MSN Canada Responds To My Buffering Issues

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MSN Canada just proved two things. One, it pays to listen. Two, it costs next to nothing.
On the weekend, I posted this: Buffering – Stop The Chop. I was pissed off because my “streaming” of Rock Star : Supernova kept getting chopped and the “buffering” message was buffing me off.
This just hit my in box. It’s from Stephen Evans who is the Manager of Information Services & Merchant Platform at MSN Canada:
“Hi Mitch,
I’ve been reading your Blog for a few months now, and have really enjoyed your take on online marketing in the brave new world of social media (I’m an ex-Montrealer so always interested in what’s going on back home, also interested in the whole BarCamp, CaseCamp phenom). I was interested to read your post ‘Buffering – Stop The Chop’ as MSN Video in Canada is one of my responsibilities here at MSN Canada. Our goal at MSN is to provide great content experiences for our audience, and whenever I hear a about and experience – like the one you had trying to view Rock Star Supernova, I want to find out what happened and how we can fix it. If you’re okay with it, I’d like to have my Video Channel Manager reach out to you and gather some further information we can pass on to our development team. This could be a real win-win, allowing us to improve the product and better serve customers like you.”
Regardless of what you think about MSN, Microsoft, etc… this is very impressive. And, they’ve turned the semi-negative (I know it’s not MSN Canada’s issue) into an engaged conversation.
Here’s the big question: if MSN is listening, what possible excuse could any other company have for not listening?


  1. Great job getting MSN to respond and address your issue. Agree that companies should have their ear to the ground and listen to their customers, yet a business case needs to be made for most to ‘get this’ and start listening. If you have one, share it and hopefully, they will all start listening soon, because it’s hard to get them to make that change without demonstrating the ROI. They need to know for sure that they are losing revenues by not listening, and more net revenue is being lost than if they added the resources to do the listening. That is what needs to be demonstrated here.

  2. Thanks for the comment Ron.
    There are many examples (or case studies) on not listening. If you remember the Kryptonite bike lock incident, my understanding is that the video posted to Engadget cost the company over $20 million dollars in damages.
    Now, that doesn’t compare to simple buffering issues, but if people have a bad experience… they talk about it. Now, through the power of social media, we can tell a whole lot of people. Very fast.
    Can you even do an ROI study on what the Chevy Tahoe Consumer Generated Content ad campaign cost them in goodwill gone bad?
    There are many, many examples.

  3. I think it’s fair to say that Chevy anticipated the fact that they were at risk in launching such a campaign, and still went ahead anyway. Like other brands, they obviously want their share of consumer generated content ‘out there’ and basically this was a case gone bad…..or was it… who knows? As for an ROI study, it starts with the marketing campaign itself, what it cost them and to what degree they achieved their campaign objectives. Without seeing the full picture (how much they spent, what their sales were, etc…), we will never know if the ROI was there or not, yet one thing is certain; if you are going to leverage social media and include it in your marketing mix, you need to be sure that you know what you are getting in to and that any dedicated resources you put toward such efforts are at a better ROI than if you didn’t do anything at all or elected to put your resources elsewhere.
    With regard to the Kryptonite bike lock, it’s obviously a flawed product. At the end of the day, you need to ensure that your products work and work as they say they are meant to work. As for the $20 million in damages, if they knew that a blogosphere frenzy was going on and didn’t address it, then they either willingly or unwillingly ended up having to face the music and $20 million is quite the price to pay. Having said that, the ROI case study does not come in to play here. The reason is that as much as they didn’t “listen”, who really knows if “listening” would have stopped the frenzy altogether? It really depends on what their responses would have been and how they would have dealt with the issue and what their crisis managment strategy would have been. It’s certainly likely that damages would have had to be paid anyway, even if they reacted. What I would like to see is a case where a social media frenzy occured which threatened to damage a brand and how the brand reacted and “listened” to those customers and what social media tactics, strategies and resources the company used to deal with the situation, with specifics on what it cost them and how they benefited from it.

  4. Thanks again Mitch for bringing this issue to our attenion. We are listening, and I want to encourage your readers to provide us with feedback on our services. At the end of the day it you folks online that we’re trying to serve here at MSN.

  5. MSN video is always chopping and real pain in the ass I manage to look at movies online but cannot look a simple msn video without buffering problem

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