On-line Pre-Orders: Apple Leopard Vs. Guitar Hero III
I recently pre-ordered two items on-line. Apple Leopard
and Red Octane's Guitar Hero III
for the Nintendo Wii.
Something unique that these two orders share in common is that I ordered them both directly from the Manufacturer. Also, both items included free shipping.
Unfortunately that is where the differences ended (both should rock as well I guess).
I pre-ordered Leopard from Apple's on-line store 4 days before it's release. Apple had a promotion for free shipping and guaranteed delivery on Friday October 26th (the in-store release date for Leopard). They shipped it overnight and I had it in my hands when I got home from lunch. By the end of work I was up and running with an updated Mac... and happy. The next day I went to my local Mac store
and bought Apple's iLife & iWork '08 products suites to compliment my upgrade.
In contrast, I pre-ordered Guitar Hero III on September 4th (about 54 days before the release date of the game) from Red Octane's on-line store. Their bundle offered free ground shipping. No guaranteed delivery. I have been secure in knowing I would have my hands on the game regardless of the demand for the game and supply in the stores. Plus I was ordering a sweet bundle.
Flash forward to today and I am seeing tons of reports of Guitar Hero III being out and launch pics from the weekend, etc. And I am wondering where my copy is. I use Red Octane's order lookup and find my order has not shipped. I sent an e-mail to the support team and I get a generic response that my e-mail has been received and will be handled when possible. Tonight I check the status again and find my order has been shipped and I have a tracking number. I will have my order on Wednesday (Halloween, cool).
Why couldn't customer pre-orders ship the week prior to arrive in sync with retail stores? Is that too much to ask?
Also, there are no stand alone Wii guitars for sale to have 2-player games yet. As Apple was able to capture some additional cash with me buying some supporting software, I am anxious (to say the least) to get a 2nd guitar. Red Octane's support crew only sends you a generic canned "No announcements" response when you query about an extra guitar. I hope they get into the game soon.
While I may come off being very bitter against Red Octane for not having my order here earlier (and I am), I am mostly just pointing out how well Apple operates and serves their customers.
Radiohead "In Rainbows" now available for download
I just got my e-mail notifying me that the new Radiohead album "In Rainbows" is available for download. I bought the album for $1.09* last week from their web site
when I heard that the band had ditched their record label and was self-releasing the album via digital download with "name your own price" pricing method.
Now, you might consider me a cheapskate only paying $1.09 for an album, as that is about the same price for a single song on some of the big on-line retailers. However, it is $1.09 more than Radiohead got from me for their last album, which I did not pay for nor did I download in any form.
Also, Radiohead gets to keep 100% of the money. I love the idea of paying the band directly. I had to pay an additional processing fee of about $0.98 which I can assume covers all of the credit card processing and maybe even some of the bandwidth of delivering the album over the Internet.
I have posted some screen shots of the process of getting the album: Download. Unzip. Drag into iTunes.
I am a littler disappointed that the ZIP file didn't include artwork for the album. Nor did the MP3's have the artwork embedded in the files. Also, the song's were lacking a Genre tag. What, does Radiohead not want to pigeon-hole themselves into a genre?
I think Harvey Danger
did a better job of packaging their album Little By Little
into a digital download back in 2005 when they released it for free and asked for donations afterwards.
Some of the biggest news surrounding Radiohead's digital release is not that you can name your own price (even $0.00) but that the songs are in a DRM-Free MP3 format giving the end users the right to play them freely on all their devices without lame restrictions
I think these are interesting times for major label bands that have the fan base and their name built up to explore options like this. Interesting indeed.
*Radiohead is based in the UK, so I had to use Google to convert the values I wanted to pay in USD to GBP
. When it was all said and done I paid about $2 even.