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Waterstone's Customers Complain About Ads on Kindles

By - Source: Pocket-Lint | B 14 comments

Users aren't happy about the retailer's custom content appearing on their devices.

The Kindle Paperwhite went on sale in the UK on October 25. However, some customers that purchased the device from retailer Waterstones have found reason for complaint. Pocket-Lint reports that Kindle Paperwhite units bought at Waterstones are displaying permanent advertisements for the retailer instead of the cycling screensavers on units purchased directly from Amazon.

Users reviewing the Kindle Paperwhite on Waterstones' website have complained that the stock Amazon screensavers have been replaced by a Waterstones ad and it's enough of an issue that these poor reviews have dragged the overall review score of the device down to 2.5 stars on the book-sellers website.

Though you could argue that the screensaver doesn't have much bearing on your reading experience with the Kindle Paperwhite, customers are, understandably upset, that they've purchased what they thought was an ad-free device only to have what amounts to an ad slapped on it. For its part, Waterstones says the screensaver doesn't constitute advertising.

"It is our view that this screensaver does not constitute advertising and differs substantially to the advertising-supported Kindles available to the US market," the company said in a statement. "The Waterstones screensaver is a non-dynamic, static image that will change infrequently and not advertise any specific product, offer or website. It is not possible to remove the Waterstones screensaver to replace it with the former Amazon screensaver. We apologise that this change was made without consultation, and hope it does not detract from or alter your reading experience."

While the screensaver doesn't highlight Waterstones offers, several customers reviewing the device say it has tarnished the experience. One mentions that she cannot unsubscribe from the Waterstones blog, which suggests all Waterstones-purchased Kindles also carry permanent subscriptions to the retailer's blog.

"I can live with [the screensave] but what I cannot live with is the notion that I have paid full-price for a product that is now my own private property; yet I cannot get rid of the sleep screen or permanently unsubscribe from the Waterstones blog," wrote one user. "If I wanted these I would go out of my way to subscribe but I don't and so, Waterstones are imposing on my private property."

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    randomizer , December 7, 2012 7:40 AM
    We apologise that we've altered the product from the manufacturer's specifications without telling you. It is our view that promoting our business is not advertising, and we hope that you are not bothered by static images that change because we're not removing them.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    randomizer , December 7, 2012 7:40 AM
    We apologise that we've altered the product from the manufacturer's specifications without telling you. It is our view that promoting our business is not advertising, and we hope that you are not bothered by static images that change because we're not removing them.
  • 5 Hide
    Gundam288 , December 7, 2012 7:51 AM
    randomizerWe apologise that we've altered the product from the manufacturer's specifications without telling you. It is our view that promoting our business is not advertising, and we hope that you are not bothered by static images that change because we're not removing them.

    "until we get sued."
  • Display all 14 comments.
  • 7 Hide
    assasin32 , December 7, 2012 10:31 AM
    I would try to return it under the whole idea that it was open box and I bought NEW. As I doubt amazon gave them the green light to do this. If that doesn't work hopefully I paid by credit card and just tell my credit card company to dispute it for that reason, if the store doesn't like it they can have the product back as it sounds like they bought something new and ad-free and what they got was something that was tampered with that comes with ads.
  • -7 Hide
    tolham , December 7, 2012 11:45 AM
    wait, so people are complaining that the screen saver is a logo for company X instead of company Y? and they're calling it an advertisement as if the amazon logo isn't?



    "One mentions that she cannot unsubscribe from the Waterstones blog, which suggests all Waterstones-purchased Kindles also carry permanent subscriptions to the retailer's blog."

    not that's a legit complaint. consumers should have the option to opt-out.
  • 0 Hide
    igot1forya , December 7, 2012 12:22 PM
    Rooted! - Problem solved!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 7, 2012 1:29 PM
    http://www.howtogeek.com/125944/kindle-paperwhite-jailbroken-ready-for-custom-screensavers/
  • 3 Hide
    freggo , December 7, 2012 1:37 PM
    tolhamwait, so people are complaining that the screen saver is a logo for company X instead of company Y? and they're calling it an advertisement as if the amazon logo isn't?".


    Imagine you have AT&T service and get yourself an iPhone (yuck).
    But instead of an Apple it has an AT&T logo on it (we are not talking the sponsored version but the full price version).



  • 5 Hide
    freggo , December 7, 2012 1:39 PM
    "Waterstones says the screensaver doesn't constitute advertising"

    It is called Brand reinforcement. Yes, that's a form of advertising; why would they bother doing it otherwise!
  • -2 Hide
    tolham , December 7, 2012 2:10 PM
    Quote:
    Imagine you have AT&T service and get yourself an iPhone (yuck).
    But instead of an Apple it has an AT&T logo on it (we are not talking the sponsored version but the full price version).

    ok, i imagined that and i don't see the problem. both the apple and the at&t logos are logos of huge corporations that are integral to the product. there is no difference except for a slight aesthetic that has 0 effect on functionality or design. this is a frivolous complaint.


    here's realistic example for you to mull over. i have a lumia 920 with at&t. when the phone boots up, it consecutively displays the att logo, nokia logo and the windows logo. this has no 0 effect on my ability to use the phone. there is no problem whatsoever. getting back to the kindle in question, a corporate logo as the screensaver has 0 effect on the product. a corporate logo is a corporate logo. it makes 0 difference if it's for waterstone, amazon, apple, microsoft, samsung, ben&jerry's, nike, or honda. this is a frivolous complaint.
  • -5 Hide
    tolham , December 7, 2012 2:10 PM
    Quote:
    "Waterstones says the screensaver doesn't constitute advertising"

    It is called Brand reinforcement. Yes, that's a form of advertising; why would they bother doing it otherwise!

    and it would still be brand reinforcement if the device displayed the amazon logo isntead, so that's a moot point. this is a frivolous complaint.
  • 0 Hide
    JamesSneed , December 7, 2012 2:51 PM
    Quote:
    and it would still be brand reinforcement if the device displayed the amazon logo isntead, so that's a moot point. this is a frivolous complaint.


    Exactly. The product has also been tampered with someone other than the manufacturer, Amazon. If they didn't get Amazons permissions to do this I fully expect Amazon to lay down some lawyer love.
  • 2 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , December 7, 2012 3:27 PM
    tolhamand it would still be brand reinforcement if the device displayed the amazon logo isntead, so that's a moot point. this is a frivolous complaint.
    Wrong. This isn't about displaying a logo. It's about a non-removable *ad* as the screensaver. These were full-priced devices, not the discounted, subsidized-by-advertising-on-the-screensaver devices. There shouldn't be non-removable, non-circumventable advertising on the product, period.
  • 0 Hide
    tolham , December 7, 2012 5:00 PM
    Quote:
    Wrong. This isn't about displaying a logo. It's about a non-removable *ad* as the screensaver. These were full-priced devices, not the discounted, subsidized-by-advertising-on-the-screensaver devices. There shouldn't be non-removable, non-circumventable advertising on the product, period.

    the case itself is covered in logos. if a logo is an ad, then the product fails your qualifier of non-removable, non-circumventable advertising on the product before even turning it on.
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , December 7, 2012 6:27 PM
    While this would piss me off as well, I don't see how this is any different than what many retailers do with PCs, phones, etc. How many times have you heard people complain about the carrier's crap on their phones? I don't think they have a legal leg to stand on. That being said, I would still return the product and just order from another site that doesn't pull this kind of crap.