Saturday, March 26, 2016

An Open Letter to Hulu

Dear Hulu,

If you were truly intuitive you would know that I do not want to watch what you want me to watch.  I pay for the service, but still I am being fed these choices that make no sense at all.  Whatever algorithm you are using it is failing miserably for the user.  I think for your organization, and advertisers it is working well, but for the user, it is abysmal.

First thing, do not ask me to interact with advertising.  Advertising is part of watching television, or radio, or even print, it has been around for ages, and it is accepted.  I was brought up with television advertising, so I am used to it, and it does not even bother me that I am paying for a service platform that has advertising, that is no different than cable television.  So okay I get that you have to have advertising, but never ever ask me to interact with advertising.  Whatever demographic you percieve me to be in, I am not in the one that interacts with advertising.  Advertising for my generation is a break from the program, where we can go get coffee or some more snacks, or whatever.  We might even talk about the show during the ads, or let the dogs out, so it is useful, but do not be sitting there asking me to interact with an advertisement, it insults us.  I have used your platform since its introduction into the US and I try hard to like it, to accept it, and it, on the surface, seems like a good option to cable, as I despise cable, but you are really not learning very fast.  You still try to make me watch programs I would never ever watch, and you still continue to get me to interact with tv, tv is not an interactive media, stop trying to be something you are not.  Provide good service and people will not only like your service, they will promote it organically.

Here is how I promote your service to my friends.  If you are looking for a low cost alternative to cable, that gives you about half of what you want, and will be not quite as irritating as cable, then Hulu is a good option, but so is the Netflix or Amazon or any of the other half assed options to cable television.  I would like to say, yea Hulu is the best service provider on the web, but I can not, because you do not seem to really work to use the technology to understand the user, or provide service that is truly tailored to the user, even though I have been using your service for years, you still do not seem to have my tv habits figured out.  Your database algorithms are apparently flawed at best.

However do not feel alone in this, no other service gets it right either, not even Google or Amazon, though Amazon does hit a little more often than any other.  I have used the Google platform and products since they were available, and submitted my data to them since they started collecting data, you would think by now they would know me better, yet they still present advertising to me that is completely unrelated to me in any way.  I get it that they are being paid, as your organization is as well I am sure, to promote certain things, but after years of using a service, like Google, and even participating in surveys, and user studies and beta programs, you would think they would have me figured out.  Nope, not quite, really not even close, but what can be expected from a service that puts profits first and customer service maybe third or forth on the list of things they want to achieve.  You want me to buy the stuff you are promoting, make sure you are promoting stuff I want to buy.  I am not easy to please, I get that, I do not buy a lot of stuff, and I am not a good consumer, especially of medical and healthcare, which is high paying clients, and yet I have no need of them.  That is fine though, I am used to that, just do not ask me to interact with it, and please try to ensure that the ads are clean, at least as far as their code is concerned.  Do not blame me when your advertising breaks because it is not clean coded or uses so much bandwidth that it breaks drops my network, make it work, and I won’t have to write letters like these.

I could go on in detail about a hundred other things, but I am pretty sure you get the idea, learn more about the user and then use that data to tailor the experience and you might have something, otherwise if you are just going to collect user data and still ignore their habits and request as presented by their choices and behaviors, well then why waste the head space and computing power to have a database in the first place.

Thank you for trying anyways to be some alternative to regular television.  You have missed the mark by a lot, but at least you tried, and for that I guess I will continue to suffer your platform and pay the price, in the hopes that someday your service will deliver on your promises.

Cordially yours;