My thoughts on AT&T’s ‘Mark the Spot’ app

Posted on December 8, 2009

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@joewilcox wrote a piece today about AT&T’s mark the spot app. If I haven’t said it here before, I have terrible problems with AT&T and my iPhone service in my apartment. Even with full bars, my phone won’t receive calls and often drops the calls I make. That’s brutal for many reasons, the most important being that I work from my apartment… on my mobile phone.

So, what does “mark the spot” say about AT&T. A couple of things. 1) To me, it says they’re being lazy. They want me to send in a report every time my phone drops a call or doesn’t receive the call at all? Shouldn’t they have a back-end way to track that? 2) It’s slightly brilliant. For some reason, people – me included – feel empowered when they report something… or just have additional details. The “next Muni” app in San Francisco is a great example of this – it doesn’t make the bus come faster, but it makes me less anxious and/or angry while I wait. There’s power in knowledge just like there’s power in feeling like you’re contributing to the solution.

Now, I haven’t been on the marketing side of this from AT&T. Seems like they should have some way to reach iPhone owners in SF and NYC where service is really bad. Will they start asking me to contribute? Should I contribute? How exactly does “marking the spot” at my apartment help improve service here? Or is it just part of the illusion that they’re doing everything they can?

What do you think?

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