Extremely frustrating AFL web site

by rstevenson — Sun, 08/05/2007 - 10:04am — Last Updated: Sun, 08/05/2007 - 10:19am
rstevenson's picture

Hi folks,

I've just been having a tussle with the afl.com.uu site. I thought I'd communicate my frustrations with the AFL so they would have some idea of my experiences on their site. But that seems to be impossible.

The AFL site is not really their site -- it's simply a Big Pond site showing AFL content. And you can't get through to the AFL from there at all. All contact possibilities end up going to Big Pond or even Telstra. So the AFL ends up being insulated from any comments that fans trying to use the site might want to make.

On the unlikely possibility that someone at the AFL might see this, here's today's main beef. ...

Clicking on a Match Report link in the Gameday Live section takes me to a page which starts by announcing that "Your browser does not support rich content, or you have scripts disabled"

On the contrary, my browser does indeed support rich content and scripts are not disabled. What is really happening, as you can see if you click for any video link, is that the site is coded to expect Internet Explorer, and if you choose to use any other modern browser, you're expected to watch some other sport on some other site. Here's the statement on one of their video pages: "This site has been optimised for Internet Explorer 6 and above. For the best experience, please view this site with Internet Explorer."

Well, at least they're polite in their ignorance. But really, the days of programming a web site for a proprietary brand should surely be over. Is Australia so far behind the rest of the world that they think Microsoft owns the web? Or is Microsoft a big investor in Telstra or Big Pond?

Well, there, I've vented. Thanks for letting me do so here. Now let's hope some mid-level manager at the AFL takes note and prompts Big Pond to join the rest of us in this century.

Rob

Comments

Lisa Albergo's picture

AFL Website

I agree. The AFL site totally s**ks! Other than tipping and listening to games, I have boycotted the site for news.

And you are right. Trying to get a message through is next to impossible. It takes forever to navigate to a contact point to get through to Telstra, which runs the site. And most of the responses when you can get through are automated.

I think all AFL fans need to boycott the site and let the AFL know in no uncertain terms that the site is cr*p. You would think a multi-million dollar industry which is supposed to appeal to the general public on an international level would have a top-notch website. Not the AFL. They went for the big bucks and sacrificed quality and customer service in the process.

One thing I have been pissed off about for years is the fact that they pulled the plug on radio stations broadcasting games through their own sites. Those broadcasts were often better than what the AFL is/was providing. Now, you can't even get any pregame chat and you are lucky to have the AFL site activate the broadcast link in time for the first bounce!

WHAT A LOAD OF S....T!!

Lisa Albergo
AFANA
Chicago
Ausfooty@netzero.com

 

 

 

 

 

Swans500's picture

AFL Website.

Yes Lisa, I concur completely.

The radio situation really pisses me off, it is especially unfair and unecessary for overseas fans.

I like to call in pre-game talk back occasionally but now that is impossible as the stations direct stream ceases WAY before bouncedown. Back in '05 this was not the case for overseas. Why they extended this to affect us here is just pure ill-heartedness. Sometimes the provided stream does not start until AFTER start of game. On a couple of occasions last year it was bloody HALF-TIME!

Also, being a Swans fan I used to always listen to TripleMMM Sydneys' call, but this season AFL.com does not provide that option....going mainly with SEN Melb or a very boring ABC Newsradio call. BigPond has taken a heap of the fun outa footy for me and it is nigh on impossible to find an avenue to complain to either them , or , worse still, the untouchable and uncommunicable AFL!!!!

 

Dennis James,

Pittsburgh.

GeorgeM's picture

Spot-On

I'm totally with you. I've been a subscriber to the AFL's site since 2001, if I recall correctly. Up until they merged the AFL content into the general BigPond video site, it worked very well - I could use whatever browser I wanted, and the video was delivered on time.

Now? As you say, the site is written specifically for Internet Explorer, the worst browser in common use. (Yes, improvements were made for version 7 - but in my opinion Firefox and Opera are still well in the lead.) Further - delivery of the video is abysmal. Even using IE - so it can't be blamed on browser issues - it's not uncommon to click on a game weeks old and be told "this game is not currently available" or to have the game simply stop playing (and be unable to get it to restart) at some point. It's sad, really - the service used to be a very cost-effective way to keep up on footy from overseas... now it's so unreliable it's pointless to try. From the problems I've had it looks like there are issues both on the website end and with whoever they have encoding the games now.

