Thursday, November 18, 2010

…And RealPlayer Loses a User

I got a notification about an update to RealPlayer today, so I accepted it and waited for the install to occur.

And 10 minutes later, I uninstalled the application and started this blog post.
  • In order to install, it insisted I quit my browser.  That’s so 2005, that I have to quit one app to install another.
  • After installing, it asked for my password.  No idea why it didn’t have my previous one saved, but this happens.  Maybe a wipe of saved browser passwords at some point wiped this, too.  (Most likely, when they mirrored my content over from the previous laptop, info like that wasn't preserved, and I just haven't used RealPlayer since then.)
  • This is a work system, so my password has to change every few months.  After trying a couple that I could remember, I gave up and used the “Forgot your password?” link.  The page that came up asked for my email address… twice.  Twice on the same page.  These double-ask fields are done during sign-up scenarios to ensure that people have entered the right email address (no typos) or have typed their password (in blind text) correctly.  That use case doesn’t apply here.
  • After getting the email to reset the password and clicking on the stupidly long URL, the resulting web page asked for the last four digits of my credit card.  I don’t recall having a credit card attached to that account — why would I have, since I’m not going to buy anything through them? — and why would you need me to click a link, enter an email address twice, check my email, click on another link, and then provide even more info?  Seems like overkill, when other applications can do the reset in fewer steps.
  • But okay, which credit card?  I’ve used several over the nearly five years this account has been around, and I have since closed most of those accounts.  I tried the one I think I recall from my checking account; that’s the one I have on file at various retailers and such.  But no, that’s not the one they were looking for, and there was no means for entering other info, etc.  (Actually, that was the one from a checking account I recently had to close due to a fraud claim, but I’ve been using it for a few years.  Although as I think of it, I got that one after the RealPlayer account was created, so it would have likely been wrong regardless.)
(Note the big sin they have committed here: credit card usage changes over time.  The card I prefer to use now may not be the same one I used last year, and that account may be closed and the info not accessible to me any more.  Values which change over time should never be used as a security measure because they are neither memorizable nor retrievable.)

So I need to sign in to complete the install, but I can’t remember my password, and they won’t reset my password without me entering digits from a credit card for an account I no longer have?  Plonk!

Control Panels > Add & Remove Programs > Uninstall

[Note: I used to work for RealNetworks.  Does that make me more forgiving of them or more critical?  I’m not sure.]

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