If you're going to spend mucho bucks on an ad…

in a national computer magazine. A two page spread, no less:


And that ad includes a URL, let’s say there’s a big “Welcome to [www.combotronic.com](http://www.combotronic.com)” at the bottom….then shouldn’t you actually have content on said website *before* the ad is in the magazine?!? Just a thought that this doesn’t help sell your product:


At first I thought, “hey, it’s Saturday…they’re moving servers and I caught them at a bad moment.” But no, Google shows that they’ve never had any content at that URL. It may be a fantastic product, but I’ll never buy it. Running an ad in a magazine with a URL that doesn’t work is just plain sloppy.

Too bad…because a product like that (to charge and power many devices at once) is exactly what we need. The pictures on the left side strike very close to home. Change the couch and coffee table in the middle shot and it *is* my home.

**Update:** *11/28/05* So I see a reference in my site stat log from combotronic.com’s stat checking application. So someone clicked from here to there and I noticed because they checked on where they were linked. Do they have a website now? [Yes they do!](http://www.combotronic.com). Truth is, I liked it better when the site didn’t work. It has sound. My #1 pet peeve is a website that makes noise without asking me first. I’m here listening to podcasts out of my Mac and I don’t want any site’s background noise on top of that. It’s all Flash that says and means nothing and it ends up just sitting there on a screen shot of their ad from the magazine!! Why did you even bother?


20 responses to “If you're going to spend mucho bucks on an ad…”

  1. Judi,

    I Googled for “combotronic” and your site is the first result. December 8 and it’s STILL just the stupid Flash animation of images from the PC World Magazine ad. Hilarious.

    If I find this thing in a retail store I might still buy one … assuming I can stop laughing long enough to pay for it. Thanks!

  2. Dear Judi,

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Monica and I am working in the Marketing Department of Combotronic Ltd. As we periodically surf the web to monitor the response from the Internet, we have learnt from your weblog that you have given your perspectives about our website. We appreciate your feedback and from which, we will self-evaluate and seek for improvement.

    We are sorry that you could not view our website. I believe the magazine copy you had was a subscription copy. We focused on the official sale date (mid Nov) and overlooked that the subscribers might receive their copies earlier. In fact, our webpage was posted to URL on 13th Nov. If you visit our website just a little bit later, you would see the content of it.

    Since our product is not available for sale at this moment, our advertisement and the information in our website were to give a briefing of our product to the potential customers. More detailed product information will be posted when the official sale date is approaching. We hope that our compact and handy power adapter, without massive sockets, cables and plugs, is exactly what you need at home, in the office and even traveling. It is unique and you cannot find it in the current market. Meanwhile, we will try our best to enhance our website and we welcome for your valuable opinion.

    Wish you a Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year!

    With best regards.
    Monica Wong of Combotronic Ltd.

  3. Monica, Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    I would have purchased your product, however:

    1. Your website only tells me that someone likes to play with Flash. I want to know more about your product, not sit through an annoying and NOISY Flash presentation.

    2. Your magazine ad doesn’t say that the product is not for sale yet, and the website requires you to sit all the way through to the end of the presentation to see “Coming Soon” I fnd that misleading.

    3. I’m a geek looking to buy a product for geeks. I want to know specifically which adapters will come with the device, how much it is and how it works.

    4. The only real English text on the page has obviously been translated using an Internet translation utility. You write English well. Use it on the website.

  4. Your good advice to Combotronics seems to have been for naught. I saw their ad today (12/28/05) in PC Mag and went to http://www.combotronics.com. I sat through several long downloads of what turned out to be useless movies, each of which required me to dismiss a dialog warning me that I really needed Chinese fonts or some such. During a long wait for yet another movie to download, I gave up. I Googled them to see if I could actually find a product; but instead I found you (or at least your site). If anyone runs a ‘Worst site of the year” contest perhaps Combotronics can be the first company to win a first-place award without even releasing a product.

  5. Actually, Michael, I think the technical term is “vaporware.” Too bad.

    I was hoping for something more along the lines of [iGo](http://www.igo.com) along with the great website, but able to power multiple devices at once. Oh well. Looks like I’ll be schlepping along a brick for my laptop, a charger for my iPod along with the USB cable, a charger for my cell phone and a power adapter for my PDA for the foreseeable future. At least I don’t travel that often. The biggest hassle in hotel rooms is finding enough outlets.

  6. I too went in search of the cure to our power cord problems only to be frustrated and confounded by a silly flash site that’s buggy. I did find your site from a google search and was amused by yours and others comments. Oh well, I guess I’ll put my credit card back in my wallet.

  7. As a businessman and globetrotter, I always have to carry with me numerous power cords for various electronic devices. Reading the technical features of the new Combotronic product, I´m appreciating it in advance already very much because it is compact, handy and exactly what I need. Moreover, the illuminated voltage indicator is interesting, making easier to select appropriate voltages. I hope to be able to purchase it very soon.

  8. Looking at my February issue of PC World. Yep, the ad is in here yet the web site is a joke. Very bad advertising strategy!

