Monday, November 8, 2010

"About Us" Evaluation: Cablevision

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen because Cablevision was in the spotlight throughout its highly publicized two-week dispute with News Corp. this fall. uses Cablevision’s Optimum Voice and Optonline email services but otherwise has no ties to this company.

Cablevision (established in 1973), one of the nation’s largest providers of cable television and Internet, serves business and residential customers in the Metro New York area.


On Cablevision’s site, the page headed “Corporate Information / About Cablevision” is one of three pages: the second shows company leadership, the third recent press releases. We’re looking primarily at the “About Cablevision” page,

Products/Services: B

The “About Us” page prominently lists the many services that Cablevision provides: Optimum Voice, Optimum Online, Optimum Wi-Fi, and so on. We’d like to see a brief mention of what makes Cablevision’s services unique or superior. Better equipment? A wider range of services? Better prices? The “About Us” page should offer an overview of the compelling benefits that might entice a potential subscriber, providing an incentive to sign up immediately.

Accessibility: B

Cablevision’s Contact link is in small print at the foot of the page, and there are links in the sidebar for residential or commercial customers -- but we often focus so intently on the text that we ignore sidebars and footers. Within the text of the page, we’d like to see some encouragement to sign up immediately, and a link for finding out if Cablevision’s service is available in one’s area.

Personality: C-minus

The corporate “About Us” page mentions the company’s humble beginnings in Long Island, but overall it’s rather impersonal. The page could be dramatically improved by giving a couple more sentences about the history of the company. Cablevision’s founder is still the CEO. What does he say about the company’s mission and achievements? What led to the company’s tremendous growth? Why does it remain an industry leader? Has it won awards?


Given Cablevision’s high news profile, we’d also like to see a link to a page of news stories presenting the company’s perspective. Odds are that Googling the company will give us a very mixed view at best, particularly with a class action suit by subscribers now in progress. Instead, Cablevision’s current news release page has no postings at all past Sept. 15. During a time of crisis communications, “About Us” pages should provide frequent updates or at least a link to such information.

One more point: The “About Us” page currently ends on a low note, with a paragraph noting that Cablevision no longer owns Madison Square Garden. An invitation for potential residential or corporate customers to get more information would be a much more upbeat ending.