Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dell's new hell: Listening to bloggers

Dell caught hell from Jeff Jarvis and other bloggers for not listening to them. Now Dell has started a blog, and they are still catching hell from Jeff Jarvis and other bloggers, this time apparently because they DID listen to them.

What's an 800-pound corporate gorilla to do?

When you look at Dell's blog, you'll quickly notice that it looks like a blog from a company that just started blogging. Great guess, because that's exactly what it is. It looks clunky, the posts are infrequent, and there seems to be a bit of a lack of focus. It has little personality.

But again, this is what happens when companies enter a completely new space for them, they look a bit lost at first. Why did we expect Dell's initial foray into blogging to be any different?

We shouldn't have, but again, plenty of bloggers are slamming Dell mightily for taking the exact step that these same bloggers slammed them for NOT taking, up till now. Virginia (who is a former Dell employee) had a great take on how you just can't please some bloggers:
Jeff Jarvis’s post seems particularly snarky, but you know he must have been thrilled to have any reason to reference his troubles with Dell from last summer that he leveraged not to help other customers, but to intensify his own fame. Steve Rubel comments that maybe Dell should have stayed silent. Is that the message we want to send to corporations interested in engaging in conversation with their customers? If you aren’t going to be perfect at launch, don’t try? That’s certainly not the message I want them to hear. I would be willing to wager that Jarvis and Rubel improved iteratively and Dell will too.

As Virginia also pointed out, Dell has gone in a few months time from having a policy of not responding to bloggers, to having a blog and LINKING to people like Jarvis and Rubel, that are slamming them. That's progress, any way you look at it.

I'm all for slamming companies that deserve it, as my recent tirades against Coke and Paramount prove. But this is a case where a company is making a move that bloggers have pushed for since at least last year. And as soon as they make that move, we slam them out of the gate for not being perfect in their execution? So Jarvis has learned nothing about blogging since he started? Neither has Rubel or Ochman? All hit the ground running with perfect knowledge, because they 'studied' the blogosphere first? Please. All these bloggers had their growning pains, and Dell will have their's as well.

Now if they don't LEARN from those growing pains, THEN they'll deserve some criticism. But let's first give them a chance to earn that opportunity.


Anonymous said...

Amen brother

Anonymous said...

Well done! You get the "voice of reason" award. No door prize comes with this award (but plenty of virtual applause does).

Mack Collier said...

Thanks guys, approval from The Viral Community is the best prize of all ;)

J.D. said...

Some bloggers out there really need to parse their thoughts before putting them to screen. And I ain't talkin' bout you, Mack.

Anonymous said...

Great and reasonable voice in that whole egotrippin' Dell debate. Good to see there are some people who understand and share community values. Many talk about openess and letting control go. Sometimes it seems to me that some bloggers are like huge corporations - both are afraid to let the power and control go.