Review: The Original Tour, London

For anyone thinking of visiting London and taking The Original Tour, I strongly recommend you do NOT use it. We took the tour over the weekend with my inlaws and it has to be the worst service I have ever seen. None of the bus times posted corresponded with what was happening. As a result, we waited 30 min for a bus that never arrived, missed our cruise on the Thames and had to walk home from Buckingham palace because the buses stopped running.

At every stop the people boarding complained at how long it took between buses and that some lines were not running. While waiting for the Original Tour bus, I saw at *least* 10 Big Bus Company buses pass by…

If you’re visiting London, and want to do the tourist thing, stay 100 miles away from The Original Tour. (And after complaining about the crappy service, they aren’t even returning part of our money.)

OECD: No Real Link between File-Sharing, Music Industry Slump

Good to see that the OECD corroborates the fact that the music industry is just using file sharing as a scapegoat:

“In a report published earlier this week, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) downplayed the role of Internet file-sharing in the recording industry’s 20% revenue slump between 1999 and 2003. The OECD said it was difficult to establish a causal relationship between file-sharing and lost CD sales, adding that illegal CD copying and other factors may have played a role. The OECD concluded that the industry should do more to embrace licensed file-sharing and other new forms of digital music distribution. The report also criticised the current range of incompatible audio and digital rights management formats, which it said face concerns over transparency, privacy and restrictive usage terms that deny fair uses. “

(Via European Tech Wire.)

Hate Mail from Red Herring

I received a hate letter from Red Herring the other day (the irony is after the letter):

Dear Jason Ball,

How long did you expect us to wait?

Months ago we entered a subscription to Red Herring in your name (as you had personally requested) and sent you several issues as promised.

Unfortunately, our records indicate that you haven’t kept your part of the agreement:

This is the 5th invoice we’ve sent you and we still have not received your payment- or even a reply letting us know there was a problem with your subscription.

Maybe you’ve forgotten. Or misplaced our “reminders”. Or maybe, like many business people these days you are very busy and it’s simply slipped your mind. Maybe you do have a problem with your subscription – if so, just let us know now. Subscriber satisfaction is very important to us at Red Herring.

Whatever the reason, we’ve run out of options. Unless we hear from you in the next 10 days. I must inform you that your subscription will be cancelled and your name will be added to our internal Bad Credit line.

We hate to lose you as a subscriber- so we’ve made it easy for you to reinstate your subscription and start receiving Red Herring again: Simply detach the invoice above and send it with your payment in the enclosed envelope today.

Don’t delay. Red Herring is a must read for global business leaders like you.


Daniel Essindi
Chief Operating Officer

The ironic part is, I spent $60 for a Red Herring subscription one issue before they went bust. That’s right, $60 for one paltry magazine. I have sent multiple emails to Red Herring regarding my previous and current subscription (which was charged at the wrong rate)- with no response whatsoever. Just interchange “Jason” for “Red Herring” and this is a letter I could have sent them.

If your customer service is excellent, you can get away with letters like this. But c’mon guys, when I’ve tried to contact you and you owe me a full subscription to start with, this type of letter goes over like a lead balloon.

I’m sure we’ll settle the score one day, but for now making stupid, insulting letters like this public information makes me feel just a little bit better…

Creative Businesses

This bodes well for the deluge of businesses I’m looking at as part of the Creative Business Accelerator we’re running with the London Business Angels.

Ringtone Madness Continues – Ribit

Whenever a wild content venture is floated, the promoter will often conclude by saying – “People looked down their nose at the ringtone market and there’s huge money there.” Indeed there is, with news this week that one ringtone – The Crazy Frog owned by Jamster – has climbed the UK charts to number one. We heard on the radio, and cannot confirm with online news sources, that Jamster has already made $40M in royalties off the Crazy Frog.