An Open Message to Blockbuster (or What’s Left of it)

I had the opportunity to visit a Blockbuster store today, and here are my thoughts on the experience.  Feel free to listen via this podcast episode, or read about it below:

Today, through a slight mailing mishap and oversight on my part, I received one of my mailed Blockbuster DVDs off of the outstanding 900+ videos that I currently have in My Queue at  Over the past several months, rather than cancel my Total Access Account, I’ve chosen to place the account on hold, while I work my way through one of the most difficult financial circumstances I’ve ever had to face in my life.

As I went to my local Blockbuster, one of the 2 that still exist in the area, down from the 6 that were in this community when I moved here several years ago, something occurred to me as I walked into the store and noticed their new advertising campaign.

The first thing I saw was a sign next to their “Hot New Releases” that said that Blockbuster got this movie 28 days before NetFlix or RedBox.  The next sign, I think said something like “Think Outside the Box”, and obviously (and terrible) play on Taco Bell’sThink Outside the Bun” and any other contrived ad slogans that lean towards this type of message.

I couldn’t help but think if I had the opportunity to be privy to the ears of “The Powers That Be” at Blockbuster, I’d surely give them an earful, as a person who has now been a Blockbuster customer, both online as well as in-stores for well over 16 years.  First, in the 16 years that I’ve been a Blockbuster customer, NOT ONCE has ANYONE at Blockbuster sought to get my opinion about their stores, their service, or even what my movie renting habits are.  Wherever they’re getting their research, it’s clearly coming up short, and this is in part why they can’t seem to maintain the competitive advantage they once had, and they’re being killed by NetFlix and RedBox.

Second, there isn’t going to be a successful marketing campaign made by Blockbuster that works by downing the likes of NetFlix and RedBox.  Though I’m still fairly new to the big business game as an owner, I’ve been a customer for QUITE some time, and I can tell you it’s always an indicator that someone has an inferior product or service when their whole spiel is based on what the other guys are lacking, without really telling me what makes your product or service better.  In the signs I saw, at Blockbuster, it was more about downing NetFlix and RedBox (as evidenced by the pictures of circles with a slash going through them for mailboxes and red box looking machines that harkens the imagery of the famous RedBox franchise).

Third, I think Blockbuster could benefit from using a few MiniMarketing Surveys.  Since they’re still scrambling to figure out what their next move is, they could probably use some rapid feedback surveys that asks a few key questions to their core audience so they can figure out how to best serve the FEW PEOPLE that still patronize them. 

And I will note, I don’t just say they should use “The MiniMarketing Survey” because I created, but because they really need it.  I’m telling you this as a Blockbuster customer, that’s never been contacted for marketing research purposes about my Blockbuster experience.  I’m telling you, Blockbuster, that you’re clearly missing the mark when you haven’t surveyed me, or people like me, who stick with your service, despite the fact that you are antiquated, and there are now a host of services that have easily replaced you and made you irrelevant to MOST consumers.

Not being mean, just being honest.

Finally, there’s a social media wave a-movin’, and if Blockbuster were smart, they’d be scrambling like hell to find out how (if at all) they can jump on it, and try to survive, and maybe even find a way to get back to their glory days!  Anything’s possible, so with that in mind, I’ll end this message on 2 notes.

The first of which is this: If my financial life turns around in the next 2 months (which I suspect it will), I will continue to be a Blockbuster Online Total Access customer, as long as they keep the service I currently have under $25 bucks.  That’s my “make-or-break price point”.  I don’t pay for cable, but I love watching movies in my “downtime”, and having access to Blockbuster’s vast catalog is what made me stick with them over RedBox or NetFlix, which are both in fact limited.  Blockbuster really needs to get into finding out the core value of its loyal customers, and finding out why they keep coming back.  I’m really amazed that no one has cared to do this.  And I’m even more amazed that I actually have to set up a podcast and blog post about this to actually get the ball rolling.

My second note: Dear Blockbuster, I am a Technology and Social Media Specialist, and I am someone who is primed to usher your company into the Web 3.0 world.  More importantly, you can hire me at a price point that YOU CAN AFFORD given that you just filed for bankruptcy.  Now, you can go out and hire one of those fancy “established” social media experts, and that will cost you MILLIONS that you don’t have, and just hasten your decline into “No Man’s Land”.  Plus, I suspect that NONE of the “social media heavyweights” out there that are for hire are actual Blockbuster customers, nor have they been for quite some time, so it would even be somewhat disingenuous for them to try and “save” a company they really don’t believe in too much anyway.