It's a complete disgrace - and I'm still trying to find out if there's someplace effective I could send my poison-pen response to the email "reminder" I got that my subscription would soon expire.

PatGlennon's picture

Relating my experience...

The site is trash.  But I still go to it for audio for games that aren't on Setanta.

I noticed the other day that the in-game updates now were marked as free (note the difference between orange camera icons and the blue camera icons with a lock).



Cool, I though. (It had been 2 or 3 years since I paid for the video as it just wasn't worth it anymore).

Well as I got to the video page (First striking out on Firefox) I got the following....



Free?  HA!!

I didn't do anything about it at the time.  I tried a few more times along the way and finally got fed up and emailed them.

Here is the response I got to basically saying "What gives?  It says free - but it's not free!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Dear Pat,

Thank you for your email dated 03 Aug regarding free video.

Thank you for advising us of the difficulties you have experienced using the AFL website.

We appreciate you bringing this problem to our attention. We have logged a fault report, for this to be fixed as soon as possible.

As AFL fans, we do understand that this matter has caused much frustration. We apologise most sincerely for this.

Please be assured that your experience with the site will most definitely be brought to the attention of the developers and technicians to further improve service on AFL.com.

Once again, our sincere apologies and please let us know if you are having further problems.
If you would like to contact us, please call on Freecall 1800 266 000* from 8.00am to 10.00pm, Monday to Friday, and 8.00 am to midnight, Saturday and Sunday, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) and we can then provide you with immediate assistance.  For further assistance, please have a look at our help-centre on http://www.afl.com.au/Hidden/FrequentlyAskedQuestions/tabid/786/Default.aspx


If overseas, please ring the Australian operator and ask for a reversed charge call to +612 9242 0275 option 4 option 2 for the AFL Helpdesk.  We will then be able to assist you immediately.

Yours sincerely,

Campbell Kerr
telstra.com Support Representative
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It looks, to me, like they admit that the content is all messed up.

So if nothing else, maybe we can bombard them with reversed charge calls to let them know the site is a wreck.

Well, that's that - just wanted to share my experience.

Tols's picture

AFL.com.au content for paying "international subscribers"

I noticed alot of other people having problems with the AFL website. Its certainly pretty bad, and very frustrating for people like me who are dumb enough to keep paying Telstra for the "international subscription package". Unfortunately, there is no-one available at Telstra to complain to... in fact most staff there pretend not to know anything about this service! Surely there are several AFANA affiliated people who have ties to the AFL, and can take all these messages of complaint to the AFL directly? I suspect that Telstra executives are telling AFL executives that every is "going perfectly" with the AFL's website, but as we all know, that just is not true.

I noticed someone else posting here also got an email from Campbell Kerr who works in the AFL subscription department someone deep in the bowels of Telstra. I got one of these "Campbell Kerr" emails too, see below. I thought I'd post my reply to Campbell, and if he actually exists and responds, then I'll also post his next reply....

11 Nov 2007

Dear Campbell
Just as a belated follow up to your email below, the AFL.com video services delivered by Telstra this year were so poor that i decided to cancel my membership and get a refund. This is the first time I've cancelled in 4 yrs of being an international subscriber, and it is solely due to terrible customer service and atrocious video content and access this year. (previous years were quite good, but this year has been a disaster).
Now I finally decided to give it another shot 3 mths later (since I'd like to watch the GF replay at least) and so I've endeavored to sign up again to see if you had been able to improve things. Below is a summary of my experience when simply trying to sign back up again today (eg ... here I am trying to pay Telstra and become a paying customer once more... which I was unable to do; just thought you'd like to know)...
1. Tried called the number you provided below reverse charges... it just goes to a recorded menu... Australian operator followed the instructions you provided (option 4, 2) then another recorded message. She was unable to stay on the line any longer.
2. Called back at my own cost. Spent 1 hour (yes one hour!) on hold.... $50 in telephone fees! Eventually gave up.
3. Went to AFL.com website to try to sign up again as international subscriber. There is a page there for this, http://www.afl.com.au/ which simply directed me to the BigPond website.
4. After spending about 30 minutes on the BigPond website, I was unable to determine where to sign up for the AFL subscription content service. I was able to log in under my old account but it wouldn't let me do anything - when I tried to activate my account just got a message "access denied", and no description other than a number to call.
5. Called the number provided, and was then rudely dealt with by a Telstra "customer service" person who had no knowledge of the AFL international subscriber service and pretty much told me to go jump. When asked to speak to supervisor, he went away for 5 mins and then came back to tell me there was no supervisor.
6. Tried calling another number at BigPond, finally got a person who knew what I was talking about in terms of the International AFL internet content subscription, but then didn't know how to connect me to the correct department. All calls above were made during business hours in Australia (Monday morning, around 10am Australian time)
7. Sent this email to you as last resort.
So at this stage, what do you suggest? I would like to renew my AFL.com.au international membership, but I've already invested over 4 hrs of time and at least $60 in telephone calls just to try to do this. Once again, its pretty disappointing and this is when actually trying to place order & give you guys some subscription money!
Your suggestions to resolve this would be appreciated.
Andrew Tolley

