bitchin’ blog (beta isn’t a marketing phase)

Beta

Recently I’ve been bothered by the fact that, in general, bloggers are either too lazy or too nice.

You (person with startup/new service) email a bunch of bloggers and give them ‘special access’ to information about your project, or a beta invitation. Said blogger then either feels obliged to give you a plug (more often than not just your products name, your cute 2.0 logo and the briefest of brief descriptions with an instructions for you to either check it out or wait to find out more.

Having been the recipient of a few of these previews and invitations lately, and even just checking out new services I pick up from other people’s blogs … I find myself in a bit of a quandry.

Does Mum’s Principle apply here? (If you’ve got nothing to say, say nothing at all).

I wouldn’t have thought so, but then… that being the case, why are so many others being so damn nice?!

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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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Links for 10 March 2006

I think Delicious must have been down last night when my links post was scheduled, so here’s a manual update. There are three main categories today: Front End Development, Microsoft Windows Live and Sydney Restaurants.

Front End Development – as per my earlier post and inspired by 37 Signals Getting Real methodology, I’m looking to skill up in front end development so that I can ditch Visio and output nice HTML templates. Here’s a few links that were recommended to me:

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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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