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Comcast Is Reading Your Blog 235

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-want-to-know-about-your-cats dept.
Paolo writes "A Washington student got a bit of a shock when he received an email from internet service provider Comcast about comments he had made on his blog. Brandon Dilbeck, a student at the University of Washington, writes a blog and used it to complain about the service he was getting from Comcast. Shortly afterwards he got an email message from Comcast apologizing for the problems and suggesting he might look at a guide it had posted on its web site. Lyza Gardner, a vice president at a Web development company in Portland used Twitter to complain about the company and was surprised to be contacted directly. Comcast is now monitoring blogs as a way of improving its image among customers. The company was ranked at the bottom of the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index."
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Comcast Is Reading Your Blog

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  • by ptudor (22537) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:33AM (#24347595) Homepage Journal

    Or so I expect, now. It's good PR, I saw a little segment about the twitterer on some network news program this week.

    • by Naughty Bob (1004174) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:41AM (#24347655)
      Not just good PR- If I ran such an unpopular company, and was serious about turning it around, I'd be looking everywhere humans go to vent, or make criticism. Then, I'd try to solve the problems I found. Where's the story?
      • by davidwr (791652) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:45AM (#24347681) Homepage Journal

        The story is that it's COMCAST.

        • by KWTm (808824) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:37AM (#24348057) Journal

          Not just good PR- If I ran such an unpopular company, and was serious about turning it around, I'd be looking everywhere humans go to vent, or make criticism. Then, I'd try to solve the problems I found. Where's the story?

          Where's the story? Isn't it obvious?
                      The story is that it's COMCAST.

          Not only that, but Comcast is actually addressing its clients' concerns and negative feedback, as opposed to being oblivious to them.

          Now, to really score, Comcast would need to fulfill some additional criteria:

          • address it with more than just some mere "yeah, we saw your complaint, now we're responding to you with this feel-good letter that doesn't actually do anything, just so you feel that we've addressed your complaint"
          • address the complaint for more than just a handful of high-visibility people with popular blogs, but rather do something about the actual corporate culture. I was going to say, "I would love to see a Slashdot posting or two from someone actually inside Comcast who would describe a positive shift in the corporate culture," but they might send a shill or two to write some false praise here.

          Let me tell you something, Comcast. You ruined your own reputation. Now it's going to be real hard for you to erase that. See what happened to Microsoft? (Hey, Sony, stop snickering.)

          • by KGIII (973947) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:45AM (#24348099) Journal
            According to the article they're trying to improve their image. I say that's friggen retarded. Why not improve oh, their service? Their pricing? Their policies? When they do THOSE things then they can work on improving their image.
            • by Kneo24 (688412) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @10:12AM (#24348265) Homepage

              You bring up an interesting point. A lot of companies worry so much about their image that will go on PR campaigns and other stupid bullshit that probably costs them more money in the long run, and is considerably harder.

              I could be wrong here, but wouldn't the easiest and most cost effective way of improving your image to be doing what you had described? Service improvements. Better pricing structures. Better policies.

              I've never understood the corporate mentality like that. Is it really better for the companies bottom line to do PR stunts instead of making their service better?

              • by mpeskett (1221084) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @10:50AM (#24348551)
                I assume that they do the shit they do for a reason other than pissing everyone off on purpose, so that would imply that it helps their bottom line. Or at least it does until people catch on, and go elsewhere.

                At this point they could improve the service, which has the downside (from their point of view) of removing the advantage to the bottom line, and may not actually help their image - the people that are really interested won't be won over quickly and will stay suspicious, the people that aren't that interested won't notice the change and will continue with the impression that the service sucks.

                They *could* improve the service whilst simultaneously launching a PR campaign to make it well known that they've improved the service, which might be more successful in winning people over, but still carries the cost of yknow... actually improving the service.

                If they assume that the people who know things are mostly a lost cause, and focus on the people who are actually likely to be persuaded, then they could have just as much success with just the PR campaign, possibly more success if you factor in the savings from keeping the service as it is.