  9. Dear All,

    Thank you for all the web-browsers who have visited our website and given us their comments through Judi’s homepage. It is interesting to learn the feedbacks from different aspects and channels.

    Since our product application concept is new in the market, the main objective of our marketing campaign at the meantime is to arouse public alertness. Therefore, in our current website and advertisement, we only put the brief information and highlight the unique characteristics of our product. We are sorry for causing any confusion to some web-browsers. Of course, more information will be posted while the grand sale opening is approaching. Customers are welcomed to place their order via our official website effective 15 March 2006.

    Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and we look forward to serving you very soon.

    Best regards.
    Monica Wong
    Combotronic Ltd.

  10. Dear Judi,

    I have been in a round trip to USA with our colleagues for introducing our new product to the potential customers. We will be arriving New York City tonight and would like to see if we could arrange a meeting with you on next Monday or Tuesday. A demonstration and presentation on our product could be arranged as we have the full set of equipment.

    Our scheduled meetings on next Monday (13 Feb) would be finished at around 4:00 pm. We could then drive from New York to New Jersey for meeting with you that evening if the driving time is not so long. Alternatively, a meeting may be arranged at our hotel in New York on next Tuesday morning. Please kindly confirm your availability by returned email monicaw@combotronic.com or call my mobile number (852) 9702-7308. Thank you! Looking forward to meeting with you next week.

    Monica Wong
    11 Feb 2006

  11. No, Monica, I’m not going to meet with you. I am working on Monday and Tuesday. You seem to be missing the point that my job is not to be your U.S. marketing department.

    If you would like for me to review your product on my blog, send me one. If you’re a month away from your ship date, then you should have more than the prototype you’re showing in hotel rooms, right? Go to [www.c-three.org](http://www.c-three.org) and send it to my attention to the address that is at the bottom of every page. That is my office in Washington, DC and if it’s sent there, I’ll get it.

  12. Dear Judi,

    It’s a pity that yesterday there was a heavy snow storm in New York and we got stuck in the hotel. I wonder if this is same in your hometown? Being stranded in the hotel, I started to web surfing and surprised to learn that our response to your blog has given you the wrong impression.

    In fact we posted a response to your blog because it is our understanding that it is a place where people are welcomed and freely to express their thoughts. In addition, it is mainly to response some of the bloggers’ opinions and so far we have only posted to your site twice within three months. I deeply believe you would understand that the most effective ways of promoting our products are through the news media, worldwide magazines and in major exhibitions, etc.

    Besides, we invite you for the meeting as we are just having free time on our business round trip in the US. It also seemed to me that you are interested in our product and therefore we think that through this opportunity we can demonstrate and share with you our product. We also think that it is a kind of courtesy and respect to visit you. We did not expect you will post this personal invitation to your blog. Besides, I regret to say that we can not further develop our friendship through this opportunity and on the other hand giving you the wrong impression. Hope you have a successful blog and happy living.

    Monica Wong
    Combotronic Ltd.

  13. Monica,

    The entire point of this entry was to illustrate the fact that this is a company that does not use the Internet to market their product effectively.

    While I appreciate the effort you have put into connecting with me personally, you are simply illustrating my point.

    You posted a public comment on my blog. I published that comment. That is what one does on a blog when someone fills out the comment form. I have a link to email me on the front of the site, but even missing that all you had to do was say “DO NOT PUBLISH…PRIVATE MESSAGE” and I would respect that. The other comments you sent in were published…what made you think this one wouldn’t be?

    If you are going to promote your product in national magazines, and if you’re going to include a website URL in that ad, then you have to be sure that the website properly reflects both your company and the product. Your website does neither. If anything, it is a deterrent. That is all I’ve ever said. I have no opinion on your product yet, other than to think that I wouldn’t feel comfortable ordering it from you online.

    I am happy to review your product and talk about it on my blog. That doesn’t mean getting a demonstration in a hotel room. It means sending the product to someone like me who will use it and talk about it. It means telling enough about your product on the website to make someone feel comfortable about purchasing it.

  14. I too was dissappointed when I visited the site.
    It seems the product may have a purpose in my computing life.
    But, I just had great fun reading the barrage of comments between two cats fighting.
    Thanks for the entertainment.

  15. It may just be my connection, but I can’t even get to their website. I too found this website thru google. I was hoping to order one of these wonderful gadgets. O well, if any of you are able to reach the website could you tell me how much they are. Especially since it is now after the March 15 deadline.

  16. Judi, thanks for the info. I still cannot see the website, but it may have to do with some of the network settings here at work. Anyways I don’t think the adapter is worth $250. Unless of course I can power more than 1 item at a time. If it was under a $100 I would buy it right now. O well, I am sure it will drop in price eventually.

  17. This must be the worst campaign and website I have ever seen. And for the company’s representative to commit such blunders and the ones here…unbelievable. I visited the website but it doesn’t give me the information I need. I might be interested in this product but would never buy it from this company….