Apple Has Earned a Customer for Life

macbook pro broken hinge

Broken MacBook Pro hinge (due to glue failure)

I used to think that when people talked about the “legendary Apple customer service” that there was plenty of hyperbole thrown in for good measure.  Until it happened to me with my broken MacBook Pro hinge.

“Broken MacBook Pro Hinge” - Plenty of search results

When the screen on my late 2008 15” MacBook Pro started separating from the hinge, the first thing I did was search Google.  There I found more than enough search results to make me believe this was a widespread issue with this vintage of laptop.  And since the laptop was out of warranty, most of the results talked about re-gluing the aluminum screen cover to the hinge.

After trying to re-attach the hinge to the screen using epoxy, I headed over to the Apple store in King of Prussia, PA.  To say this first encounter at the Genius Bar was frustrating is an understatement.

You should’ve bought AppleCare

Apple cashiers “Geniuses” and fanboys alike are very big on pushing the AppleCare warranty, selling you with tales that Apple will fix anything in that extended time period.  While that may be true, extended warranties generally don’t pay off for the consumer, and as such, I don’t buy them.

Not that it would have mattered for me anyway.  My MacBook Pro is well beyond 3 years old, one of the first unibody models that came out.  You think the Apple “Genius” would’ve known that after checking the serial number, but instead just kept repeating robotically:

“You should’ve bought AppleCare.  You should’ve bought AppleCare.”

Even when I asked, “A glue failure doesn’t seem like a manufacturers defect?” or “I should’ve paid $349 for an extended warranty to protect against $0.05 of faulty glue?”

“You should’ve bought AppleCare.”

At that point, after being asked if I dropped the laptop, given a series of robotic answers, suggested that I should’ve spend $349 that wouldn’t have fixed my problem, and generally treated like a monkey, I felt like smashing the laptop right on the Genius Bar just to make a scene.  Instead, I walked out feeling worse than when I arrived, with crippled MacBook Pro in hand.

Maybe an Apple Certified Repair facility can help

Since I wasn’t going back for a second round of stupidity at King of Prussia Apple Store, I decided to look up an independent shop to see what the cost of repair would be.  The repair guy immediately said “Oh, I’ve seen this a few times recently…it’s probably around $500-$600 to fix.”

$%^$&%*(#!  For $600, I’d be about 30-35% of a new 15” MacBook Pro.  Again I left a store without doing anything, and feeling worse than when I arrived.  I either need to pay $600 or pay $2000+ to get the newer equivalent of my laptop.

One more trip to the Apple Store

Several weeks had passed and my laptop became pretty much unusable.  I decided to bite the bullet and pay to get the screen fixed.  I also decided to go back to an Apple Store (this time, in Ardmore, PA) to have them fix it.  I figured if I’d have to pay, might as well guarantee it would get fixed properly.

When I walked up to the Genius Bar, the Apple “Genius” still asked me if I dropped my laptop (sidebar:  Is this part of the mind tricks they give everyone?  There isn’t a scratch on the thing, let alone any dents).  After the Apple employee looked over the laptop, I told him in my most dejected voice that I wanted to find out how much is was to replace the screen.

Apple Genius:  “How about ‘free’?”

I damn near fell off the stool I was sitting on.  How could the Apple Store in King of Prussia been so unhelpful, and then 5 minutes into the same explanation I get an offer to get the screen fixed FREE at the Suburban Square Apple Store in Ardmore?

Apple Genius:  “And we can probably get this back to you by tomorrow.”

Needless to say, I didn’t want to do anything except hit ‘Accept’ on the electronic repair form.  I’ve come too far to mess this gift up!

Apple, you’ve earned yourself a lifetime customer

Maybe I got lucky.  Maybe it was perseverance.  Maybe this screen/hinge defect has shown up too many times in the last six weeks and Apple could no longer ignore it.

Maybe it’s because I asked twice at two different Genius appointments. Or maybe Apple has realized I’ve spent several thousand dollars with them in the past several years, with this MacBook Pro, iMac, several iPhones and an iPad.  That level of spend probably doesn’t even get me in the top 50% of non-business customers, but it’s not negligible either.

Whatever the reason, by comping me the $492.41, Apple has “bought” themselves a customer for life.


The cost of a broken MacBook Pro hinge? Apparently, $492.41!

Edit: To read the follow-up of what eventually ended up of this MacBook Pro, click here for an article about me replacement battery interaction with Apple.

Where's The Relevance, Twitter?


Left: #WWDC (Apple developer conference)           Right: #EdLoverDance

Before we get started, let’s get something out of the way:  Yes, I know I’m complaining about a free service that I don’t have to use.  And further, it’s their platform to do whatever they want…

I can’t fault Twitter for wanting to monetize their platform.  Given that Twitter (and pretty much every social network) would collapse if they started charging users, selling ads is pretty much the de facto next move.  But given the recent declaration by GM that they dropped Facebook ads because they “don’t work”, why isn’t Twitter making a better effort to provide relevance with their Promoted Tweets?