                You can't trust them to do what's good for the customer, but you can trust them to do what's good for their profits... if they could do better by making the service better then some analyst or advisor would have pointed this out already.
                • by keithjr (1091829)
                  The story says nothing about whether they are making plans to improve service as well. Customer service counts as service too. All I see here is Comcast fixing the problems of people who complained to their blog before they complained to their ISP. Doing this sort of PR work helps the word-of-mouth reputation, which is exactly what Comcast lost recently. Improving service and pricing will have no effect on reputation because it doesn't get publicized.
                • by atraintocry (1183485) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:47PM (#24352091)
                  Go elsewhere? For cable service? You're crazy.

                  And before you say satellite, think about how awesome it is to have your TV and internet go down because of some big bad trees, or the occasional rain cloud. Or those blazing fast analog modem uploads. In the areas the Comcast operates, they have a monopoly on cable service. And for TV, most people get cable now rather than OTA. So the time when those protections were necessary to create infrastructure are long over. Not to mention, the regulations that made it somewhat fairer were dropped years ago.

                  There's no free market here. You can't go somewhere else and get similar service. You might just have to go without. Nothing wrong with that, but not everybody can or wants to...so it will take a lot more than P2P throttling or shitty customer service, or even no expectation of privacy or even uptime to make someone want to do that. There's no incentive for them, or any other US cable company to be competitive or to improve their service. I think the PR is just bet-hedging, and often reactive, like those ridiculous ads they're all running against FiOS, saying "our fiber is way bigger and cooler".
              • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @12:45PM (#24349389)

                I could be wrong here, but wouldn't the easiest and most cost effective way of improving your image to be doing what you had described? Service improvements. Better pricing structures. Better policies.

                No. It takes both. You can't run an effective image improving campaign if nothing has changed. But if you just change and hope everyone notices on their own that's horribly inefficient. You get much better results by telling people.

                As much as you may hate it, advertising works.

            • by netringer (319831)

              Amazingly, Comcast HAS improved their customer service.

              After several horrible experiences and arguments with Comcast over the years, I had to go to them as the best alternative to get HD on my TiVo after DirectTV stoped dealing in TiVo DVRs. (DirecTV pulled the ever-higher-rates for ever-less-product trick, but that's another story.)

              I bit the bullet, fastened my seat belt, renewed my valium prescription...and it wasn't so bad.

              The call center reps were fine, polite and professional. The installer was decent

          • If Time Warner were to start taking the advice of its customers, there would be a spike in NYC suicide rates that lasted for weeks. A wonderful, delightful spike, ultimately resulting in everyone in the city being nice to each other like at the end of GHOSTBUSTERS II.

          • Not only that, but Comcast is actually addressing its clients' concerns and negative feedback, as opposed to being oblivious to them.

            So any word on when they are lowering prices, stopping spoofed packets, and removing inviable bandwidth caps?

            Wanting Internet, but not wanting pay TV and yet another phone service (which may be problematic with faxes and the alarm system) is an expensive service. If they don't do something soon, I'll soon have DSL as I already have a POTS line and a cell phone. It's much che

      • Maybe the story is "comcast, the company that actively tries to make their customers miserable, is now stalking them across the internet."

        I mean, they're the company that destroys the quality of HD channels to fit more channels in...
      • Excluding customers with pitch forks and torchs on the front lawn, why would they need good PR? It's not like they are elected officials or having viable alternatives (in most places), if you want to know what is going on in the world you more than likely need at least one of their services. Besides - good PR is not going to change their incompetence.

      • by wytcld (179112) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:35AM (#24348043) Homepage

        Go to news.google.com and look up "Comcast Vermont." You'll see articles in every Vermont daily paper about how Comcast has dropped 8 channels from its basic analog service (including MSNBC and Comcast's own cable news station). It's telling people who miss those stations from their $18-a-month plan they can get them back by going to a $58-a-month digital plan. The state may be able to act against this, since Comcast is only allowed one "rate change" a year, and this would be the second, if dropping channels and charging the same price counts as a rate change. Comcast claims it doesn't. In Comcast's eyes, it can drop any plan to a single channel, offer more expensive plans to those who want their channels back, and it hasn't changed rates at all.

