Ben Laurie blathering

Marketing Lessons from Symantec

I use Norton AntiVirus, for no particular reason, mainly because its cheaper to keep paying the subscriptions than it is to figure out what to use instead.

Today the time rolled around again to renew the update subscription. Firstly the built-in renewal thing didn’t work, says it can’t contact the server. I guess they didn’t think it was worth testing that bit. OK, so I can go via the website. Seems I can get an upgrade for only a fiver more than an a subscription, so I decide to do that.

Then they want me to buy something more expensive, y’know, firewall and all that stuff. I decline. Mildly irritated by this point. Then they’ve added an option, for six quid, to download what I’m just about to buy from them (saving them money on packaging, I might add) for a year. More irritated, I remove this option – if my machine dies enough to need a redownload, it won’t be Symantec’s products I’ll be downloading. Now it wants my credit card info. And my phone number, apparently. OK, so I invent one just for them, and it says

We’re Sorry.

The information you provided us is either incomplete or incorrect.
Please use your “back” button to review the previous page and try again.

Error Number: 30016017 – 0
Gee, thanks for the lucid explanation, guys. I totally understand that it would be waste of your programmers time to actually tell me what he problem was! Not inconsiderably incandescant by this point.
Hitting “back” reposts the removal of the download ripoff, resulting in a blank page. After another attempt, its goodbye Symantec. When your stupid subscription expires, you will never darken my machine again.


  1. Out of interest, what are you using instead? It’s probably time I ditched symantec too.

    Comment by Anonymous — 8 Sep 2006 @ 20:05

  2. I have to grin when I read that, it sums up my Symantec experiences very nicely. Grinning aside though, I’m wondering what sort of a mess they might make of Veritas who I have enjoyed dealing with for some years now.

    That aside, you might want to check out BitDefender ( as a replacement Anti-Virus. It succeeds in defending my 16 year olds PC, that’s all the underwriting an AV product needs IMO.

    Comment by Steve Crook — 8 Sep 2006 @ 20:28

  3. You sure you’re not interested in that extended download, firewall and spyware upgrade [y], click here to continue.. + + + OUT OF CHEESE ERROR + + +

    Comment by symantec — 9 Sep 2006 @ 1:49

  4. It’s like my Japanese frend says – “why do businesses screw it up when they’ve done 99% of the work?” (i.e. it’s cheaper to screw up before they’ve spent all that money convincing you – successfully – to be a customer).

    I recall Halifax offering me a crap remortgage when my introductory one ran out. If I was a new customer, it would be ok to offer me a competitive product, but because I was an existing customer, I could basically ƒ*** off.

    So I did, and it was much cheaper.

    Comment by robin — 9 Sep 2006 @ 10:20

  5. You may try AntiVir @ It’s free for personal non-commercial use, so you can equip all your home machines with it for free and buy a license for your work machines.

    Comment by Anonymous — 10 Sep 2006 @ 9:39

  6. I’ve been meaning to ditch NAV for a while, finally had reason to do so on our 3 computers at home last night (mine, wife, son’s.) The NAV uninstaller doesn’t work, but google for their “Norton Removal Tool” on the Symantec support site.

    Switched to AVG ( after hearing rave reviews from everybody for a year, including a very thorough comparison test of many antivirus tools. AVG is sweet, capable, free for home use and inexpensive for pros.

    AVG found virus-laden files on two of our computers that NAV had missed. Also doesn’t load down the system nearly as much as NAV.

    Comment by Russ — 11 Sep 2006 @ 22:08

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