Great lessons in usability … Almost as soon as Rafat posted about the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, we started getting queries from people who couldn’t figure out how to buy DVDs from NBC. (http://www.nbcdvd.com in case you’re looking for it. No, we don’t get a cut.) I looked at NBCOlympics.com and went right by it, too. I tried searching the site. No dice. I went to NBC Sports PR and was told it was right on the page and easy to find; they also provided a direct link. I looked again and, sure enough, if you scrolled down, there was a promo box for buying DVDs on the right hand side of the home page. OK. We posted the link in our comments and then in the post that was drawing the most search queries and comments from would-be DVD buyers. That solved the problem for some people until the link broke. When I contacted NBC to let them know they had a broken link, I was told to use the shorter URL. Again, ok, but sub optimal given that the other link had been out for a week and could at least have been fixed or redirected. Meanwhile, the queries to us continue, especially from people told to buy the Michael Phelps DVD or others at NBCOlympics.com, who then can’t figure out how to give NBC their money. We’ve had multiple requests just since I started writing this.
Granted, some people will always be clueless — it’s not hard to find now through a *Google* search, for instance — and NBC is selling DVDs anyway. I have no idea what NBC’s DVD deal looks like; I’m sure it’s not the biggest line item in the rev stream list. But I’m equally sure it will be smaller than it needed to be because NBC, for all of its vaunted commercial ability, was stuck in a template.