“We Are Sorry”: My Free Trial at Audible.com.

Instead of diving into my usual rhetoric, I’m just going to tell you about my experience with Audible.com.  It’s not Facebook related, but if someone at Audible reads this, they can let somebody in their company know how not to launch their eventual social networking application.

8:30pm: I’m keen to get this fantastic audio book, recommended to me wholeheartedly by my girlfriend.  It’s like a Coles note for introductory Macroeconomics.  I want to burn it for our two-hour late-night drive.

8:45pm: After a Google search for “Audible.com free offer”, I find a 14-day free trial offer.  I sign up and am asked to download some software.

8:50pm: The installation asks me what device I use to play music.  I want to burn a CD, but I also use an iPod.  Their options have “iPod” and “I want to burn CDs” as separate options.  I’m not sure which one to pick so I pick the second one.

9:00pm: I install the software, and in addition to looking *vaguely similar* to iTunes (see screenshot below), it presents me with two empty databases: library and trash.

Audible.com Software

9:02pm:  After realizing there’s no way to actually download or buy anything from within the software, I head back to Audible.com, and find the audio book I like.  I check it out, and buy it.  The system recognizes I have a free trial, and I proceed to order and purchase the book at no cost.

9:10pm: I am forwarded to a download page, where strangely, all 20 chapters of the book are individually listed, with no button for download all.  I click download on the first link, and a pop-up appears: “You do not have the Audible.com download software.”  …  “Yes, I do” I mutter, feeling the way no usability designer ever hopes their users would.

9:15pm: I eventually find a link explaining I need to restart Mozilla for changes to take effect.  I do.  I still get the same error message.  I see a small checkbox indicating that I have to click the checkbox if my computer uses cookies and is not properly registering the software.  Finally, it downloads.

9:30pm: I have now downloaded my 20 chapters, one by one, and now want to burn it to a CD.  I launch the Audible software, drag and drop the files, and click “burn”.  Audible software indicates I must install Nero 7.

9:50pm: Nero 7 trial version is now on my computer (all 512 Mb worth).  I see an option for “burn Audible.com audiobook”.  I choose it and drag and drop the files in.  Nero asks me for my Audible username and password.  I enter them.  Nero smiles mischievously: “You can not burn these files.”

9:53pm: I head back to the Audible.com software, drag and drop the chapters into the software, and click “Burn using Nero 7″. I then received this notice.

Audible.com Software Error Message

10:00pm: We merrily start our trip, listening to Ricky Gervais podcasts and the Flight of the Conchords radio show.  I crash.

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