On Tuesday of this week, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch pointed out on the TechCrunch blog that Wal-Mart had mistakes in the code of their brand new video site that prevented the CSS from loading in Firefox. The blog post has a screenshot of what it looked like. It would appear that whoever designed the site did not even check it in Firefox before launch, and reportedly the mistakes were easily fixable.
Well, today I just went to the site and found something that you will not believe. Not only has Wal-Mart not fixed the site, they put in a browser sniffer to shut all other browsers, except IE, out completely. Now if you go to the site, http://www.walmart.com/videodownloads, you see this message:
Our website requires the browser Internet Explorer version 6 or higher. It appears that you are using Firefox, Safari, or another browser that Wal-Mart Video Downloads doesn’t currently support.
So, rather than fix their mistake, which was apparently easily fixable, they decide to just say screw it and support no other browsers except Microsoft? I guess I should expect this from them, but come on. Wal-Mart is not living in the stone ages here. They are trying to compete with the likes of Netflix and iTunes. This is in effect a slap in the face to Firefox and Safari users, who in fact just might be the types of people that would use an online video downloading service, the very people you would think they would be trying to target.
Maybe the question we should be asking here is Wal-Mart somehow in bed with Microsoft on this?
Update: It appears Wal-Mart has taken the site down altogether. Now if you go to the site it says,
Site Temporarily Unavailable
The Wal-Mart Video Downloads store is currently unavailable due to temporary site maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Please try again later.
It looks like all this attention provoked some action on their part. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Update 2: Now it’s back to what it said at first when you look at it in Firefox.
We’re sorry …
Our website requires the browser Internet Explorer version 6 or higher. It appears that you are using Firefox, Safari, or another browser that Wal-Mart Video Downloads doesn’t currently support. Click here to get Internet Explorer for free from Microsoft.