        Disclaimer: My brother-in-law is a Comcast executive. He's a decent guy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't understand why this is good PR. I saw this story on one of the networks this week, and Lyza Gardner apparently called Comcast customer service first and got no useful help at all. So instead of getting help when you ask for it, you should go complain on the internet, and maybe someone at Comcast will happen to read it and resolve your problem?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by v1 (525388)

        I suppose it depends on how you take it. Some people would view them as stalkers hunting you down, possibly intent on silenving you. ("knock off the negative blogs or we further modify your bandwidth limits") Others would view it as an honest attempt to seek out discontent and make things right. ("do you happen to remember the name of the rep that refused to address your concern?") Or it may simply be a selfish move on comcast's part to grease the squeaky wheels in an attempt to improve their public kar

        • Quote: "I suppose in the end a company is a company and they really don't care about how happy or unhappy their customers are."

          That is exactly where they go wrong. Good companies -- and especially the best companies -- care very much how happy their customers are. That's how they become great companies.

          Normally, in a free market (the way the United States is supposed to be), a business model that involves intentionally pissing off part of your customer base will backfire.

          Your comment about "especi
      • Where's the story?

        The story is that even as recently as a few months ago, the expected reaction from any average $SELF-PROCLAIMED_CORPORATE_OVERLORD would been to see themselves as unfailing by the grace of God and their MBAs, and to launch an overblown attempt to silence the blogger with nastygrams trying to enforce at lawyerpoint some obscure non-disparagement clause (that would never hold up in court anyway) from a click-thru user agreement, as well as alleging DMCA etc. takedown rights at the critics' p

      • by kenh (9056)

        "Where is the story?

        Exactly.

        Comcast is now monitoring blogs as a way of improving its image among customers.

        Those BASTARDS!

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      If other arm of company conspires people's GPL Licensed software downloads via P2P , bittorrent, it could easily sound like "Comcast spies your blogs!" to some people.
      It should be consistent you know...

  • Good for them! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doug141 (863552) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:36AM (#24347613)
    Reading a public blog and giving free tech support about problems posted in the blog is good.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Stonefred (999097)
      you don't even have to call the support when you have technical problems
    • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by griffjon (14945) <.GriffJon. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:57AM (#24347763) Homepage Journal

      No, it's not good -- it's putting out fires. Good would be training their call center employees to solve problems (instead of reading, tediously, from the "unplug your modem, reboot all your computers..." book)

      This approach is not addressing the thousands of comcast customers who don't blog or twitter or have a "voice" online, like my parents. They still get the usual craptastic comtastic customer support.

      • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by garcia (6573) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:53AM (#24348157) Homepage

        Well, in my case I whined about SAS via Twitter [twitter.com] and got a response the next day from their VP of R&D. I was so impressed I mentioned SAS' response to my friends (and again via Twitter) and Aaron Landry [s4xton.com] used it as an example in his Web 2.0 101 presentation [s4xton.com] about how company interactions are changing the face of customer service.

        While I still think Comcast sucks, the close monitoring ofsocial networks, blogs, etc is a big step.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Just curious...

          I'm not sure I'm a fan of this trend where people think that a company should just scour the interwebs looking for any and all complaints (including so-called 'open letters' which are no more than a blog post that don't actually get -sent- to the recipient) and address them there.

          Most companies do have a support site, hotline, whatever.. and more and more it seems people are ignoring those and instead griping on the internet.. the griping some more if apparently the company failed to be Web 2

        • While I still think Comcast sucks, the close monitoring ofsocial networks, blogs, etc is a big step.

          It's only a "step" in the sense that gathering customer feedback is a necessary "first step" in providing better service. If they fail to respond with meeting their customers demands then it's not a "big step" at all. It's nothing.

      • by not_anne (203907)

        Restarting the modem or the computer fixes 99% of internet issues. When I worked at Applecare, that's what we'd do first, too.

        • Even if this was true in "99% of internet issues" then assumedly these people would tell the people they know, then these people might try it before they call technical support. If it was true when you worked at Applecare it may not be now. Assuming that your customers are stupid is simply not good business.

          • by NMerriam (15122)

            It is still true now. But of course if someone says "hey, I haven't been able to connect to the internet, I've restarted my router, cable modem and computer", then I'll skip right past those steps (well, I'll still ask them to describe the lights on their cable modem, since half the time they don't notice the whole unit is flashing a "not connected" message).

