Clue Unit #9: Kathy Sierra and Cyberbullying – March 30, 2007

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Episode 9, about 30 minutes.

Today’s Topics

  • Kathy Sierra and Cyberbullying

With Jake McKee, Lee LeFever and Christopher Carfi.

Links for Podcast #9: Kathy Sierra, Cyberbullying, Anonymity

Kathy Sierra – Creating Passionate Users
Kathy’s Post on Death Threats
F*cked Company
Chris Locke, Rageboy
Cluetrain Manifesto
Quote on Meankids from co-founder Frank Paynter
The WellYou Own Your Own Words
43 ThingsCity Hall and Neighborhood Watch
Tor anonymity online
Open ID
Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 Presentation
Hope is Emo
Doc Searls’ Post on Kathy Sierra’s Death Threats
Lisa Stone on Kathy Sierra Death Threats (Post from 2006 What do you do when you are cyberstalked, taunted or abused online)

Business Blogging Quickstart: Anatomy of a Blog

Tuesday morning kicks off the 2007 Social Media & CRM 2.0 Certification Seminar Series here in San Francisco. With over two dozen executives scheduled to attend from organizations such as, NetSuite, SAP, Fleishman-Hillard, Rearden Commerce and many others, we’re looking forward to a great couple of days.

While we wish everyone could attend in person, we know that logistics sometimes conspire otherwise. As such, we’re making a portion of one of the cornerstone modules, Business Blogging Quickstart: Anatomy of a Blog available here. From the description:

“What are the pieces that make up a typical business blog? This example-rich presentation demystifies the components of typical business blogs, including explanations of concepts such as trackbacks, permalinks and RSS.”

Click here to view the slide show.

(And, if you’re not able to make the San Francisco session this week, we do have other opportunities coming up in other cities.)


Doc writes:

“CRM — Customer Relationship Management — is a highly developed set of disciplines: market research, call center tracking, marketing campaign tracking and reporting, contact tracking and so on. Here’s a white paper ( featured at CRM Today ( that makes a “business case” for CRM by promising to “increase the response rates to our marketing campaigns by delivering a tailored message to customers and prospects” and to “segment customers and prospects in line with our marketing strategy”.

This kind of jive is what you get when it’s easier for companies to talk to themselves than to their customers. And when it’s easier to talk to populations than to individuals. When a recording says “Your call is important to us” or “Your call may be recorded for quality control purposes”, it’s not talking to you as a person. It’s saying, “Calls like yours may be recorded…”

CRM is lame because it is in complete control of its “relationships” with customers. Customers contribute as little as possible to the system other than money, patience and feedback on forms. Complete control is what causes CRM systems to become silos. Those silos become echo chambers for the voices of those in control, and of the inmates who stay and make agreeable noises.”

He continues:

“VRM — Vendor Relationship Management — obsoletes silos and saves CRM by giving it something to relate to. VRM provides customers with tools of both independence and engagement. It gives customers ways of notifying sellers of readiness to buy. It also gives customers safe ways to share useful information without taxing the energies of the vendor or insulting the intelligence of the customer. In all these ways VRM is the reciprocal of CRM, and a powerful way to make CRM useful and to stop being lame.

VRM changes the world by making markets truly free rather than “your choice of silo”. It appeals to customers by providing them with useful, safe and productive ways of relating with vendors. And it appeals to vendors by relieving them of the need to waste money and time on trapping customers and still guessing at what they might want.

The problem is, VRM doesn’t exist yet. We need to make it exist.”

If you are interested in helping to make VRM exist, check out the ProjectVRM wiki and get involved.

Clue Unit #8: Notes for Podcast #8: Starting Small, Customer Service, Social Work – March 23, 2007

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Episode 8, about 30 minutes.


Today’s Topics

  • Starting Small
  • Customer Service
  • Social Work

With Jake McKee, Lee LeFever and Christopher Carfi.

Notes for Podcast #8: Starting Small, Customer Service, Social Work

Blogher Business
CRM 2.0 and Social Media
Samsung Blackjack
Community 2.0
Common Craft: Lessons in Starting Small
Ryan Turner – 3 Ways to Go Small and Win Big
Waterfall model of software development
Extreme Programming
Community Guy: Disposable Camera Model for Community Growth
Basecamp Project Management
Consortium for Service Innovation
Experts Exchange
Danah Boyd
Guardian Angels Online – Cyber Angels

Liveblogging Blogher Business: How to Build Your Audience

Liveblogging Blogher Business: How to Build Your Audience


Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes and Learning Movable Type

Three things to think about, with respect to building traffic:

  • Community
  • Syndication (RSS)
  • Search Engine Optimization

Community is the best leverage point you have. Engaging with an audience will do more to build traffic, and build audience, than anything else. The more you engage your community, the more they’ll link to you, and the more traffic you’ll get.

