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Changes to international pages (2)

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 15:17 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

We've read through every one of your messages about the changes we made last week to the BBC site. What's clear is that many of you who've commented would rather we hadn't made them.

BBC News website imageMany of you have explained why you liked being able to choose whether you see the UK or international version of the site, wherever you are in the world. The changes mean that's now decided automatically, depending on your IP address - where you are. For many of you living outside the UK, in particular, that means you now see the international front page, which isn't the one you'd choose.

As I said in my original post explaining the changes:

• they are across the whole BBC website;
• this isn't something we can decide differently for the News pages;
• they are necessary to enable us to continue to develop the site internationally, to give us the flexibility to build new features and present content (including video and ads) differently for different audiences;
• we are working on a whole range of developments over the next year, and to give us a firm platform for that work, we had to simplify the underlying architecture of the site, by removing the increasingly complicated consequences of the different UK/international permutations.

Right now that means, I'm afraid, that there's one fewer choice you can make - selecting your edition. Over time we want to introduce more choice and flexibility over what you can see on the site, wherever you are. For now, we've tried to address some of your concerns with a new UK News section on the international front page, whilst the UK and World pages are there for bookmarking and linked from every page on the site. There may be other things you'd like to see in that UK section, in which case please tell us. And if there's anything else we can think of, or you can suggest, to improve things right now, we'll try and do it.

But at this point in the evolution of the BBC website, if we don't make these basic changes to versions, we'll be putting at risk our ability to develop the site effectively, and that's not something we think is in our interests, or yours. We do appreciate and listen to all your feedback, we know you wouldn't take the trouble if you didn't care in the first place, and we'll get to work on making some changes to the site which we think you actually will like!

Lastly, a reminder that if you are still seeing the international version and you are in the UK, you can use this form to let us know - we are working with internet providers on this.

Update (1558, 19 June): There's a new post answering some of your concerns here.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Well now here we are: I am a British Citizen, a registered voter and extremely interested in the historical hustings for a New Speaker of the House of Commons. So I find the page for the TV coverage of the Hustings to see who is standing and to decide who I woud like to see as Speaker and write to my MP and what do I get?

    Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory.

    This is EXACTLY why I do not like this change.

    Get me back to what I had before.

  • Comment number 2.

    "if we don't make these basic changes to versions, we'll be putting at risk our ability to develop the site effectively"

    As I said previously, I think that's fair enough.

    Yes 97% or so of commenters here might have expressed their disapproval of the decision - but how many of those 97% are privy to the actual problems and limitations resulting from retaining the two options, in light of what you have planned for the site?

    At the risk of being dismissed as a BBC apologist, I'm prepared to accept that this one step backward is necessary for you to implement several steps forward.

  • Comment number 3.

    I do not doubt that Business reasons have forced you to adapt your website, however, as someone who pays a subscription to receive the BBC, why is it impossible for the BBC to allow me and many others the same rights as people living in the UK?.

    I subscribe to other websites which require payment to access the content (all above board!), yet the BBC cannot offer this option, why is that?. How can my favorite football team manage this, yet the monolithic BBC cannot?.

  • Comment number 4.

    As I connect to the Internet through a company provided foreign VPN proxy, despite using a UK ISP (BT) and being physically in the UK, I assume that my licence fee will now be reduced as the service is provided to me supported with ad revenue. Where do I apply to get my licence fee reduced?

  • Comment number 5.

    Mr Herrmann,

    Whatever you've done, you have notexplained or justified the changes but rather repeated the same mantras from your previous post, presumably because the real explanation is that either you or your team are unable to consider the possibility that you might be mistaken, and also clearly care little for the loyalty of your large audience of anglophone expats. When Google, CNN and The Times can cater for choice by their international audiences, your inability to consider alternative methods of protecting copyrighted material and targeting advertising is breathtaking.

    It is particularly shameful that your post time coincides with the BBC having been entrusted by the Hansard Society with the live streaming of the hustings for the next Speaker of the House of Commons. This, you have provided for UK viewers only. I can only hope that other British nationals who retain the right to vote will remember this and contact their elected representatives.

    Oh, and by the way, you have still not apologised for your untrue "all the same content will be available as now so you'll still be able to get both UK and international news wherever you are" from the original post. An admission of error would at least be a start to the rehabiliation of your integrity.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 6.

    I am one with the many people who have said this is a daft change. I am an ex-pat living in the US and liked being able to go to the BBC home page and see the weather in Cunbria where I used to live. I don't care about the weather where I live, I can see it out of the window. I liked seeing the local headlines for Cumbria and then look at UK news and England news. Now I have dig to find and so I find myself using your news pages less. If I could I would pay the license fee for unfettered access to all of the BBC.

    By the way BBC America is a TV channel that carries (mostly) the worst of the BBC.

  • Comment number 7.

    Dear Steve,

    what a cope out ... very poor - especially your attitude.

    So taking what you have said BMW should produce 3 wheeled cars until they decide that 4 wheeled cars are good and that is what people want?

    How on earth can reducing customers choice be good - and justify it by saying that some time in the future it will return.

    All I can say Steve is get into the real world and off your editorial high horse.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Unfortunately your form does not recognise my company's post code in the City of London. Like many companies. we have been awarded our own post code in a City of London building but, it seems, whichever software you use to validate post codes does not recognise this fact.

    I thank you for at least making an attempt to deal with this spiralling problem but you may find a lot of post codes will be rejected for the reason given above.

  • Comment number 10.

    OK, so you've made some changes, but for us Brits abroad who are also paying our license fee it ain't what we as customers want.

    Like I suspect a number of other people on here I can get around all of this as there are very simple technical solutions that can be used.

    But I honestly believe you have unnecessarily alienated :

    a) License paying Brits who fund the BBC service .. your "real" customers.
    b) Non-license paying expats or non-British residents (who get free access to the BBC's service courtesy of us license payers) who are genuinely interested in the British viewpoint.

    I really don't think that's what Auntie would have wanted.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am sensitive to the fact that any design change, good or bad, triggers negative reactions from an existing user base. Still, as someone who's been architecting and helping design large-scale web sites for more than a decade, I must say I find the argument above to be less than compelling. Online, you're either focused square on the needs and wants of the people accessing your site or you're on a bullet train to oblivion.

  • Comment number 12.

    How does this address the issue for the people sat behind non-uk proxy servers but sited in the UK?

  • Comment number 13.

    It's odd - the change doesn't directly affect me. Both at home and work I get the correct version. I rarely look at the site from abroad and can cope with the changes. And yet the arrogance and indifference to the majority of users complaints has really annoyed me to the extent that I'll be changing my default news provider. Any company who puts its own convenience above those of its customers - particularly when it's publicly funded - needs to take a long hard look at itself.

    These vague statements about putting future changes "at risk" are just smokescreens around the fact that it's all about the convenience of the website developer rather than the website user. And I speak as a professional software developer who's made the similar wrong decision myself in the past - it's a bad precedent to set that will lose the trust and support of many. And that unfortunately now includes me.

  • Comment number 14.

