DSTV didn’t listen. Now they’re going to pay.


In 1998 I wrote a letter to DSTV and warned them that their arrogance is going to cost them their business. Over the years DSTV has become the poster boy for a company that exploits its customers to the point of extortion. They were riding the wave of first mover advantage. But, instead of building a long-term, sustainable business, they milked us for all they could.

One of the things they did was to charge customers as much as they could. It wasn’t a case of adding a reasonable margin, but instead how much they could get away with. That can work as long as you have the monopoly, but not when you get some competition. The low-cost airlines do the same. They would sell flights for as much as they could, instead of trying to make a reasonable profit margin. That is why a flight from Johannesburg to George can cost twice as much as a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, which is twice the distance. It’s exploitation and greed.

Companies that make easy money because they have a monopoly often exploit their customers and are examples of the ugly side of capitalism. They never last in the long term.

DSTV ignored my warnings and continued on their path. In 1999 Netflix launched and today they launched in South Africa. DSTV will not be around in 2025. Their days are numbered. They milked the cow and it’s now dry.

Instead of focusing on innovation and building a long-term, sustainable business by being customer-centric, they just killed the goose that lay the golden egg. Or rather, Netflix came and stole the goose.

Netflix just stole the goose.

DSTV has been warned numerous times about their arrogance. Arrogance in companies is often demonstrated through the way it treats it’s customers. DSTV has by far the worst call center in the country and despite many complaints refuse to change its ways. It’s almost impossible to deal with them and the frustration levels of customers are high, never mind the exorbitant cost of the monthly subscription. The DSTV website is one of the worst websites in South Africa and despite many complaints they continue to ignore their customers. Double billing is rife and I have come to the conclusion that purposeful mismanagement cannot be ruled out. It’s just happening too often.

Again this year, at the beginning of January thousands of customers were incorrectly debited twice. The call center acts as if they were not aware of the double billing, treating their customers as if they are fools. Of course they knew.

DSTV opened the door for Netflix. They realised this a few months ago and attempted to block them by launching Showmax. Unfortunately too little, too late. Netflix now has the first mover advantage and DSTV is trying to play catch-up. With a whole bunch of pissed off customers, I don’t think they’re going to get very far.

It’s going to take a little while for consumers to become Netflix savvy, but its going to happen. When devices become more user friendly and connectivity becomes even cheaper, there will be a mass exodus from DSTV.

Now we just need Netflix to get some of the big attractions in their bouquet, such as local sport, soapies and the like. It won’t be long before you have absolutely no reason to be a DSTV customer.

Arrogance in business is fatal.

R.I.P Dstv.


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The 3 Worst South African Websites

One has to wonder how these successful companies manage to be so pathetic online. It’s astounding that with the amount of money they make and their access to resources, they are unable to manage even the simplest task such as developing and maintaining a usable website. Go to almost any TV channel and you will see their commercials. They tell us how great they are and why we must use their services and then we go to the website that they advertise just to be confronted by broken links, error messages and gross incompetence.

It’s not just annoying but also insulting. We don’t like to have out time wasted and we expect you to get it right, or stop flashing commercials at us around every corner. It’s pathetic.

So what can you do? Fire you IT team for starters. Parade you CIO in front of all your staff and tell them how incredible useless he or she is. That will make me feel better at least. Collectively I have wasted precious hours on your useless websites just to be frustrated and left irritated. Your brand may be strong and it will definitely survive my little rant, but rest assured, you do not have a sustainable business. You have no pride in what you are doing.

So here are the 3 worst websites in South Africa.

#3 – Outsurance.co.za

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This website is sloooooow. It is so slow it will be faster for me to drive to their head office, stand in a queue and wait for a written quotation. Come on Outsurance, with all the hype and marketing why can you not just get this right? It’s not that complicated you know.

#2 – Hippo.co.za

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This is a joke. I fill in all the fields correctly to get a quote and then I’m confronted with a slew of errors. The errors are poorly constructed and you cannot continue after wasting 30 minutes on the site. It claims my ID number is incorrect. Now what? You spend millions on marketing but you can’t manage a simple quoting engine? It’s pathetic. All talk and no substance.

#1 – dstv.com

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And the winner of the most pathetic website in South Africa is… DSTV (again). Don’t even get me started on this one. They have this “self service” section that never works. You have to log in multiple times to get into different sections. Everything is disconnected. Boxoffice doesn’t talk to DSTV and Self Service doesn’t talk to your profile and on and on.

It’s a hodgepodge of rubbish slammed together by a bunch of greenscreen mainframe developers that think HTML is some obscure Italian pasta.

What is your major malfunction DSTV? There is not one single customer that think you have a good website. At what point will someone with half a braincell at DSTV get up and say, “mmmh, there are lots of people that think we’re shit. I think they’re right. We are shit. Let’s re-do this thing we call a website.” No?

Why, why, why?

We all have THAT day. You know, when the world pisses you off so badly you actually search through Junkmail for a weapon of mass destruction. Here is my Why rant for the day.

Why, when you search on Google and select your region as South Africa does is show you search results from Pakistan and the rest of the word? Now that we’re all used to Google, its shortcomings are painfully obvious. Please Google, focus on delivering efficient, intelligent search before putting driverless cars on the roads. If you can’t even give me relevant search results, imagine the fuckup on the N1 you’re going to cause.

Why does iTunes think that Louis Armstrong is a different artist than Louis Armstrong? How fucking difficult can it be to sort your music library without needing to download 10 different apps?

Why does my iPhone not allow me to email more than 5 photos? Seriously Apple, we don’t have fucking dialup modems anymore.

Why can News24 not develop a proper, working mobile website? I mean they belong to Naspers, one of the largest technology investment companies in the world for fucks sakes. It’s real simple you nincompoops. Open your iPad and go to news24.com and see the clusterfuck for yourself.

Why must DSTV have a thousand series on catchup and only 10 movies? We don’t all want to see fucking low budget vampire shows.

Talking about DSTV. They launched their new self service website recently. Holy shit it’s bad. Who’s making these shitty websites anyway. The scary thing is DSTV actually paid for this digital septic tank.

Why all the ads on Jacaranda? Have you listened to Jacaranda lately? They should change the name to Ad Radio with a few songs in between. And the jokes! Please people. You’re not funny ok. Just play the fucking music and shut the fuck up. Please.

Woollies are really going to the dogs. The shelves are so empty that I feel like I’m somewhere in Zimbabwe. Eish! Is the response you get when asking the manager if the Ethiopians raided the store. What’s up Woolies? There’s more stock at the BP convenience shop. And they have better pies.