“It isn’t about you. It’s about engaging a community.”

Blogging vs. a newsletter: It’s the difference between “broadcasting a message” and “engaging a peer group.”

Tactics to build traffic:

  • Link out to other bloggers
  • Leave comments on their sites
  • Plan and participate in blog events
  • Contribute to the community

If someone comments on Elise’s blog, not only will she respond in the comments, but she will also go out to that blogger’s site, find something interesting, and place a comment on ::their:: site.

In no uncertain terms: Link to other sites that are relevant to your readers – and perhaps even your competitors.

Question: But that drives traffic to your competitors!
Elise: There are probably 2,000 other food blogs. All I care about is the value of the content that I put on the page. If a link to one of my competitors another food blog enhances my reader’s experience, I do it. I am helping out my audience. (UPDATE: Please see Elise’s follow-up in the comments below.)

(NOTE: Linking also helps with SEO (search engine optimization) — if someone searches on Google for that competitor’s name, they are more likely to find your site instead! -ed.)

On RSS: Elise has over 200,000 (yes “two hundred thousand”) subscribers to the Simply Recipes RSS feed. Of the 200K readers she has, 180K are through Personalized Google. One of the things she did early on was to make it easy for someone to add her subscription to Personalized Google or MyYahoo.

Full or partial feeds? Elise puts full photo and head notes in the feed, but does NOT put her recipes in the full feed. “If you do choose to do a partial feed, you need to put enough into that feed to keep them interested. You will lose subscribers if you do partial feeds that are insubstantial.”

Also talked about search engine optimization, hosted by Vanessa Fox, from Google. Interesting insight: “Search is actually reverse advertising; the searcher is broadcasting what he or she is looking for” (ed. kinda sounds like VRM, doesn’t it?).

Having a blog will drive more traffic to your site. How to make it work better?

  • Discoverability — search engines have to know the site exists
    • Following links from other pages
    • Through a Sitemap submission

  • Crawlabilty – search engines have to be able to access the pages
    • Are they allowed to access the pages
    • Can they technically access the pages?
    • Can they extract text from the pages?

  • Relevance – Is a page from the site the most useful result for the search query
    • What is the page about?
    • What words are used on the page?
    • How well is the page linked and how is it described by other sites?

Text is good.

Flash…not so good.

Images…not so good.

Use the “TITLE” tag — it’s extremely important.

If the site uses a lot of javascript or AJAX, Google won’t be able to access it.

Always use ALT tags in images. And don’t use things like “LOGO” as the alt tag; instead use the name of the company.

Tools for keyword research

Both inbound AND outbound links are important.

Avoid link exchange / link farm programs. Those programs will get your banned from the index.

SEO Case study:

  • gets 21% of the traffic for “shoes.”
  • Nike gets 1% of the traffic for “shoes.”

Why? Nike’s site is beautiful – and a big chunk of Flash and images. Google can’t index it. The only thing that Google knows about Nike is the anchor text from other sites that link to it.

Liveblogging Blogher Business: Wells Fargo Blogging Case Study

Liveblogging Blogher Business: Wells Fargo Blogging Case Study


Staci Schiller, Wells Fargo

Interviewed by Maria Niles

Wells Fargo – 2005 Stagecoach Island in Second Life was the first step, a way to talk to customers. Now hosted with ActiveWorlds.

First Wells Fargo blog was a commemoration of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Thought blog would go through anniversary of the earthquake, and then blog evolved into a disaster preparedness and advice site. From there, Wells was hooked … “we had a great way to talk to our customers.”

Also now have a blog called “The Student LoanDown.” How to plan for college, and manage debt. Research showed Wells that no other large financial institutions were blogging. Looking at doing the student loan down as an education site. Was a great opportunity to talk to the customers in a new and different way, and connecting with the 16-24 demographic in particular.

Regarding regulation and the highly regulated industry of banking…not only is banking regulated, so is student lending. Communicating via the medium took a lot of convincing with both compliance and legal. Compliance reviews EVERY post that gets put up. (Tip: In regulated industries, build in a couple of extra days for review.) Comments are allowed; although they are moderated, comments do not need to go through compliance.

The initial earthquake blog continues to evolve. Wells wants to be talking about things that the customers are interested in. On the Student LoanDown blog, there’s huge traffic in January, since that’s when the FAFSA can be completed.

The big thing is the ::humanizing:: aspect of the blog. Staci is viewed as a real person, even though she’s part of a big company.

Reminder: 2007 Social Media & CRM 2.0 Certification Seminar Tour Starts Next Week

Reminder: Only one week until the beginning of the 2007 Social Media & CRM 2.0 Professional Certification Seminar tour. We start here in the Bay Area next week, and then will be heading East in April and May. Looking forward to meeting folks on the road!

