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Published on September 23rd, 2009 | by Allan

12

JC Decaux take “no such thing as bad publicity” adage too far

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Photo owned by periwinklekog (cc)

JC Decaux launched its Dublin Bikes last week to much positive fanfare. This week it has two flat tyres having ordered Fusio to remove its Dublin Bikes iPhone app. I asked both parties for a statement. Fusio was the only one to get back to me:

Before starting development on the Dublin Bikes App Fusio contacted Dublin City Council in July to discuss it with them. They provided us with a map of the proposed locations for the stations and seemed to think the app was a good idea.

We proceeded with development and launched the app in the Apple iTunes Store on the day that Dublin Bikes launched. It quickly became the most popular Irish app in the store and was downloaded approximately 3,000 times. We received very positive feedback from users and from the press.

A few days later JC Decaux’s French office contacted us demanding that the app be removed. We asked them to put their request in writing which they did and after a further threatening email from them we decided it was in our best interests to pull the app. We were not earning any revenue from it and do not have the resources to fight any legal battle with them.

We are, of course, disappointed at their actions and find it surprising that they would close down something that was promoting their service. They did mention that they intended to launch their own app at some point which they were going to charge for however the amount of revenue that they would generate from this would not cover the development costs.

Fusio are in the process of developing a number of other iPhone apps which should be launched over the next month.

Fusio was making no revenue from this app and was actually aiding in the user experience. My own view on this is JC Decaux should have had an app ready to roll with this service, and in the absence of that kind of foresight should have made Fusio an offer instead of going off to reinvent the wheel.
Lecraic thinks it’s a branding issue, and @midnightcourt suggests database protection. Michele thinks JC Decaux doesn’t want good publicity and the Irish Times cover it here.
In the absence of a JC Decaux statement I’m speculating on the asshole hypothesis.
Remember this?

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About the Author

Allan is a Galway based cartoonist with a smörgåsbord of interests including visual art, music, technology and politics, and has always wanted to use smörgåsbord in a sentence. He also blogs at Caricatures Ireland.



12 Responses to JC Decaux take “no such thing as bad publicity” adage too far

  1. Niall says:

    JC Decaux have definitely sullied their reputation by not responding publicly in any manner. It does seem like nonsense to force the removal of the app.

  2. Lil says:

    Re the video : who was/were the muppet(s) that gave permission for ad boards at these locations in the first place? Terrible idea.

    Re the app removal : that’s another silliness that runs in corporate world nowadays…

  3. Arnie says:

    Seems like a strange one alright. Although mashup-type applications are always a bit of a legal minefield, even if all the data they use appears to be in the public domain, since that doesn’t necessarily give you free rein to use it however you like.

    I guess they should have got something more formal from JC Decaux up front to say they were happy with the app, which it sounds like they didn’t.

  4. Aidan Cuffe says:

    i fail to see how its not a legal app, JC Decaux provide the bike service, i dont see how listing where they are and how many are available is against JC Decaux, if the data of how many are available is public information, and locations are public information, i dont see how JC Decaux have any right to suspend a use of public information

  5. Allan says:

    Folks, I recommend dropping JC an email with your comments too. info@jcdecaux.ie

  6. DaRadar says:

    I rang the Dublin City Counci press office to try and get my head around exactly what Dublin get out of this as the bikes etc are owned by Decaux according to the press office but on the issue of income generated by the scheme I was met with the response “this is really starting to piss me off” but apparently the member of staff “wasn’t referring to me but to the fact that the hold button on their phone wasn’t working” (at least they said that when I pointed out I could still hear them!)

  7. DaRadar says:

    Also according to a nice chap on the dublin city council information line, they been told officially there’s a new bike scheme app being released in the next 2 weeks which “won’t have advertising etc” (sounds like Decaux’s non-free version) !

  8. Darren Byrne says:

    The plot thickens.

    @DaRadar That makes sense. I couldn’t get my head around why JC would have a problem with this. Now I see that they want to make some money off something that could otherwise be free.

  9. @DaRadar Just to be clear the Fusio app did not have “advertising etc” as insinuated by the guy you were speaking to. Also the JCD app will not be free, maybe he forgot to mention that. AFAIK all revenues from the scheme are meant to go to DCC so I assume that includes the iPhone app….

  10. Keith says:

    What’s the difference between Fusio’s iPhone app http://bit.ly/dublinbikesapp and the other third party DublinBikes webapps –

    http://dublinbiker.com
    http://dublinbikes.mobi
    http://dublinbikes2go.com

    Will JCfeckoff try and close down all these sites too?

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