VistaPrint Complaints: 5 Viral Strategies to Challenge a Bully

3 Stooges pic

Courtesy of threestooges.com

VistaPrint’s No Customer Service: Consumeraffairs.com Documents Complaints” outlined my poor experience with VistaPrint and my decision to never use their products or services again. This article, as of May 8, 2009, is indexed in the #6 position page 1 of a Google search for the phrase “VistaPrint complaints.”

My Promise to VistaPrint:

As I promised in my intial article, I have become “a consumer affairs advocate fighting hard to highlight the no customer service” treatment I received. My plan was simple: write a blog post about what happened and tell all of my friends in my assorted social networks of my experience.

My Blog:

  1. Article: I wrote the article describing my experience
  2. Google Search: I performed a due diligence search on VistaPrint utilizing the keywords “VistaPrint complaints”
  3. Links: I provided a list of 5 respected media sites, consumer advocacy sites with information on a variety of complaints lodged against VistaPrint. WordPress provided me my own category

Activerain.com:

Activerain is an important social network, with 145,000 registered users, where I have many real estate friends. I wrote a second article detailing my experience and that article now sits on page 2 of a Google search for “VistaPrint complaints” “VistaPrint: How Not to Run Your Company a Cautionary Tale

Twitter.com:

This is one of my favorite social networks with an estimated 8-9 million registered users. I have over 1,300 followers on Twitter and counting

  1. Tweet: I tweeted my experience with a link to my deansguide article
  2. @VistaPrint: In my tweet I used the @VistaPrint to notify them of my article

Linkedin.com:

Because I utilize the Typepad application on my Linkedin profile, my social network content from Twitter ends up streamed to my Linkedin profile. In addition my WordPress.com application streamed my article on VistaPrint making it accessible to my 398 1st level connections and their networks as well

Friendfeed.com

Friendfeed.com aggregates all of your content that you place online. Recently it has become the hot new mover with many Twitter advocates moving to ramp up their networks on Friendfeed. My article, my tweets, and my conversations about my VistaPrint experience has streamed on my Friendfeed account

National Association of Realtors’ Twitter Strategy

The National Association of Realtors is one of the most, if not the most, powerful associations in the real estate industry.The people at NAR are often helpful, very pleasant, and professional in their approach. They take their jobs seriously; and that is why I am puzzled.

The NAR’s mission is to support Realtors, educate the masses, and provide a touch point for an industry that is quickly changing. The biggest change is the utilization of social media tools and blogs, by Realtors and brokerages, for branding, marketing, and lead generation. One of the most prominent of these new tools is the microblogging phenomenon called Twitter.com.

“The Voice for Real Estate”

If the NAR is setting the tone by being “The Voice for Real Estate” and leading by example then what is their Twitter strategy? My point is why don’t the people running the NAR twitter account give a voice to Realtors on Twitter?

Follow Strategy for Twitter

Many major brands or entrepreneurs that utilize Twitter want to initiate conversations with their targeted audience. The strategy most often used supports an open follow process on Twitter. Simply put if you follow Guy Kawasaki he follows you back-each and everyone of you.

The question I would like the NAR to answer: Why don’t you follow any of your constituents who follow you? If the NAR is the “Voice of Real Estate” why not give voice to Realtors, brokers, and affiliate service providers in the industry by following each one of these people back? As of this date, February 15, 2009 the NAR strategy:

Fact: 539 Realtors, brokers, industry affiliates follow NAR on Twitter
Fact: NAR follows “0” as in zero as in none as in nobody

The following is a snapshot of the NAR Twitter page:

nar-twitter-account2

Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Twitter Guide to Applications

Twitter is one of the most important social media tools for entrepreneurs, job seekers, small businesses, and large companies. The multiple roles this tool plays in my business for Inner Architect are as research resource, broadcast mechanism, customer service pathway, and most importantly direct pipeline to new trends.

In addition to all this functionality and value, Twitter has a huge legion of fans dedicated to creating open source (free) applications to be used along with Twitter. The following list is a fantastic resource provided by blendingthemix.com. Thank you goes to my new friend, and essential read, Paul the creator of Blending the Mix–I owe you!

The Top 100 List

Ok, so the title is a little sensationalist, but I had to get you here somehow so you could see the most bookmarked web-based Twitter applications of the moment!! Note that these has been put together on the basis of the number of saved bookmarks on delicious and clearly not THE definitive list based on registered users or traffic.

