Bubble Flashbacks (SMH:”Online buying frenzy”)

Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse with SMH, image via ProBlogger

If you’ve been in this industry since the last ‘bubble’ then, like me, you must have a little shudder when you start seeing headlines like we’re seeing at the moment. Sure, its exciting times… but just how different will this boom be compared to the last? Is this just another bubble too?

(And, if it is, will I be smart enough to make sure I’m retrenched by a company who still has money left to make retrenchment a happy thing!)

It’s exciting to see an article about blogging as one of the feature articles of the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. I’m looking forward to the day that the majority of people understand what blogging is and why people do it. I keep forgetting that these things that are now such basic infrastructure to my life – Gmail, blogging, Flickr, Delicious – are largely unknown in the ‘real world’.

(Actually, I’m doing a bit of user testing next week on the project I’m working on and one of the things we want to find out is how much tools like Flickr and Delicious and Google Maps have started to penetrate into the awareness of the ‘general public’. I’ll let you know what we learn from that soon.)

TradeMe

What the article in the SMH today made really clear to me is the difference between the businesses bought five years ago, and the ones that we’re seeing transacted today. In the case of three featured this morning, TradeMe, SEEK and Stayz, both are not new businesses – TradeMe has been around since 1998 and Stayz was kicked off 4 yrs ago. In both cases, our newly rich entrepreneurs have built their businesses with a lot of hard work. The SMH reports of Sam Morgan (TradeMe):

From 1998 he spent several years driving around his native Wellington in a white ’72 Holden Belmont stuffing letter boxes with photocopied flyers trying to encourage people with junk to list it on his website.

This is reassuring. Back in the old days, you didn’t even have to get to Beta before you could sell your business. These are established businesses with established and proven business models.

Which means that you can’t really call them 2.0 buys. These are very different to Google buying MeasureMap before it’s even in Beta.

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customer service 2.0

technorati logo

I’ve had two close encounters with 2.0 customer service this week. Both of them have really left an impression, so let me share:

Blogbeat: This one you can actually see on an earlier post. I’ve been having a bit of a go at Blogbeat lately because I actually want to like them, but I find it hard to love an interface that’s so bloody ugly (it doesn’t work for me.. I don’t care what Scoble says).

After my last post, Jeff from Blogbeat lobbed up and posted a little comment that totally put a human face on that company and their service for me. And then he linked to me! Even though I wasn’t saying entirely flattering things.

And what’s the outcome? I’ve got about 15 days left on my free trial at Blogbeat and now I’m almost sure I’ll pay them their $24USD. Eh. I feel like I kind of know them now. I have an emotional involvement with them now. If anyone’s going to get my cash, then I’d rather it be someone I know (this is not a new concept). Its like I want to reward them for caring about what I think, and engaging in the conversation.

powerful customer service 2.0, or I’m just a big sucker.
Either way, I like it.

Then today – Technorati impressed my socks off.

Now, I’m not compulsive about my Technorati ranking… Its hard to get too excited about it when there are so many digits involved! But I use Technorati tags and my blog hadn’t been updated on Techorati for over a month. I was pinging.. they weren’t receiving. What was up with that?

This morning I filled in their contact form to see what was going on. They auto-responded saying they might take a few days to get back to me. 5 minutes later I received an email from a real person telling me the what the problem was, that they’d fixed it and apologising.

5 minutes! Very impressed.

I had no inclination to blog about Technorati in the past. So many other people do, I figure, why add to the noise. But service like that is something special. So, here I am. Talking up Technorati. Doing their marketing for them.

So, when you go to seminars and hear people abstractly talk about ‘engaging in your customers conversations’, ‘listening to the market’, ‘creating a one to one relationship with your customer’, being honest, and open and truthful. This is what it looks like. Here are concrete examples.

I’d be interested to hear other examples you’ve had of personal experiences with customer service 2.0. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Who’s been treating you nice lately?

