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Saturday, 08 December 2007


Stan Lee

Couldn't have put it better myself Amelia.

Robin Grant

Hi Amelia

Thanks for your feedback - it's important both for us and others who are doing similar things that we get a chance to learn, both from our successes and our mistakes.

It seems we didn't make it clear to you initially that the phones were only for a one month trial - I apologise, we should have done this.

This is probably because you came into the programme via me subscribing to your blog, reading that particular post and asking the team to get you some phones rather than through the normal route that this vital piece of communication slipped through through the net.

We feel it's extremely important to be ethical in our dealings with bloggers (and in all other areas of our business), and as founder members of WOMMA we helped to develop their code of ethics:

Driven by this, we've taken the decision on all of our campaigns so far that, where physical products are involved, we should not give them to people to keep as this may seem both to them and to others as some form of payment, and therefore might interfere with them being able to give an honest opinion of that product.

Moving on to the separate issue of the content and tone of the communications you had from myself and the team, this was less than ideal and I'd like to apologise again.

Our use of colloquial language was driven by a desire for us to behave and sound like the real people we are, rather than corporate automata, in all of our communications. However, we obviously need to re-examine this, as when there is no existing relationship between us and those we're communicating with, colloquial language is easily misconstrued.

I think your 5 points are pretty spot on, and you are not alone on this - Poke's Iain Tait has written on this subject (http://www.crackunit.com/2007/10/03/blogger-relations-digital-agencies-suck-at-it-too/ ) as have numerous others. We let ourselves down on some of these, but thanks to your feedback, we'll be working harder in the future to ensure this doesn't happen again.

A couple of final and much less important points - I imagine you were sent a link to 3mobilebuzz's Flickr photos so that you had some high quality photography available to use, if you wanted, for your article. We've actually been encouraging people to tag photos on Flickr "3skypephone" (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/3skypephone/ ) and we're pulling these as an uncensored feed straight into the sidebar of 3mobilebuzz.com which I think you'll agree is a bit more interesting. It's also a pity you couldn't make the launch event, as you would have had the chance to talk to people up to CEO level at both 3 and Skype about both technology and business strategy issues - here's a post from one of the other bloggers we invited that illustrates this - http://www.mobileuserexperience.com/?p=447

John Dodds

I was alerted to this programme via another participant and was struck by their urging participants to tag, link video and god knows what else. Much more instructional than conversational.

And to Robin above - the key to communication tone in any medium (and this one in particular) is to be the real people you are rather than "trying to sound like" them.


Valid points, and you've qualified what your criticism carefully, however I can't get away from the feeling that if you had either liked the product, or the behaviour of the team managing the promotion, you might not have written it. As it is, the product left you indifferent, and the team pissed you off. 2 strikes, out.

I admire Robin for standing up and explaining the stance. I wouldn't want to be responsible for mapping the minefield of etiquette that these scenarios represent.


Thanks James - It is probably the other way round, if I had loved the phone then I would not have shut up about it. Generally when I get something that I think is brilliant, I tell folks. So the fact that the product left me a bit cold meant that I actually did not have very much to blog about. I wanted to try and find something constructive to say.

You're right, this whole area of Blogger Engagement is so new and such a potential minefield,but I do think that some basic rules apply.

BTW, Robin - thank you for your comment, much appreciated!


I'm all jealous. I got contacted by the same people. I said yes, would love to trial it. And then it all went quiet and nothing ever materialised.

Robin! Naughty naughty. :-)



Oh, and on a side issue - how did it make you feel, Amelia, being asked to review a phone for 3, when one of your clients is O2?

I kind of put the fact that I never got a phone down to me working on Vodafone...


Openness and transparency all the way. 1000 Heads knew that O2 were a client, my O2 clients know that I blog and that I was asked to review the Skype phone.

Seriously though, you gotta know what the competition is doing right...

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