Shareware Beach

Friday, 1 April 2005

Sentient Life Discovered Outside U.S.

Filed under: Cyberspace — Jan @ 20:01

It almost reads like the caption of a stale April fool’s joke trying to fool Joe Sixpack into believing that not all humans live in the U.S. But it’s not a joke, and it’s not funny.

Now, it’s perfectly understandable that the Smithville Florist hasn’t made his business ready for the global market, even if I did find him from the other side of the world with just a few random clicks on Google Maps. But when you’re selling on the Internet, you’re only a click away from the rest of the world. Make sure you’re prepared for people visiting your web site from all over the world. Even if you don’t export your products or services.

Since reading about the Napster To Go service, I’ve been looking around the Web for other kinds of new-fangled music services. Yesterday I looked at Rhapsody’s web site. I read all of the “about Rhapsody” pages and decided the service was worth a try. So I clicked the big orange arrow, ready to give them my credit card number and other dear secrets.

I didn’t get beyond page two. They didn’t care to know which country I live in. They also didn’t bother to tell me their service is only available in the U.S. Now I don’t expect them to plaster that all over the site in a big bold font. But is it too much to ask to be polite and at least mention it on the sign-up page. They do devote space to the system requirements on the home page, so why not mention there that it’s U.S. only for now. Why not offer me to enter my email address and country, so they can notify me when the service is expanded?

If you sell on the Internet, don’t assume that your customers know where you are, or that they know your local conventions even if they do know your location. Be careful with words like “domestic” and “foreign”, since people visiting your web site from abroad use these concepts in the opposite way. And if you only sell locally, be polite and mention it up front.

Welcome to the big world.

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