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Author Topic: Downloading Files vs. Physically Shipping DVDs  (Read 4541 times)
JohnKoerner
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« on: February 24, 2011, 09:34:27 AM »
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I have recently purchased the Guide to Lightroom 3 and I saw no purchase option for just getting this product shipped to me in DVD/Blu-ray format.

I have read the rhetoric about LuLa offering their video tutorials in download form as "enabling" them to offer "such low prices" ... but 1) $50 isn't that low of a price for a DVD tutorial, it's rather high, and 2) the a$$umption is that everybody in the world has DSL connections and unlimited monthly internet connectivity.

First of all, I know how much DVDs and Blu-Ray discs cost to produce, because I produce them myself, and (when produced/purchased en masse) the overhead cost per-DVD-set is negligible. Secondly, even if LuLa would "prefer" to sell their videos in download form, it would still be a good idea to allow the customer THE OPTION of purchasing a physical DVD. (Almost everybody else does this!) I personally would rather pay an extra $5-$10 FOR THE OPTION to get my material sent to me in physical form ... rather than being forced to waste my time downloading file-after-file ... 40 files worth ... because not only does this waste my own actual time ... it also wastes space on my computer ... and (more importantly) the act of physically-downloading so many files wastes GB worth of service on my wireless internet service provider.

What you good folks need to realize is "not everybody has unlimited monthly internet service." I happen to live on 50 acres in a remote section of Florida wilderness. There is no DSL here. There is no dial-up service (and who wants dial-up anyway?). The only decent service I can get is monthly 3G wireless service, through Verizon, and there is a limited (5 gig) amount of usage alotted to me, before I start getting charged by-the-minute. Therefore, to be forced to download 40 video files to because you good folks (apparently) "can't be bothered with" actually packaging and shipping a physical DVD is a huge inconvenience.

It seems the folks at LuLa would rather inconvenience everybody else ... with making them download file-after-file ... rather than inconveniencing "themselves" with shipping a physical product. I for one (even if I lived in the city and had DSL) would MUCH rather have a set of DVDs (or, heaven forbid a Blu-ray disc or two) to store on my shelf ... than have 40 bleepin' video files sapping up space on my computer. I am sure many others feel the same way.

I have purchased the From Camera to Printing set of videos in the past, and there were only 6, so it wasn't that big of a deal. (But I still would have rather had a physical DVD/Bluray product to refer to than I would to waste space on my computer.) But 40 freakin files is a waste of my time to download, it's a waste of space on my computer, and (worse) it is eating-up a significant amount of my monthly of internet usage allotment to do so. (And if that isn't bad enough, TWICE while I was downloading one of the larger files I GOT CUT OFF right before it all downloaded ... so not only did I have to waste my time 3x to finally get "one" file ... but it also took nearly a full gig of my monthly internet service allotment just to download "one" of the larger files!)

In short, LuLa's business model of "no send DVDs" is a crappy idea. It is convenient ONLY for LuLa, never for the customer. Your prices aren't low enough to warrant the business model, and you absolutely should allow the customer the option of purchasing a physical DVD or Blu-ray, just in case they "might not" want to download 40 freakin' files onto their computer, especially if someone (like me) happens to live in a very remote area where there is no such thing as DSL and what service is provided has maximum usage allotments. When I have ordered Microsoft products online, they too offer downloads, but they ALSO have an option to order the physical DVDs. When I purchased the Adobe CS5 Master Collection, they too had "downloads" ... but they ALSO were willing to ship the physical box and DVD sets.

You folks do NOT--and it is a major inconvenience to some of us. Therefore, you should change this policy immediately, and I am sure I am not alone in this opinion.

I for one will never purchase another "download" video tutorial from this site again,

Jack



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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2011, 09:54:47 AM »
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Thanks for letting us know Jack!

Actually, the decision that was made two or so years ago to discontinue shipping physical product had much more to do with the cost of shipping, handling and packaging which as I am sure you are aware, is far higher than the modest cost of the media itself. Post 9/11 borders also were a factor.

It is a business model that works well for the majority of our customers. I am sorry that it's not for you and has caused you grief.