            I don't assume anyone is stupid, but I do assume most people calling tech support are ignorant of technology troubleshooting to one degree or another -

        • No. Solving problems of customers solves 100% of the customer problems. Including internet related.
      • by Monoman (8745)

        I agree. Putting out fires is only part of the solution. If they only put out fires they will keep popping up and it won't matter. In fact it will look worse.

  • by chickenrob (696532) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:37AM (#24347625) Homepage
    I'm really upset with my comcast internet. I wish it was much cheaper and even faster.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:54AM (#24347747)

      Dear valued customer, we at Comcast wish to address your concerns
      and request that you contact our customer satisfaction engineers at 1-800-EAT-SHIT.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Thank you for contacting Comcast customer service. To solve your problem, please try the following steps in order:

      1. Make sure that your VCR is turned on.
      2. Make sure that the TV/VCR button on your remote is set to "TV".
      3. Make sure that your cable connector is attached firmly to your VCR's "Antenna in" jack.

      We trust that this will solve any issues that you have with your issue #438475853: I'm really ups....

      Have a nice day.

    • by stsp (979375) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:31AM (#24348009) Homepage

      I'm really upset with my comcast internet. I wish it was much cheaper and even faster.

      Dude, according to the comcast article at wikipedia [wikipedia.org], you won't cause much of a stir with this. The bar's been set a tad higher already. Meet Mrs. Shaw:

      On October 15, 2007, a 75-year old Comcast customer named Mona Shaw entered her local Comcast offices with a hammer and destroyed some office equipment before being arrested and fined for damages. Mrs. Shaw was angry and frustrated due to a previous encounter with Comcast customer service in which she and her husband wanted to speak with the manager and were forced to wait outside the offices for two hours before being informed that the manager had already gone home.

  • Actions versus words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:37AM (#24347627)

    Contacting people on teh Intarweb directly and offering them platitudes to make them change their weblog posts is easy.

    Actually making improvements to your services to improve your customers' experience when regional cable monopolies ensure that you're the only game in town? That's hard.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tatermonkey (1199435)
      I agree and to start they can actually run service to my house. When my work has cable internet 1200 feet away. They refuse to run it because I have a long driveway and it would cost them an amplifier at the pole roadside. My wife was at work when a comcast rep came in and asked her if she had their service and she said " I used to be happy with it until I moved and now you wont run it to our house". She said he was speechless.
  • by downix (84795) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:39AM (#24347641) Homepage

    Quit the bandwidth throttling, or conversely, just be straight forward with honest numbers about the service. I live with bandwidth throttling with my pipe, but my ISP was very straight forward with me that if the traffic load spikes they will rebalance accordingly, and that will on occasion throttle my speed in some cases. If Comcast were at least honest about issues, they'd gain a lot of respect.

    So many companies are so worried about their image, they actually hurt their image more with the tactics used to keep their noses clean.

    I'll be moving in a year or so to an area serviced by Comcast, and am weighing them against the FIOS thing carefully. How Comcast handles their customers will be key to that decision. Comcast used to stand for being a great cable service company, and I would like to see them stand tall again.

    • by Spittoon (64395) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:17AM (#24347915) Homepage

      We tend to treat large companies like Comcast as if everything they do is the result of the considered thought of a single entity. That's just not the case. The Customer Support piece of Comcast is likely to be a distinct entity. Certainly they work with the rest of the company, but they've got their own agenda-- answer calls.

      That means they have two things on their mind:
      1. Are all the calls getting answered?
      2. How long is each call and how can we shorten that time-- without doing such a poor job that call volume increases?

      Call volumes are one area that Customer Support *probably* can affect only in limited ways. Divisions within a company are, in some ways, fiefdoms-- everybody filters up to a VP, and there is limited participation between Support, Network Engineering, and Product Management. Each of those groups will have their own area of responsibility which the other areas don't control-- they can only participate in projects and do their best to be a good team member.

      So in the case of network policy or product efficacy, the Support operation can only affect the Network Engineering, Fulfillment (the people who ship equipment to customers), and Product Management operations to the extent that they can socially engineer the other team to do the right thing. If you know any Network Engineers you have an idea of how difficult that can be. The city of San Francisco recently learned this lesson, I think.

      What Customer Support can affect is the tools they use to handle customer issues. This blog-watching guy is one of those.

