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February 22, 2006

Getting someone's Attention

22 February 2006 Two lessons which all of us with websites learn at some time or another:

Jon Udell is a highly respected journalist who writes for InfoWorld. He has his own weblog (of course) where he writes about a variety of technical topics, invariably well written and worth reading. The other day, when I was looking for something he wrote recently, I entered some relevant terms into the search box at the top of his Weblog and received an unexpected result (A Verity page with no result for even the most common terms). Clearly something had gone wrong. The next day I tried again (we ignore occasional glitches, don't we?) but it still didn't work.

Because I care about this stuff, I looked for a way to contact him and found a convenient "email me" button on the site which resulted in a friendly form, inviting me to leave a comment for Jon which even offered to send me a copy of the comment as an email (a nice feature).

error message

Sadly, when I hit "Submit" I got this error. My attempt to be a "good guy" had clearly failed. At that stage I had the option of ignoring the issue (as probably many of his other readers have done), or to write about it here, in the hope that I can get Jon's Attention this way.

[Later: Jon did not disappoint, he found this blog entry within a couple of hours of posting it (see comments).]

[Much, much later: Jon's blog finally got rid of the Old Infoworld header with the "bad search box". I'm sure there is a story behind why it took a long time to correct that problem. With many organisations there is a yawning gap between realising there is a problem and getting "the IT department" to implement a fix. IT magazines are not immune to this phenomenon - Marius 21 July 2006]

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Posted by Marius at 07:10 AM | Comments (3)

February 21, 2006

Sensis - the push online

21 February 2006 Sensis has been pushed forward as Telstra's opportunity for agressive growth through the exploding "Paid Search" business. Consequently, it is getting the attention of analysts and commentators, like in this Crikey piece. Not surprisingly, some of us suspect that the "Emperor has no clothes". Sensis is at its core a paper directories business (White and Yellow Pages), which has bought more paper assets (the Trading Post) in the hope of turning all of them into a healthy online directories and classified business.

Worldwide, there is some doubt whether traditional publishers such as newspapers can stem the tide of their online equivalents like Google, eBay and Yahoo. In the end, customers will put their money where it works for them. So in the Sensis context, will people pay to advertise on Yellow Pages Online or Google, Trading Post or eBay? The pressure is on Sensis to evolve from a successful monopoly business (Yellow Pages) and to mix it with cashed up, aggressive, innovative competitors like Google and eBay. Watch this space...

Posted by Marius at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)