Chris Sanderson
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 10:38:10 AM »
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Jack,

If you check the forum back before the download-only change was made, you'll find that there were a very large number of complaints about people not getting their DVDs or getting them months after others. Chris and Michael and their gang worked very hard to deal with those issues, but they were pretty much overwhelmed.

When Chris says "Post 9/11 borders also were a factor," he's putting it mildly.

Perhaps you can find a friend somewhere in Florida who can download it for you and burn it to a DVD for a modest fee.

Eric
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 11:02:24 AM »
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Wow Chris. I'm impressed with your restraint. If I had seen this first I know I would have been far less diplomatic than this.

The uninformed presumption boggles the mind (mine at least).

Anyhow, I'm grumpy so I'd better quit. Had some bad calamari yesterday and I've been up all night draped over the bathroom sink examining in close detail last nights tainted dinner.

Kind of reminds me of the contents of Mr. Koener's diatribe.

Michael

« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 11:03:56 AM by michael » Logged
JohnKoerner
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 11:28:26 AM »
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Jack,
If you check the forum back before the download-only change was made, you'll find that there were a very large number of complaints about people not getting their DVDs or getting them months after others. Chris and Michael and their gang worked very hard to deal with those issues, but they were pretty much overwhelmed.
When Chris says "Post 9/11 borders also were a factor," he's putting it mildly.
Perhaps you can find a friend somewhere in Florida who can download it for you and burn it to a DVD for a modest fee.
Eric


Hi Eric;

There simply is no excuse for their policy.

I ship DVDs all over the world too. The cost of shipping is negligible. For $3.50 (or less) I can ship a DVD in the US; $6-$9 max Europe/Australia. It is even less for Canada.

The simple fact is this: everybody else offers the option of buying the physical DVD to facilitate the customer ... and LuLa simply does not want to be bothered with lifting a finger after the sale.

Why should "I" extend myself to drive to a friend's house, and go through the hours-long-hassle of "converting 40 files to DVD" myself, PLUS pay extra money, when this is LuLa's job in the first place?

The real question is, "Why can't LuLa simply offer a 'purchase by DVD option' for their customers, even at a greater charge to cover their shipping" ... like everybody else?

Why does the customer have to jump through hoops for LuLa?

Jack




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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 11:30:29 AM »
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Thanks for letting us know Jack!

You're welcome sir.

I wish I could say, "Thank you," back (for you graciously offering a purchase-the-DVD option), but after reading Michael's response I am afraid I can't.




Actually, the decision that was made two or so years ago to discontinue shipping physical product had much more to do with the cost of shipping, handling and packaging which as I am sure you are aware, is far higher than the modest cost of the media itself. Post 9/11 borders also were a factor.

I am well aware of the cost of media, labeling, packaging ... as well as shipping ... which totals less than $4-$6 in most cases, and not even $10 even in the most extreme foreign shipments. I know, because I create and ship DVDs all over the world myself.

Again, it is the option that is the key: to allow the customer to decide what is best for him (or her). That is the difference between SERVING the customer and telling him to "like it or leave it," because this customer is leaving it and going to spend his money elsewhere. In fact, because you refuse to offer a DVD, it is basically going to cost me a full month's worth of dowload-time through Verizon, just to get your full product downloaded. I have only gotten to Video 7 of your 40 videos, and the first 4 were an utter waste of time; only on Video 5 did I actually learn something valuable. The previous 4 were a waste of bandwidth for superfluous introductions and failed attempts to joke around. Because of all this, and especially because of Michael's attitude, I am going to reverse the charges on my credit card and you can "have" your business model. It simply does not work for me.

Instead, I am going to spend my money on a Lightroom tutorial here. Amazon offers much better video tutorials, for much less money, and offers from video producers who go into much greater value as well. This direct competition to your own DVD is ~$10 less in expense ... so, rather than spending $49.95 for a non-physical item through you, I only have to spend $40.52 for BOTH a physical DVD and an accompanying book. Better still, I get to have 10 straight hours of 100% sober video instruction, as opposed to 9 hours of tangents, bad jokes, incidental asides ... with maybe 5 actual hours of useful information.

