Tag Archives: opt in

Comcast Hacks its Own Email Service! On Purpose! Really!

UPDATE TO THIS POST – – SOLUTION FOUND!  and not from Comcast.

A helpful reader sent me the following recommendation, pasted below in its poetic entirety.

go here: http://xfinity.comcast.net/adinformation/
Opt Out
Turn Off

Done and done! So easy…stop bitchin’!


He was right – – it did work, very quickly.  Why couldn’t Comcast send this solution?

Original post  (below):


How does Comcast spell customer?        Apparently, ‘H-O-S-T-A-G-E’.

In a bizarre marketing gambit to generate revenue through its Xfinity email service, Comcast has not only demonstrated that it values advertisers over customers, it has shown that it has mistaken customer captivity for loyalty.

When you have customers in a market where there are available alternatives, you need to do 2 things: a) keep them happy with superior service; and b) try to avoid giving them a reason to switch.

Here’s what I recently experienced:


  • Without warning, a square advertising banner appeared on the upper left of my screen, covering key email commands (select, delete, refresh, etc). Comcast thus made it impossible to use its own email.  This ad never went away.
  • A mouse-over converted this box into a larger, even more annoying video ad, in effect acting as a palace guard, to ensure that customers couldn’t even try to get to the controls and read their emails.   Footprint of ads shown below.


  • Disabling this ‘feature’ required an email to Comcast, and resulted in a 6-step, byzantine preferences-changing process that ‘may take up to 30 days to take effect’ (see below). What? Complicated process + 30 days to opt out?  Do you want me to switch?

comcast note


– Comcast calls this program ‘Segmented Advertising’, and provides an explanation that it tailors ads to based on customers’ preferences. (Not exactly a new concept, but what if our preference is to just get our email?)


The upside-down-ness of this program is hard to believe, and is proof that at Comcast there is some kind of crazy monkey at the steering wheel.

A hacker working for a competitor would be hard-pressed to create a more annoying disruption for Comcast users – and they’ve done it for themselves.

Let’s break this down:

  • The ONLY reason anyone visits an email page is to use email
  • Disrupting email utility therefore eliminates the reason to use Xfinity email
  • An opt-out approach FORCES ALL CUSTOMERS through the exercise of disabling (creating ill will), and forces customers to immediately try out an alternative (Apple Mail and gmail for me).
  • Taking up to 30 days to take effect provides a great trial period for competitive email services
  • And to complete the cycle, fewer users of Xfinity email of course reduces reach and effectiveness of the offending ads

I’ve blacklisted the companies whose ads continuously and annoyingly popped up. For the record, they are:

  • Blain’s Farm & Fleet
  • Walter E Smithe Furniture
  • Howard Jewelry and Loan – The Pawn that Pays
  • Grossinger Auto Dealers
  • McGrath Audi of Glenview/McGrath Acura of Morton Grove
  • Golf Mill Ford
  • Evanston Subaru in Skokie
  • Highland Park Ford Lincoln Superstore
  • Peter Francis Geraci – bankruptcy attorneys
  • Luna Carpets
  • Ambiance Window Fashions

Since I’m not in the market for a car, home furnishings, farm equipment, bankruptcy help or pawn services, I will survive.

Finally, I’m writing this post/rant to share my experience (I was perfectly happy a week ago, mind you) and hope you share it with someone you love.  Especially if they work for Xfinity.

Again, the lesson, said a little differently:  in a world with ready options, don’t piss off your customers.


For those who are interested, below are screen shots of the process required to eliminate these ads (which hasn’t taken effect for me yet).

OptOut1 2 OptOut3 4 OptOut5 OptOut6