Zip Is Amazing, But How Would You Know?

While I would never want to invalidate Tessa’s critique of I did want to rise to their defense and say that after you are a subscriber the service is just fantastic. I’ve been a customer for over a year now and just love them. The site is a bit quirky but once you’ve used it a few times you get the hang of it and everything works just as it is supposed to. They’ve been amazing at delivering and collecting information about my DVDs and their shipping status and responsive to customer service requests. And they use e-mail really, well-personalized information about my account when sending regular shipping notifications that my whole family has come to depend on. Still, Tessa’s points are valid.

If new users are frustrated during the sign-up process they’ll never get to experience the service. Another issue Zip has is that it is not entirely intuitive to non-users how life-changing DVD subscription services are. I use it as an example of the Net fundamentally changing business models — Zip is so much better than the local video rental place they’re in an entirely different league. But when I’m discussing the concept most people have a ton of questions about how it works, why I signed-up, lots of misconceptions, and a fixation on price and process. I think the same thing holds for other technologies that I consider life-changing — broadband, Macs, PVRs, digital cameras, HDTV, iPods, podcasts, and feeds come immediately to mind. Have you found technologies or online services that “rocked your world” but you still left you unable to make others understand why you were going on about them so passionately?

Originally published at on January 12, 2006.