  1. twittervision (4282 overall)
  2. twitterfeed (3867 overall)
  3. twhirl (3319 overall)
  4. tweetscan (2655 overall)
  5. twistori (2631 overall)
  6. twitter-search (2500 overall)
  7. tweetdeck (2439 overall)
  8. twitpic (2244 overall)
  9. hellotxt (1979 overall)
  10. twitterrific (1729 overall)
  11. twitterholic (1612 overall)
  12. tweetstats (1549 overall)
  13. twellow (1527 overall)
  14. twitturly (1460 overall)
  15. twitter-grader (1431 overall)
  16. twitscoop (1410 overall)
  17. quotably (1334 overall)
  18. twitterlocal (1319 overall)
  19. monitter (1285 overall)
  20. twubble (1264 overall)
  21. twittearth (1191 overall)
  22. grouptweet (1180 overall)
  23. hashtags (1124 overall)
  24. tweetburner (1113 overall)
  25. twitbin (1093 overall)
  26. twittercounter (1081 overall)
  27. tweetlater (994 overall)
  28. terraminds-twitter-search (966 overall)
  29. tweetvolume (944 overall)
  30. qwitter (935 overall)
  31. friendorfollow (929 overall)
  32. twitthis (902 overall)
  33. twist (883 overall)
  34. twitter-karma (854 overall)
  35. xpenser (822 overall)
  36. twittermail (813 overall)
  37. twemes (803 overall)
  38. tweetbeep (803 overall)
  39. twitdir (770 overall)
  40. twitxr (767 overall)
  41. twitterfox (760 overall)
  42. hahlo (688 overall)
  43. twinfluence (654 overall)
  44. tweetmeme (652 overall)
  45. tweetwheel (647 overall)
  46. twuffer (636 overall)
  47. botanicalls-twitter-diy (631 overall)
  48. twittersnooze (629 overall)
  49. twtpoll (614 overall)
  50. mrtweet (609 overall)
  51. twittercal (605 overall)
  52. remember-the-milk-for-twitter (594 overall)
  53. snitter (593 overall)
  54. twitterpatterns (585 overall)
  55. strawpollnow (575 overall)
  56. twitterfone (547 overall)
  57. whoshouldifollow (539 overall)
  58. twitbacks (539 overall)
  59. tweetr (526 overall)
  60. twitdom (525 overall)
  61. tweetree (522 overall)
  62. favrd (520 overall)
  63. election.twitter (506 overall)
  64. peoplebrowsr (501 overall)
  65. tweetclouds (498 overall)
  66. pockettweets (498 overall)
  67. cursebird (488 overall)
  68. twistory (480 overall)
  69. twitterverse (470 overall)
  70. tweetgrid (470 overall)
  71. twittermap (466 overall)
  72. tweetag (458 overall)
  73. twilert (457 overall)
  74. twitterposter (456 overall)
  75. loudtwitter (443 overall)
  76. twitterfriends (439 overall)
  77. spaz (431 overall)
  78. be-a-magpie (421 overall)
  79. tweetake (420 overall)
  80. twitter-friends-network-browser (419 overall)
  81. matt (414 overall)
  82. twitter100 (411 overall)
  83. colorwar2008 (411 overall)
  84. twitteroo (408 overall)
  85. tweetrush (389 overall)
  86. fuelfrog (385 overall)
  87. twitter-blocks (383 overall)
  88. tweeterboard (375 overall)
  89. spy (373 overall)
  90. twerpscan (372 overall)
  91. splitweet (371 overall)
  92. twittergram (364 overall)
  93. twittgroups (362 overall)
  94. brightkit (361 overall)
  95. twitlinks (359 overall)
  96. twitternotes (358 overall)
  97. tweetwasters (354 overall)
  98. foodfeed (352 overall)
  99. twitterblacklist (348 overall)
  100. twitku (347 overall)

Thanks to MOMB for doing all the hard work.

Golden Gate Computer Society Presents Tony Stubblebine of Crowdvine

The Golden Gate Computer Society is a fantastic group designed to help educate people, provide networking opportunities, and create a forum for new ideas and trends in the computer industry. Keeping with it’s long standing practice of presenting important speakers and information, tonight’s event, at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in San Rafael, showcases Tony Stubblebine of Crowdvine. Watch the video to learn more about Tony and his innovative company:

San Jose Mercury News Soliciting Twitter Users For Obama Inauguration Coverage

Courtesy San Jose Mercury News

In another example of mainstream media adopting a Web 2.0 social media tool for instant breaking news coverage, the San Jose Mercury news announced today that they are looking to partner with Twitterers who are attending the historic Obama inauguration ceremony. Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media sites; Twitter allows users to “broadcast” mini press release 140 character messages. It is a vital breaking news tool for both the mass media and the growing blogosphere. Thank you to Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter, for the tip that led to this article.

