Apr. 15th, 2008

waider: (Default)
Actually, I can't claim to have originated this. Somewhere along the line I picked up the word "fishslap", as in whacking someone across the face with a fish, a notional punishment applied via IM or other online chat for bad jokes, etc. When I wrote the office IRC bot for the company I worked for before my current employment, I included the following in its configuration:
   # the classics
   [ '^%b: slap\s+(.+)', '/me slaps %1 with a fish.' ],
Which, translated from my hacky Perl to english, says "if someone says, "bot: slap waider", display a message reading, "bot slaps waider with a fish". (%b was replaced with the bot's name, allowing you to have a bot named whatever you liked; the rest is just a combination of Perl-like back-references to identify the target, and IRC shorthand to denote an action performed rather than a statement made.)

The reason I mention this is that I recently saw a hotmail email which ended with the following:
Get fish-slapping on Messenger
waider: (Default)
Since one Justin Mason inadvertently brought my attention to another Irish DVDs-by-email company (MovieStar), I had a poke at their website; it's interesting to compare MovieStar with my own suppliers, ScreenClick:
  • both have a big-image splash pages, although the MovieStar one comes with some useful links (including, er, two to the page you're on)
  • both advertise €7.99 starter packages (MovieStar claims it's "the cheapest place in Ireland to rent DVDs" despite this)
  • "movie rentals to your door" vs "DVDs to your door"
  • both have a two-week free trial
  • both have near-identical four-step "how it works" diagrams
  • both have near-identical product offerings (same prices and restrictions; only ScreenClick offers the four-disc-per-month version, however)
The reason Justin mentioned MovieStar is that they've announced that they're going to be offering movies to download from May 1. Aside from the comments he's already made on his blog about this, I find it surprising that there's no mention of it on their website - their "Media Center" section is full of advertising, and there's no press releases section. Seems like if you're identical to your competitor in pretty much all respects, and you've come up with a differentiator, you should maybe plug it a little harder, right?

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