AdCenter: desperate, but not serious

Free advertising offers I’ve received from AdCenter:

July 2006: $30
Feb 2007: $100
Mar 2007: $200

Tables don’t communicate the drama as well as a graph:

On current trends, within a few months, it will be cheaper for MSFT to just buy out my business than to convince me to try their ad system.

At any rate, $200 is a lot of money, so I visited AdCenter and found the front end has been completely overhauled, but contains the same amateur-hour website errors.

  1. Incompatible with Safari browser. Safari is inconsequential for the general population (probably 2%), but widely used by web designers (probably 30%) — AdCenter’s primary target audience. But OK, I can use Firefox.
  2. Fails silently on incompatible browsers. AdCenter doesn’t bother to detect and warn of incompatible browsers — it simply fails in various comical/nonsensical ways, halfway through whatever task you were attempting. Browser detection (”sorry, this site is incompatible with Safari”) is vanishingly easy to implement, so it’s utterly amateur for an organization MSFT’s size to ignore it.
  3. Credit card entry page is 1200 pixels wide. Good thing I upgraded my monitor last month. Clearly no one outside the ivory tower tested this app, or they would have noticed most people don’t have a monitor this big.
  4. On Firefox, the voluminous “Terms and Conditions” legalese appears in a tiny text box only 2 lines high by 20 characters wide. It’s like reading Tolstoy through a keyhole.
  5. On credit card validation, received mysterious “Alert: has sent an incorrect or unexpected message. Error Code: -12263.” I click “OK,” and am greeted with “Thanks for signing up!” So everything is OK now? Who was What was error -12263? The mysterious unexplained errors are nothing like a normal Web experience. They remind me more of… Windows.
  6. Inside the app’s campaign center, web pages load forever, evidently to keep a live connection with the server. How can that scale? They keep a connection open for every user simultaneously?

It is absolutely shocking how far behind Microsoft is in this arena.

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