Adam Pre-Sale Concerns Growing

The Adam pre-sale is live. The launch of the pre-sale came with some problems, though, and concerns are being voiced by a number of sources. Notion Ink has tried to respond to some of the concerns, but it looks like the explanations are making matters worse rather than allaying the fears of those concerned.

First, the site crashed on multiple occasions. Not a bad thing as far as good faith goes, but certainly bad for business. Rohan Shravan of Notion Ink explained the problem as being related to traffic estimates proving to be in error. The server was set for an influx from India, but it came instead from the United States. Plausible, certainly.

Next, however, the terms of service and shipping policies have come into question. For one, no matter whether you receive the unit or not, it looks like there’s a 5% non-refundable fee attached to the Adam. Considering that the pre-order takes the price in full, Notion Ink is asking you to bet a lot on a product that hasn’t seen the light of day, at least from a consumer’s point of view. There are also shipping fees, a $9 (US) fee to open a support ticket, and a number of other nickel and dime tactics. This is certainly not boding well for the new product. Shravan tries to compare the terms with Apple and Dell. The problem with that though, is that Apple and Dell are established firms with established products. A brand new product like the Adam can’t hope to play in the big leagues this early in its development. Once Notion Ink has wowed the world, it might be able to adjust terms of service as needed. For now, they should be thankful for every unit sold and remove the nickel and dime business.

Credit card failures are a third cause for concern. MasterCard isn’t accepted yet, but that’s not such a big deal. Visa cancelling transactions for fear of fraud is a big deal. Shravan claims that the bank he’s using for Visa handles some pretty large Indian clients, and shouldn’t be raising fraud flags. Hopefully that part will be resolved soon, or this is going to have a major impact on sales. MasterCard’s approval process takes longer, but is coming according to Shravan.

The final major problem is that nobody has seen this product. Matt Burns of CrunchGear is cautioning his readers to wait on the Adam until after CES. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to do the same. Since the units aren’t shipping until January anyway, and the higher-end units have been sold out already, it couldn’t hurt to take a look once it is formally shown off to the world. Shravan has announced a video presentation of the Adam on December 18. The public will get its first glimpse of the Adam in that video. Shravan, trying to set minds at ease even suggests holding off on the pre-orders until the 18th. This was a good move. We’ll see if it is enough.

The Adam could very well be simply suffering the effects of Murphey’s Law, as Shravan suggests. I think that his tone toward critics or even concerned citizens seems a bit harsh though. The concerns that have been raised are certainly valid. His tone in future blog posts can be the difference between success and failure. Hopefully he is aware of that.

The Adam is still an attractive product to me. I’ve been watching it since it was first talked about, and I have been cheering it on. The concerns outlined above are valid though. If Notion Ink can’t resolve them, the Adam will fail. This would be unfortunate. The Adam has the potential to be a game changer. We’ll know soon enough if it still can be. I am looking forward to seeing the presentation on the 18th. You can check out Shravan’s responses to the problems here.

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