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Archive for June, 2008

A friend of mine – Brian McElroy – has been working on this project for the last 2 years, and has dedicated 6 years of his life to helping the people of rural Haiti get an education and improve their lives…

Please read his letter below and support the cause of education in rural Haiti by buying the documentary film “The Road to Fondwa”.

Dear friends,

This is about the coolest thing that has ever happened… so I thought you would like to know.

Have you ever wondered what goes on beyond the view of news cameras?

How people in poor settings, or war zones, or massive floods actually perceive their situation… and how they deal with it from day to day?

For 6 years I’ve had the privilege of learning from the people of Fondwa, Haiti about their lives, their language, and their culture.

I have been so inspired by the efforts they have undertaken to improve their own conditions, that I wanted to share their story with people like you… people who are interested, engaged, informed… but don’t necessarily have access to the real story.

But even after all this time… I’m still a ‘beginner.’

So rather than tell the story myself… I asked the people of Fondwa to do it for me.

After two years of production, many trials and tribulations, and the superhuman effort of many friends and family members, the result is “The Road to Fondwa,” a documentary film that takes you inside the struggle of a rural Haitian village from the perspective of the peasants, teachers, students, mothers, and children of Fondwa.

Call me biased, but I think the story is extraordinary. In just 40 minutes, you’ll see…

  • The peasant association that has planted more than 500,000 trees over 20 years
  • The humble priest who built a microcredit bank that has provided over 70,000 women with access to credit
  • The students of Haiti’s first rural university and their dreams for the future
  • The struggle of women who take on overwhelming responsibilities with no resources to back them up
  • The contrast between rural and urban poverty, and why rural communities hold so much hope for Haiti

For people who can’t travel to Haiti, or any other developing nation for that matter, this film is a unique chance to hear people speak about the great challenges we face from a painfully personal perspective.

And yet, for all the negative press exposure and daunting challenges faced by Haiti… you will be *shocked* not by violence, not by gore… but by the unmistakable sense of hope transmitted by the people you meet.

Buy this film. Watch this film. Share this film.

It WILL make a difference.

Read More About the Film and Order Here

Thank you,
Brian

PS- This is about as grassroots as it gets! We have no marketing budget- YOU are our outreach team. Please help spread the word!

As he mentioned, there is no marketing dollars available to promote this film. So, even if you don’t buy the film yourself (but please do!), please help by posting about it on your blog, forums you visit, MySpace, facebook, etc… and help get the word out.

Thanks everyone!

Monday Promo Code – June 30, 2008

Today’s Monday-only promo code has arrived. Use it before it expires!

Here is today’s code:

W1H6J4

Expires tonight (Monday, June 30) at midnight.

Redbox New Releases for Jul 1, 2008

It looks to be a pretty good week for movies. I look forward to Vantage Point for sure, and possibly Drillbit Taylor.

What do you think?

Last week I posted about some changes Redbox is making to their rental selection screen, which I believe improve the overall user experience at the kiosk. I had more thoughts to share on this and other improvements Redbox could make, so I thought I would share some of those now…

Yesterday I ran across a blog entry by Mark over at GoodExperience.com regarding his review of Redbox’s website. I added some of my thoughts in a comment there, and thought I would share them (and a bit more) here as well…

First off, Mark’s review was somewhat critical of the Redbox website, and called for some changes to the interface. Here is one excerpt:

After I click to “find a movie,” I see a page that has all of ten – ten – movies. And no search function. So finding movies really means clicking the “next” link to see page after page of ten movies each, and then deciding if anything in that long stream of pages was the one you wanted to find.

I agree with him here that the Redbox website needs a search function to find movies, but there is more to it than that. More on this below…

Next, he mentions an interesting “bug” that I just noticed a few days ago as well…

Here’s another strange problem: When I moved on to Step 3, to find a kiosk in my area, I viewed the inventory of one particular kiosk and found over 200 movies available. So the homepage leads me to a list of 77 titles, but clicking into the depths of the site, I find a hidden treasure trove of almost three times that number.

I do find it interesting that one link (Find a Movie) leads to a smaller selection of movies than looking at the actual inventory of a specific kiosk. In any case, Mark’s review is a good read, so take a look at the whole post if you have time, using the link above.