      If people in America would answer calls for the same rates as people in the Phillipines, then the balance of cost-to-quality for call centers would probably move further toward quality. But only maybe-- the more calls you handle the more pressure there is to generate efficiencies, which means less training and more scripting and less tolerance for calls that last a long time.

      Of course, end users don't perceive any of this-- to us it's just "If Comcast would just make their service better I wouldn't have to call" and we have trouble understanding why they put effort into wacky new Support ideas like this when they should be spending that guy's paycheck on improving their network capacity so they stop being tempted to throttle bandwidth to control data transfer costs.

      • by KWTm (808824) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @10:08AM (#24348241) Journal

        We tend to treat large companies like Comcast as if everything they do is the result of the considered thought of a single entity. That's just not the case. The Customer Support piece of Comcast is likely to be a distinct entity. Certainly they work with the rest of the company, but they've got their own agenda

        While your premise is technically correct, I'll provide a counterpoint to your point.

        Large companies like Comcast (or Microsoft or most others), with some good aspects and some bad aspects, do indeed tend to be treated as one big monolithic blob --because that's how they're asking to be treated. Comcast is using its name as a brand. That's what it means to be Comcast. So, while it's not surprising that there can be factions within, we will still rate whether Comcast is nice or nasty on an overall scale. The responsibility for this falls on upper management which oversees both the Customer Service Department and the Lie About Unlimited Bandwidth^W^W^W^WMarketing Department. If Customer Support wants to improve its image separate from the rest of Comcast, they can spin off into "Support-A-Tronics -- A Division of Comcast(TM)" and change their logo. Of course, I've heard quite a few not-so-good things on Slashdot about Customer Support itself.

        In the same way, I disagree with people who keep saying that "companies aren't evil --just the people within them". As a whole, companies can indeed be evil, greedy, upstanding, etc, just as people can be evil, greedy, etc. even if you can break their actions down into component actions which, by themselves, are not inherently evil etc.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by moxley (895517)

          "In the same way, I disagree with people who keep saying that "companies aren't evil --just the people within them". As a whole, companies can indeed be evil, greedy, upstanding, etc, just as people can be evil, greedy, etc. even if you can break their actions down into component actions which, by themselves, are not inherently evil etc."

          I agree with you - Corporations can be "evil" - but to to clarify it further, there are three things I can think of right off of the top of my head which enable a corporati

    • by fermion (181285)
      It is not only the bandwidth throttling. I may be in a position to move to comcast in a few months. I might choose then as the ATT service is not all that good. However, it is unlikely I will choose them due to the limitations on router use on their service. It will cost me a great deal of money to do what I already do with ATT. Sure, some will say break the TOS and do what you like. I ask, why break the terms of service when you do not have to? Why run an unlicensed version of MS Office when one cou
  • Oh noes! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aminion (896851) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:39AM (#24347645)

    Comcast is helping their customers, yes? They are crawling/indexing/filtering blogs that are completely public, yes? So what's the problem? What am I supposed to be outraged about this time?

    "It feels like nobody ever really reads my blog," he told the New York Times.
    "Nobody has left a comment in months."

    Oh, that's the problem. Seriously, this is a lousy post.

  • As long as they are using public means like blog-monitoring or using search engines and not underhanded means like customer/IP-monitoring/stalking, this is probably a very good thing. If only every company would listen to what their customers say in public and use that information to improve customer service.

    The minute they start monitoring me to see what blogs I post to, the minute they start stalking my online activities, or the minute they start using what I say to retaliate against me is the minute the

  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. The Web is a public place. Anything and everything you say from your webserver can and should be considered to have been shouted from the nearest corner. Sure, most people ignore that evangelist who's spruiking his faith, but "most" is not "all".
    2. Computers are really good at finding obscure facts. As somebody said, and has been widely quoted: Type in "Find people that have sex with goats that are on fire" and the computer will say, "Specify type of goat."
    3. Listening to somebody who's venting about a company i
  • by sys_mast (452486) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:48AM (#24347703)

    ...and then complains because it was read and responded to? I would be bothered if it was a private intended email sent through their email relays, but not to comcast, and they responded to that. But he put it on a public, blog, WOW maybe they are using something like google searching for these negative remarks and OH MY GOSH trying to make the customer happy by suggesting things!!! WOW...OK sarcasm off. Come on, if you don't want anyone to be able to read it, don't post it on the web. Sorry to say but the title should read "dumb blogger shocked when public blog read by someone" OK I admit I'm assuming it's a public blog, but a quick scan of the article didn't indicate it was private/secured in anyway. So unless I missed something, this is a non-issue.

