I’ve been noticing that more and more Starbucks outlets are not just having the “timezone” wireless access point any longer, but also having one named “Starbucks”. Timezone is available for free, without registration (except in KLCC’s concourse), however, the Starbucks AP is provided for by MOL AccessPortal.
They’re quite annoying. They make you watch an ad for 30 seconds, before granting you “free” Wifi (in exchange for some information).
The real problem? I run Flash Block in Firefox, and don’t see the ad playing! In fact, once that ad is done with, and you’re done registering (that seems to be a one-off process), you are shown a five-columned website, in where you see relevant information about Starbucks, however, there are three columns that are also blocked via Flask Block (the ads!).
Maybe I’m not the ads target market. Then again, browsers don’t come built-in with ad blockers, or flash blockers, so this probably doesn’t affect majority of the people showing up at Starbucks. I wonder how effective the 30 second ad actually even is?
For folk going to Starbucks, its a win all the way. Two access points, double the chance of having faster Internet. For those going to Coffee Bean? Sigh, Airzed, you’re losing out… For those in other countries where Starbucks makes you pay for the Internet (I’m looking at you America [t-mobile] and Australia [horrendously expensive Telstra]) – you’ve found another reason to move :-)
On another note, I’ve noticed that from February 1 – April 13 2009, Starbucks is running a loyalty program, that rewards you after buying seven tall cups of any beverage – you get the eight one free. Starbucks isn’t normally into these loyalty goodies, so I’m guessing they want to keep you loyal during the down economy (besides, coffee at the mamak is averaging RM1.50-1.80 now).