27 June 2007

iPhone bets part 2, and aggregating customer service information

Yesterday I posted betting on the iPhone, about an online bookmaker that was taking odds on various circumstances surrounding the release of the iPhone.
Wired has "Ready for an IPhone? Tips to End Your Existing Cell Contract", which is what it sounds like. Their tips include "odds of success", such as:

Pawn it off
Don’t want your contract anymore? Find someone who does. Websites like Celltradeusa.com specialize in connecting thousands of people together for the express purpose of transferring the financial responsibilities of cell contracts from one person to another. As long as the recipient meets the minimum qualifications (credit check, etc.) you can transfer the plan over without getting hit with the early termination fee.
Odds of success: 2-to-1

but I think they just made up these odds. It would actually be interesting to know these sorts of things about various companies' customer service. Some of the tips they offer are more of a gamble -- for example, abuse the system by using up lots of minutes while you're roaming, if roaming is free for you. They offer 20-to-1 odds on that. Before I tried that, I might like to know "1000 people say they've tried this; it worked for 50 of them". It would be interesting to see a web site that collected such information -- there are many problems that a lot of people have and having data on how they solved them could be useful.

However, there's always the issue that I'll call the "asymmetry" of word of mouth. If you expect a plan like that not to work, you'll tell lots of people if it does work and not that many people if it doesn't work. It's kind of like how you hear about the actors that made it (because they're on your TV all the time) but you don't hear about the ones that didn't make it (although you do see them if you go to a restaurant, because they're waiting tables to make ends meet). So any information on such a web site would have to be taken with a shaker of salt.

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