I have ordered the Learn by Video series before (for Adobe Premier Pro), and the 15-hour PHYSICAL DVD (with book) tutorial was outstanding, and 100% useful information, delivered to my door.




It is a business model that works well for the majority of our customers. I am sorry that it's not for you and has caused you grief.
Chris Sanderson

I think people try to be loyal by nature and give you the business mostly because of this free message board here. That is the ONLY reason I tried to buy Michael's Lightroom 3 tutorial, because I have learned a lot from this free forum, and I wanted to "give back" to LuLa by purchasing one of your products. Unfortunately, your business model does NOT work for me ... it is a colossal waste of my time ... and (if I download all 40 files) it will cost me about 1 full month of my internet GB allotment to do so ... which I am not willing to do for you, or for anyone else, just to buy a bleepin' tutorial.

Since you refuse to send me a physical DVD, I am forced to take my business elsewhere to get a fair deal, not waste my time, and not be forced to give-up another $60 in monthly wireless charges to do so.

Working well for "the majority" of customers is fine and dandy Chris, but it would be better practice to provide a service that works for ALL of your customers, so you don't lose ANY of them to your inconsiderate model. For, as someone who really did WANT to be a customer, because of this "too lazy to be bothered with shipping" attitude yall have, I no longer want to be a customer.

Because, if you truly were "sorry," and you truly did care about ALL of your customers, you wouldn't have a business model that caused ANY ONE of them "grief" ... but rather provided the options to SATISFY every single potential one of them ... which is WHY everybody else provides a "buy DVD" option ... while you don't.

And it will cost you a sale here ...

Jack




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« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 11:32:05 AM by John Koerner » Logged
Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 11:49:43 AM »
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Jack - your inference about who we are and how we do business is correct: we are not Amazon or Microsoft and decidedly not '100% sober video instruction'.

Each to their own...
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 01:00:38 PM »
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Given the extreme importance of this topic, I think your message should have been longer and more petulant.

If I worked at LuLa and had received a courteous, mature request for discs, I might have been tempted to take some of my own time to burn them just to make a customer happy. If, on the other hand, I had received this insulting, selfish, whiny screed I would have been tempted to make an anatomically impossible suggestion.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 01:07:51 PM »
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Given the extreme importance of this topic, I think your message should have been longer and more petulant.

I was concerned about band-width
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 01:21:01 PM »
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I know nothing about LULU's reasoning.. it's their business.  Literally.

However, having lived in my present location for a while I can certainly understand issues with bandwidth.  Many streaming products I just can't use.  Others that merely download often become a major time waster.

I've sometimes wondered if there's a market for some enterprising individual to become a media/shipping agent, in the same style many sell prints through print making companies?  Or maybe there's already such a service out there, and if so maybe they could 'receive' the product on your behalf, and burn/ship it for a fee?  Anyone know of one?

It could all be done via electronic orders/invoices on the originators end I'm sure, the only real 'trouble' it would be, would be incorporating the widgets into the current ordering software.  At least that I can think of, there's often a lot of things we don't see.  Like trusting the agent not to break copyright.. but that could be worked out in the contract.

It might be a money maker for someone..
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 04:26:37 PM »
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For the record, ours are not streaming videos.

I too am on a limited ISP and find the frustration of stopping & starting streamed videos make them unwatchable.

Our videos are file downloads and while lengthy, we try to keep the actual file sizes reasonably small which is why for a nine hour video series (Lightroom 3) there are forty download zip files.
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 05:41:33 PM »
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I was a Lula Video Journal subscriber back in the "old days" when it was shipped on DVD.  Thanks to US Customs, it was a glacially slow delivery to California; people on other continents had their copies for literally weeks before I received mine.  But it was worth it.

I stopped subscribing when LuLa went to digital download.  I have the bandwidth, but not the time nor patience to download files and burn DVDs.  That was my decision and I don't fault Michael for making the business decision he made.  So I have gone without since then.