    • by Eil (82413)

      ...and then complains because it was read and responded to?

      You'd be surprised how many people go on the Internet just to complain about an Evil Corporate Entity and never stop complaining, even when a reasonable solution is provided.

      I work for a hosting company that puts a high priority on customer support and service. One thing our managers do is keep an eye on the popular web hosting forums and other online outlets to see what people say about us. When someone posts a bad experience they're having with us

  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:51AM (#24347733)
    somebody else is actually reading my blog? Wow, I never thought I'd see the day my hit counter went to 2.
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:58AM (#24347773)

    Comcast is now monitoring blogs as a way of improving its image among customers.

    Here is an idea don't throttle P2P connections also, don't block websites, don't keep logs, and stand up for fair use and anonymity on the internet. Do that and you might be more liked. But keep throttling P2P connections and acting as a puppet of congress/MPAA/RIAA and people will hate you for it.

    • don't keep logs

      Yes, breaking the law for your $39/month is going to make a company profitable.

      fair use

      These are the guys who have been fighting it since day one due to them running the lines in the first place. Good luck there.

      For the record, folks, "insightful" is not "What we want to hear", it is actually supposed to contain some level of a deeper than common perception. The above perception is simplistic spouting off.

      The real remedy is to not use Comcast and pick another provider, even if it costs more, and not purchase their

  • by ktappe (747125) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:06AM (#24347845)
    For every blog that gets read, 100 newspapers (online or printed) get read. So one wonders if this lady will get a call too: http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080726/BUSINESS/807260323 [delawareonline.com] If not, then Comcast is picking off small low-lying fruit instead of dealing with the larger, more widely seen issues. Silly.
    • by thesolo (131008) *
      I had a similar thing [mikepalumbo.com] happen with Sallie Mae when I paid off my student loans.

      They erroneously billed me for interest even though my account was paid off, giving me a $0.81 balance. They wouldn't waive it. I tried to pay it online, but their site showed that I had a $0.00 balance (it won't show anything under $1.00). When I tried to pay the $0.81 exactly, it told me I couldn't pay less than $1.00. When I tried to pay $1.00, it told me I couldn't pay more than what I owed, the $0.81.

      Even after call
    • by aztektum (170569)

      Monkey steals the peach?

  • The headline and article make it sound like this is a bad thing. But is it?

    A company is striving to make happy customers, and they've found that they can listen (gasp!) to what they're saying and try to help them.

    They have probably found a way to scour blogs, forums, and apparently twitter and aggregate it for people to review and follow up with. I don't consider that a privacy issue if it's in a public location for all to read, as blogs typically are.

    That's a whole lot better than not taking any action a

  • So am I. Be afraid.
  • After reading the title i was half expecting to read on to find out that concast begins filing lawsuits against bloggers. Offering apologies and help was a pleasant surprise.

  • by TheRedSeven (1234758) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @09:11AM (#24347879) Homepage
    Everyone so far seems to have been skirting the issue here. If Comcast now has a staff of people tasked with surfing teh interwebs and responding to comments about their service in blog postings, that's fine. Perhaps a misguided use of resources (how about some actual customer service instead of lip service responses to people you've already lost as customers?), but that's their choice.

    If Comcast is using some sort of automatic filtering on their users' accounts that indicate whenever a user types the word "Comcast", and then responds with an email to that person's X&%YZ@comcast.net address, then there's an issue.

    What we don't know, and what the article doesn't say, and what we have no way of knowing, is which of these two methods Comcast is using. A lack of transparency regarding what you pay for what you get, and a lack of transparency regarding service is already a PR issue (nightmare) for Comcast. This simply compounds that issue.
    • What we don't know, and what the article doesn't say, and what we have no way of knowing, is which of these two methods Comcast is using

      Do you have any idea how difficult it would be for an ISP of that size to actually sniff all their broadband connections for text matches? Filtering the false positives would require a workforce of an epic scale. Lay off the paranoia plant. It's not working out well.

