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Breaking News: Starbucks Finds its Head Tucked Inside its Own Heinie!

June 14, 2010

In an effort to keep up with its hottest competitor – McDonald’s, the ubiquitous coffee chain Starbucks has decided to ditch its ridiculous pay-to-surf business model by offering free interwebz, for the eight people who haven’t switched to Starbucks cafes in Barnes & Noble to get their frappucino fix. (where there is gloriously free webs to be had).

Uncle Howard stole a few minutes away from the riveting Scene that celebrates itself – otherwise known as The Wired Business Conference – to fill us in on the exciting developments.

Free Wi-Fi is in my mind just the price of admission — we want to create … new sources of content that you can only get at Starbucks,” chairman and president and CEO Howard Schulz told the Wired Business Conference. “This is a thing that doesn’t exist in any other consumer marketplace in America.” Starbucks hopes to make money from these initiatives indirectly, by “enhanc[ing] the experience” and making the content “so compelling that it drives incremental traffic,” said Schulz as he announced the new initiative at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference on Monday. (source)

New sources of content exclusive to Starbucks? Oh like those crap CDs they force you to listen to and also sell right at the register. Yeah, I’m all set with that. Hey ‘Bucks, notice how all screenwriters/grad students/office assistants wear headphones during their entire visit? I am a person with no reason to know the name Jack Johnson or of his Bubble Toes, yet thanks to a summer spent working at the bucks where I could not escape Johnson, I own Brushfire Fairytales. I figured owning the Johnson debut would enable me to get those infectious surf grooves out my head. The cure was much worse than the disease.

La da da da da da da da.

That said, Bubble Toes is a bomb ass song.

I stayed away from the ‘Bucks because I actually have to do a lot of work online and if I needed to be someone place where I could both enjoy a frosty beverage and some internets, I’d like to have at least one of them for free. Since most places aren’t gonna make with the gratis frosty beverage, the best bet is seeking out free – non hotboxed – internets, which is easier to find than a parking space at Circuit City.

Listen to this chow chow:

Each customer must log in to Wi-Fi and the Starbucks Digital Network with a unique identifier, so Starbucks won’t only know where you are, but who you are, potentially allowing for targeted messaging to offset cost further. Focus groups have been quite receptive to the free Wi-Fi and local content customers will get in return, says the CEO. (source)

So basically, that splash page I usually click through in order to get to Twitter or michaelcaine.com will now be more than an annoying extra click; it’ll be a portal into localized content hell. I mean, localized content is what I’m trying to avoid when I frantically surf past the multiple public access channels on the TV, so it’s just not a selling point to me.

Nevertheless, I still love me some Starbucks and I probably be quite sheepish and furtive as I sip my 1/2 priced Frappucino – during frappy happy hour – and I use up all their free internets while engaged in a bit of Diablo Cody-ing.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    June 15, 2010 7:28 am

    Look around, the evil is everywhere! Isn’t it enough that Safeway knows everything I’ve bought there for the last 15 years?

  2. June 15, 2010 7:35 am

    Portals were all the rage by businesses just discovering the web… in 1998. It’s pretty pathetic that Starbucks is just deciding to create theirs now; Disney dropped go.com years ago. And if I want local content, I can just pick up that copy of the free arts weekly over at the next table. Or check their website.

  3. evmaroon permalink
    June 15, 2010 7:46 am

    Ah, but Redlami, there is never an idea as bad as the ones executives dream up in a meeting of 20 people.

  4. June 15, 2010 9:23 am

    I carried a watermelon.

  5. evmaroon permalink
    June 15, 2010 10:24 am

    Really, my question is, is that a venti or a grande heinie?

  6. June 15, 2010 4:40 pm

    Really, my question is, is that a venti or a grande heinie?

    Hahah. I wanted “ass” but I’m La Mommie’s daughter.

  7. June 16, 2010 2:08 pm

    I carried a watermelon.

    Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

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