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Expedited Deception

Last week I received a very official looking envelope in the mail. It came from PO Box 757, Chanhassen, MN 55317. Both sides of the envelope were emblazoned with labels including something for everyone –  “ExpeditedDelivery GRAM”, “Package Tracking Number 80495100562”, “Extremely Urent”, “Recipient please hand deliver to addressee”, “Expedited – Not available to all locations”, “Special Notes on Enclosure”, “Time sensitive material”, “Materials Inspected”, “Recipient Name Confirmed”, “Postage Paid”, “Address of Recipient Confirmed”, “Delivery Date Verified”, “Service – Expedited”, “Weight 1 oz”, “Zone – 4”, “Sender authorizes the delivery of this shipment without obtaining a release signature and shall indemnify and hold harmless the shipper from any claims resulting therefrom”, “Release Signature – KC”, “Revision date 1/96”, “Format 196”, “Printed in U.S.A.”
The envelope contained everything except the identity of who had sent it. Can you believe it? I did not make this up. I actually received the envelope described. It was obvious that someone was desperate to deceive the recipient to open the envelope. Who was it from? SiriusXM Satellite Radio. What was the extremely urgent matter being brought to my attention? “There’s never been a better time to be a SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscriber. Reactivate your XMradio today with this Special Offer!” I respect aggressive marketing when it is of high-integrity. This sham from XMSirius had no integrity. Fraud might be slightly strong, but at a minimum their mailing is based on deceipt — trying to trick the recipient to open the envelope. If the mailing was intended to be humorous that would be ok — if they had added their name to it.
If you read financial commentary about SIRI (the stock symbol for XMSirius, coincidentally the name of the new voice recognition software in the iPhone 4S), you find the word “desperate” used quite often. Seeking Alpha said that the SiriusXM 2012 subscriber outlook fell short of Wall Street’s consensus estimates. It also noted that the low subscriber number was just one of several disappointing subscriber measurements (see the full story – SiriusXM And Slowing Subscriber Growth). The conversion rate – the percentage of OEM trial subscribers that become self pay subscribers – is expected to show no improvement in 2012 and the self-pay monthly churn (the cancellation rate for subscribers that had previously chosen to pay for the service) is projected at 2.1%. These are most likely two of the primary drivers behind the company’s relatively low forecast of 1.3 million net additional new subscribers in 2012.
Meanwhile, Pandora seems to be gaining subscribers rapidly. PaidContent.org reported that Pandora had 94 million registered users as of their IPO filing in May, of whom 34 million are considered “active” users. That’s up from 53 million users registered and 18 million “active” in the same quarter last year. The listening numbers are even more impressive — Pandora played 1.6 billion hours of music in the quarter ending April 30, compared with 700 million hours the prior year. See New Numbers From Pandora Show Big Growth But No Profits for more details. It is not just CDs, newspapers, and video that is being impacted by the Internet — add satellites to the list.

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