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Summary:

Movie download service Vongo has suffered more than a few slings and arrows over the past year, with a recent salvo fired in the comments section of GigaOM. Seems that there have been three problems that have plagued the service: uninstalling, coupons and customer service. Uninstalling […]

Movie download service Vongo has suffered more than a few slings and arrows over the past year, with a recent salvo fired in the comments section of GigaOM. Seems that there have been three problems that have plagued the service: uninstalling, coupons and customer service.

Uninstalling Issues
H-P laptops bought by customers in September of 2006 had Vongo preinstalled on them. The problem was that if users tried to uninstall Vongo, they couldn’t. The machine would get stuck in a loop, trying to reinstall it. Ryc Brownrigg, vice president of technology and advanced services for Starz Entertainment, said the problem had to do with Vongo and Sonic CD burning software, both of which use Macrovision’s InstallShield and Software Update Service. Brownrigg wrote an explanation for the problem in a blog post:

This might be a bit complex, but the problem is with the InstallShield Uninstall and the Software Update Services. When the consumer uses the Macrovision Uninstall routines to uninstall an application that installed the application and the Macrovision Software Update Services, the uninstaller ONLY uninstalls the software and not the associated registry settings and components of the Software Update Services. There are over 100 registry entries that are written but the installation of the Software Update Service will NEVER be removed.

So, in a nutshell, since the Vongo InstallShield installation overwrote some of the components of the Software Update Services that Sonic installed, the Software Update service thinks the Vongo install is broken and it tries to repair it by reinstalling Vongo.

You can see the steps Vongo recommends for uninstalling its software here (post No. 5).

Vongo lays the blame for this issue pretty squarely on Macrovision. Brownrigg says Vongo worked with H-P and Macrovision to come up with a solution, but couldn’t. Vongo has since stopped using Macrovision in its service.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Macrovision said that no, it wasn’t them, but rather Vongo’s product deployment.

Discount Codes
There have also been some issues around free promotional trials of Vongo. Different marketing partners offered a 30-day trial of the service, but when trying to take advantage of the offer, some customers were apparently greeted with a message that said the offer was only good for 14 days.

The problem here, according to Vongo, was that regardless of which promotion you chose, the software download was the same. And the software download only had one set of messaging, which was the 14-day offer. Vongo said that it still gave away the 30 days, when valid, despite what the copy on the download read. Vongo also said it fixed this problem with the Oct. 23 release of “Vongo 2.0.” Legacy issues may, however, still crop up for people with pre-Oct. 23 software.

Customer Service
A few commenters complained about the poor customer service from Vongo over on GigaOM. Looks like they griped on the right board, because Pete Roberts, vice president of operations for Starz Entertainment, responded to them, even handing out his email. If you’ve ever had a customer complaint about Vongo, now you know where to file it.

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  1. I contracted for Vongo from Accenture and I know first hand the goal which I heard from a Senior Director, Jodi Robinson, was to get customers and as she said it “Hope they forget they have the service”, what a joke…

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  2. I was brought up to never call someone a liar ! Of Course then The Internet was not in vogue…
    Excerpt :Vongo’s FREE OFFER=
    The problem here, according to Vongo, was that regardless of which promotion you chose, the software download was the same. And the software download only had one set of messaging, which was the 14-day offer. Vongo said that it still gave away the 30 days, when valid, despite what the copy on the download read. Vongo also said it fixed this problem with the Oct. 23 release of “Vongo 2.0.” Legacy issues may, however, still crop up for people with pre-Oct. 23 software.
    We are now in January 2008… I purchased a Toshiba laptop and the 30 day Toshiba Vongo offer became a
    14 day offer, to add insult to injury the offer was a monthly subscription with pay per view attached which is not so FREE ! Toshiba blames the 3rd party software
    whereas the offer specifically is recorded as a 30 day FREE VONGO OFFER FROM TOSHIBA.
    Vongo stand firm 14 days is 14 days and bill people accordingly, Just search Yahoo or Google for VONGO scams , rip offs, reviews etc…
    Theives , corporate hogs, deceitful unconsciencious, immoral ,shameful, jerks,sly slimy,scum of the earth,
    userers, magots ..are a few of the key words you have to adopt if you have an urge to vent your frustrations,
    Liars, no that is not acceptable ! They believe in what they do…

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  3. I don’t use Vongo in past, and I will not after reading this post…

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  4. I don’t use Vongo in past, and I will not after reading this post…

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  5. [...] Stops Promoting Vongo; online movie subscription service (which has had its troubles) is pushed aside in favor of Starz Play, which will be offered through Verizon. [...]

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  6. [...] for Verizon, in May. But troubles for Vongo started long before that. Early on, customers had big issues with pre-installed software, promotional pricing and customer [...]

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