It’s Mine, All Mine(d)!

  Miner Headlamp 
  Originally uploaded by Mickipedia.

A brilliant, go-read-it-now post from Michael O’Connor Clarke brings up some great points on how he feels the various walled-garden social networking systems (e.g. Facebook, Spock, LinkedIn, etc.) are overstepping their bounds.  Clarke states his case:

"Hardly a day goes by without a handful of invitations to new social
networking services landing in my inbox. The e-friend machine du jour
seems to be this Spock thing. I’m
getting 3-4 ‘requests for my trust’ per day. And if it’s not Spock,
it’s Trig, or ECademy, or MyRagan, or Quechup, or some other Ning-based

No offense to any eager YASNS developers out there,
and I really do appreciate the invitation, but frankly, I’m just
getting really tired of all these Web 2.oh communities that want to lay
claim to all of the content contributed by their users."

He then continues:

"Of course, the problem is not limited to Spock.  Facebook has pretty much the same rotten garbage in its ToS [Terms of Service], as does LinkedIn.

Here’s a use case: my Facebook profile
includes a sort of mini-aggregator. At some point, before I stopped to
think about these things, I plugged in a little FB app that reads my
RSS feed and republishes my blog posts inside the Facewall (to use Doc’s excellent phrase).

the Facewall, those blog posts live a carefree, pastoral existence –
roaming happily through the wilds of the Net, mostly unworried by
issues of ownership. Once inside Facebook, however, they become
potentially commercial objects – part of the giant content mill,
churning away in the never-ending quest to build a better advertiser

Outside the Facewall, they’re mine and freely distributed to the world at large, under simple CC licensing provisions.

Once inside, though – now who do they belong to?

me, I guess, but I’ve also unwittingly given the Facebookkeepers ‘an
irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid,
worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly
perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in
part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise,
on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare
derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User
Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.’"

(Seriously, go read the whole thing if you haven’t already.)

So, how does this all shake out?  Say, for example, an excerpt from The Economist (ok, fine, The Onion) gets posted on my blog.  Say, then, some app or Facebook Beacon or the like hoovers my content into the walled garden.  Does what may have been "fair use" outside (on my blog) get its rights transmogrified once it gets pulled into another system in this way?

Constant Comment

A great post from Amy Gahran on the do’s and don’ts of commenting on others’ blogs.  An excerpt:

"Strategic commenting is primarily about contributing value to conversations;
not blindly trying to co-opt conversations for your own benefit. If you
don’t really know how to comment constructively, then it’s best not to
try to use blog commenting to build your business.

Need an example? Here’s a bit of the bad, and the good…"

Read the rest here.

image credit: bullbunky

Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2007

Just received word that this little space on the web was selected as one of the “Top 20 CRM Blogs” of 2007.  Thank you to the editors at InsideCRM for the recognition but, more importantly, thanks to everyone who stops by to read my rantings.  Your emails and comments are what keep me coming back to write more.

Below are some details from InsideCRM on the Top 6 (the Top Five plus a shout-out to the important work that’s going on with ProjectVRM).  And one more shout out to the hosting services that help us do what we do, like HOSTISERVER click here to investigate.
Here are the links in order:

  1. PGreenblog   
    “Paul Greenberg literally wrote the book on CRM (CRM at the Speed of Light, which he’s currently revamping for its fourth edition), and his blog is heavy on posts about the potential of technology — especially Web 2.0 technology — to revolutionize the way companies relate to their customers.” (ed. – Disclosure: Together, Paul and I host the “Social Media and CRM 2.0” seminar series, and we are also both part of the initiative.)
  2. Beagle Research Group 
    “Dennis Pombriant’s blog is strong on insight into the CRM industry and has a solid technological background, but it never becomes so technical that the average salesperson couldn’t benefit from it.”
  3. Brent’s Blog 
    “Brent Leary is committed to working with small businesses to help them harness the power of CRM.”
  4. Philip Richardson 
    Microsoft Corp. Lead CRM Program Manager Philip Richardson certainly has his biases (as should all good bloggers), but he comes about them honestly. In addition to supplying a host of tricks for tweaking Dynamics and access
    to all manner of useful materials for anyone who works with or is considering the Microsoft solution, this erudite Australian also uses his CRM-motivated travel schedule to maintain a virtual guidebook to
    the upscale coffeehouses of the world.”
  5. The Social Customer Manifesto 
    “There’s plenty of smarts on display about the art of connecting with customers in the era of Web 2.0. Christopher Carfi thinks his way nimbly around emerging trends —
    lately, he’s been exploring VRM (vendor relationship management), a reciprocal concept to CRM that puts customers in charge of how business is done. This is a blog that you need to read if you want to know how
    you’ll be selling in 18 months.”
  6. Project VRM Blog 
    “Not only is Doc Searles a Linux whiz, he’s also drawn to the idea of VRM.  You’ll find posts about such topics as open-source CRM products that put the customer in charge of relationship management, how robust VRM could help avoid mistakes in the medical industry, and discussions of open-source technology and its politics. The blog is one outlet for the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, the purpose of which is to study and support the development of tools that provide customers with both independence from and engagement with vendors.”
  7. Etelos Blog 
  8. Enterprise Web 2.0 
  9. Customer Alignment Blog 
  10. The CRM Consultant 
  11. Jim Berkowitz’s E-Journal 
  12. Customer Insider   
  13. Aplicor Blog   
  14. The 1-To-1 Blog   
  15. First Coffee   
  16. Fred Chong’s WebBlog   
  17. Software as Services   
  18. IVR Blog   
  19. Wireless CRM Blog of John Carini   
  20. CRM Views   

Dopp-ler Effect

Sarah Dopp writes:

"There’s a yucky yucky trend going on in social media right now: Asking for Address Books. This is evil. Do you hear me? EVIL!



