It's that time of the year again.
The one where companies vie to be worse than Comcast.
That used to be the plot, at least, to the point at which Comcast tried to get its own staff to help prevent it winning the Consumerist's Worst Company in America award.
Last year, though, Electronic Arts walked off with the prize, and this year things aren't looking too good.
It's already in the Final Four, where it must face the might of Ticketmaster. So EA's COO, Peter Moore, thought it best not to attempt ballot stuffing.
Instead, he took to his company's blog in order both to preempt a repeat victory and perhaps to encourage voters to have mercy.
In a post titled "We Can Do Better," Moore offered that this poll might not be the most objective assessment of worstness.
He wrote: "This is the same poll that last year judged us as worse than companies responsible for the biggest oil spill in history, the mortgage crisis, and bank bailouts that cost millions of taxpayer dollars."
His point is one of the more undeniable that any COO could offer, save for the fact that BP wasn't even involved in this competition last year.
Still, he added: "The complaints against us last year were our support of SOPA (not true), and that they didn't like the ending to Mass Effect 3."
Actually, that one's a little awkward too, as the Consumerist itself pointed out that its analysis didn't suggest Mass Effect 3 or SOPA had anything to do with it:
Instead, it looks at EA's history of buying up smaller, successful developers with the intention of milking -- and arguably ruining -- the intellectual properties that made these acquired companies so attractive. It also discusses EA's exclusivity deals on popular sports games, that some say effectively sets the bar for retail prices for the rest of the gaming industry.
Moore began to reach for arguments that seemed slight -- for example citing e-mails that people were being encouraged to vote for EA because of the the specific players featured on the cover of Madden.
He also suggested that the inclusion of LGBT characters in games was hurting the company's cause.
More Technically Incorrect
I have a feeling that a rather pronounced enthusiasm for nickel-and-diming might have caused a slightly more elevated level of dissatisfaction with customers. As might the little mess that accompanied the launch of Sim City.
Still, Moore counters reasonably: "Every day, millions of people across globe play and love our games -- literally, hundreds of millions more than will vote in this contest."
Being voted "Worst Company in America" is really closer to being voted "The Company That People Who Are Online A Lot Hate Most," which isn't quite the same thing.
It's just not nice when people say it about you. And it is, as the Consumerist points out, one way at least some of your customers express their frustrations. (Senior management just fires people.)
As well as EA and Ticketmaster, Bank of America and -- gosh -- Comcast are in the Final Four.
But perhaps none of these managed to compare themselves, as did Moore in his post, with the New York Yankees, L.A. Lakers, and Manchester United.
Surely he realizes that when these teams have an off year -- the Yankees and Lakers are managing that quite gracefully so far -- their fans aren't exactly silent.
The Worst Company in America voting is a little bit of a game. It's odd that the COO of a gaming company is unable to see it as that.