I have previously blogged about Purtracks.com a Canadian online music store that does not support Apples Macintosh computers. Well their saga of being closely tied to the windows platform and not meeting customers needs continues on.
I recently attended the local theater to catch a flick where I was given a promotion card for 3 free music downloads from the Purtracks store. This is combined promotion from Hersheyâ€™s Chocolate, Coke, Empire Theaters, and Puretracks. The cards contain a serial number and a PIN number that you can use to redeem for the three songs. The problems started when I attempted to scratch the coating that is over the PIN number (much like a scratch and win ticket). As you can see in the image the coating did not remove easily and I ended up scratching the ink off the card, rendering the card useless. Not wanting to give up I decided to register for an account and see if I could decipher the numbers so I can get my 3 free songs.
The registration process was easy, simply provide the typical information; first name, last name, email, postal code, password, and a few check boxes for news letters. Once logged in to the music store I found that just about all the albums were available in WMA format only, and few were available in mp3 format. Knowing that WMA does not play well with Mac OS or any Linux/BDS variant this limits the customer base greatly. I would assume that any store would want the widest breadth of consumers possible.
Having surfed around and found 4 songs I like – I received a free song with registration – and added them to my cart and proceeded to the checkout. Attempting to decipher what numbers were I was ultimately unable to figure it out after several attempts. Having felt enough frustration in finding MP3 songs, knowing I could never use the service at home since I am a Mac user (you can not even view the website from a Mac), and the inability to redeem a coupon due to low quality printing, I decided to deactivate the account. Feeling that I would never likely return to the service as it does not fit my needs I clicked the “My Account” button. Searching high and low I could not find the deactivate account option. So now I am stuck with this Purtracks account, meaning they have my name and email with the potential to spam me in the future.
Once again I feel Purtracks has totally missed the boat on providing a quality service to its users. Using WMA, and the DRM contained within, limits the playability of the songs, restricting the access to even surf the store to Windows computers is unlikely to attract any attention from Mac or Linux users who might choose to use them. Finally, the inability to remove your information from their site is one of the largest privacy concerns I can think of and could be a violation of PIPIDA (Canadaâ€™s privacy laws). They can do much better.
Welcome to the wonderful world of stealth data collection, where the primary motive isn’t to promote the free product. The shitty scratch and win card is a tip; they must have scraped the bottom of the barrel in cheap scratch ticket manufacturers to screw up such a common bit of industry.
Preserve costs; give away loss leaders, get the consumer’s info, spam them later with more crap. Bonus points to them for making sure you couldn’t unregister.
Hey, imagine this situation, someone has more than 1000$ worth of song in his account, he wants to download it back by going into his account, because he formated for example, but oups an hacker canceled his account. That’s why you need to contact the Puretracks customer service and they’ll do it.
As for the promotional code, that’s absolutely not Puretracks fault. Empire Theaters printed those cards, but did a really big mess with it. They did a bad batch, a really bad batch.