— step back. What am I talking about. I’m talking about when you go to
LinkedIn or Facebook or MySpace (or pretty much ANY of them now), and
the website smiles all cutesy at you and says, “Oh, hey, I’m really
glad you like our website. You know, there are probably people on here
that you’ve never thought to search for, and it’s a real shame that
they’re not in your network yet. But if you just give us the username
and password to your Gmail account, we can check all of your friends’
email addresses against our database and find all of them for you. It’s
quick, it’s easy, and your friends will thank you!

Sounds harmless enough, right?

Don’t give it to them!

don’t care how much you like them, or how safe they tell you they’ll
keep it for you, or how much convenience they’re offering you. Your address book is your address book and it does NOT belong in the hands of a social networking website."

Read the rest here.


"Advertising is a tax you pay for unremarkable thinking."
– Robert Stephens, founder of GeekSquad

That quote is friggin’ spot-on, and comes from this article in BusinessWeek.

Bonus item I learned from the article: a law banning all outdoor advertising in São Paulo came into effect in 2007

By the way, a quick open letter…

Dear BusinessWeek,

The slide show you included in the article above was really, really outstanding.  I would have happily embedded it here, but you didn’t offer a way to do that.  So, instead, I had to use a photo from Brittney Bush.


Social Marketing: How Companies Are Generating Value from Customer Input

WhartonI was interviewed for a just-published Knowledge@Wharton article entitled "Social Marketing: How Companies Are Generating Value from Customer Input," which provides a high-level look at some of the different ways that organizations have attempted to use social media to connect with customers over the past couple of years.  Particular companies/approaches covered in the article include:

  • Southwest Airlines
  • Dell (including Dell IdeaStorm)
  • Dove’s "Campaign for Real Beauty"
  • Captain Morgan (and the fake Captain Morgan character blog)
  • CareerBuilder’s "Monk-e-mail"
  • SprintNextel
  • Chevy Tahoe (and the Chevy Tahoe video campaign)

The article provides a nice survey of a number of well-known organizations and their social media-centered efforts to connect with customers, and wraps up with some sage advice from Paula Amunátegui Perelló, project manager for new media at General Motors Europe.  Says Perelló,  "It’s a slow process, not a revolution. We have to have a
discerning approach, and not just grab every new tool that comes our
way. But we recognize that social media is no longer a fad. It is a
larger evolution of society."


“Conversation” Is More Than A Buzzword

Nancy White points us to "Conversation As A Radical Act."

Key Link: Conversation As A Radical Act (watch the video) and Nancy’s post on the session.

Key Quote:  "Change comes not from grand plans or edicts, but from the repetition of millions of small acts carried out throughout the system, regardless of scale."


My take:  "Conversation" is just that…communication between actual human beings.  This process of real conversation happens millions of times, and is only successful when the interactions are real and genuine, transparent and truthful.  Conversation is the "root act" that creates transformation.

The takeaway is very simple:  If an issue or story is not worthy of conversation between actual individuals as they are going about their lives, it won’t ignite conversation.  If the issue doesn’t ignite conversations, it won’t effect local change.  If local change is not effected, then global change cannot be effected.

If you try to start a campfire with huge logs straight away, it is
impossible to do.  The fire doesn’t catch.  Even applying great
quantities of accelerants will only singe the surface; once the
accelerants are consumed, the logs you hoped to ignite sit cold and
impassive, singed on the outside, but fundamentally unchanged.

The most important thing:  there are no shortcuts.  One can bombard "the market" with "messages," one can try to shortcut the process…but IMHO those tactics don’t cause, can’t cause, long-term change.   It’s analogous to creating a roaring campfire.  How do you start a roaring campfire?  You start with kindling, then add some more, and over time the energy can be awe-inspiring. 

Expectant Virgin

When a vendor says that they provide "amazing customer service," what do you, as a customer, expect from them?  Neville Hobson writes:

"[I am] wondering what Virgin Media’s goals are in terms of customer service.

David may or may not be a typical Virgin Media tech support
supervisor. His approach and manner were disarmingly positive and
helpful. In fact, my experiences so far with his company’s phone
support indicate he’s definitely not typical.

And the engineer (whose name I didn’t get). A pleasant and
knowledgeable guy and the second Virgin Media engineer I’ve met. Both
professional and knowledgeable and able to sort out problems.

But how does Virgin Media really want to engage with their
customers? Do they even want to do that? Is insisting on speaking to a
supervisor all the time the only way you can get satisfaction?

According to their website, when you become a Virgin Media customer, this is what happens:

[…] we promise you’ll be getting the best technology, great value and amazing customer service.

I have no disagreement with the first two, but "amazing customer
service"? Definitely not if you ever have to phone Virgin Media tech
support at 25p per minute."

So, two questions to you, readers.

1)  When a vendor promises "amazing customer service," what is your expectation?
2)  How do you communicate those expectations to vendors today?