Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beckett Launches New Site . . . With Spin?

From what I've gathered on the message boards and on the Beckett blog, the new site debut hasn't been the smoothest launch. I'm not on the inside, so I really have no idea. Converting web sites are tough and there's always room for improvement. Plenty of sites get rebranded all the time and plenty have issues. It's not uncommon or unique to Beckett. I'm making the not-so-smooth assumption based on the collateral damage I'm reading about on their blog.

And this brings me to my biggest issue: How is Beckett using the blog? Should it be used as a spin machine? Of course not, but just a few sentences into their first web site issues explanation, readers catch this line: "To spin this as positive as possible" and later, "I told you I am spinning it."

The readers of the message boards and blogs don't want spin. They want answers and they want transparency.

The blog needs to be independent of the corporate communications environment. The person needs to be transparent with the information and needs to understand the concerns of the on-line community.

I'm not saying that Beckett's blog doesn't understand or isn't trying to answer every question, but credibility is lost when people feel like they are getting the spin routine or the press release from corporate communications.

People who read the blogs don't want to be one step closer to corporate communications. They want to feel a part of a community that has the same passion as they do.

Action Plan:
  • Set up one post on the blog for each issue. (price guides, fees or no fees, navigation and lost/found). Right now, one entry for all issues is too confusing and too big.

  • Establish one online host for each issue.

  • Have one evangelist answer questions on the other blogs that are questioning the new site. Don't engage the readers and say, "you're wrong." Understand their concerns, take the feedback, and get back to them with answers.
I haven't used the site enough to really say if I like it or not. Since there appears to be problems, I'll probably wait a bit before I do more than dip my toe into the pool. I imagine the site will take some getting used to, old habits will need to be broken for new habits to form. And in a month or so the sun will rise and set just like it did before and everyone will get used to a new normal.
I know none of this easy and there are always issues, some you anticipate and some you don't. But they can help keep the community together by following that three step action plan.
Update: Gazza on the Beckett blog made some awesome points and feedback on web 2.0 technology... he's right on about the fees too. Companies make the money on the sticky products, not the ticket that gets them in. Example: movie theaters don't make too much on the ticket, they make it on the $20 popcorn and junior mints.


Gellman said...

The new site sucks, and Beckett thinks it is great. Just like they think there is only "one or two" people who disagree with them breaking free boxes from the manufacturers on camera.

JRJ said...

To be honest, I haven't wanted to go into the deep end of the site until it seems like things have stabilized.

I wasn't a fan of the old site... seemed like it was designed in 1992 and this one is definitely different.

I'm more concerned about the appearance of not being able to handle the questions and support. Did they have a beta group of collector's out there testing things and getting feedback?