    OK. Real time. I'm looking at the international news page. At the moment on the UK pages, the breaking big news UK story is Gordon Brown announcing an Iraq war enquiry. This isn't in the UK section of the International pages so I wouldn't know about it at the moment - news in the international view is not being updated at the same rate - it looks like the announcement has not been made. Since a lot of news happens, you don't necessarily know to go and look for it.

    Second thing is that I don't feel you've really explained the why of the decision unless UK and International are going to become increasingly different, rather than International just being a version of UK. Could you explain more?

    Thirdly, being a web-developer, I can't work out why the content is so tied to the page display. Surely the same content can be served into different page layouts to allow you to place the adverts you want?

    Final thing is that a lot of us are very parochial with regard to things like sport. Having international sports headlines may not be as useful as having UK-centric sports headlines. Again, more chasing through the site.

  • Comment number 15.

    First of all, I apologise if I repeat points made above, but unfortunately even the first comment, made some 45 minutes ago, is still "awaiting moderation" as I write. Ho-hum.

    So, the chronology of what has happened is essentially this:
    1. BBC makes fundamental change to website after zero consultation with readers/users/license-payers.
    2. This change is met with an overwhelmingly negative response, especially in regard to the removal of choice regarding UK/International editions.
    3. BBC, in the shape of Steve, makes several faux-responses evading this issue.
    4. BBC eventually responds to the central complaint made by readers with a post that can basically be reduced to: "Tough. We know best."

    Alright then. I have now removed the BBC News website from my bookmarks,and will seek to avoid using it in the future.

    For others like myself who are as irritated with the BBC's supercilious response as with the original change, below are some alternative sources for UK news.

    The Guardian: www.guardian.co.uk
    The Times: www.timesonline.co.uk
    The Daily Telegraph: www.telegraph.co.uk
    The Independent: www.independent.co.uk
    The Daily Mail: www.dailymail.co.uk
    Sky News: http://news.sky.com

  • Comment number 16.

    .....and to continue my earlier post - I have been to the House of Commons website and they refer me to the same BBC Page to view the husting procedures.

  • Comment number 17.

    So what you are saying is that whilst all the response has been very negative, it's tough luck and we (your customers) will have to suck it up.

    Nevermind that I have less functionality and can no longer see "your money" or seem to have HYS's on African huts rather than what's going on in the UK, my IP address is not the UK so I must be a dashed foriegner.

    I think the BBC is great, but when you act like this you can see why there is pressure to privatise - your customers have spoken and you have ignored them, in a normal business this would mean failure, with the BBC it seems to mean business as usual.

  • Comment number 18.

    Classic "NuLabour" inspired spin. You say "What's clear is that many of you who've commented would rather we hadn't made them." but you then go on to say, effectively, "but we will not change our course regardless of your views".

    What's the point in asking if you have already made your mind up ? Why not just write in the original piece "Your comments are welcome but we are not going back regardless of your (TV tax payer) opinions anyway".

  • Comment number 19.

    "and we'll get to work on making some changes to the site which we think you actually will like!"

    Assuming that you have any 'customers' left by then, I know that I won't be one of them (due to these changes and other occurrences on the BBC web site), never have I been so disgusted by the BBC's total arrogance in the past 10 days - great work BBC, no other media company has ever cause someone to go from being 100% in favour of them to 101% against their very existence I suspect - even FoxNews - in so few days!...

  • Comment number 20.

    A sad day for the BBC. I still don't think Steve Hermann and his team understand the importance of seeing news and sport from a UK editorial perspective. You want to know what are the top stories from a UK angle (including the prioritisation of events). And seeing the page alerts to great insights by Nick Robinson and others available to click on ONE page? BTW I got a reply to my official complaint to the BBC - I copy this below:

    ------------------------------
    Dear XXXX,

    Thank you for contacting us regarding the recent site version changes.

    Some sections of the BBC website have changed in order to better promote
    the content for the international audience. Specifically, these sections
    are the BBC homepage, the News and Sport front pages and the pages for
    BBC TV and Radio programmes.

    If you are located outside the UK you will be directed to the
    international editions of our pages. All stories are still available
    wherever you are in the world but some of the key pages such as the News
    front page show a more internationally focussed range of headlines.

    There is a full explanation on the BBC Editors' blog here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2009/06/change_to_international_pa
    ges.html - feel free to comment there.

    While we are not able to answer all emails individually, all feedback
    regarding the availability of the UK and International edition is being
    collated and considered.

    From time to time, we will post responses to feedback, and updates about
    developments on the BBC Internet Blog.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/

    Thank you again for your comments.

    Regards
    BBC News Website
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/

  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks for the update, however it doesn't really address my problem.

    I'm in the UK, and I would like to see the UK Version. This is totally in line with what you are aiming to do - tailoring content to the audience.

    However, because I choose to browse using my mobile, I can't.

    There's no point in giving you my ISP as it's irrelevant to my problem. As I said in my post on the previous thread, it is caused by the specific use of web servers by Opera Mini being located in Oslo, Norway.

    How will you ensure that I (and the growing numbers of people who access the web via their mobiles in the UK) will be able to see the correct version?

    And, as has already been mentioned by other posters - there is content available on the UK version which is not available to International users - and I, being in the UK, should be able to see it.



  • Comment number 22.

    "Carry on Regardless" Seems to be the maxim.

    And if it weren't so serious an error of judgement it would be as funny as the film of the same name. Talk about wooden attitudes, all the comments and criticisms of which there have been many posted here are seemingly ignored or simply ridden over rough shod ! And non of Mr Herrmanns explanations are really anything other than feeble attempts at trying to defend the indefensible.

    Its laughable really, and in amongst all this and the explanations thats its all there if you care to look (except iplayer and streaming video for me a UK resident with an overseas AoL server) the irony is the UK link button, as I posted on the other thread, does not even open for me ! So I can't even get to the UK news through the international page. I mean how crazy is that !

    Quite frankly frankly it is pathetic, and I just hope people further up the food chain than Mr Herrmann are watching and looking at this unholy mess and threatening to use a cattle prod if it is not sorted out quickly. Because at the end of the day I imagine the BBC DG and his cohorts will be experiencing the same frustrations as the rest of us, at least I hope they are, and so hopefully they will bring some common sense and reason to bear !

  • Comment number 23.

    Perhaps Mr Editor you can explain why the 'Your Money' section has been removed from people using the non-UK based version?

    If the content is still the same, why can't I view this?
    What other parts of the site are now missing from us?

    Just admit it, you messed up the change and you are too ignorant to say 'Opps we boobed, we're going to revert to the original version'

    I'm off to www.guardian.co.uk

  • Comment number 24.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_stage1.shtml

    Use the link above to complain to the BBC Trust ... perhaps that might help the morons in the Website area to realise their error

  • Comment number 25.

