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And she’s climbing the stairway… June 24, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, marketing, web 2.0.
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Barrier to entryLong-time listeners-first time callers would be aware I was included in a top 50 list of marketing blogs in Australia recently, put together by Adspace-Pioneers and Marketing Magazine (#17, thanks very much). Eschewing “It’s an honour just to be nominated” dribble, it was a great chance to check out some of the other writers and marketers that exist in this space. There’s a tremendous amount of value out there and it’s well worth everyone’s time to take a look at the other sites comprising the list.

One key aspect which had been over-looked on a lot of these sites though was the choice of technology employed. There are three main blog platforms – WordPress (which is what this site is), TypePad and Blogger, all of which have their own pros and cons, but perform the same base functions.

Contrast this with Vox, a site I hadn’t heard of before until I visited Lexy Klain’s blog (#29 on the list). Lexy does a good job of providing thought-provoking content, I actually went quite far back into her archives to get a sense of her thought process. Satisfied, I went to comment on a post, and to congratulate her on making the list, and that is when the fun stopped.

Vox requires you to register if you wish to comment, something I abhor. Having spent yesterday afternoon at the Melbourne PubCamp event being bored to tears by folk who do not yet understand for some God-forsaken reason that open beats closed, I was surprised to see a blog site pursuing this tack.

By choosing this platform, Lexy opts out of a raft of conversation provided by comments. Fred Wilson often says the comments on his site far outweigh the value created in his blog posts. This is a participatory medium, and we need to make the barriers to entry for everyone as low as possible.

Lex, five stars for the wealth of thought you’re providing, but I can get it elsewhere. And if I can’t interact or am put off by the barriers placed in front of me, I won’t return. Those who haven’t read it should brush up on Forrester’s POST methodology for more on this.

Image courtesy of moniker, with thanks to compfight.
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Comments»

1. Lexy Klain - July 1, 2008

Hi David – you have a truly captivated Lexy responding to your blog post. :) Just sorry that i couldn’t have you comment on my blog and even more sorry that the mechanics of the platform turned you away. I would have appreciated the comment immensely :)

Anything you suggest? Is there an easy way to transfer to another blog platform without losing any of my archives?

Nice to virtually meet you by the way

2. David Gillespie - July 2, 2008

Hey Lexi!

Thanks for stopping by, want you to know I’m still reading what you do, even if I don’t comment.

I did a quick search and saw googling “Lexy Klain” brings up your blog, so there’s an argument to be made that you shouldn’t change anything in terms of a personal branding exercise, which your blog can absolutely be (and is doing a great job!).

If the desire is more for conversation with visitors, then there’s some tough decisison to be made. As it is right now I’m looking at turning this site into a self-hosted solution (which means it would be a regular URL as opposed to being on WordPress.com), I’m looking at that because I want to be able to customise the experience more than I can in this environment.

Every platform has its pros and cons as I said. Your content on Vox won’t disappear, a final post could point people to your new location. I thought I saw your blog being pulled into an Ogilvy PR site too, which could be a place to direct people for comments, though if (heaven forbid…) you sought greener pastures one day that would render that solution null and void.

I think it comes back to what your intent is for the site. Keep in mind too Seth Godin doesn’t have any comments on his site, they’re certainly not the be all and end all. The key thing is offering value for visitors and the people subscribing to you, everything else will ultimately take care of itself.

As an aside, I mention Forrester’s POST methodology above, you should check it out as a great framework for thinking about intent BEFORE technology. Your clients will thank you!

Good luck with it!!

Cheers,

David

3. Gavin Heaton - July 17, 2008

I very rarely leave comments at a site where I have to register. I even get surprised when I have to use CAPTCHA.

I had the same reaction at Lexy’s blog. But as Vox is owned by the folks that run Typepad (which I use), I am pretty sure there is an option to allow commenters to simply enter their details (rather than ask them for registration).

4. David Gillespie - July 18, 2008

I’m with you there Gavin. I don’t know what the spam filters are like on TypePad, but WordPress uses Akismet which seems to completely negate the need for CAPTCHA.

Maybe Lexy can open it up a little more, though as I say above it depends what intent she has with it.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by, I subscribe to Servant of Chaos, it’s great =]


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