The one exception was the "From Camera to Printing" video.  Some time ago Michael and Calumet came to an agreement for the latter to make it available on CD (video files with a front end - NOT a video DVD).   I bought it from one of their brick and mortar stores.

To echo Steve Weldon's post, would it be possible for other such 3rd party arrangements to be made to distribute DVD copies of LuLa video content?  I, for one, would be likely to buy.

Paul

« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 05:53:44 PM by Paul Sumi » Logged

JohnKoerner
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 05:55:55 PM »
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Given the extreme importance of this topic, I think your message should have been longer and more petulant.
If I worked at LuLa and had received a courteous, mature request for discs, I might have been tempted to take some of my own time to burn them just to make a customer happy. If, on the other hand, I had received this insulting, selfish, whiny screed I would have been tempted to make an anatomically impossible suggestion.

Yeah well, if you were dealing with me face-to-face, I promise you would keep your mouth shut, you would do exactly as I asked, and you would go make a DVD for me.




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I know nothing about LULU's reasoning.. it's their business.  Literally.
However, having lived in my present location for a while I can certainly understand issues with bandwidth.  Many streaming products I just can't use.  Others that merely download often become a major time waster.
I've sometimes wondered if there's a market for some enterprising individual to become a media/shipping agent, in the same style many sell prints through print making companies?  Or maybe there's already such a service out there, and if so maybe they could 'receive' the product on your behalf, and burn/ship it for a fee?  Anyone know of one?
It could all be done via electronic orders/invoices on the originators end I'm sure, the only real 'trouble' it would be, would be incorporating the widgets into the current ordering software.  At least that I can think of, there's often a lot of things we don't see.  Like trusting the agent not to break copyright.. but that could be worked out in the contract.
It might be a money maker for someone..

Steve it's an interesting idea on the surface ... but ultimately it would be untenable ... for the simple fact that 99% of all motion-graphics businesses (who offer 9-hour+ video tutorials) already have the basic horse sense to offer their products in DVD form in the first place.

And, in the event there was another company as patently lazy and short-sighted as LuLa ... who did NOT offer physical DVDs to present their huge video files ... what customer in his right mind would pay such a foolish company, and then pay a second middle-man company, forcing himself to pay more money and wait longer for his final product ... when he could simply go to a more intelligent competitor, who offers a better product, for less money, and has the basic sense and courtesy to ship you EXACTLY what you want, instantly, and with no hassle?




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For the record, ours are not streaming videos.
I too am on a limited ISP and find the frustration of stopping & starting streamed videos make them unwatchable.
Our videos are file downloads and while lengthy, we try to keep the actual file sizes reasonably small which is why for a nine hour video series (Lightroom 3) there are forty download zip files.

Truly amazing: you understand what limited bandwidth means, and yet you make it untenable for those potential customers of yours who HAVE limited bandwidth to order your products.

It's a matter of simple math: your total volume of files is over 5 gigs to download. (Add it up, Chris, and it's over 5 gig to download.) Well, sir, my entire monthly service plan only allows for 5 gigs of bandwith/month (and I already use about 4 gig/month, just conducting my own business).

Now pay close attention here Chris: This means it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to download your full product and not go over my monthly allotment. Since I already use ~4 gigs/month, AT BEST I would have to download 1 gig/month and wait 5 months before I could actually receive your full video presentation. (And I promise you I am not the only one for whom this is true.)

In short, it is absolutely ridiculous (and just plain short-sighted, bad business) for LuLa not to give people a "buy-as-DVD" purchase option. You're only limiting your own market, pissing-off a certain portion of your potential customers, and shooting yourselves in the foot.

You can make all the wise-cracks you want ... you can have your loyal, sycophant, butt-kissers "defend" your foolish stance all you want ... but at the end of the day your refusal to serve turned good will into bad will ... and it turned a paying customer into a forced refund and over to a competitor ... when all you had to do is send a DVD.

Way to go geniuses ...

Jack



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« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 05:59:01 PM by John Koerner » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 06:09:33 PM »
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Jack,

We got it.

P.S. See? I can help you save your bandwidth. Wink
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 07:03:35 PM »
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Enough rudeness. This topic is now closed.

Michael
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