A couple of comments on the blog reveal an important point, though, that Mark overlooks (to his credit, he only reviewed the website without looking at the actual kiosk) – the kiosk and website interfaces match up nicely. This keeps things simple for users in that they see a familiar interface when moving from the website to the kiosk, and vise versa. But, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement…

Here are a few of my ideas on ways to improve the interface of both the kiosk and the website…

First, add “search” functionality to the website. I do not necessarily think this is needed on the kiosk, as it could increase wait times, but it should definitely be available online. Let me type in the name of what I want to see, and Redbox can show me details on the title, and if (and where) it is available.

Second, add a “similar titles” section the the movie info screen. This should be done both online and at the kiosk. This will allow customers to find other movies that are similar to the one they are looking at, making the customer happy to find new movies to watch, and increasing sales for Redbox.

Related to the above idea, I also think a simple change to the return screen would do wonders for increasing the likelihood that someone returning a movie would rent another DVD on-the-spot. Currently, when returning a movie, all it does is say “Your return has been accepted” or something similar. What I would like to see is an immediate listing (with cover artwork and names) of “similar titles” that I can simply touch, see the info, and add to cart. All of this could be done while the return is still being processed, thus cutting down on the time that is wasted staring at a blank, red screen.

While Redbox is not really much like Netflix, except that they both rent DVDs, I think that a careful look at the Netflix system will yield some great ideas that Redbox can use for their own system.

I will share more thoughts in a future post, but now I would like to hear your thoughts. What do you think of my suggestions? What suggestions do you have for Redbox?

Buy Your Own Redbox (well, almost)

I ran into an interesting post on Craigslist a few days ago that I wanted to share. Check it out…

I have ten DVD rental machines available for trade + several hundred DVD’s. These units are similar to the REDBOX machines you see at McDonalds, Smiths, and Wal-Mart. They hold 648 DVD’s, BluRay, HD-DVD, and can also rent gaming system media (WII, PS2, PS3, etc.) – This is twice the capacity of REDBOX – They also have the capability of playing movie trailers. They are currently wrapped in EVOBOX graphics; however they can be re-wrapped to suite your needs. I also have the domain name and active trademark available if interested. These are estimated to bring in $1000+ monthly each if placed in a high traffic area, such as supermarket, apartment buildings, military bases, gas stations, etc.

This guy is selling these kiosks for $7500 (each? for all 10? I don’t know). You can see the full post here.

The question is this: Do you think buying your own DVD rental kiosk could be profitable? Is there still someone who can compete with the Redbox brand?

While there is always room for competition (and innovation), I am just not sure it would be a smart move to try and compete with Redbox at this time. What do you think?

Here is your top 10 list of rentals for June 16 to June 22:

1. Fool’s Gold (Warner)
2. Bucket List (Warner)
3. Jumper (Fox)
4. Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (Universal)
5. Semi-Pro (New Line)
6. Eye (Lions Gate)
7. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney)
8. Meet The Spartans (Fox)
9. The Other Boleyn Girl (Sony)
10. Rambo (Lions Gate)

Monday Promo Code – June 23, 2008

Another Monday, another free promo code from Redbox….

Here is today’s code:

44KBV9

Expires tonight (Monday, June 23) at midnight.

A couple of good flicks are being released this week. I think I will check out 10,000 B.C. first…

Over the past few days there have been some strange looking promo codes added to the site by some of our users. They look a lot like the one-time use codes you find at McDonald’s when you buy a soda or a special sandwich, but they have been working for quite a few people.

So, give ’em a shot, and hopefully they work for you, too…

A few of the codes are:

667HW0G
7RFSTWW

There are a few more, too, so be sure to check the codes page to keep track of an report them back to us.

NOTE: These codes appear to be no longer working. Get More Codes Here.

Here is the latest list of the top 10 DVD rentals from Redbox for the week of June 9-15, 2008.

1. Bucket List (Warner)
2. Jumper (Fox)
3. Semi-Pro (New Line)
4. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney)
5. The Eye (Lions Gate)
6. Meet The Spartans (Fox)
7. Rambo (Lions Gate)
8. 27 Dresses (Fox)
9. Untraceable (Sony)
10. Mad Money (Anchor Bay)

I asked last week where this list was coming from, and someone posted a response but it accidentally got deleted before I could read it. If you have more info on this list, please leave a comment.