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Quick Takes: 11/29/05

  • Shel Holtz brings up a very real problem.  Not only do employers need to consider the risks/rewards of having current employees blogging but also ex-employees blogging.  That could make for some fun exit interview conversations.
  • Creating blog evangelists takes a lot of work, but is a fantastic way to build word-of-mouth for your company.
  • BusinessWeek is right, email is so five minutes ago.
  • The record companies haven’t noticed, and I don’t quite agree, but there’s a growing feeling out there that albums as a music delivery mechanism are dead.
  • On that same topic, Atrios has an interesting commentary on ownership of music, copyright protection and the public domain.

Google communication

It was a scant two weeks ago when Google launched Analytics, a service allowing web publishers to track their visitor traffic. Since then the service has received more critical coverage than just about any of Google’s free services (I’m purposely excluding Google Print since it’s not a service but an initiative). Bloggers like Shel Holtz and others took the service to task for slow performance and eventually you could no longer sign up for it. I was lucky enough to get in while it was running pretty well and sign up for my personal blog. For me the service has been alright – a little slow but it’s not my primary source of visitor information.

The reason I bring this up is that over the weekend I got an email from Google regarding Analytics. It basically explained that yes, they were aware of the service being slow and that the speed was caused by an unexpected and overwhelming response. They simply didn’t have the capacity to cover the demand. This is the first such email I’ve gotten from Google despite being a user of at least four of their online services (Gmail, Analytics, Talk and Reader).  As TypePad recently learned, the best public relations move is to be open and honest with users.  For a normally closed-mouth company like Google this had to be painful but it’s a great way to maintain loyal users by just sending a simple email with a heads-up message.  Good on them for biting the bullet and hitting “Send”.

Corporate use of RSS

In case you’re still new to the wonderful world of RSS (I seriously don’t know how I read the web without it) MarketingProfs has beginner’s course geared toward corporate usage of the technology.

The first step, and one that proved vital in my own education, was to approach RSS as an end-user.  If you try and just dive in to how to use it for business you’ll probably come at it from the wrong angle.  By using it first you can see how you like to receive, organize and ultimately read your RSS subscriptions.  That at least gives you a starting point when you try and integrate them into your corporate communications strategy.

After that you can figure out what you’re going to push to RSS, how you’re going to do so, how to publicize it and then measure the results.  As you go along and brainstorm on this – as well as getting feedback from users – you’ll discover all sorts of uses for the technology.

List mania

I love so many things about this new PR list, moderated and organized by Constantin Basturea.  Not only does it allow me to point people to one place when they ask me “where do I find a list of good PR blogs” but there’s also an OPML file to download of the entire list.  Fantastic work.  If you want to read some background on this, Constantin wrote about it on his blog.

TypePad gets PR right

I’m a bit late in talking about this, but TypePad really has done a great job of confronting the recent illwill generated by constant outages and slowness.  As Katherine Stone of Decent Marketing notes, the blogging company contacted its users about free extension to their contract and let the user decide how much was appropriate.  “Do you feel you deserve 15, 30,45 or no free days of service” was the gist of the response.  They probably got off pretty ease since most people who aren’t power users weren’t that affected and so opted for a lower payback.  Even those that might have been inconvenienced probably felt bad picking a higher amount and so went with 15 or 30 days.  Most of all, it played into the whole idea of empowering the user base and not making them accept a dictate from on high.  Well done.

So what!

AdAge is running a poll asking if employers should allow their workers to read blogs at work.  As Joseph Jaffe rightly says, “I’m astounded by the nerve of MSM to even ask the question.”

Does AdAge – do employers for that matter – even realize how much of that reading is relevant to the industry they operate in?  If anything I would think that employers should encourage their employees to read blogs as a way to expand their knowledge and toolset.  Granted, there’s going to be some times that people will slip in a search for the teaser trailer to Superman Returns.  That’s not that much different than the time spent around the fabled watercooler in the grand old days, though.  Instead of attaching a stigma of doing something “wrong” to blog reading let’s educate both employees and customers on how they can use them as a knowledge base.

If you’re going to ban blogs than you need to make it a uniform policy for all media.  If you can’t read a blog than the company should also confiscate copies of US Weekly, Time Magazine and the newspaper at the door to make sure there is no outside media being consumed during the work day.  That includes copies of Advertising Age.  All knowledge must come from corporately approved sources.  When they’re willing to take that step then they discuss banning blogs.

Off again

This time to Reno, NV to speak in front of the PRSA Sierra Nevada Chapter tomorrow.  I’m part of an all-day professional development conference.  I’m listed on the program as “How To Screw Up a Speaking Engagement” so I don’t know if I should be worried.  Anyway, more later as I fit it in.