Advertisements on Cox Cable’s guide channel proved to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” in the words of local gadfly Jim Dorf, who started a petition in order to pressure the city’s monopoly cable provider to halt the practice.
“The first time I saw this, I thought: it can’t be, it’s so obnoxious,” said Dorf, a 19-year resident with his own computer repair business, Laguna Tech.
He noticed the offensive spot ads last week, after he installed a new cable box from Cox with updated software. Now, when he flips to the guide channel, the lower right hand portion of the screen is filled with promotions for various products and services that have nothing to do with Cox.
As an 18-year Cox customer, paying a monthly bill of $165 for Internet, phone and cable service, Dorf expressed exasperation at also being subjected to unwelcome company advertising.
“I’m a complainer,” said Dorf, admitting he often criticizes companies about policies that adversely affect their clients. While he usually he limits his actions to voicing his opinion in letters to the people in charge, Dorf felt one voice would not make a difference. He set up an online petition and announced its creation on his Facebook page.
He’s hoping if Cox receives enough complaints, the cable provider may revise the policy.
Dorf isn’t alone. When the new cable guide rolled out last week, a Cox customer service representative said the company was deluged with back-to-back calls. “We are aware that people aren’t liking it, and we are sending feedback to the upper management in Atlanta,” said the representative.
Cox hires a contractor, Rovi, to create the guide. Rovi sells the ad space to their own clients.
Theresa Yeoh, a Cox spokeswoman for Orange County, had no knowledge of the new guide channel or its advertising box.
A customer service representative told Dorf that California customers are the first to receive the cable guide channel. Subsequent rollouts elsewhere are planned later.
Dorf hopes that if enough people complain, they may reconsider. In the meantime, 20 people have signed his petition so far. And calls to customer service do seem to be making an impact.