Friday, November 18, 2011
Hi, Reddit - and random people finding this blog long after I've moved on to other projects. I appreciate your interest, comments, and critiques!
As many of you have pointed out, this is an old issue that we, the internet, have had some awareness of for quite some time, well before I started pursuing it in 2008/9. I listed some of these existing projects, including MIT's Seeing Yellow, on my intro post.
The yellow dots issue had been analyzed from a privacy point of view (privacy nuts aren't a fan of it) as well as a technological/encryption point of view (breaking the codes and documenting them). As I became more interested in the issue, I wanted to approach it from the consumer perspective.
What I wanted to know was, what would happen if a consumer persistently kept escalating his or her dissatisfaction with the unadvertised inclusion of this technology in their printer? Could I climb to the very top of the corporate ladder, and what would be the response from the top brass?
My result - after months of climbing the ladder - was a letter from the president of Lexmark Canada saying that I could receive a refund for my printer, if I wanted it. I declined (more accurately, I didn't respond) because - believe it or not - I was just motivated by curiosity and inspired by excellent consumer action sites like www.consumerist.com. Having a letter from the top dog of a printer company saying, "you're right, we do include this tech, do you want a refund?" was my goal. This was a milestone that no one else working on the tracking dots issue had achieved (or written about).
I left the blog online so that you, too can voice your dissatisfaction to Big Print, and possibly pursue refunds and consumer action of your own.
PS. If you liked this consumer action story, you may be interested in the time that TicketMaster extorted $20 from me, and what I did to get it back.