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how do I love pixoh? Let me count the ways….

Pixoh

  1. I love pixoh because when I got my new laptop I lost my installation of Photoshop and I wanted something else that I could use… but cheaper
  2. I love pixoh because I was far from a power user of Photoshop anyway. 95% of the time I just used it to optimise images for the web. Guess what. This is just what pixoh does.
  3. I love pixoh because it’s free
  4. I love pixoh because it integrates with Flickr (lets me edit images that I’ve posted to Flickr, and lets me save images direct to my Flickr account).
  5. I love pixoh because it lets me edit photos from the web or from my computer.
  6. I love pixoh because it’s so simple. So easy. Simple concept, easy to use.
  7. I love pixoh because they’ve take this simple concept and executed it so beautifully.
  8. I love pixoh because they have a clever bookmarklet that reminds me that I love pixoh (yes, i suffer info overload!), and makes it even EASIER than their website to use.
  9. I love pixoh because they include an example that you can play with on their homepage.
  10. I love pixoh because it shows me image dimensions and coordinates on the fly.
  11. I love pixoh because they let you vote for what they’re going to develop and release next (how 2.0)

There’s only one thing I don’t like about pixoh at the moment…

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marc canter pushes some boundaries at wikipedia

Marc Cantor Wikipedia

look out! we should be in for some interesting discussion over this one!

Marc Canter, sick of having to keep sending out bio and photos left right and centre, has decided to use his Wikipedia entry to perform the task for him, and has updated it himself.

It didn’t take long before someone has jumped up and disputed the neutrality of the post.

This is a pretty important dispute, if you look at the Wikipedia policy. Here’s an overview:

NPOV (Neutral Point Of View) is a fundamental Wikipedia principle which states that all articles must be written from a neutral point of view, representing views fairly and without bias. This includes reader-facing templates, categories and portals. According to Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales, NPOV is “absolute and non-negotiable”.

Now, to me, the post that Marc has written seems to be heavy on the factual and light on the spin. Rather than using words like ‘most important’ (subjective) he uses ‘most recognised’ (fair enough, you’d be hard pressed to argue that one I think). He doesn’t really talk at all about the success or importance of any of the work he’s done. It really is just a list of the involvements he’s had with various activities and projects and organisations over the years. Being Marc, its a pretty long list. Fair enough, he’s been around a while.

The crux of the argument (and there’s only one post there at time of writing) is that Marc wrote it himself, so therefore its not neutral. The objector writes:

Marc has asserted in his own blog that he has re-written much (/all?) of the content of this page himself. I personally don’t feel that writing one’s own entry should be allowed, I also realise that is not Wikipeida [sic] policy. Never the less the content of this entry is both self-promoting and biased towards Mr Canter.

They request that the page be rolled back to show its previous content.

Now, I haven’t had the time to research the reams of Wikipedia policy to see whether it is explicitly stated that you’re not allowed to write your own page… I certainly agree that Wikipedia should aspire to a neutral point of view, as far as that is possible, but should that exclude the most qualified person from writing a post on their most personal topic: themselves?

I think not – so long as they do their best to maintain a neutral POV, which from my reading, Marc has had a good shot at doing.

Surely, the principle of the wiki format is that if anyone finds something that Marc has written to be overly biassed and self promoting, then they should edit the page to remove or neutralise this?

If Marc hadn’t made it clear that he was responsible for this post, would we even be having this discussion? How many pages would have been written by people who have undeclared interests? I’d have to assume this happens fairly frequently.

Having said all of that … I do wonder why Marc decided the best place to post this was on Wikipedia and not on his own website. If its really to eliminate having to send out bios and photos all the time then, personally, I’d be looking on his site for that information before I scouted Wikipedia. And its just as easy to send out either link. Perhaps this is more about attempting to control one’s identity in an environment when people can publish all kinds of inaccuracies that can be perpetuated indefinitely.

Will be interesting to watch the fallout.