Verizon Doesn’t Want You to Moblog

So Verizon invests in a high speed EVDO network and smartphones like the Palm Treo 700-series…devices with both cameras and video capability along with multimedia messaging services built-in.

They work…but Verizon has set it up so that you won’t want to use the device for moblogging. For about two hours tonight I’ve been trying to figure out how to remove — AT THE END OF EVERY TEST BLOG POST THAT I MADE WITH AN IMAGE, VIDEO OR AUDIO SENT FROM THE MESSAGING APP IN MY NEW TREO — the following text:

To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime 6.5 or higher is required. Visit www.apple.com/quicktime/download to download the free player or upgrade your existing QuickTime Player. Note: During the download process when asked to choose an installation type (Minimum, Recommended or Custom), select Minimum for faster download.

I tried Preference settings and anything I could find in an attempt to turn this off so as to be able to do a blog post with JUST THE CONTENT I WANT IN THE POST. Went to their site, Palm’s site, read the manual, scoured the Web and was stumped. Oh yeah…I could somewhat understand this message being appended underneath a video, but an image? Also, the audio is a WAV file and Quicktime doesn’t natively handle that methinks.

This is such a laughingly bonehead move on the part of Verizon that I couldn’t believe that some bit couldn’t be twiddled and this paragraph removed so I called into tech support. The technical support guy (and his supervisor) I talked with for 45 minutes were initially uncooperative and a bit hostile and then finally came around to my argument that:

  • Verizon has invested heavily in the fastest high speed mobile network in the US. The whole point to the Treo and other multimedia capable phones is to pay and use them for data. Increasing demand for data use is driving the Verizon network and the company LOVES this because the users of these devices spend ALOT on data services instead of just small dollars on voice. This cheesey paragraph appended to EVERY message at the server level renders moblogging UNUSABLE…and this is THE key aspect of multimedia, mobile telephony devices!
  • There are >37 million bloggers (according to Technorati), 50M+ MySpace users and every pundit predicts that the accelerating participatory culture will do nothing but grow. Seems like a viable market space to me and one that Verizon would do well not to upset.
  • Look at Palm’s web site about these devices and all the market spaces into which they’re going. In particular, the white paper (PDF) about the Palm Connected Campus makes the argument that the exploding participatory culture (i.e., young people in college who are the current and future lifeblood of mobile networks like Verizon) demands always-on, always connected capability. These connected people want robust devices AND especially control over the look-n-feel of the content they deliver and don’t want ads, appended technical stuff on their messages, or any other crap to ride along with what they’re delivering.

My disappointment is exacerbated since I’d planned to moblog from trade shows and conferences I attend…but will either have to edit every post sent with a computer (so as to strip out the offending text) or just use a laptop itself to create the post and upload it. Sort of defeats the purpose of having a multimedia device and fast network don’t ya think?

Yeah…this was a bit of a rant. The difference from a typical rant is that I’m one degree of separation away from leadership at Palm that I’ll ensure hear this message and I’ll politely encourage them to help their carrier colleagues follow their tag line, “We never stop working for you” and change this policy. I thought it would be useful to first post this so I could refer to it in ongoing and future communication.

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know if they work for us

————————————————————————–

UPDATE: Just sent myself an email and here is what is slapped on the bottom of EVERY multimedia message and, of course, it CANNOT BE TURNED OFF. The more I think about this…the angrier I get and Oliver at MobileCrunch had his hot button pushed at a Verizon retail store on a more trivial matter and blew up too. I’ve commented under that post and hope to bring this to his attention since the message appendage is far worse if placed in an email. Here’s what is placed on each message:

This message was sent using PIX-FLIX Messaging service from Verizon Wireless! To learn how you can snap pictures with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/getitnow/getpix.

To learn how you can record videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/getitnow/getflix.

To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime6.5 or higher is required. Visit www.apple.com/quicktime/download to download the free player or upgrade your existing QuickTime Player.  Note: During the download process when asked to choose an installation type (Minimum, Recommended or Custom), select Minimum for faster download.

To see for yourself that this is an emerging problem, just take this part of the phrase, “This message was sent using PIX-FLIX Messaging service” and put it in either Technorati or Google and search on it. You’ll find Technorati shows 6,130 posts done with this appendage and Google has 9,930 results…so it’s still early enough for Verizon to change this before it becomes too big of an issue with people moblogging.

Imagine if Typepad placed stuff on your paid-for blog like this informing people about all the players they had to use to view content (Windows Media, Quicktime, Flash, etc.) with links to all of them? Or if Yahoo Mail, Gmail, MSN and all others appended your communications? Or Adobe stuck stuff on the bottom of every PDF you produced? Microsoft placing advisory warnings on Word .doc’s and spreadsheets? You get the point…

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7 Comments

  1. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang on June 3, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    It’s a huge pain, isn’t it? I’ve given up on the data service because of it, when I could have been an enthusiastic customer.



  2. Steve Borsch on June 3, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    Yes…it is a huge pain. I just got done jotting an email to four Verizon leaders and we’ll see what happens. I’ve also emailed my Palm leadership contacts as this type of deal-killing and unusable appendage of content will undoubtedly hurt the adoption of Treo smartphones as the word gets out.



  3. S.C.Faulkner on June 21, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    At the end of the post, add the “#end” (sans quotes, of course)
    This will end the post without posting the verizon, stuff.
    OR
    Use either Flickr email posting, or u*Blog.

    I use u*blog and it’s amazing. It’s like having ecto on my treo.

    -Case

    p.s. I am on a Treo 650, not 700p.



  4. S.C.Faulkner on June 21, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    p.p.s. I’m using wordpress as well.



  5. Joshua Van Horsen on June 23, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    This was driving me crazy as well, almost to the point I was going to abandon my desire to post to my blog from my cellphone. Instead I devised a short DOM script that just hides the verizon blurb until I have a chance to go in later and edit it out. The downside is I have to start all my posts with a *, I think its worth it.

    Heres the javascript if your interested:

    ***open script tag***
    function remove() {
    var msgs = document.getElementsByTagName(“P”);
    for (var i = msgs.length -1; i >= 0; –i)
    {
    if (msgs[i].className == “mobile-post”)
    {
    if (msgs[i].firstChild.nodeValue.charAt(0) != “*”)
    msgs[i].parentNode.removeChild(msgs[i]);
    }
    }
    }
    ***close script tag***

    The you just an onLoad event handler to call the ‘remove()’ function, to the body tag of the page. Presto! Later you can go in and remove the offending Verizon crap.



  6. Steve Helms on June 23, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks for the handy “#end”. A little extra work,but well worth it to strip the unwanted text. Strange that Verizon Wireless tech support can’t offer that tip. I too called and was told there was “no way” to remove the text.



  7. Jeff on October 23, 2007 at 10:17 am

    “#end” works for me on blogger. Nice band-aid but lets get Verizon to fix it.



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