Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1994)

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Subject: Re: Attitudes, Service, and Mailing Lists
From: Brent Chapman <brent @ mycroft . GreatCircle . COM>
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 1994 13:09:48 -0700
To: Grayson Walker <gwalker @ rtfm . mlb . fl . us>
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: Your message of Thu, 7 Jul 1994 15:32:08 -0400 (EDT)

Grayson Walker <gwalker @
 rtfm .
 mlb .
 fl .
 us> writes:

# > > The members of the list are YOUR customers. Customers expect service,
# > > nothing more. Your list is a service. 
# > 
# > My list is a service which is provided free of charge and for which I
# > receive absolutely zero renumeration.  I am a volunteer.  This places
# > these so-called "customers" in a very different category.  My primary
# > concern is providing an adequate forum for discussion while minimizing
# > my time commitment.  This is, I believe, a very reasonable stand to
# > take since I am a volunteer for this task.
# I recognize this as mildly polemic. Your position may have been defensible
# in the Arpanet and early Internet days, but not today. Today we have lots
# of mailing list members who pay for access to our 'Net. Some of them
# pay non-trivial fees -- I've seen some who pay on a per message basis --
# they get excited when a list upchucks hundreds of null messages -- as the
# Commercial Real Estate list did last weekend. YOU and I may not receive
# financial compensation, but there are lots of paying customers. Just one
# more piece of a complex and flawed process. They are customers.

Fine, they're somebody's customers, but they're not _my_ customers.  I
didn't solicit their "business".  If they want "better service", they
can damn well pay _me_ for it; what they pay somebody else (their
service provider) is irrelevant.

# We're also talking about an orientation towards service, and, yes plain
# courtesy. I know you've seen the (fortunately) occasional arrogance that
# some self-styled experts dump upon the neophyte. This must end. 

Talk about arrogance...

# > This "customer" expectation you have described is only valid if these
# > folks were indeed paying a list maintainer for the service.  Then they
# I disagree. If they paying somebody for a service you provide without
# compensation, I think you're undervaluing your service. Regardless of the
# prices, there is a service-customer relationship here.

OK, fine, I've just decided that Great Circle Associates is going to
charge $10/year for each subscription to List-Managers @
 GreatCircle .
payable in advance by credit card or check in U.S. dollars drawn on a
U.S. bank.  For service problems, you can call our 900 number, and be
billed at $1/minute directly to your phone bill.  Non-US customers are
just out of luck when it comes to service calls, because we can't
figure out how an easy way to bill them for it.

Are you telling me that would be an _improvement_?

# Simple. To which customer do we adapt? All of them. Until the 
# processes deal with all the needs of the service providers and their
# consumer/customer, the processes are flawed. Just because we cannot solve
# the problem given today's software or technology in no way prevents us
# from recognizing the flaws in the processes.

Tell you what...  You run your lists your way, and we'll run ours our
way.  Have a good time; thanks for sharing.

Brent Chapman         | Great Circle Associates  | Call or email for info about
Brent @
 GreatCircle .
 COM | 1057 West Dana Street    | upcoming Internet Security 
+1 415 962 0841       | Mountain View, CA  94041 | Firewalls Tutorial dates

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