All posts filed under “Business model

Swoopo: Irrational escalation of commitment

Swoopo: Irrational escalation of commitment

Swoopo, a new kind of “entertainment shopping” auction site, takes Martin Shubik’s classic Dollar Auction game to a whole new, automated, mass participation level. It’s an example of the escalation of commitment, or a sunk cost fallacy, where we increase our commitment (in this case […]

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Freudian slip in BBC iTunes story

Freudian slip in BBC iTunes story

From this BBC story, as of 6.43 pm. P.S. I love the way it’s claimed “everyone will benefit” from the royalty rise. As a consumer, I can’t wait to be paying more! Perhaps a price increase will help limit the consumption of this precious rivalrous […]

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Pretty Cuil Privacy

Pretty Cuil Privacy

New search engine Cuil has an interesting privacy policy (those links might not work right now due to the load). They’re apparently not going to track individual users’ searches at all, which, in comparison to Google’s behaviour, is quite a difference. As TechCrunch puts it: […]

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Motel 6cc

Motel 6cc

The plastic* of this built-in Dove shower cream bottle I encountered in a Finnish hotel recently was significantly stiffer than the consumer retail version. The idea is that you press the side of the bottle where indicated to dispense some cream, but it didn’t deform […]

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Paper Rights Management

Paper Rights Management

This delivery note from Springer informs me that the book I’ve bought “must not be resold”. Good luck with that. So have I bought it or not? Or have I bought a licence to read it? What if I give it away? Many companies would […]

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Digital control round-up

Digital control round-up

Mac as a giant dongle At Coding Horror, Jeff Atwood makes an interesting point about Apple’s lock-in business model: It’s almost first party only– about as close as you can get to a console platform and still call yourself a computer… when you buy a […]

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Slanty design

Slanty design

The Main Reading Room, Library of Congress. Image from CIRLA. In this article from Communications of the ACM from January 2007, Russell Beale uses the term slanty design to describe “design that purposely reduces aspects of functionality or usability”: It originated from an apocryphal story […]

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Persuasion & control round-up

Persuasion & control round-up

New Scientist: Recruiting Smell for the Hard Sell Samsung’s coercive atmospherics strategy involves the smell of honeydew melon: THE AIR in Samsung’s flagship electronics store on the upper west side of Manhattan smells like honeydew melon. It is barely perceptible but, together with the soft, […]

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Biting Apple

Biting Apple

Interesting to see the BBC’s summary of the current iPhone update story: “Apple issues an update which damages iPhones that have been hacked by users”. I’m not sure that’s quite how Apple’s PR people would have put it, but it’s interesting to see that whoever […]

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On the level

On the level

A tilt-detector from this 1984 US patent, with intended application on a packing box. The liquid detection stickers in mobile phones, which allow manufacturers and retailers to ascertain if a phone has got wet, and thus reject warranty claims (whether judiciously/appropriately or not), seem to […]

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Detailing and retailing

Detailing and retailing

The dazzle painting of HMS Furious, c. 1918. Image from A Gallery of Dazzle-Painted Ships A couple of weeks ago we looked at casino carpet design – a field where busy, garish graphic design is deliberately employed to repel viewers, and direct their attention somewhere […]

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In default, defiance

In default, defiance

‘Choice of default’ is a theme which has come up a few times on the blog: in general, many people accept the options/settings presented to them, and do not question or attempt to alter them. The possibilities for controlling or shaping users’ behaviour in this […]

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Dishonourable discharge?

Dishonourable discharge?

Long overdue, I’m currently reading Bruce Schneier‘s excellent Beyond Fear, and realising that in many ways, security thinking overlaps with architectures of control: the goal of so many systems is to control users’ behaviour or to deny the user the ability to perform certain actions. […]

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Pier pressure

Pier pressure

   Deliberately routing users via a longer or more circuitous route is found in many forms (with a variety of intentions) from misleading road signs, to endless click-through screens, splitting up articles, periodic rearrangement of supermarket shelves, and so on. This kind of forcing function […]

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