    Dotconnect, I would never brand you an apologist. oh no...

    but how many of those 97% are privy to the actual problems and limitations resulting from retaining the two options, in light of what you have planned for the site? -Pretty obviously none of us, since we would have to be BBC employees, and like most companies they probably bar their employees from publicly stating that their products are ill-conceived and shoddily-made guano.
    However, I would of thought that most people (excepting Mr. Herrmann) could read between the lines enough to realise that at least some of the respondents are technically competent and (assuming they couldn't find anything better) could probably make a fair stab at something that worked properly. After all, websites (however cutting-edge) don't fall out the sky, run themselves aground or leave a city without power. To paraphrase an earlier poster, "it's really not rocket science"; which makes it all the more irritating to be fobbed off with such pathetic excuses.



  • Comment number 26.

    #24. At 5:46pm on 15 Jun 2009, rjakes wrote:

    "http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_stage1.shtml

    Use the link above to complain to the BBC Trust ... perhaps that might help the morons in the Website area to realise their error



    Indeed, and don't forget to copy your complaint (outlining the problem) to both;
    Department for Culture, Media & Sport: http://www.culture.gov.uk/

    and your MP (and as an ex-pat has pointed out, those British Citizens living over seas, your last UK MP)

    Search for your MP here (both require your (last) Post Code:
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/
    or
    http://www.parliament.uk/

  • Comment number 27.

    Well, this just goes to prove that not all evolution is progressive...congratulations BBC. Its good to see that you are willing to sacrifice the user experience of a significant minority of your visitors, just to make your life easier, and probably wealthier. Afterall, its all about the ads, isnt it? Go on, admit it.



  • Comment number 28.

    Reading between the lines of your comments you seem to be saying
    'I did not make decision - someone else higher up the organisation did'
    So...please answer these questions
    1. Who (job titles will do) was involved in making the decision for this change?
    2. Where can we the public get access to the documents surrounding the decision - the process, consultation and other details?
    3. Where can we find technical architecture documents - so that we, the audience, can analyse the technical challanges you say you face. I guess you may be from a journalistic background rather than an IT background, you may not be able to understand, the boring technological minutiae which can illuminate technological possibilities and drawbacks of a solution - as an editor, you can spot that my spelling is wobbly - as techies we can spot when you are selling us a pup.
    4. Please could you ask the people responsible for this, where they get the idea that they can afford to make changes over 'a year' - which might make us happier, when their initial changes alienates their customers and don't work for anybody - either at home or abroad. 'A week is a long time in politics' , but a day is forever on the web.
    5.If geolocation is the path you (the bbc) are intending to go down, please explain how you think it is actually going to effectively work, given that it obviously isn't working at the moment, and increasingly won't work, on its current basis?
    6. Lets suppose your IT providers are professional. We might then assume that given this was a major change, that there was a role-back plan put in place, in the event that things did not go well. Please can you ask the system owner, to invoke that role back plan, and make us happy. If that person won't, please ask them to post here and tell the hundreds of dissatasfied users why they are not going to, and why they regard our views as so worthless.
    Thankyou. I shall expect to see answers to my questions by the end of play tomorrow, as that would be what any customer focused organisation, like the BBC, could reasonably manage.

  • Comment number 29.

    This answer still doesn't address UK based people wanting to see the International version.

    Can I suggest that people do a Freedom of Information request to ascertain the raisons d'etre behind this decision?

    It probably wont get a change back but at least there'd be the satisfaction of having engaged the time of people in the FoI and Website departments in explaining properly the decision making process behind this. Whereas of course their time should be spent undoing this nonsense.



  • Comment number 30.

    You messed up.


    You miss the point.


    To say:-
    "Thank you for contacting us regarding the recent site version changes.

    Some sections of the BBC website have changed in order to better promote
    the content for the international audience. Specifically, these sections
    are the BBC homepage, the News and Sport front pages and the pages for
    BBC TV and Radio programmes.

    If you are located outside the UK you will be directed to the
    international editions of our pages. All stories are still available
    wherever you are in the world but some of the key pages such as the News
    front page show a more internationally focussed range of headlines.

    There is a full explanation on the BBC Editors' blog here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2009/06/change_to_international_pa
    ges.html - feel free to comment there.

    While we are not able to answer all emails individually, all feedback
    regarding the availability of the UK and International edition is being
    collated and considered.

    From time to time, we will post responses to feedback, and updates about
    developments on the BBC Internet Blog.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/

    Thank you again for your comments."

    Is, frankly, bland, and very "PC".
    To explain WHAT you have done is not enough. We know what you have done! You .....
    Not all stories / opinions / listings are now available for non-UK ip addresses.
    If they are, prove it.




    I have great difficulty in using any BBC site now. It's a mess. Some things are still 'out there', somewhere,
    IF I can find them, others are no longer accessible to me, this smacks of censorship.

    I am taking my "adclick" elsewhere.

    You know what? I have better things to do. You don't listen.



  • Comment number 31.

    ...and another point. You are upset that someone is jamming reception of your signal elsewhere in the world.


    Isn't that exactly what you are doing to US? We are now denied access to some of your content.



    If you have to make changes to improve things, well, get the next version right before you destroy the old version.


  • Comment number 32.

    Dear Steve

    Thank you for listening. However a man is not judged by his words but his deeds.

    Now please use the back button, please do not disable this feature :-) and reverse the change!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    OK, Help!


    The BBC News Web-site
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/


    in a box says "BBC Elsewhere" and then has a link to "The Times"
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6499474.ece

    The Headline for the story is "BBC set to lose monopoly on licence fee as cash goes to ITV news"

    Where can I find out more on the BBC Web-site? I search BBC Licence and get referred to a story in May.

    The story MUST be somewhere on th eBBC site, but I can't find it. Politics? Business? ...... Entertainment? I can see a reference to BBC HD....


  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    Steve, none of your excuses explain in any way why I can't have the same UK front-page that I had last week appear on my screen now, complete with the same range of coverage with the same presentation. There is absolutely no technical reason it cannot happen. You were blocking the video content any way, and that's fair enough. But blocking content (yes, stuff is missing) and making the presentation actually worse is bang out of order.

    You are basically admitting that your "platform" is more important than the views of your audience. You're saying you've read everyone of our comments but you don't care about what we think any way. It speaks volumes about the philosophy at the Beeb and its attitudes to its audience both within the UK and without.

    Disappointing but unfortunately, rather predictable. At the very least, please post online the contact details for whom we can complain to in writing.

  • Comment number 36.

    Just to add to the list...

    The IP address you get from my browsing DOES NOT determine where I am. As I work for a company that is not British, you class me as not British - it has nothing to do with where I am located. So although I am a UK based license fee payer I cannot access the BBC sites relevant to me. So your changes have not worked - in my industry, software changes that do not work get fallen back, and heads may roll.

    Interestingly the link you give to be able to complain about seeing the International Version when based in the UK, takes me to a form titled 'Adverts seen in the UK', not about the News site seen. Well - the issue is not adverts, it is that I cannot see the UK edition of the site. I could make do with the adverts if that is the price to pay for working for a non-british company. But if I can't get the news I need, then not much point using the site.

    One thing said though is true "Right now that means, I'm afraid, that there's one fewer choice you can make". Not sure about the grammar there, but that 'one fewer' choice now means I won't be using any of the BBC News site anymore.

  • Comment number 37.

    Much as the update is appreciated I can't help thinking it is simply an attempt to try and justify changes which have been made purely for the convenience of the BBC.

