The CD Baby Blues

OK, if you’re here for the next Oasis chapter, don’t worry, the zombie action will arrive right on schedule tomorrow.

I read an online business blog by a man named James Brausch. The past little while, he’s been trying to win a sales contest at CD Baby. Some things have happened that make the contest appear a little shady, perhaps even like they’re trying to rig it to make him lose. On his blog, he asked for ideas as to what to do about it.

Being the dutiful net citizen I am, I’d like to offer my suggestions.

1) Be more sure of foul play. You’ve sold plenty of product through them, so you should probably be able to talk to the owner. See how that goes. It could be the malicious actions of an employee, not him. If that were the case, the owner should deal with the employee appropriately. Or it still might be an unfortunate occurrence of incompetence.

2) Assuming they won’t talk to you, or your conversation goes poorly, quietly remove your products from their store. If you raise a big stink, they get free press, and there’s no such thing as bad press. Besides, there’s no reason to do business with a company that uses shady business practices, you’ll always get stung in the end.

3) Let’s just assume you brake up with CD Baby. Now what? The best revenge, of course! That’s right, it’s time to open up CD Brauschy, compete, do things better and make some more money.

CD Brauschy

Edit: CD Baby’s owner responded in the comments here, and his response is definitely worth a read. Make sure you check it out.

5 thoughts on “The CD Baby Blues

  1. We all know that in the business world, anything is fair game… if you can pull it off … even if it’s unfair… that is… as long as you don’t get caught.

    James, however, always seems to take the high road and play by a set of principles that may very well be higher than his competition.

    Unfortunately, his competition is under no obligation to play fairly… especially, when the “rigging” is difficult to detect.

    And most people wouldn’t have been the wiser.

    But James is wiser. And I don’t think he should simpley “shake the dust off his feet” and move on.

    If he can prove that wrong things were done, then that type of activity should be suppressed… just for the principle of it.

    The risk that the perpetrator would somehow prosper from all the even negative publicity, to me, is beside the point.

    What about James? He could benefit as well.
    It might just cause more people to log onto his site and see who he is and what he’s about.
    Maybe some of him will order his Life Management 101 and really benefit from it.
    They might just become a life-long customer.

  2. hi Bryce –

    James thought that we were going out of our way to work against him personally, doing everything we can to keep him from winning a contest.

    If that was true… what time we must have on our hands! What evil malicious people we must be!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_Razor
    “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

    (1) – After 2.5 years of programming, I finished a total CD Baby software rewrite, and published it. The site was down for 30 minutes when doing so.

    (2) – I didn’t do this “during the contest”, because the contest is for all future time : every day from now on. If I was not to make any changes ever “during the contest”, I would never be allowed to make any changes ever again.

    (3) – Our mistake : Someone must not have seen his email sending his tracking numbers telling us his CDs were on their way, and so the site remained in its “out of stock” status.

    I’ve deeply apologized to him repeatedly for #3, and even had a meeting with all 25 customer service reps explaining the seriousness of this problem. Unfortunately nobody remembers getting that email with the tracking numbers.

    But to think that any of this was some kind of giant calculated effort to make James lose a contest is just very very wrong.

    It’s a shame that he took it that way, but a great reminder how personally a client can take one malfunction in the system.

    James and I have already worked everything out by email, and he has won the contest by far.

    I just wanted to let you know.

    Sorry for the trouble.


    Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
    http://cdbaby.com derek@cdbaby.com

  3. Congrats on winning James’ contest! When I came here originally to check out your reply, your “CD Brauschy” picture cracked me up too! You deserve to win just for that great image!!

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