      Did ya ever think it's more likely their employees read the same internet you and I do? Ever stumble across something about your own company and want to fix it rather than having someone endlessly bag on said company? Amazing.

  • Comcast had... You know... Some kind of decent customer service or something...

  • I know no one else is. Now I finally have an audience!

  • That's not how customer service is supposed to work, and it's creepy.

    They should (1) keep their systems running so that people don't have to complain, and (2) if things fail listen to people calling/mailing in and try to fix their problems.

    If they do (1) and (2) reasonably well, they don't need to read people's blogs.

  • Hopefully they'll pay attention to what they read. Their service is atrocious, anything would help.

  • Google Blog Search makes it easy for me to track a phrase of something I'm interested in - like Autism Speaks [squidoo.com], or a Dragon*Con [squidoo.com], or even my own name, and I use that regularly to keep track of people who I can direct to my stuff or who might cause me problems later.

    A simple search set up for them with "Comcast" in the search term could have pulled this up.

    All it shows is that Comcast is looking out for PR blunders in the making and responding to them. They shouldn't let them happen in the first place, of cour

  • Hey Comcast: I switched over to AT&T U-verse for Internet because they were less slow than Comcast and certainly cheaper. I would have switched over to them for TV too but their HDTV image quality is hideous (too bad, they're way cheaper, SDTV works nicely though). C'mon Comcast, if you can't outperform AT&T you just aren't trying. DOCSIS 3 should fix this, though you might want to go ahead and replace your rotting coax with FTTH in case AT&T recovers from their rectal-cranial inversion and q

  • In shock news today it was discovered someone somewhere actually read a blog.

    Whoopy do.

    (Actually given most the blogs I've seen it someone reading a blog and taking notice of anything in it is probably news ;) )

    Struggling very hard and failing to see the news in this...

    Other than it features Comcast in a good (?) light for once.

  • "Lyza Gardner, a vice president at a Web development company in Portland used Twitter to complain about the company and was surprised to be contacted directly."

    Well, if you are using a person with hundreds of sockpuppets, no wonder you get the message across.

    Oh, the other Twitter.

    1. As long as Comcast is responding to public blog entries, and isn't doing something like packet sniffing the upload traffic during the post to the blog, in order to read access-limited blog entries, and
    2. As long as Comcast is responding positively, e.g. offering assistance and not
    3. Punishing people who complain about Comcast,

    I can't help but think that this is a good thing, and I wish that more companies would do things like this.

  • Clearwire does this, too.

  • After hearing all the horrible stories about cable ISPs, I was very reluctant to go with TWC (Time Warner Cable) when I was working in San Diego. But, I was too far from any CO for decent DSL. And, a T1 at some $300+ a month was too expensive.

    Turns out, TWC has a "business class" of service: 12 Mb/s down, 1.2 Mb/s up (and I routinely saw 15 down and 1.5 up), for $105 a month. Any reasonable number of static IPs you need (4 to 8 is considered reasonable -- I was happy with one); no traffic shaping shenanigan

  • by NerveGas (168686)

    That's going to pretty good lengths to avoid just giving people a reliable service to begin with!

  • The Consumerist is chock full of incidents and complaints reported by Comscat victims, I mean customers. The Consumerist recently had their "Worst company in America" contest [consumerist.com] to which Comscat is winning 2nd place.

    Anyway, I read the Consumerist and I thank them. When I moved from Scottsdale Arizona to San Francisco 3 months ago Comscat was one of my choices for Internet service and cable. If it wasn't for the Consumerist I would've ended up using their crappy soul-sucking service.

    I ended up going with DSL

  • ... I write a blog about it?

  • I love Comcast. There, I said it. I've had a lot of ISP's over the years: Speakeasy SDSL, Comcast, Speakeasy T-1, Adelphia Cable, Qwest DSL, plus a couple of other that probably no one ever heard of.

    I currently have Comcast Business class, and it's by far the best I've ever had. From a technical, billing and customer service perspective. Technical, I get 20/2Mbps, real world, and I'm pretty rural. I get unbelievable 10ms ping times to my co-located server (not on comcast's network). I've never had a billing

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