    So it was necessary to "simplify the underlying architecture of the site, by removing the increasingly complicated consequences of the different UK/international permutations."?

    OK, but then why not go one step further and just have ONE main version of the news site for everyone as the other news websites do and let people click on "World" for international news and features. That would surely be even simpler and it would still be possible to block certain content for legal / rights reasons.

    Also, you are saying that "if you are still seeing the international version and you are in the UK, you can use this form to let us know - we are working with internet providers on this."

    This addresses only one small problem and presumably won't help those whose employers use non-UK gateways. The biggest problem remains and that is the removal of choice for website visitors. Strict geolocation which cannot be overriden is simply not the way to go here unless there are specific legal reasons to provide such restrictions.

  • Comment number 38.

    This is all terribly depressing. You've removed and deliberately broken a useful feature of the site. Almost everyone commenting here is in agreement on this. But you make no effort to address the main complaints in your "responses", despite repeated requests.

    As it happens I can access the UK version of the site easily, even when out of the country (yes, your IP blocking is really hard to get round - not). But that's not the point. The point is that someone, somewhere has made a fundamentally wrongheaded decision about how to set up your website.

    A final thought before I lose the will to live: you have had almost universally negative feedback from people currently out of the country or accessing the site via foreign proxies. The vast majority of UK users probably haven't even noticed anything yet as the website will barely have changed from their point of view. That's until they go on holiday this summer, and try and catch up with what's going on "back home" via their laptop or a cybercafe. I would imagine that they will all be delighted too. My guess would be that you currently have comments from only a tiny fraction of all the people you are going to irritate with this.

  • Comment number 39.

    The response does not explain why we are barred from sections such as UK Have Your Say and Your Money. Is an answer too much to ask for?

  • Comment number 40.

    Living in Gloucestershire I would like to see the UK not the International Version. Currently for some unexplained reson I am considered to be living overseas (is overseas outside London?). Until the BBC system actually works consider it should be changed back and properly tested.

  • Comment number 41.

    Your latest comments have missed te point many of are complaining about. We are not outside the UK and didn't need anything to be changed, but we are now stuck with the international version because your misguided system deems us to be elsewhere just because we have the misfortune to use AOL.
    You say this is part of something across the whole BBC website. Please pass all 700+ complaints on to the person responsible for this monstrous decision

  • Comment number 42.

    (English ex-pat, five years in Denmark, nearly two in the Netherlands. committed BBC website reader. Until a few days ago)

    "if we don't make these basic changes to versions, we'll be putting at risk our ability to develop the site effectively, and that's not something we think is in our interests, or yours."

    Steve, you have not explained why you need to make the changes. No one who has commented in the past few days has felt that a reasonable explanation has been given, including a significant number of people who profess to have IT backgrounds. Please explain to us WHY these changes were necessary. Until then I agree with other posters that all of your responses so far have been far too bland and evasive.

    "We do appreciate and listen to all your feedback, we know you wouldn't take the trouble if you didn't care in the first place, and we'll get to work on making some changes to the site which we think you actually will like!"

    I'm not sure I believe that you're listening. You say "many" commentators didn't like the changes - I say MOST, IF NOT ALL posters don't like the changes. Perhaps if you explained to us why they were necessary in clear English we might understand a bit more.

    It's not good enough. It's a rubbish decision, and since the changes I have hated visiting the BBC News front page - it feels wrong all of a sudden. Like I'm not getting everything. And I hate writing in capitals but you HAVE to give a better response than what you are currently putting out there.

  • Comment number 43.

    Here's a suggestion:

    ---

    For UK users:

    Put a link saying "International Version". When clicked, user sees everything as if from a non-uk ip address, except ads which are replaced with grey boxes.

    For International Users:

    Allow them to click a 'UK version' link. Perhaps make a note popup on the site saying that not all content will be available.
    Where there is video content and/or rights-managed content, simply display a grey box.

    ---

    That seems to be a sensible solution. The two versions exist anyway, why not allow people the choice to choose between them? You can then display ads/video/grey boxes depending on their IP address.

    Just make sure that they are told that they are not seeing the 'recommended' version, and you are not responsible for any accidents/confusion that may result from them thinking they are in the UK when they are in fact somewhere else (or vice versa)

    I'm sure you'll get far less complaints about grey boxes than you have this last week.

    I am a PHP developer and would be happy to help with this, where can I send my CV?

  • Comment number 44.

    Well it's all very well reading these and saying well it's just tough this is for the whole of the BBC. However this does not help your fee license fee paying audience who happen to live abroad for the majority of the year (like me). We loose a very critical part of the mechanism for keeping in touch with home. Sure we can bookmark the pages but where is the old content? e.g. the old UK page had a UK orientated headline ticker we now an international one instead and the "international" UK page lacks one all together.
    You say this is a a issue of being abroad and it's now a one size fits all world, but why is the advertising regionally determined? The web page knows I'm in the US, Canada or Australia and puts up adverts pertinent to the area I'm in. Yet the news doesn't log us into the appropriate pages for the region I'm in (which would be slightly more useful than the current dogs dinner) we still get the generic and truly terrible international news front page. Who recent front page stories include Phil Specter without a wig (shock horror apparently he's bald) and Suzanne Boyle will sing in Glasgow. Hardly quality international news stories.
    If you are going to keep this change, and lets face it the BBC is brilliant in some area, but listing to customers isn't one of them, then at least bring the quality of the international front page up to the same standard as the old UK regional one.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm not sure if it's the different flavour of the news today, or if there have already been some minor tweaks, but I felt a slightly stronger connection back to the UK today. (I'm one of these ex-pats who relied on the UK version).

    I noticed, for example, that in 'Other Top Stories', you have the UK Iraq tribunal, in 'Other News' there is a Susan Boyle headline and I notice the Cricket score creeping into my News Ticker.

    Maybe it is just the news, and these are UK stories you feel are International, and the changes happened on a quiet day for such stories. But if it's the tweaks (and I hope it is), then thank you for listening to us so quickly.

    Whatever these future plans are, I look forward to seeing them and I trust that they will allow us ex-pats and UKers with foreign IPs to return to our chosen flavour of news. If there are some tweaks, some concessions to the face that the BBC is after all, a British Broadcaster, and allows UK news to feature more prominently on the International site, then I'll survive the interim. Otherwise I'll be reading more and more of your rivals sites.

  • Comment number 46.

    So thats it then, no matter what your customers say there will be no change.

    Well I have changed my homepage to Sky News after having been set to BBC for over a decade.

    Your loss not mine mate.

    For anyone interested google "free uk proxy server", gets you a list of servers, choose one and access the BBC site via that. You can then once more get the UK version of the site except its advert free now, if the BBC is giving us the finger then why not give it back to them.

    Oh and BTW, I am an expat who is both a licence fee payer in the UK and who also pays a fair amount to get BBCInternational on cable overseas.

    As some have commented before one wonders whether this is a start of shutting off all BBC content to overseas viewers or at least a move to make them pay per view.

  • Comment number 47.