So, with that being said, if Blockbuster is smart, or if the person who heads up their IT or Social Media Department (assuming they have one) is savvy, they should have set up a “Google Alert” for whenever their name, and possibly the word “bankruptcy” is showing up in the news media, and perhaps they’ll be giving me a call in the next week or so (though I gotta warn you guys, my October is looking pretty full, so you might want to call sooner, rather than later. LOL).

And if they aren’t smart enough to be using Google Alerts as a way to protect and grow their brand, then perhaps they’ll learn to take a page out of the President of William-Sonoma’s book who recently used their Google Alerts to find April Morse’s newest creation and were able to bring it to the market and save a business in April’s case, and add more value to the William Sonoma customers by adding a great product to their shelves!

The news about this happening a few months ago was something small in one sense, but it was a large telling about the power of social media, and in my opinion, said as an internet and social media savvy Blockbuster customer, this is where Blockbuster is in fact failing.  And I say that, even being aware of the paltry mobile Blockbuster application that was released a little while ago “exclusively for Android” or Verizon or something or another.  I barely remember seeing the commercial, but I remember thinking the LAST thing Blockbuster needs to be doing is EXCLUDING ANYONE from their market at this stage in the game. LOL.

Anywhoo, so that’s Random Nothingness.  If by chance you happen to be affiliated with Blockbuster or even William-Sonoma and you’re looking for some awesome and reasonably priced social media help, please feel free to get in touch with me.  You can Google Me, or reach me via

Click the player below to hear this podcast:


My General Disclaimer:

This podcast will differ from any of my other ones because it’s random, with no clear direction or intended audience, and it surely is not intended to necessarily be edifying or uplifting.  That doesn’t mean it can’t turn into either one of those things, but just know that that clearly isn’t the intent or purpose.  Hence the name “Random Nothingness“.

This Week’s Podcast and Blogging Round-Up: August 15 – August 21

Greetings all,

For those looking to keep up with me, and what I’m doing, here’s the weekly round up:

Tuesday are dedicated to Exclusive Multiplicity: Highlight the Adventures of a Serial Entrepreneur (A Tale of one Entrepreneur’s rise to success through bootstrapping while wearing flip-flops):

This week’s Exclusive Multiplicity podcast talks about “The Adventures of Rooting ‘For Dummies’“where I talk about how much I love the “For Dummies” book series, and how this is helping to guide my enthusiasm for following my passions in life.

This Tuesday also so a late-edition “Random Nothingness” post and podcast about “Why Black Radio (and Media) is Dying“, where I talk about a recent experience calling into the Al Sharpton Radio show and giving my opinion on the State of contemporary Black radio.

Wednesdays spotlight Small Business Branding Tips on the Blog (Brought to you by SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists)):
This week’s podcast topic was “EASY Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) Tips: 10 Tips for Making Your Website Search Engine Friendly” where I give an overview of what you can do to search engine optimize (SEO) your website.

Fridays spotlight the Effective Complaints Resource Blog (A solution-oriented consumer advocacy resource for writing effective complaints):

Effective Complaints Resource Blog Small Business Branding Tips Blog RSS Feed

This week’s podcast was “When To Write Effective Complaints” and talks about ways to calm down before firing off an effectively written complaint letter.

Thanks for your interest, feel free to leave comments and forward this to your friends and other interested parties.


P.S. Don’t forget to Follow me on Twitter (@KindraCotton), Link up with me on LinkedIn, Friend Me on Facebook, and check out my Nashville Online Marketing Examiner page, if you haven’t already. And if you do, send me a message! And sign up for the Maximizing The Net Newsletter while you’re visiting

Ever read or heard of the “For Dummies” book series? If so, please fill out this brief survey:

Why Black Radio (and Media) is Dying

Contemporary Black radio

In this Random Nothingness podcast, I talk about how I recently had the opportunity to call into the Al Sharpton radio show (he wasn’t there, it was his guest host Bob Slade), and the topic of the day was “Is Black radio needed?“.  I had only found out about the show through a link that Dr. Boyce Watkins posted on his wall about his guest segment on the show.

