Roman’s Rants: Buttons from Hell

From today, the so-called button solution is obligatory for German online businesses. The underlying law is based on a European guideline, so it can be expected that sooner or later other European countries will follow suit. The reason: Utterly evil digital subscription offerers build websites offering bullshit services such as personalised horoscopes and hide the fact that this will have to be paid for by the user. The basic solution: Put the text “buy” rather than “order” onto the button that will trigger the order and everybody is safe and happy. What a truckload of crap!

In every system, there are a few wankers that take advantage of it. In the case of the aformentioned horoscope services, they put it into the finest fineprint that providing one’s postal address and clicking the button, this will start a paid subscription service. This is fraud, there are already laws against it, why need another one? Does anybody seriously believe that there aren’t other alternatives for criminals to unlawfully get other people’s money on the web? Hell no, it’s just one of those arms build-ups virus producers and anti-virus software producers have been practising for years now.

The sad truth: Yes, it’s harder to use the web than using your microwave oven. You’ve got to know your way around, try to find out what’s good and what’s bad for you. If you don’t switch on your brain once in a while you might find yourself buying stuff you don’t need, uploading those boozed pictures you don’t want anybody to see etc. etc. In this sense, the web is a metaphor for life itself: It can be incredibly nice, but it can also be dangerous. (And life will most certainly lead to death, but that’s another story.) What I’m trying to say here is, rather than calling for governments to protect people from each and every mishap that might be in our way, you and me and everybody should do what’s best in most situations like these: Get bloody educated!

I’m not saying that I’m against consumer protection. But rather than fighting against the odd subscription moron (while billions of ecommerce Euros are exchanged every year by honest companies and satisfied customers) one should fight global food producers making children eat fatty and sugary fucking crap. Or banks selling their weirdo derivate-certificate bullshit to people who don’t have the slightest clue that they will most likely lose all their hard-earned money. But why fighting against massive lobbies when it’s so much easier to go bashing the web. It’s unsafe, mean and the perfect hide-out for terrorists after all. Give me a fucking break.

Surely, there are people benefitting from this law. In the last couple of months there were thousands of online businesses seeking assistance in order to comply to the new rules. And there surely are thousands of businesses having made or still making extra money from that, from digital agencies to designers to lawyers to journalists. A big bloody present in the middle of summer, thank you very much. This all went down with hardly any protest – online retailers don’t have a lobby at all, apparently.

What’s left is the painful insight that yet again, because of FUD and utter incompetence, another tiny part of the internet has been broken. It’s really about time we took away your fax machines.

(Image by ClaraDon)

3 Responses to Roman’s Rants: Buttons from Hell

  1. Kai says:

    Woooohoooo! Well spoken Roman, right from my heart :-)

  2. Stephan says:

    “Get bloody educated!” – sounds like from the very bottom of my heart!

  3. Henri says:

    .. if we could agree that everything and every service that can be bought or ordered online could also be cancelled online. Once that principle has been established a lot of problems will be gone. But as long as cancellations have to be made via under-staffed hotlines or via obscure fax-numbers based in countries who do well in the Eurovision song-contest the button is (well) deserved …

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