What: 2007 Social Media & CRM 2.0 Professional Certification Seminar
Where: San Francisco, CA
When: March 27-28, 2007
Learn more:

On March 27th and March 28th, I’ll be co-hosting a two-day professional seminar, “Social Media & CRM 2.0” along with Paul Greenberg (Author, “CRM at the Speed of Light” and principal at BPT Partners). This event will be held at the offices of our friends Fleishman-Hillard here in San Francisco. (Thanks, Fleishman!)

The 2007 Social Media & CRM 2.0 Professional Certification Seminar is endorsed by Rutgers University Center for CRM Research,, the National CRM Association, Greater China CRM and CRMA Japan.

Topics include:

Why the new social media: Communications and the era of the social customer — Traditional means of doing this through messaging marketing campaigns are no longer adequate. The new social media, blogging, user communities, podcasting and social networking are increasingly become tools of choice for businesses. Learn the why’s, where’s, and what’s in the segment on the strategic framework.

The Business Blog Field Guide — Every publication from Business Week, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal to online white papers warn businesses the blogging is not an optional endeavour. Those that don’t will not survive, so we are going to give you what you need to not just survive the on rush but prosper. This module will explain how to produce a blog, what the benefits are, and what conditions you need to make it a success.

Components of Blogging — You have the framework with the first 2 modules, now we’re going to get down. You’ve created the environment, time for you to get what you need to know to actually write the business blog in a consistent and timely way.

Customer Communities and Social Network Analysis — In this session, you will learn about the value of social networks, customer communities and the tools and practices to facilitate their creation and maintenance. If you do it right, your customers will be the advocates you desire and the business lifeblood you need for sustaining the kind of growth you’ve dreamed about – in collaboration with those customers you know to be important to your present and future.

The Theory and Practice of Podcasting — This module will not only explain what a podcast is, why it’s important to you as a business person, but how to actually produce a podcast. It will also bust some of the myths of podcasting that have already grown up around its young, explosive life. There is no form of social media that promises to meet the needs of the new generations of customers as well as this one – especially for those on the move. Imagine, having a good time creating something that can benefit your business – anytime, anywhere, any way you like? This module will give you the tools to do that.

Defining Your High Value Opportunities Using Social Media — Now, we get down and well, sorta dirty. How does this directly apply to your business? What industry you’re in, who your target markets are, will make a genuine difference in the approaches and applications of the social media tools. If you’re a B2B business v. a B2C business, there will be differences in approach. If you want to use the tools for co-creation of value with your customers or for feedback retrieval and customer conversations it will make a difference. The final module will examine what those specific applications can be for specific business situations and models.

Learn more:

Haystack Networking Now Supports OpenID

HaystackopenidBig news today: As of this morning Haystack Networking now supports OpenID! We are entering an age where the users and customers (that’s us) are increasingly in control of our own information, at least when interacting with vendors who respect us. That means we’re moving away from the silo-oriented model of the industrial age (where the vendors have all the power, and we have none), and moving into a time where we are afforded increasing power and commensurate responsibility. The emergence of disciplines like VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) and CRM2.0 are the bellwethers that are pointing the way, and OpenID is one of the tools that will enable us to get further down the path toward that goal. We’ve been working on this for a while, and it’s important stuff.

What it means: Cerado’s support for OpenID means that professionals who use Haystack Networking are fully in control of their own online identity, and are able to better manage their online representation of their professional reputation. OpenID support also means that customers can now take advantage of “single sign-on” capabilities across a variety of complementary services that also support OpenID, including blogs, wikis and social bookmarking sites. This enables a single username and password to be used across a wide variety of sites that support the standard.

Why we did this: Cerado has a commitment to empowering customers of its Haystack business social networking service to control their own information and online identity.

Who else supports OpenID:
In addition to Cerado, other industry leaders such as Microsoft, Verisign, AOL and Symantec have also announced support of the OpenID standard for online digital identity management.

Haystack Networking home page:

Related capabilities:
Cerado’s Haystack networking supports this philosophy of open-ness in a number of ways. These ways include:

* Export capabilities
* Import capabilities
* The Haystack social networking widget
* An open API

Export: You, at any time, can export your profile data. That means no lock-in. You’re free to take your information with you anywhere, anytime. Your profile information is exportable in both CSV (Excel comma separated value) and XML formats.

Import: Additionally, Haystack administrators can import CSV and Excel files to easily set up new Haystacks with a minimum of hassle.

The Haystack social networking widget: Organizations can create Haystack networks on their own websites or blogs using our widget (

The Haystack open API: Cerado partners like SwapThing ( are using the Haystack networking API to integrate Haystack capabilities into their own offerings. Much, much more on the API here (

Related links: Much more background on the history of Cerado’s Haystack social networking system for businesses and associations can be found at: