Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Zipcar dumps, blames XM Radio

Okay, I've been a Zipcar member for about eight months. This evening I got an email from Peter Demers at Zipcar. I'll quote the relevant part of it here.

Sometimes if you love something, you just have to set it free. So, even though we know that so many of you love XM's tuneage and ad-free format, we've made the difficult decision to break ties with XM while things get sorted out in the satellite radio industry (there's serious talk of XM and Sirius merging).

Now I like Zipcar quite a bit, actually. It's let me save a bundle on expensive Brookline parking...and I still have a car when I need it. But don't forget that Zipcar strives to create a sense of community amongst its members, and they shamelessly encourage a sense of smugness in their members: Aren't you a smart Zipster?

The downside to that cultivation is that your members expect a straight deal, and they'll turn on you if you fuck with 'em. So I really feel my intelligence is being insulted here. "Break ties while things get sorted out"??? Excuse me??? I call SHENANIGANS!!! Where's my broom!?!?

Besides the fact that a merger between XM & Sirius is anything but assured - there has been no indication of any current changes in prices or availability, nor would there be any changes even if a merger does happen. Not for at least a year or two...well beyond the scope of any "fleet" contract between XM and Zipcar.

I rather suspect the real story is that Zipcar is getting hammered by rising fuel costs and the allure of XM Radio is rapidly fading. With 2500 vehicles costing $13/month for a questionable benefit...that's a tough expense to justify.

But just TELL us that; we're big boys, we'll understand. Don't toss out this really fake-sounding "excuse".

And if the email is really telling us the truth...then man, it was badly written.

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