Dear Shopzilla

I saw your commercial the other night on HGTV. First off, I don’t usually get all that excited about any website I discover on television. I guess that’s a little unfair to say when you were just bought by Scripps Networks (owner of Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY Network and FINE LIVING) for $525 million. It wasn’t really the TV medium that bothered me this time anyway. It was your choice of browser. Yes, your browser. Confused? Allow me to remind you:

Shopzilla on IE5 for Mac.

I know how it goes. The boss said, “Give me a commercial, and I mean YESTERDAY, for our HGTV spot with a mouse pointer flying around a tilted translucent browser window clicking and zooming and spinning and whooshing and whirring”. You were on a tight deadline and found a pre-dotcom-bust screenshot from pets.com and decided to use the browser graphics for your commercial. Talk about your Web 2.0 party fouls… and don’t even try to convince me that you actually opened up IE 5.2 for Mac. It doesn’t even come with the Apple OS anymore. If you downloaded it fresh from Microsoft, and opened it up with the default MSN.com homepage, you would see this paragraph at the top of the page:

Why does MSN look like this? Your browser cannot find our style and presentation information and as a result may not display the page properly. You are welcome to use the page as is, or upgrade your browser to its latest version which may address the problem. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to the Microsoft Internet Explorer website to install the latest version. If you are using another browser, see the provider’s website for more information. If you are using Internet Explorer for Mac, we recommend that you use another browser to have an optimal experience on MSN.

Circular logic huh? You download IE, start it up, and it tells you to download IE again. Way to go Micro$oft! Well my friend, there are other options – options that don’t make me reminisce about the early 90s. You want it to look “hip” and Apple-like? Well, Apple iMacs don’t come in Tangerine, Grape, Lime, Blueberry, or Strawberry anymore…and fortunately they come with a new default browser – Safari.

Safari

Shopzilla on Safari.

See, it’s looking better already! No more turquoise to distract you from the page content, and in the un-reality of TV world, you can still have the tilted look, 90% opacity and outer-glow.

“What? There’s More!?” – That’s right folks, if you act within the next 10 minutes, we’ll throw in 2 OTHER great browser options! (Sorry, you’re doing TV commercials now, so I figured a little infomercial-speak might get your attention.)

Opera

Shopzilla on Opera.

Looking for a funky-fresh option for your commercial browser graphics? How about Opera? It’s available for almost every operating system and touts itself as the Fastest Browser on Earth™ – which really helps with all that clicking and zooming and spinning and whooshing and whirring you’re doing. They recently removed the ads, making it completely free to download and use. I’m not sure that all of the HGTV watchers will recognize it, but it’s sure to get that browser idea across.

Firefox

Shopzilla on Firefox.

I personally think, with a name like Shopzilla, you should be using the Mozilla Firefox browser. Not only is it the fastest spreading browser, but it’s free, has tons of themes and extension to make it better, and conforms to web standards (which basically means it won’t make shopzilla look like crapzilla).

Sure, there are other browser options out there, but Safari, Opera, and Firefox are the only options in my opinion. IE5 for Mac…I still can’t believe it. Good luck breaking the news to the boss.

Sincerely,
Jason

6 Comments

  1. Not sure if you saw the announcement over the weekend, but Microsoft is ending support for IE for mac on Decemeber 31st, 2005, and making it unavailable for download on Jan 31st, 2006. Die, IE for Mac, DIE! MS press release

  2. This might have been my first post I read entirely in an RSS Reader. Once I was done I knew I just had to come comment anyway.

    Aside from that, nice little letter. But did you have to throw in the ‘$’ sign into Microsoft? That still seems like it’s getting old and childish. Nonetheless ie5Mac is getting old too.

    Btw, I never even heard of shopzilla until today. Werid.

  3. I’ve had the same beef when watching commercials like that. I notice it everytime a company does a commercial and uses IE for mac or maybe a computer scene using OS9 finder windows.

  4. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft. Micro$oft.

    And let me add…

    Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze. Windoze.

    There. Nyah. XD

  5. Jason,
    As a shopzilla employee, i must say i too am unhappy that they used that for the commercial.
    But here is some insider info…
    Shopzilla’s media dept did not make the commercial, scripps media dept did.

    and on another note, we use firefox around here.
    here are some other tid-bits.

    we have a widget(in beta still) for the new macOS so that you can search out side.

    we have firefox extentions that do the same, and you can add us to the search bar in the top right.

    now hows that?
    anyways, i just wanted to post that i understand your angst, (and yes that is a real address i use for forums and other anon posts)
    -a zillan

  6. Wow, insider info! Thanks for clearing that up! I kinda guessed recently that Shopzilla wasn’t to blame since I’ve seen other commercials for HGTV’s own website that use the same browser and commercial format. They must have some stock video templates or something.

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