Opinion: Biggest Losers of 2005

Sony
2005 was not exactly a banner year for Sony. First there was the Rootkit Fiasco. Apparently trying to play certain Sony Audio CDs on Windows PCs resulted in anti-piracy software being surreptitiously installed on the PC. This software hid itself from Windows and allowed other nasties to do the same. It resisted removal, and attempts to manually remove it could damage your OS.

But that, as bad as it is, is not the end of the story. Also in 2005 a judge finally ruled on a Class-action Lawsuit in which Sony staff created a fake critic that posted fake movie reviews.

As salesmen everywhere like to say, “But wait! There’s more!” In the dying months of 2005, the Marketing Mavens at Sony came up with a slick idea. To improve sales of their PSP with the hip-hop crowd, Sony paid graffiti artists in several major cities to paint pictures of kids with PSPs.

Sounds like a good idea… except that it is illegal. This, too backfired in Sony’s face. Many graffiti artists took umbrage at their art, altering “Sony” to “Fony” and annotating the ads – for ads they were – with a selection of choice comments.

Concerned Women of America
CWA successfully fought the creation of a “.XXX” Top-Level Domain (like .COM, .ORG etc.) They claimed that it would result in the proliferation of Porn sites, while John Dvorak (along with myself and most people who understand what the Internet is and how it works) contend that this would make it easier to filter out porn sites. I suppose that this is an example of the law of unintended consequences.

Wal-Mart
2005 was the year I quit going to Wal-Mart. Well, not really quit – Wally-world is like an addiction – you try to give up but keep coming back for one more hit. I have cut back my visits to once a week or less. Years ago Wal-Mart employees were so enthusiastic that jokes about the “Wal-Mart Cult” were not uncommon. Now they could not care less.

Happy New Year!

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