Tivo sells out their customers

TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers

By March, TiVo viewers will see “billboards,” or small logos, popping up over TV commercials as they fast-forward through them, offering contest entries, giveaways or links to other ads.

This article also briefly outlines Tivo’s downward spiral from their inception in 1999 to the present, as advertising became their focal point instead of simply providing a useful product. You might say that Tivo is still extremely useful, but it’s useful to advertisers now instead of their users, which raises the question of who Tivo considers their customer these days.

I used to think Tivo was a great idea, but then I started reading about stuff like this. Tivo started out as a company everyone liked; they had a great product, plus it ran Linux and was pretty easy to modify by adding extra hard drives and such. Then, little by little, stuff like this started coming out. First they were collecting TV viewing stats from their user base, which is annoying, but not too bad IF they didn’t keep any personally identifiable information with their numbers, which was their claim, if I remember correctly. Then the advertising started creeping in and now they’re going to make you watch embedded commercials even as you skip the televised ones! If I actually watched TV I would have bought a Tivo a long time ago, but it would be going up on Ebay after this.

Why can’t companies be happy having a good product without selling their customers out to the highest bidder? I’m sure Tivo is making money on this now, but how will that compare to their long term loss in reputation?