    As a Scot currently living in Dublin, I watch (and pay for) the BBC channels more than the RTE offerings. However it now appears that I'm a foreigner and therefore am not suitable to view the tv listings for channels that I can watch. Instead I'm offered listing for channels I have no access to.
    What sort of improvement is that?

    In one fell swoop Mr Editor you have managed to bring a form of censorship/aparthied into the BBC that I thought would never happen.

    I have complained to the BBC Trust and both my MP/MSP ... I would also encourage everyone else to do the same.

  • Comment number 48.

    #43 canukqc
    "Put a link saying "International Version". When clicked, user sees everything as if from a non-uk ip address, except ads which are replaced with grey boxes."

    Great idea, but it's not even that complex for UK IPs. If a UK user wants the International Version, let them have it - ads, unavailable video et al. That way they can see what the site really looks like outside Blighty.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 49.

    "And if there's anything else we can think of, or you can suggest, to improve things right now, we'll try and do it. "

    Now that you mention it, yes there is. For starters there needs to be an open debate (and I mean open) on the issue of the BBC Censoring comments made by the public on its site. If it was just a case of the BBC censoring foul language etc, there would be no issue. However, that is very far from the case. The blatant censoring of perfectly reasonable, non-abusive and on-topic comments seems to have become standard practice. Anyone who's made more than a few posts on the BBC knows this to be the case. The BBC seems to be most sensitive when it comes to any criticism of the BBC itself, as evidenced in the blog article below titled "Stop the blocking Now".

    If the BBC can get past it's trigger-happy censoring habit, what would be really nice is to have the ability to comment on any news article. There should be a link under each article titled "Comment". With all the millions we are paying the BBC, surely we should have the ability to comment on any BBC article and hold journalists to account for what they write?

  • Comment number 50.

    1) The latest comment from Steve Harmann still does not quite address the problem. It is a sad day that the BBC has decided not to allow the outside world to see the news and sport through a BBC UK perspective.
    2) I heard back from the BBC complaints department (very quick in their response) but it basically stated

    "Some sections of the BBC website have changed in order to better promote
    the content for the international audience. Specifically, these sections
    are the BBC homepage, the News and Sport front pages and the pages for
    BBC TV and Radio programmes."

    3) My earlier comment on this site was put up and then withdrawn (#20). Was that because I copied the entirity of the BBC response for all to see?

  • Comment number 51.

    After a few days of using the new version, I have no big problems with the new version, just two minor quibbles: (1) why is the link to the Magazine hidden in the UK section - a review of the comments shows that the readership is truly international and it deserves a first-line link (2) The "entertainment" front page was different in the UK and international versions, with the UK section having 4 sub-headings, each with links to 4 stories in different categories. There always seemd to be more links in total on the UK version rather than the international. Since the change, I have seen almost no "TV and radio" stories; have these disappeared? Or just the links?

  • Comment number 52.

    Typical arrogant BBC answer.

    We're right, and you (the people who pay for the Beeb no less) are wrong, so tough luck.

    Is anyone really surprised at it?

  • Comment number 53.

    So that's alright then!

    When are you losing the licence fee cash as it can't come soon enough?

  • Comment number 54.

    Any reason why the UK version has a different 'breaking news' from the International version?

    approx 23:25 (London time)
    UK Version -- 4 items -- 1 sport, 2 UK items, 1 non-UK item
    Inter Version -- 4 items -- 1 sport, 3 non UK items

  • Comment number 55.

    So a little button that would fool the server into thinking that you were in the UK is too much for the BBC to master?

    No.

    There is something else happening here. I am perfectly able to do that but am a semi-ameteur web designer.

    Full explanation please.

  • Comment number 56.

    Before the change I used to be able to watch streams of BBC 1 news bulletins by choosing the UK site, but now that link seems to have disappeared and I cannot find it. Is it still possible to watch these bulletins outside the UK? And if so how do I access them?

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 57.

    "39. At 8:38pm on 15 Jun 2009, BettyLemons wrote:
    The response does not explain why we are barred from sections such as UK Have Your Say and Your Money. Is an answer too much to ask for?"

    Apparently so, I have asked twice already but to no avail, even though Steve assures us there is no loss of functionality and we have access to all that we had before. Currently HYS (international) has 3 threads - Iran, mid-east peace and African huts, mmmm, joy.

    I wonder what "your money" has - I used to look at it daily, now I'll either have to mess around to get a UK IP address thingy, or start looking at the Gurdian or Times websites.

    I really find it hard to believe that less functionality for ones customers is a good thing.

  • Comment number 58.

    As many posters have already said, your explanation is total bunk.

    How difficult would it be to have us customize our international page to select the content from the UK home page, not just a few snippets? As a developer of dynamic web sites, like BBC.CO.UK, I can assure you and your readers that what you are being told by your technical folks is total bunk.

    I guess the great and powerful BBC has decided to exert it's control over its users and decreed that international users shall not see the UK home page.

    Laughable.

  • Comment number 59.

    Yeah, I don't really think the explanation given is particularly satisfactory - in short it says, 'oh, it's really hard for us to put it back again, we're not really gonna tell you why, but it's like really really hard, so you're just gonna have to put up with it. Sorry!!'. Pathetic.

    Just for the information of readers of this blog, there are proxy servers you can use to make you see the uk site and get access to all the iplayer content from abroad (for a small fee of course). Just key a few relevant words into a search engine.

  • Comment number 60.

    Like so many others who have spoken up, I am not a frequent commenter by any means, but I feel driven to do so in this case.

    I'm a British expat, currently living in Beijing, and the BBC News website is one of my main sources of news, especially for the UK. Along with so many others, I am dismayed at these changes - having done a (very) quick survey of the comments on this post and the previous one, it doesn't look like anyone is really in favour.

    It is perplexing to me that despite such overwhelmingly negative feedback, and the simplicity of reinstating the old "user choice" system, the BBC refuses to budge. Of course these complaints were totally foreseeable, which would seem to explain the apparent total lack of user consultation. The unsurprising issues encountered with the "IP geolocation" approach, whereby some people - some license-fee payers, that is - in the UK were forced to view the international version (and some who wanted to visit the international version could not), for me is just the icing on the cake.

    Fortunately as an expat in China, I subscribe to a reliable VPN/proxy service *cough*witopia*cough*, which means that I can get UK or US IP addresses on demand. However it slows things down a bit (and the Internet in China is slow enough already), so I really only use the service when I want to access sites blocked by the Chinese government; when I don't want a site owner to know where I'm from; or when I'm using unsecured or public wireless networks. It's a shame that I'll have to add "when I want to read BBC News" to that list.

    Even if I go to the UK section of the international version, it's still not quite the same coverage. The 'customisable' bbc.co.uk homepage is a joke - I just spent five minutes trying to set it up, before giving up in disgust. I've been an extremely loyal reader of the site for almost ten years, so in reality this change on its own most likely isn't enough to get me to switch. If the site gets much worse, though, and a better alternative comes along, then who knows?

  • Comment number 61.

    Ok, well it looks as if this forum isn't the place to influence any actual decision makers. It reminds me of the time I spent 5 months calling the British Gas call centre just wanting them to fix my account so I could pay them. I think we need to ask to be put through to a supervisor.