P****************

PS - see Telstra's original email to me below when I had complained earlier in the year; at that time I thought this guy Campbell at BigPond was actually being helpful... however now I'm not even sure that there is actually anyone named Campbell... seems his reply is canned - eg other people who have posted here at AFANA also have replies from this guy Campbell at Telstra which look almost identical to mine, but for different issues.



> Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 14:35:02 +1000
> From: bigpond@bigpond-mail.custhelp.com
> To:
> Subject: RE: AFL.com.au website problems [Reference Number: 070826-003044]
>
>
> Dear Mr Tolley,
>
> Thank you for your email dated 26 Aug regarding the AFL website.
>
> On behalf of www.afl.com.au, we regret any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of the situation you described in your correspondence.
>
> We appreciate the time you have taken to provide this feedback. We will endeavour to utilise this valuable information in further AFL website developments.
>
> Please do not hesitate to contact us via www.afl.com.au if you require further information or assistance.
>
> Please note: as the AFL site has recently been re-launched, you may need to change the resolution of your screen to view the entire site without using the horizontal scroll bar. You will need to have your screen resolution set to 1024 x 768 to view the site in it's entirety on one full page.
> If you would like to contact us, please call on Freecall 1800 266 000* from 8.00am to 10.00pm, Monday to Friday, and 8.00 am to midnight, Saturday and Sunday, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) and we can then provide you with immediate assistance. For further assistance, please have a look at our help-centre on (Ed.note: link removed as no longer working.)
>
>
> If overseas, please ring the Australian operator and ask for a reversed charge call to +61292420275" option 4 option 2 for the AFL Helpdesk. We will then be able to assist you immediately.
>
> Yours sincerely,
>
> Campbell Kerr
> telstra.com Support Representative
> ___________________________________________________________
> The contents of this email are strictly confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this email (including any attachments) is unauthorised and prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify Telstra immediately by return email and then delete the message from your system.
> ____________________________________________________________
> Telstra Corporation Limited, ACN 051 775 556, ABN 33 051 775 556
>
> Telstra is committed to providing you with the highest levels of customer service, including protecting your privacy. Telstra is bound by the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, which sets out a number of principles concerning the protection of your personal information.
> To view our Privacy Statement, please visit http://www.telstra.com.au/privacy/privacy-statement/
>
> If you no longer wish to receive marketing emails from Telstra, you can change your subscription preference at
>
> * A free call from most fixed phones
>

 

admincms's picture

AFANA's response to issues with AFL web site

Hi Tols,

I read your tale of woe, and honestly, you have more patience than most.  That said, here's what I can tell you:

Yes, AFANA does have contacts at the AFL and we have repeatedly made them aware of the problems.  For what it's worth, they can't solve my problems either.   We do our best, but in the end this is a matter for the AFL and Telstra.  We can only make them aware and lobby on your behalf.  We do that often but it is their site and either they want to solve it or they don't...

Even if we didn't make them aware, you just did.  Many people at the AFL read this web site including some AFL managers and even their lawyers...

But it's the off season, and like AFANA they are busy planning for 2008 so it's unlikely they will do much to address the issues now.  More likely they will debut "improvements" to the AFL site in 2008 and hopefully that will fix most of the issues.  If it doesn't, they will lose even more subscribers.  So I don't find it surprising that no one could be found to help you now. 

Hang in there.  Be assured AFANA will continue our conversation with the AFL about the online audio  and video.

-Rob
AFANA

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