The Offer

The San Jose Mercury news offer is exposure for any Twitterer attending the inauguration:

1. Exposure Offer #1: According to the paper “You could have your tweets (messages) seen by thousands of Mercurynews.com readers.”

Tip: The “Merc” is asking for a short itinary of your plans for inauguration day. If I were attending, I send in my itinary and make sure it was compelling, interesting, and provided the most exposure for the newspaper.

2. Exposure Offer #2: If you are chosen to “work with” them your Tweets “could be published in the paper.”

Tip: The San Jose Mercury news is the driving force for business news, at the newspaper level, in Silicon Valley. In order for you to have your tweets chosen for publication, I would suggest this approach. Consider the most interesting factors at the inauguration and tweet about them. Identify the historical surroundings, describe the energy, compare it to MLK’s famous speech, be observant of any “celebrities” in the crowd, and provide any breaking news if you can catch it.

How to Qualify

1. Send your Twitter ID.

2. Write a “brief description inauguration day plans” to phockaday@mercurynews.com.

3. According to the Merc “We will take a look at your Twitter feed and determine if you qualify for our inauguration day coverage.

McKinsey Global Survey: Web 2.0 “Spurring Change” in Corporate Management and Organization

Web 2.0 tools are “spurring change” with corporate management and organization according to respected consulting giant McKinsey’s “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise: McKinsey Global Survey Results.” The results of this report point to interesting trends that every corporation must analyze moving forward starting today. According to McKinsey “as Web 2.0 gains traction, it could transform the way companies organize and manage themselves, leading to what some have dubbed Enterprise 2.0.”

4 Reasons for Corporations to Consider Web 2.0 Tools:

1.  Interaction: 26% have reported Web 2.0 tools have “changed interactions with customers and suppliers”

2. Roles and Functions: 33% reported that new Web 2.0 technologies have “created new roles or functions inside their organizations”

3. Corporate Structure: 33% feel that Web 2.0 tools “are changing their corporate structure”

4.  Hiring and Talent Retention: 27% report Web 2.0 tools have changed the method that their company hires and retains employees.”

See Exhibit 6 “Spurring change”  for matrix

Tag Cloud Blog Experiment: Netflix Case Study

http://www.bigberries.com/category/digital/page/3/

Courtesy bigberries.com

How do bloggers measure their writing, article effectiveness, viral marketing power, and popularity with readers? Comments from readers and blog traffic can only provide a margin of insight into your effectiveness. Clive Thompson’s great New York Times article “If You Liked This, Your Sure to Love That” describes an interesting contest hosted by online movie rental company Netflix.

Netflix Offer

Netflix is offering anyone the opportunity to win a $1,000,000 prize. The challenge is to increase Netflix’s Cinematch it’s recommendation search engine. The engine suggests movie titles to consumers based on what they have chosen in the past. Netflix will pay out the cash prize to anyone who can increase their search accuracy by 10%. The leaders in this contest and their progress.

Netflix Problem

Statistical analysis and algorithms do not account for a genre of movies that have been described as quirky or unpredictable. The effect is called the “Napoleon Dynamite Problem” because it is said that this type of movie is either loved or hated by it’s viewers. Very little middle ground exists or gray area of preference.

Blogger’s Measurement Experiment: Posit for Answers

According to the article, Netflix is considering the following experiment:

“. . . hiring cinephiles to watch all 100,000 movies in the Netflix library and write up, by hand, pages of adjectives describing each movie, a cloud of tags that would offer a subjective view of what makes films similar or dissimilar. It might imbue Cinematch with more unpredictable, humanlike intelligence.”

Posit: How We May Learn

1. Bloggers set up a tag cloud for each individual blog article rather than for an entire blog’s library

2. If that can be done, the next step would be to ask readers to provide 3-5 adjectives that describe the blog article they just read.

3. Tag Cloud information would give bloggers an idea how readers perceived the value of their article and provide the following benefits:

3 Measurements Benefiting Bloggers

1. If a blog reader likes one article what other articles in your blog library would they enjoy?

2. Internal blog linking and construct could be improved if the blogger understood synergy between their articles

3. Don’t just rely on Categories as predictors for synergy between articles

Final Analysis and Acknowledgements

Netflix realizes that their best method to answers is to measure a social network: “It might imbue Cinematch with more unpredictable, humanlike intelligence.”