    Anyway, I am confident this decision will be reversed - very soon. All it will take is a couple more days and then some BBC bigwig or someone of influence will log on to BBC news from abroad to discover that they can not access the site anymore. They will be outraged and then they will pick up the phone. Suddenly we will see the magic button re-appear somewhere.

    This really is an internet marketing decision and I'm sure (non-online) UK based editorial people working at the BBC would not really be aware of this change yet. I'd encourage anyone who has the contact details of any high profile BBC journalists to email them alerting them to what is going on with a link back to this and the original posting.

  • Comment number 62.

    What a load of dingos kidneys. Are you seriously saying that some other BBC department has a pistol to the News division's head over this?

    "if we don't make these basic changes to versions, we'll be putting at risk our ability to develop the site effectively" - OK, but the problem with this is that in doing so you've lost your ability to *deliver the news* effectively, and ended up with a rather rubbish BBC Home page to boot. I don't see why a big change like this couldn't have waited until the iPlayer licensing problems are resolved.

    I'm off to the Grauniad.

  • Comment number 63.

    To be fair, its not just the BBC who are blocking access to the site:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8101299.stm

  • Comment number 64.

    Your key argument for this change seems to be: " they are necessary to enable us to continue to develop the site internationally, to give us the flexibility to build new features and present content (including video and ads) differently for different audiences;" (the rest of your 'reasons' are just fluff)

    The fundamental flaw in your argument is that, as evidenced by the huge numbers of complaints about this new setup, you cannot define an audience (or its interests) based on the supposed location of its IP addresses.

  • Comment number 65.

    If anyone has the email address of Rory Cellan-Jones the BBC's tecnology reporter, who appears regulsrly on all TV channels commenting on Technology issues such as this, it would be a good idea to email him !

    A quick search on Wikipedia reveals he is married to a BBC trustee which should Rory pick the ball up and run with it will bring added pressure to bear !

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rory_Cellan-Jones

    And if you read the notes you will the internet is one of his specialities

  • Comment number 66.

    In the words of Victor Meldrew ,having read the editors latest comments,"I dont know what language you are speaking but it sounds like xxxxxxxx to me ".(the moderators wouldnt allow the actual words even in heavily abbreviated form although this was in the original script as broadcast on BBC1 TV at prime time,I guess this illustrates differing parameters within the coporation that may have also allowed these website changes to take place without due consideration to users)
    Im just going to set my home page to somewhere else that is more UK user friendly to us expats.Its obvious that the BBC nobs dont give a fig about us and didn't take us into consideration when making these changes.
    And ps. BBC I do pay a licence fee in the UK as well for my address there

  • Comment number 67.

    "We've read through every one of your messages about the changes we made last week to the BBC site. What's clear is that many of you who've commented would rather we hadn't made them."

    ..."However - tough, we're not listening to you and we are sticking to our rubbish ideas anyway"

  • Comment number 68.

    Everyone else has said it all before I found my way here. But I want to add my name to the growing list of those disaffected, and to advise that I am now exploring other news sites.

    My home page has nearly always been the BBC news front page. Now it isn't.

    The decision and the logic behind it are just ridiculous.

  • Comment number 69.

    Look, lets be fair, I can see that making an initial decision on showing content based on location does reduce the web design & programming effort over making that decision for each piece of content that is served. However, even if this was a valid copyright protection method, (protection by invisibility), it is design for the benefit of the technicians and not the users. There really is nothing you can do with automatically separated versions that you cannot do with versions separated by choice, providing you have the will to do it. This is technicians rather than the users controlling the design so they have an easier life.

    OK, assuming the BBC will not go back (because they would loose too much face) can we have some specific answers to what they will do to meet the initial assurances that the same content will be available. Particularly :-

    - 'Have your Say' will you introduce a UK section on the International Page?
    - 'Your Money' How do we ensure we can get the same content.
    - 'UK Politics' How do we get all the same stories
    - 'UK News' We can drill down to England and get a few regional stories but how can I focus on my home postcode as I could before.

    Some specific answers to these would be helpful.

    btw: I do appreciate that you have no liability spend license payers money to maintain web servers for Expats who dont (or no longer) pay a license. However, this goes well beyond this and many complainants (even some who are abroad) are actually license payers.

  • Comment number 70.

    'Lastly, a reminder that if you are still seeing the international version and you are in the UK, you can use this form to let us know - we are working with internet providers on this.'

    You may well be talking to one or two big internet providers (AOL springs to mind) but, even that will be a huge challenge to resolve which I doubt is achievable. Even if you do then this is only scratching the surface of the problem.

    With this you are setting yourself an impossible challenge that is far greater than any design changes you can make yourselves.

    I will be charitable and assume that this comment was added in ignorance rather than a desire to kick this into the long grass but it really is nonsense because there is almost no chance of more than a limited success.

  • Comment number 71.

    3. At 23:52 pm on 15 Jun 2009, DSDave wrote:
    (A) The information you've given us about why it's somehow impossible to give us a choice similar to what we had before (the UK News Front Page or the International News one) is vague, obscure and incomprehensible to most of us. It has something to do with changes in the architecture of the whole BBC web site. But I'm sure that most of the international visitors to the BBC site are interested in News, followed probably by Sport and Business (I'm not sure in what order), rather than in the whole BBC site.

    BBC America is a paid channel available only to subscribers to certain cable and satellite services. No doubt the time might come when international visitors come here just as much or more for entertainment and other BBC programmes as for news, sport and business, but at the moment (unless I'm gravely mistaken) that's far more an aspiration than a current reality. So while you're figuring out how to retool the rest of the BBC website, why not humour us overseas visitors (plus apparently a large number of UK-resident ones) who want to see the News mix?

    The BBC's journalists not only try to be objective, but also frequently try to explain quite-complicated things (Internet crime, medical breakthroughs, space shots, nuclear defence, financial crises, surveillance techniques, DNS attacks) in language that lay readers can understand in as many steps as needed. Could someone use those carefully-developed skills (and that detachment from corporate policy) to explain to us what this is all about?

    (B) There is a usable, though very far from perfect, workaround for those like me who want to see what mix UK viewers are seeing: the text viewer called "Betsie" at:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/education/betsie/parser.pl/0005/news.bbc.co.uk/

    Please don't disable that, too for overseas readers like me just because I'm foolhardy or foolish enough to mention it. (That would really undermine my faith in the BBC's good faith.)

    Instead perhaps you could use create a similar parallel page for the UK readers who want to see what BBC News is presenting to overseas readers (justifiably both because as domestic viewers their licence fee helps support it, and because as voters they're entitled to the information). Technically, it doesn't seem that difficult to do, and you wouldn't be losing much ad revenue because only those who really want to see that page would give up the fuller graphics of a non-text page.

  • Comment number 72.

    I love the comment " Some sections of the BBC website have changed in order to better promote the content for the international audience "

    Shouldn't the British Broadcasting Corporation's primary target audience be the British public regardless of how they access the content, after all it is us the British Public that are paying for it in the form of the licence fee. I understand that there are some rights issues but these are easy to deal with, without using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

    The trouble with the BBC is that they want and strive for too much international influence instead of serving those that it was set up to serve.

