I had an interesting distraction today, and a greatly disappointing exchange with UPS.
A little app I use fairly often for shipping things and general mail functions sendIT abandoned UPS support. THe reason was UPS refused to let them include UPS. The "take down" letter from UPS
"UPS has reviewed your application and has made the decision not to provide you access to our tools at this time.
The UPS Developer Kit is designed primarily for end-user customers to utilize when creating their own customized UPS shipping solutions. As such, we do not allow the use of our technology in multi-carrier and/or rate-shopping applications.
UPS is very selective about the companies we authorize to use our technology, as we view them as an extension of our brand. Therefore, we screen applicants and seek to understand both their business model, and how UPS will be represented in their applications/platforms, as well as attempt to gauge the sustainability/customer support capabilities of the company in question.
Thank you again for your interest in the Program.
UPS Ready(r) Program Management"
Makes it pretty obvious they are not going to allow third party integration in shipping apps that supported more than one shipper.
I was a bit pissed so I wrote UPS and they politely said they support third party integration and I must have misunderstood.
I replied that they had quite clearly said that they did not want third party integration IF other shippers were also available in the same app.
They said "Where did we say that?".
I quoted the letter and they replied that just because sendIT didn't meet their requirements did not mean they didn't support integration and gave me a link to a site that had all their "approved" applications. For the Mac there was one app from some company. It only supports UPS (unless you make your own shipping app in Filemaker and use their UPS integration to add UPS support) and it's $20 - $40 PER month.
The "requirements" seem to be that you are a large company that can write your own software. Ironically I probably could write a FM app to do the shipping. But I BOUGHT an app so I wouldn't have to.
They JUST DON'T GET IT
My point was that for a small business, at a minimum you are going regularly use the mail and probably at least one shipper.
I find it offensive that they don't want me "rate shopping" when you know damn well they "rate shop" on everything they buy.
Who does this hurt? Well it doesn't hurt the mega corps, they can make their own shipping app and "rate shop" all they want. It hurts the small business who is forced into online hell to use UPS, or pay a monthly service charge.
Their guy says "all the shippers do this", no I didn't ask the "just because everyone else was jumping off a bridge..." question.
But it has soured me on using UPS and that bums me out because I pretty much like the service. The tracking is better than USPS and the rates are better than FedEx. Plus FedEx also has a cumbersome and buggy (last I used anyway) web interface. The reason I bought sendIT in the first place is so I could have something that integrated with the address book and billing etc. And it works great.
But if you want to change the world you have to do what you can do. What I can do is not use UPS when I can use USPS instead.
If your bottom line isn't in seven digits then maybe you also might move a pebble and just say no to UPS.
I'm not an extremist. I will certainly use UPS again, but not if I can use USPS or ???
If enough pebbles get shifted you can change a mountain and who knows maybe UPS will decide that the small people are worth working with again.