Like many, I was interested in reading about the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference.  Rather than wait for Engadget to summarize the conference, I checked into Twitter to see what others were tweeting.

BOOM!  Nicki Manaj!  Barbie shot a commercial, gave up her underground hood status!

Uh, ok.  Can’t think of anything further from a tech conference than a rapper whose name is a no-so-subtle reference to sex.

If you don’t know the Ed Lover Dance, you’re either not a fan of hip-hop or you’re not as old as me.  Regardless, one thing the Ed Lover Dance is NOT is Dell for Business.  Unless, of course, someone has a video of Michael Dell doing the Ed Lover Dance, in that case, carry on…

Let’s do better, Twitter…I’ve given you 3,500 opportunities to learn about me

Twitter, I’ve given you 3,500 opportunities to learn about me through my tweets.  Yes, sometimes I write utter nonsense.  But even then, you can get at least some idea of who I am.

You also know the other Twitter accounts I interact with regularly.  Klout is making an effort to figure me out and what topics I’m influential about.  You’ve got the source data Twitter, start mining!

Start providing some relevance in the Promoted Tweets, and maybe my click-through rate will increase from 0.00% to 0.01%!

Get Rich With Google AdSense And WordPress!

Google Adsense graphic

There are as many reasons to blog as there are people on Earth.  Whether it’s to use a blog as a personal diary, a means to share something you are passionate about (like cooking, as my wife does), a “voice” for your professional career or something else, eventually the question comes up:  should I try and earn advertising income from Google AdSense from my readership?

If you’re on the free site, the answer is easy:  you can’t, no user-created JavaScript is allowed.  If you’re on Google’s Blogger, integrating AdSense code is easy.  And if you’re self-hosting using WordPress, Joomla or whatever, you can do whatever you want. But the question remains, is it worth it to have Google AdSense ads?

In my opinion, unless you’ve got a massive “clicky” readership, probably not.

How much traffic is “enough” to make money from Google AdSense?

As you can see from this blog (as of time of writing at least), I’m running Google AdSense on this blog, which is primarily WordPress and Web Analytics themed.  I’m also running ads on my other blog, The Fuqua Experience, which is truly a niche blog about the Duke Cross Continent MBA program. So two niche blogs, relatively speaking (i.e. not celebrity gossip, technology rumors, politics, or other general interest topics).

On average, there are 2-3 ads per page (primarily leaderboards and skyscrapers), which is the limit for Google.  So much money am I making?  Less than the cost of Deluxe Hosting with GoDaddy!

CPM, CPC…what’s the most efficient way to make money using Google AdSense?

When looking at the Google AdSense reporting, it’s clear that “Cost per Click” is the way to make money with Google AdSense. A few thousand page views will get you a few pennies (Cost per Thousand impressions, or CPM), but an actual click-through to the advertisers website will get you something like 10x the CPM rate.  Here’s a chart of my of weekly performance over 28 months or so:


Some weeks I make a few bucks, many I make nothing!

It’s easy to see that even with 3,000-6,000 page views per week across my two blogs, I’m not making a ton of money.  If my audience feels particularly “clicky” on the contextual ads Google AdSense serves, I make between $2-$5 per week.  GoDaddy Deluxe Hosting costs something like $6 per month for unlimited websites on a shared server, so clearly I’m not breaking the bank here!  If I’m lucky, I’m clearing a few dollars per month in profit (excluding the time I actually maintain the two blogs through writing, site development, etc.)

So, who IS making money through Google AdSense advertising?

Monetizing a blog is a Catch-22.  If you don’t have enough readership, you won’t make a ton of money.  If you do have a huge readership like Drudge or Perez Hilton, you can sell ads directly to advertisers without needing the Google AdSense network.  Somewhere in-between, it MAY be worth adding Google AdSense or participating in other affiliate marketing programs.

Heck, maybe you’re an SEO god with a whole network of MFA (Made-for-AdSense) blogs with highly targeted content.  I do have friends who seem to make enough money through these schemes to make it “worth it” to do.  Especially if you’re willing to put in the time to make dozens, if not hundreds of individual blog sites.

That said, it’s up to the individual blog owner what constitutes “worth it” in the trade-off between spending time to generate residual income.  For me, I leave the Google AdSense ads up as a learning experience; it’s good in my industry (digital analytics) to understand all of the Google tools.  And really, that is why I blog at all; to practice implementing Google Analytics, learn PHP and JavaScript through customizing WordPress, and occasionally pontificate on the digital analytics industry.

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