June 23, 2009

A Clear Problem

A Clear Problem

I got this email in my inbox late last night:

Dear Matt Blumberg,

At 11:00 p.m. PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear's parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.

After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.

Clear Customer Support

Regardless of what you think of the Clear service (these are the paid-express lanes in a handful of airports), this is just a crummy way to shut down a business.  Not even a hint of "we're sorry we took your money and are keeping the money and can't give you the service we promised any more."

Maybe this particular situation or Chapter 7 bankruptcies don't allow for much time, but come on.  There must be a more dignified way of shutting down a business.

3 responses to “A Clear Problem”

  1. Sam Masiello says:

    This shouldn't be surprising. Although there are some airports where the lines can be long and unruly on a regular basis, if you are flying often enough to warrant purchasing a CLEAR card, you possibly also have enough miles such that you are frequently going through the business class lines at most airports.

    Personally, I never expected CLEAR to be able to sustain itself long term. I've rarely seen anyone at their booths and even less frequently seen anyone in the CLEAR line. In my opinion, it is an interesting idea, but was largely trying to solve a problem that I don't believe most people had or couldn't justify the $300 annual expense for.

  2. I had actually seen increasing crowds at CLEAR in some airports (Denver in particular), and I thought it was $100/year (that was the introductory price anyway).  I think the value they could have created was skipping security, which they held out as a long-term promise of the business.

  3. CLEAR missed the PR/marketing boat on many levels. The program was poorly marketed and poorly executed. People didn't know what it was, how much it cost or how to sign up. In the end, even their demise suffered from bad PR as evidenced by the email Matt received. A good idea is still just that, an idea, if not executed properly. My guess is that the program will re-emerge in a different form in the future with a better marketing campaign.