MSN Games: more transparency, please!



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The web should be a place of freedom, but also a place of transparency, sharing, and ethicality; a place where even advertising should be clear and absolutely not misleading. It is not. Just an example? MSN Games site.

Today I went to that site to purchase a game I like, Hexic. As you can see below, in the snapshot, it seems that the game is available at a discount price, that is, USD 6.95, Quite a good price, I thought. Great! When I clicked on that link, however, I got another panel. This one:

As you can see, the USD 6.95 does not refer to the game I wished to purchase, but to a discount program whose terms and conditions are, in summary:

By becoming an MSN Games discount program member, you agree to the MSN Games discount membership Terms and Conditions. This includes an automatic membership charge to your credit card, which will occur monthly until you discontinue your membership. The monthly membership charge amount is dependent upon the length of the membership term to which you agree, i.e. two (2) month membership charge is $9.95 per month, six (6) month membership charge is $7.95 per month, twelve (12) month membership is $6.95 per month. For this charge, MSN Games discount program membership entitles you to choose one free download game each month. You may cancel your membership at any time without penalty after you satisfy your membership commitment.

If you are not interested to subscribe that program, the price of Hexic is much higher: USD 19.95, as you can see below:

Now, from a formal point of view, there is nothing wrong: in fact the first link I clicked to purchase the program literally states that you can buy the game «for as low as $6.95 for MSN Games discount program members». This is true. But the fact that the real price of product is not shown in the BUY GAME button and that the option to purchase the program is placed at the bottom in the second panel, it is, in my personal opinion, a deceiving sales method. Not ethically correct, I mean, even if absolutely legal. So, for the moment, I decided not to purchase that program. Maybe I will do it, soon or later, but not now. I do not like that way to promote products and services. I like Гла́сность, that is, glasnost, openness and transparency.

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