    You are quite happy to broadcast in every language under the sun to countries some have not heard of, but ignore and alienate those that should be your prime target audience.

    Most people I have come across primarily access the BBC for it's UK content not it's international content, especially those overseas, so what do you do...... screw it up.

    Only in Britain and with the BBC could this happen.

  • Comment number 73.

    I find it very hard to believe that over 700 complaints fails to draw action from the people behind these changes. If the BBC received over 700 complaints about a TV programme there'd be uproar and a huge debate over quality and what is allowed to be shown on TV. If the people behind these changes really refuse to listen to the people who valued the website in its previous format, then would it not be possible to be more accomodating and make it so that there are still the same subheadings on the international page for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Science and Nature, Entertainment, Business etc? Just put more content on the page? Make the international page more of a combination of UK and international news? The beauty of the 'UK version' before was that you could access at a glance the news that would be in a news broadcast on BBC 1, whereas now it's more like the World Service. This is the point that I feel the people behind the changes are really missing.

  • Comment number 74.

    Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory.

    This is EXACTLY why I do not like this change.

    Get me back to what I had before.

    ---------

    Here's the problem, YOUR ISP/gateway is being channelled via a route outside the UK. There is nothign that the Beeb can do about this, it is also nothign to dow ith the site changes.

  • Comment number 75.

    Dear Steve

    I hope the following explains our frustration:

    Firstly, what is local news to us is international news for you. Consequently, we get a much more detailed view on international news then you provide. Secondly, we can view any number of web sites for international news. We dont need the BBC for international news.

    However, there is one unique perspective that only the BBC makes available and that is.

    UK News in depth!!

    Please reverse your change Yes You Can

  • Comment number 76.

    I would also like to point out that The Times website (www.timesonline.co.uk) offers a UK version automatically (even to those of us with IP addresses registered abroad) with an option to switch to a global version if desired as the BBC used to. I have always used the BBC website as my main news source but these changes have, for the first time, prompted me to look elsewhere.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm now starting to wonder if, in the face of swinging cuts being planed by the BBC (most obvious to the general public in all the talk about presenters pay being cut), if those within the BBC online and/or IT sections are attempting to make the whole online and/or IT system over complicated in an attempt to preserve their job numbers - how many back room staff is it going to take, for example, to monitor IP numbers from UK ISP's or companies who have servers outside the UK etc. - more than a few I suspect, in fact I bet a whole new BBC IT department will have to be formed...

  • Comment number 78.

    "The changes mean that's now decided automatically, depending on your IP address - where you are."

    Wrong. As many people have pointed out, your IP adddress is a very unreliable guide as to where you are. There is no reliable way of knowing where someone is, and making a list of ISPs that might go via another country is trying to bodge a fix in to a bad idea, even before you consider the effect of using proxy servers.

    There has been *no* explanation for the reason for the change - I don't accept "We need to" as any sort of explanation whatsoever. It used to work, now it doesn't. End of.

    Asking for suggestions of how to improve it smacks of extreme arrogance after receiving hundreds of blog posts explaining exactly what you can do to improve things - go back to how they were.

  • Comment number 79.

    I wonder if there are less comments on this second post because people have carried out their threats to go to other sites for their news? I hope it's that rather than people have just given up and realised that nobody is going to listen.

    But one more time I will reiterate how I feel about this: There is no technical reason why you cannot give users the chance to override the default versions served to their IP address. None. Nada.

    The reason is clearly something other than technical, and I think that if you were honest with your customers you'd get a better response.

  • Comment number 80.

    Sorry, that's a pathetic response. You have failed to deal with any of these ongoing problems:

    1) Licence fee payers in the UK being unable to access the full resources of the BBC website because we use AOL.
    2) AOL users being unable to access ANY of the UK or Business news pages. We've not only lost our UK-centred front page, but all our UK news coverage.
    3) Licence fee payers in the UK being shown advertising by the BBC, which contravenes the BBC's charter.

    What gives the BBC the right to decide that UK citizens who use AOL should be treated as second-class citizens? It would make just as much sense to proclaim that (for example) people with Sony radios can no longer listen to Radio 4.

    Personally, I'm most concerned about the fact that I can no longer use the BBC website. But the BBC ought to be more concerned that they are blatantly breaking the rules of their own charter. How is that going to look the next time the charter and licence fee come up for renewal?

  • Comment number 81.

    I have commented before, but thought I would repeat myself after the Editor's additional comments.
    I live in the UK, but as a home worker employed by a German based company my internet access goes via a German proxy server, so I have lost the functionality and custom features that I used eg local news and weather, my chose of sport i.e cricket and my football club all on the UK News page.
    I can no longer see videos, use the iplayer, cannot listen to 5 Live Extra, cannot see a UK News ticker on the UK News page etc etc....
    This change will hit more and more people as time goes on i.e. my wife who works for a large UK company has discovered that her IT support is going abroad for cost reasons and she will then access the internet via a US proxy server.
    If this is not reversed please let me know how much of my license fee goes to the BBC website as a want a refund. I am sure it will not be much, but why pay for something that I think is of poor quality..... If I bought goods or service from a supplier and they were not of satisfactory quality I would expect a refund.

  • Comment number 82.

    What a load of waffle, the BBC has not listened to what the readers say. There is not one acceptable reason as to why the different versions have disappeared.

    The BBC has treated ex pats as second class, with no right to the full versions of what the BBC is publishing.

    My home page was set to the BBC, not any longer it isn't.

  • Comment number 83.

    What really annoys me is that we are being told that all the features that used to be available still are. That is simply not true.

    As clearly the hundreds of negative comments made here are having no effect other than further unsuccessful attempts by Steve Herrmann to justify the changes then maybe it's time for formal complaints.

    For now I too am changing to another site for news and if I really want to view something on the BBC News website then via a UK proxy.

  • Comment number 84.

    Another day, another shoddy response from the BBC and I am still blocked from viewing the BBC's UK website despite the fact I am accessing the site from a PC in the UK.

    Your form for providing IP addesses to fix this problem doesn't work. It won't except my perfectly valid postcode.

    You are have blocked the access of licence payers to BBC material. This is a direct and serious breach of your charter. You have offered no appropriate channel for re-dress as your complaints service responds with a standardised and irrelevent email. OFCOM will not investigate as this is a web issue and not TV/Radio.

    WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?

  • Comment number 85.

    I have a question & would really be interested in the answer :-

    'If there was a revolution in IP addressing so that, instead of being an unreliable indicator of where you were located, Geolocation of IP addresses ceased to exist - What would you do? Throw your hands up in the air and say you cannot carry on? or find another solution?'

    OK - we know the answer - so find that other solution now, because GeoLocation is only a guide and is not reliable.

    Incidentally, I have always accepted the limitations on IPlayer and video serving before, but I am now signing up with a proxy service (that is capable of dealing with these services) so you will end up with less control than before !!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    Mr Herrmann,

    Thanks for the update... but oh so lame... Again, why have you not addressed a single one of the many specific questions put to you? I would love to hear you discuss this change with John Humphrys - I suspect he would rub your nose in it.