In my comments, I mentioned that I didn’t own a radio or television, and whenever I pay attention to either medium, it’s via the Internet.  I also commented that there’s a lack of Black female voices as the primary voices on national radio shows, and plugged myself and my prior radio experience. LOL.

I asked if they had a chatroom or online forum for their callers and listeners and those who wanted to reach out to them and their network via social media and the web.  I asked where was the solution-oriented rhetoric of Black talk radio and where was the evidence of the action that gets taken as a result of it.  I also (as a solution oriented person), offered to help the show enhance its social media arm in whatever way I could, and I asked how I could be of service.

The next thing I know, the call was disconnected, and the host of the show as lightly responding to my comments, and moving on to the next segment.  In going back and listening to the show a few minutes later live over the air (since it was preempted for several minutes), I noticed that I had been disconnected by them, and that they just continued to move along and talk about the topic with other callers.  The next caller that followed me made comments that were slightly bashing the under 35 crowd (to which I had identified myself), and further bashing the over 35 crowd for their inability to turn off the hip hop in their cars, and listen to Black talk radio.

What struck me the most about this situation is that it’s very much indicative of the same ideology that now has Black publications like Essence, Ebony, and Jet in jeopardy of losing their legacy because they can’t remain creatively adaptable to the new media environment.  I’ve seen time and time again where Black media outlets (like many Black people) are always “Johnny Come Latelys” when it comes to embracing technology and things that are truly innovative and about change.

Now, I will allow for the fact that the disconnected call I had on Al’s show was a mistake, and I’m actually going to see what I can do moving forward to work with the show, within the capacity that I stated on the air, but if Black radio dies, as well as Black newspapers and other publications, it will be their own fault!

And I want to be clear here: I do believe there will ALWAYS be Black faces present in media, but it will be media that we don’t own!  It will be media that puts us at the forefront (in front of the camera or microphone), but the ones pulling the strings, and making the decisions will be white, and as such, they will chiefly be in control of what we say, and what we cannot say.

I guarantee you, you will ALWAYS be able to see Black folks making a fool of themselves, acting ignorant, and just plain stupid on TV, in radio, and on the internet, because projecting that kind of imagery that we are a bunch of idiotic buffoons furthers SOMEONE’S agendas into thinking we’re just a bunch of no-account people who deserve second and third class citizenry status!

So, I’ll update you on what happens here, but right now, it looks to me that Black radio is doomed in terms of embracing social media effectively.  Right before I was on the Al Sharpton show, I posted a comment on Twitter about my “upcoming radio debut“, and I also did a Twitter search for “Al Sharpton radio“.  Nothing came up in the search for today’s show, or anything relevant for the topic at hand.  THIS is why Black radio is failing. 

I’m not saying the internet is EVERYTHING, but people in their 50s, 60s and 70s, who don’t use the internet are dying out, and I understand that the AM radio crowd is limited in a number of ways, but you are shooting yourself in the foot by not figuring out a way to incorporate the new into the old.

And with that said: I really need to have my own radio show! My goodness, I’m running 6 podcast series already! And my voice is lovely!  Where is Michael Baisden or Tom Joyner to open up the door for me?! LOL.  Ok, on the last part I’m kidding, I wouldn’t expect either of them to do that for me, since I don’t listen to either of their shows on a regular basis, so they probably care nothing about me, as I’m not in their target demographic.

If by chance you happen to be affiliated with a Black radio station, please feel free to get in touch with me.  You can Google Me, and you can find out other ways to reach me via


Random Nothingness: A Note About Father’s Day

I couldn’t help but notice the differences between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, so I thought I’d talk about it.

Like to hear it, here it go (LOL):


My General Disclaimer:

This podcast will differ from any of my other ones because it’s random, with no clear direction or intended audience, and it surely is not intended to be edifying or uplifting.  That doesn’t mean it can’t turn into either one of those things, but just know that that clearly isn’t the intent or purpose.  Hence the name “Random Nothingness“.

Random Nothingness – The Liars Rant

First, I want to start off with the following DISCLAIMER:

This podcast will differ from any of my other ones because it’s random, with no clear direction or intended audience, and it surely is not intended to be edifying or uplifting.  That doesn’t mean it can’t turn into either one of those things, but just know that that clearly isn’t the intent or purpose.  Hence the name “Random Nothingness“.

With that said, this is a short 5-minute rant about liars that I just got “inspired” to do.

Feel free to let me know what you think.