, all this text would be going to the Editor at the WSJ. But of course, that’s not possible when locked out.
You are now chatting with JOY
Kirk: My name is Kirk Hartley and the email is email@example.com. The Problem – yesterday and again today is that your website refuses to allow me in even though I’ve been a subscriber for 15 years. FIX IT!
JOY: Hi, Kirk.
JOY: I understand that you are inquiring about your WSJ Digital access.
JOY: I’m sorry about the inconvenience.
JOY: I’ll be happy to assist you. Can you confirm the account holder’s name please?
Kirk: Read the above Joy – I did this yesterday too so I know the drill
JOY: I apologize.
Kirk: Also useless – fix the problem
JOY: Please try to delete cookies, by typing WSJ.com/delete_cookie on the address bar.
Kirk: I did that yesterday. It worked for less than 24 hours. What have you done to change the system – why does this keep happening?
JOY: What browser are you using?
Kirk: Actually, I just did what you said, and it STILL will not let me in.
JOY: What errors are you receiving?
JOY: You need to delete cookies to remove the information websites have stored on your computer.
Kirk: Error message says “we were unable to find this email/username and password combination.” I have had the same name and password for a decade – this IS a problem at your end.
Kirk: I know what a cookie is Joy, and I just deleted it with your words but your system still does not let me in.
JOY: Our records indicate that you have an active WSJ Digital account registered under Login firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOY: To alleviate your access issues, an email containing the password reset link has been sent to email@example.com. This link will be valid for 30 days. Please remember, your chosen password must be 5-15 characters in length, may not include symbols, and is case sensitive.
Kirk: That’s been true for years – thanks for the newsflash (sarcasm intended).
JOY: Please be aware that the password is case sensitive.
Kirk: Joy – what have you at the WSjJ done to screw this up and waste my time on your problem. I already have a password that matches those rules.
JOY: I’m just basing it under the errors that you have received, Kirk.
Kirk: I use password keeping software – it does not make mistakes on the case, nor do I. So, back to my question – what has the WSJ done to screw this up and waste my time, and no doubt the time of others.
JOY: I apologize, I am having some system issues.
JOY: Please try to log out and log back in.
Kirk: I want an answer to the question Joy.
JOY: We did not do anything with your account, Kirk.
Kirk: I’m sure you did not. But what have you done to your servers and/or other computers to cause this problem that did not exist for the last few years?
JOY: Nothing has changed, Kirk.
Kirk: Nonsense. Machines do not work on day 1 and fail to work on day 2 unless something has changed. Go talk to your boss and get an accurate answer.
JOY: We are trained about this job and I assure you that we know what we are doing.
Kirk: Then tell me oh learned one why this suddenly happens after years of working perfectly?
JOY: As you have mentioned, the error that you are receiving is about not being able to find the email/username and password combination.
Kirk: And I am using the same username and password I’ve been using for years and have not changed. So, obviously, your system has a sudden memory problem caused by some change at your end. So, please go get a real answer from your boss.
JOY: Alright. Can you hold while I look for an available supervisor?
JOY: Thank you for holding.
Kirk: It is now 8:53 CST.
JOY: I am sorry for the trouble. What is the best phone number that you can be contacted right now to rectify this issue?
JOY: Thank you. Please wait for my supervisor’s call, Kirk.
JOY: Is there anything else I may assist you with?
Kirk: BTW, you are about to be on the web – I am publishing our exchange on my blog tomorrow morning to highlight the flaws of the WSJ. Look at GlobalTort.com. Good bye.