Whom Do You Trust?

A couple of years ago, I was asked to to a presentation to an international e-commerce symposium at the Sobey School of Business on the importance of analysts’ opinions when selecting online vendors.  Then, yesterday, I was doing a little research about Direct Buy for my post on asking customers to pay to be customers.  There’s a connection.

During the preparation for my Sobey talk, I got sidetracked from the main topic of, “Can you trust Analysts to be fair and impartial” (answer: not any more), and ended up exploring just who could  be trusted in the world of online commerce.  On ebay, the vendors are rated by past customers, but that could be easily rigged.  There are social recommendation tools like Digg, Reddit and many others that rate content, but those also are often rigged by clever hackers.  By the end of the presentation, I had swung around to Bloggers (in aggregate) as the most reliable source of influence-free information.  Sure some bloggers have been bought, and blogs that rely on advertising revenue have certain agendas, and some companies have even created “fake” blogs that they pretend not to be involved with; but the vast majority of us 120,000,000 bloggers aren’t trying to do anything other than voice our opinions.

When I went to do research about Direct Buy, the first term I googled was Direct Buy Complaints.  That search took me to this http://www.infomercialscams.com/scams/direct_buy_scams, which oddly enough has 23 people mostly rabidly happy with their experience.  Some people caution that you should really think it through, and one complains of a rude person, but the overall tone is very positive.  I think it may be a case of Direct Buy creating their own “complaints,” but I can’t know for sure.

Then I googled “direct buy” “consumer reports”  and was not directed to the magazine (as I was expecting), but rather to a blog called The Consumerist.  She did, in turn, link to the magazine, but it was her context that exactly adressed my curiosity, and the fact that it was a person, as opposed to some quasi-official complaint log that didn’t seem to log any complaints.

So, I’ll conclude the same way I did my presentation in Halifax: take the expertise of an analyst, and the trust of a friend, combine them, and you get the blogging community.



Word Count

A thought occurred to me just now, that if I had actually stayed true to a single topic or theme in the 6 months I’ve been writing this blog, I could have written a book by now!  The definitive guide to marketing bars and other hospitality establishments.  Maybe it would even be used as a textbook or at least mandatory reading in hotel and hospitality management schools!  I would be the Warren Buffet of bar management!

Except, NOT.

I have about 140 posts so far, and an unscientific measurement puts them at an average of 250 words each, so that’s 35,000 words. Only enough for a novella, according to this authority.

Holy moley!  How to “real” authors do it?  I can’t imagine keeping my mind on one train of thought for 100,000 words (the average length of a novel).  Mad props to all of you out there who can write, because I love to read, but I could never write like you.


100th Post

Yesterday was the 100th post in this blog.  I had meant to comment on my hundredth post when I got to that point, but it slipped by without me noticing.  I’m taking that as a sign that this is not just a novelty or a flash in the pan for me, but actually something I do now: I’m a blogger.

Some stats: I’ve had 6,981 total views and 93 comments have been left.  I have cracked the top million at Technorati – I’m now the 963,870th ranked blog in the world.

I’ll Be Back on July 23…

I am travelling to meetings in NY next Monday and Tuesday, so I don’t know when or if I’ll have the quiet, contemplative time (usually during evening perambulations) to come up with blog topics, or the 15 minutes (usually at lunch time) to type them in.

In honour of the Big Apple, here’s a joke (and after the punchline, click the link and press the red button immediately!):

A newfie works hard his whole life with one dream in mind: to visit New York City some day.  One spring, he finally has enough money saved up, so he hops in his pickup and drives onto the ferry.  A couple of days later, he arrives in Manhattan.  He gazes around in awe and wonder, totally satisfied that it’s everything he dreamt it would be.  After a few hours, it’s getting to be evening, and the newf realizes he’s hungry.  He figures he might as well do dinner properly so he drives to the Tavern on the Green in Central Park.  As he enters the front door, the maître d’ stops him and says, “Pardonnez moi, monsieur, but a necktie is required to dine at Le Taverne.  We do not like zee riff-raff who would come in and cause zee problemes.”

No worries, says the newfie, and heads back out to his truck.  Unfortunately, he cannot find a regular tie, but he does come across some jumper cables in the back.  So he loops them around his collar, fashions a decent windsor knot, tucks the clamps inside his jacket, and walks back up to the front entrance.

He says to the maître d’, “How’s dis, buddy?”

The maître d’ cocks his head to the side, and looks the newf up and down for a few seconds and says, “Yes, I suppose you may come in…   but don’t go starting anything!”


OMG! My First Trackback!

Searls Banner

Cool!  I know that I’ve been bitten by the blogging bug when I get a physical rush of excitement when someone quotes me, and links to my blog, from their own.  I feel like a giddy teenager.  Doc Searls, one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto and an all-round respected pundit, posted this on the weekend!  Seriously, this feels awesome.  I’ve been writing this damn thing for 3 weeks now, and hardly anyone has acknowledged it – other than my very supportive wife, an old colleague and fellow blogger, and one old friend who is actually pictured in the Press Release post.  So, one plugs along, having kind of a blind faith that all the Web 2.0 magic will just happen as long as you diligently post everyday and stay (mostly) true to your theme.  And then, BAM!  Doc Searls!  He’s almost famous!  He’s got a Wikipedia entry!  He thought enough of my words to make them his Quote du jour!  I’m quoted on the freakin’ Harvard Law School domain!  Champagne and caviar tonight!  And, Mr. Searls, just watch your blog traffic soar once I add your URL to the blogroll on the right –>

Blogging Before It Was Called That

The 5 seconds worth of research I just did tells me that “blog” was coined in 1998.  I certainly didn’t hear the term until much later.  But I had already been active in blog-like on-line activities.  That was two careers ago, when I was VP Marketing for a software company called Maximizer (or sometimes Multiactive or Modatech – it’s a long story).  We made Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and that class of product was just hitting its stride: Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.com were just coming out and the industry was poised to explode.

SearchCRM Logo

So it behooved me to make myself and my company part of the discussion about CRM wherever that discussion was happening.  One such place was an online forum called SearchCRM that had just been formed.  It’s still there and still active.  I signed on to be one of the “Experts” for “Ask the CRM Experts.”

Traffic was fairly slow at first, but over the next two years I answered dozens of questions.  Some of them are still posted and can be seen here.  (I don’t know why they all aren’t there, or why these ones were chosen to survive.)

The point is that I enjoyed answering the questions, and I think that’s why I will enjoy blogging.  It’s the fun and creativity of writing and trying to communicate or persuade, but without the bothersome deadlines and content restrictions that go along with writing business stuff like, say, White Papers or ad copy. 

[UPDATE] – Yesterday the link to my posts on SearchCRM was broken.  Today it’s back, so I went and copied all my posts, which can be viewed after the jump.

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