CNN, Let your customers win

I tried this morning to sign up for email subscription of the news. I used to be a news hog and then found the whole system extremely negative as seeing gory pictures of people dying practically every day wasn’t my favorite tonic at the start so I unsubscribed for a while but after an embarrassing dinner conversation with a colleague where I wasn’t up to speed on an important piece of news, I decided to re-subscribe and see where we go.

It turns out that last time around, I had found CNN’s email system more reliable than the BBC so I decided to sign up. I expected it to be a 3 step process –
1. Google for ‘CNN news email subscription’
2. Enter email ID and choose preferences (i.e. type of news, delivery time etc)
3. Click on the Subscribe! button
But no, I had to sign up somewhere, click to connect my facebook account there, choose a username that took a bit and then found that every time I refreshed, there was some bug with the login system so I had to re-login. I found their email alerts button but didn’t get what I wanted.
After wasting a good 20 minutes, I felt the need to scream.
So, I decided to give BBC a shot.
And what do you know, it was a 3 step process and I’m a BBC news subscriber now. CNN just lost 1 willing customer and got itself some negative publicity.
Reminded me of this insightful piece by Seth Godin.
Why would you do this to a customer?