Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Video Professor Scam Site—Factual or Flawed? UPDATED

I applaud anyone who goes through the effort to vocalize their opinion when they feel they’ve been victimized by good ol’ American capitalism. But, for heaven’s sake, please realize it takes a lot more effort to be credible if you’re going to set up a complete web site to rant about their issues.

I’m referring to a web site that purposes to expose The Video Professor’s web site regarding the actual cost versus the advertised cost of their products. The site, (sorry, but you surely know we bloggers don’t hyperlink a site when we don’t wish to give referral hits to the said site), describes Ben Brady’s experience in purchasing The Video Professor’s Photoshop lesson.

The rest of this entry is a copy of the e-mail I wrote to Ben.

Hello Ben. I felt compelled to share with you that, in my opinion, you’ve blown the video professor scam totally out of proportion.

I most certainly do not disagree with you that there is at least some amount of misleading going on…but you’ll find this same type of thing on a large number of product web sites.

The opinion of the “how it works” link is yours. I know different people have different opinions about web site design but, to my eyes, that link stood out pretty well. While it would be nice, I certainly don’t automatically expect the video professor site to blatantly blink huge red letters at me saying “CLICK HERE TO READ WHAT THIS PRODUCT IS REALLY GOING TO COST YOU.” I’m actually quite impressed that they offered a link that explains what really will happen as prominently as they did and, by providing this link, do not feel as though video professor’s site is making enormous attempts to mislead me. Again, I don’t disagree that they are trying to de-emphasize this charge, but I don’t feel they’re trying to completely hide it.

All that aside, there are two points that I really wanted to draw your attention to. First of all, you would lend yourself a lot more credibility if you had provided a means of contact on your page. I resorted to using the address given within an nslookup on your domain. Yes, I followed the link to your firewallreporting web site, but the only e-mail address there was a support address that, as far as I would know, may or may not actually get to you personally.

Second, nowhere on your scam site do you mention the quality of the lessons or what material was covered on the three discs. Typical classroom setting computer lessons are going to cost a lot more than 70 or 80 bucks for good ones, and you can pay 70-80 per hour for individual training. Would it possibly occur to you that the lessons are actually worth that cost? Or, perhaps the three segments are done in such a way that many people may not actually have as much use for one of them? Were you to specifically return a “#3 labeled” disc, or could you return any one of the three? Admittedly, I have not actually seen any video professor lessons, so I fully admit that I have no basis from which to comment about the quality of the lessons. I only wished that, since you have seen at least one of the lessons, that you might have had something to say about their quality.

Please don’t view this e-mail as a rant or flame or any kind of insinuation of negativity. I’ve seen plenty of less-than-factual advertising in my years to be able to identify what’s illegal and what is simply a fact of advertising and won’t be going away any time soon, and I don’t blame you in the least for feeling misled by the video professor advertising. Rather, I chose to write you only to point out what I feel are a few minor flaws in your own rant against video professor.

Thank you for your time.

Update: Ben replied to my message and updated his page to indicate that he never installed the lessons. He also added an e-mail link to himself. It seems our opinion of what the Video Professor site will remain in disagreement, but I’m happy to know that, in this day and age, it’s still possible for disagreements to be cordial!