VijayKrishna

Thanks go to Vijay Krishna who alerted me to this information on Twitter.com: a fantastic social media site that provides 80% of my research data. You can find solid information by following Vijay on Twitter . Thanks also go to New York Times writer Clive Thompson for his insightful and wonderful piece on this challenge. Thank you Clive!

WordPress App For Linkedin: Blogging Legitimized As Powerful Tool To Employment

The partnership between WordPress and Linkedin on a WordPress Application for Linkedin signals another turning point for the adoption of blogging in America. Linkedin is the #1 business networking site in the world right now with 28 million registered users and counting. The fact that Linkedin now supports a WordPress application places WordPress, and blogging, at the forefront in the public eye.

WordPress-Linkedin App

This tool allows you “to sync your WordPress.com blog posts with your LinkedIn profile, keeping everyone you know in the know.” Your blog articles have a place in your public profile and provide you a delivery system for your value.

The Benefits

1. Deliver your value directly to 28+million Linkedin.com Membership

2. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise directly to consumers, investors, and competitors

3. Create your writing platform and branding campaign that supports your business

4. Differentiate yourself from Realtors competing for the same limited customer base

Blogging Realtor’s New Content Tip: Blog Article “Mashup” Provides Variety and Measurement

The mashup content post is a concept that combines 3 subjects, in tip or list format, in one blog article. Today’s first edition will provide 3 tips on 3 different subject categories: Anchor Text, Social Media Construct, and Focus and your plan.

Mashup Article Benefits:

1. Variety for the writer and reader

2. Measure your reader’s enthusiasm for each subject with traffic analytics

3. Valuable information in multiple areas

Tip #1 Anchor Text:

Anchor text is according to Wikipedia “is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.” According to Marilyn at Seoshootout.com you will “Improve your SEO and build relevant anchor text by using an important keyword as the hyperlink – preferably linking it to another, relevant page on your site or linked to an external site that is relevant.”

Ex: SEO Shootout is the premeire SEO blog in the blogosphere

Tip #2 Social Media Construct: Chris Brogan-Darren Rowse featured by James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com

Here is a great description of the construct for Soc Media sites

a.) Blog is Home where all sites should point and all readers funneled

b.) Outposts (Darren Rowse) “are third party sites where he creates “Relationships, ideas, traffic, resources, partnerships, community and much more emerge from the outposts” Darren’s idea is a powerful method to multiple points of exposure for the blogger

c.) Frontiers (Kyle Lacy) feels these are “a website or service you have a presence on but rarely go.”

Tip #3 Focus

According to James Helms the best method to stave off burnout and feelings of overwhelming angst over the massive crush of available social media sites and tools is to consider the following:

“When it comes to social media don’t focus on the tools before the goals within your strategy. Said another way, first focus on your campaign and then leverage available tools that help you meet your goals.”

Great advice and very important to remember–your efforts to leverage tools is useless if you don’t stay connected to your planned campaign

Courtesy of James Helm’s todaysbesttools.com and inspired by Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Kyle Lacy and James Helms

Realtor’s Hyper Local Investigation Tool: Local Perspective Through Experience

Placeblogger.com is a fantastic local and hyper local site that lists local blogs for the express purpose of creating news and information about places that may be ignored by the local media due to their tiny size or stature. To further understand the site, you must consider their definition of a placeblog:

Placeblogs: are sometimes called “hyperlocal sites” because some of them focus on news events and items that cover a particular neighborhood in great detail — and in particular, places that might be too physically small or sparsely populated to attract much traditional media coverage. Because of this, many people have associated them with the term “citizen journalism,” or journalism done by non-journalists.”

Placeblogger’s Differentiating Factor

Without a doubt this site takes on a hyper hyper local flavor and one that is built on the experiences of people who have lived in the places they write posts for and about:

According to placeblogger: “They’re about the lived experience of a place. That experience may be news, or it may simply be about that part of our lives that isn’t news but creates the texture of our daily lives. . . “

Find a Location: This is a search engine for placeblogs

Add Places: This is a method to add your blog to the directory and gain more exposure

Founder-Editor and Advisors: A solid list of bright people in which to entrust your research with confidence

Placeblogger’s Value

This site is supported and produced by the Center for Citizen Media a grassroots organization that promotes and sustains citizen journalism at every level possible. This is the type of organization that provides the help and guidance for bloggers to continue to propagate hyper local messages, prosper as self contained journalistic entities, and create community amongst the masses.

Principles of Citizen Journalists

1. Principles of Citizen Journalism

2. Accuracy

3. Throughness

4. Fairness

5. Transparency

6. Independence

7. Resources