I just emailed the following note to Heather Reisman, Chief Executive Officer, Indigo Books & Music Inc. and Chapters Online:
Dear. Ms. Reisman,Watch this space for news of a response.
I was a customer of yours this morning at your Chapters store in Moncton.
While in the store, I took advantage of your Internet access system and purchased 20 minutes of Internet time to allow me to check my email and keep up to date with the web while away from home.
While the system generally worked well, I was dismayed to find that when I attempted to access Doc Searls’ website (doc.weblogs.com), I was given an error message along the lines of “you are attempting to access a website with content inappropriate for a public access terminal”. I assume that this arbitrary filtering occured because today’s version of Mr. Searls site contained, in part, the sentence “No, I’m shitting on Sony.”
I have several concerns:
1. Surely a national bookstore chain should be concerned with issues of information freedom, and shouldn’t put itself in the role of arbitrary censor. Do you choose to not include books in your inventory based on the fact that they contain the word “shit” or not?
2. There was no notice of the content filtering system given to me when I paid my $2 for 20 minutes of Internet access. I paid for access to the *entire* Internet, not for some Chapters-sanitized version of it.
3. By denying your customers access to Mr. Searls website you are, at least indirectly, doing yourself a disservice, as he is one of the co-authors of the “Cluetrain Manifesto,” a popular book that you sell in your store in Moncton and in your online website (the book is currently ranked #3,988 in the Amazon.com Sales Rank).
I would ask that you please do the following:
(a) Arrange for my $2 Internet access fee to be refunded to me.
(b) Takes steps to immediately remove the arbitrary content filtering in your in-store Internet access terminals.
Otherwise, I will find it very difficult to be your customer in future.
A copy of this note to you has been posted on my website at www.reinvented.net; I would be happy to post your reply there as well.