Corporate slippery slopes

Profound slashdot post:

The bigger picture is that this is yet another one of those corporate slippery slopes.

  • At one time there was a first broadcaster to watermark their logo on every TV show you watch. Now they all do it.
  • Some intrepid lawyer at a credit card company thought it would be a good idea to include terms for binding arbitration in every customer contract. Now they all do it.
  • Once upon a time you could go to a movie theater without being bombarded by fuggin’ Pepsi ads. Now they all do it.

The technique is straightforward. A huge company with vast legal resources will create terms of contract that are annoying, but just a little bit less annoying than the transaction cost of replacing that company with another one. They’ve annoyed you, but like a frog being boiled in water, you figure you can live with it. Pretty soon all of the company’s competitors are doing the same thing, and now you have no other recourse, even if you wanted to go through the time, expense, and hassle of switching.

(This is in response to another restrictive Terms of Service by ATT).  (apologies to James Fallows for the inappropriate frog in boiling water metaphor).






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