    Still, the message is clear - your not going to address our questions and this is a done deal so far as you are all concerned. As a life-long chest thumping champion of the Beeb, I find this so depressing. Not that the change has been made and apparently cannot be reversed, but the way this has been handled and the complete lack of interest in giving us clear straightforward answers to reasonable questions. I suspect that the real reason you have these blogs is so that we can vent in what you hope will be a cathartic fashion - and then go away... Well, no catharsis here - but I am going away - so sleepy easy tonight - mission accomplished, job well done...

    Mike

  • Comment number 87.

    It concerns me that it seems to be taking more than one hour to moderate comments. Is this indicative of how the complaints are being treated?

  • Comment number 88.

    I have a feeling that what would silence most of the critics is allowing a cookie to override IP-based targeting, warts and all.

    This may or may not be entirely congruent with what was there before, but it would be equivalent-enough for those who care about it.

  • Comment number 89.

    69. At 08:44am on 16 Jun 2009, ExpatDinosaur wrote:
    "OK, assuming the BBC will not go back (because they would loose too much face)"

    I think that, should the BBC decide to roll back these changes, at least until they could assess what has gone wrong, and come up with more relevant and considered changes, they would not lose any face at all. If they were to reverse this it would do nothing less than prove to everyone that the BBC does listen, does react, and does care about its audience.

    Come on, listen and react, BBC. You might be hoping that we would all just go away, and I'm afraid to say, with so many dissatisfied 'punters', that might be exactly what will happen.

  • Comment number 90.

    Hopefully someone perhaps braver and more principled than me will elect not to pay their TV licence fee pointing out to the Judge in Court that actually they dont live in the UK according to the BBC's interpretation of the geolocation of the AoL servers, so why should they have to pay the licence fee. Moreover I think the points made above by CrosbyCat are very good ones, in particular isn't it against the law and the BBC's charter for it to be allowed to advertise in the UK ?

  • Comment number 91.

    Please put up a poll on your site as to whether people are happy with the changes or not (technically very easy to do - and to ensure that every user can only vote once) and publish the results in real time and then take a decision whether or not to restore choice in the light of those results.

  • Comment number 92.

    #84

    "You are have blocked the access of licence payers to BBC material. This is a direct and serious breach of your charter. You have offered no appropriate channel for re-dress as your complaints service responds with a standardised and irrelevent email. OFCOM will not investigate as this is a web issue and not TV/Radio.

    WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?"


    Contact your MP, remember that the "Digital Britain" report is published today so the BBC, the licence fee and internet access will be a 'hot-topic' in Westminster in the weeks and months to come - if the BBC won't listen to it's paymasters directly perhaps they will start top listen when our political representatives start to decide the future direction of the BBC.

  • Comment number 93.

    How long does the BBC think it will be before expats take up UK proxy subscription more or less as a matter of course?

    As ExpatDinosaur said, you will then have less control over what we see, and we'll have the joy of having no blessed ads, the full facility to enjoy iPlayer, etc!!

    You're just burying your heads in the sand, and putting an end to a decent service, replacing it with something much worse, with no consultation.

    Bad management, bad planning, bad service, bad job.

  • Comment number 94.

    What I liked about the UK edition was not just the ability to see UK stories without having to make an extra click, but the ability to see what international stories were big stories in the UK. No amount of customising my own page will enable me to do this.

    But it seems to me that there is an easy way to meet the demands of so many for a way to continue to have the UK edition, without running the BBC into any of the problems it is trying to solve by dropping it: Have the site you reach from the international edition when you click on 'UK' feature the stories, international and UK, currently presented to UK readers. You could leave off links to i-player or other features that you can't make available to international readers, but still give most of us most of what we want, which is a sense of what is of concern to our family and friends at home, or (for the less fortunate) a sense of what those fruitcakes over there are all worked up about now.

  • Comment number 95.

    Having read all the negative views on this change, I am disappointed in the response - to ignore all the negative feedback completely and say in effect "Tough, we're doing what we want, not what our users may want."
    I am another UK user routed through a corporate Canadian internet gateway who is now presented with a load of irrelevant news that I don't care for. As a result of the latest BBC posting, I will vote with my fingers, lodging a complaint on the way out and sourcing my news from somewhere with .co.uk in the URL.
    Oh hang on, this BBC site has. I must have misunderstood something somewhere.

  • Comment number 96.

    What a cop out. "Like it or lump it" is what you are telling us. Well I am afraid that is a real cop out and pretty typical of the nonsense we get from the BBC at the moment. Do you realise just how many expat Brits there are who come to the BBC News website for UK-centric news? Please go back to the old system, selectable content.

    BTW for those who say it's not worth complaining, a recent, somewhat related, success story: a few months ago BBC America took off the schedule the morning BBC World News feed and replaced it with Cash in the Attic or some such nonsense. There was such a huge outcry on the BBCA website that they brought it back. So the voice of the customer does count for something, sometime (and yes I know that BBCA is not wholly owned or controlled by the BBC).

  • Comment number 97.

    As mentioned by another poster, your web form will not accept my central London postcode as valid, which is odd as royalmail.com does. Obviously your postcode lookup is developed more effectively than theirs.

    I am another UK based user seeing adverts and international content but your mechanism for telling you doesn't work.

    Thanks to the other posters for skynews and timesonline links, I will join them there.

  • Comment number 98.

    Being unable to find Rory Cellan-Jones email address (the BBC TV Technology Reporter) I have elected to try and broaden the debate and hopefully alert Rory to what exactly is going on here and the depth of feeling on this issue, on the basis of the near 800 complaints generated thus far.

    Accordingly I have posted on one of Rory's blogs about the BBC i player (which although I am in the UK I cannot now access !) asking him to look into it, and so I would exhort anyone else who feels similarly disposed to please add your two pennyworth at Rory's blog.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/06/bt_and_the_iplayer.html#comments

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm going to side with the BBC on this. Going forward, maintaining an international version of the UK site (with adverts and without protected video) and a UK version of the international site (without adverts) can't be an effective use of resources. Customisable interfaces are incredibly difficult to do right, and the half baked approach the BBC have used in the past clearly isn't sustainable. Going back to basics and building back up more personalisation is, IMHO, the way to go.

    IP restrictions aren't perfect, but they're the best solution available at present. If you're running through a proxy then surely you (or your company) need to take some responsibility for the effect that will have on browsing).

  • Comment number 100.

    The changes to the BBC News website are SO unwelcome. I do not wish to view the UK version, when I switch on.

    I have been told that I can bookmark the international page, but of course the content on the international page is differnet from the UK, which is different from the news front page!

    The choice of having version options has been removed and I will now remove myself from the BBC News and reside on a site that does cater for my opinion.

    I have read most of the complaints on the Blog x 2 and I am depressed at the seemingy acceptable stance to accept that people are unhappy, and to 'Carry on Regardless'. How very modern.

    Bad decision, bad handling.

    I suspect that there was never any plan of the changes being reversed, even if every memeber of the fee paying public complained.

 

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