Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Nuffnang Can Do

There been much talks by many bloggers coming fast and furious on Nuffnang about the few boo boo that occurred within a short span of time. I am not going to repeat all that but you can read and know more from this blog here, It pretty much gives a good summary of what happened.

So now the question is what should Nuffnang do? This is a good case study for the many of us startups on what to do when face with this uphill tasks. Here are some of my personal thoughts and suggestions which by no means trying to belittle Nuffnang nor its founders.

Just what I will do if faced with such situation now. Note: again this is not to be taken as advises or taking pot shot against Ming.

All these blogs are damaging the reputation of Nuffnang as a service provider and as advertisers*, they themselves will also do their own homework to see if the service is worth using also.

If they see more of these negative posts, especially on or etc ... will run the risk of lack of confident in the company. Suggestion will be to clean it up real nice by going thru what bloggers are highlighting and really work hard to solve it.

For example, clear up the air real good on that S$1 admin fee. The damages are so much more than what's S$1 can be. It is not telling others beforehand that pisses many off, so forget about the S$1 like Adverlets and do it off permanently as a goodwill too.

Dont forget that S$1 is also coming from the advertisers to the company, and without advertisers what's the point of having a lot of bloggers? Ultimately it is the advertisers that pay the profit and commission to the bloggers. If the balance beam tilt too much one sided, everything will go haywire and not healthy for all parties too.

Turn those banners that do not run any other commercial ads into sales banners for partners. No, I do not mean running free ads for the existing advertisers but look into tying up with other partners to make use of all these 'idle' banners and let bloggers themselves earn some money too.

For example, tie up with companies that retail products online and anyone that click that banner and make a sales, bloggers get some commissions too. Everyone wins. You earn, supplier earns and bloggers earn. Bloggers also wont feel like taken for a ride with spaces allocated for the banners but nothing ever shown up also. Take a look at what Google Adsense is doing. No ads? Run charity message instead.

If all day all nite, advertisers see negative posts about Nuffnang the sales is going to be hit badly. And it opens the doors for other competitors cos the companies that are keen to advertise may have already budgeted for it and if I am the marketing manager, I will get Advertlets or some other service providers that have a good reputation and understand the needs of the bloggers better to talk to me instead. Why risk it all putting my head on the chopping board where not only bloggers are complaining about Nuffnang but also the high possibilities of no click thru also?

Yes it is possible. Think about it... with so many negative feedbacks will you still click ads run by Nuffnang ? Some yes and some no ... but if you are the marketing manager will you risk it if you are the one paying to run ads and to answer to the management how successful it is? Ultimately, advertising is tied to ROI very closely too.

Tone down on bloggers gatherings ... the people on the ground are now wondering ... is Nuffnang really that hard up? Able to run gatherings at poshy places and yet still want that S$1 from us? It leaves a bad taste to many so toning it down will be a good start. Which in turn have lesser bloggers blogging about those fancy gatherings, food, locations they been.

There is nothing wrong to 'reward' bloggers or to create some market noise from such gatherings, hell even I do that with supporters of BAK2u BUT now this is different; members of Nuffnang are talking and blogging about the lack of customer service, technical support and on the other hands other bloggers especially celebrities bloggers are talking about how fun it is in the latest gatherings.

BTW, as for no responses best to place a note that on what is the maximum time the person will have to wait. For, it is 48hrs but usually we replied within 12hrs (customers expect 48hrs wait and if you can do it at half of that, you gain some points. Otherwise, you can still ensure that the standard is maintained even if you answer only on the 48th hours wait)

But then again, there will be those that complained that we do not reply even if you had. Some just went straight to the spam (From - Kindly submit your comments or enquiries via the following form. Please check your spam mails if you do not receive a response from us within 48 hours.) So what do we do? Save that money and resend that same email again?

Nah, I told the girls to just make a call over if available but do check on the time zone. You wont wanna call that fellow up at 4am when it is 4pm here in Singapore. Money will always be well spent even if it is an international call. Perceived value of your customer service? Will be priceless.

Lastly, identify who should be the PR guy from the company to handle all these feedbacks. It is not so simple to just reply and hope that everything will just rest down. It is really tricky as it is one person, one company against the entire internet 'world'. They can swallow you up, wipe out everything that have been invested and built over the years. No one is perfect for this PR role, but take it as hitting the walls to learn something and then come back stronger. Learn to swim with the 'sharks'.

Some are more forgiving and some are not. But if you are sincere and showing it out in actions, others will be more than willing to let it go. It is also an opportunity to filter out those that are just out for 'blood' only and not willing to move on.

Nobody can please everyone, move on for those that are willing to, and leave those behind that are still bearing grudges.

One last suggestion, for startup dont think yourself as some CEO, CTO, COO, director, founder or whatever stupid position title one may be holding. Titles aside and you can see things clearer and act better too. Sometimes these 'invisible walls' will create more problems than gain, inflating the stupid ego along the way.

Let others see you beyond those titles and know who you really are. Startup = the person that leads it, that starts it. When it grows beyond a startup, that person needs to detach from it and survive on its own under its own brand name. Too many fall into this trap that they are some big shots just becos they are some companies known around the internet or the world. So what? No one will give a damn.

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Anonymous said...

Very good suggestions! If ming don't even take any of the suggestions, nuffnang is bound to doom. Should learn a bit from the experts, afterall Paddy runs his own businesses also.

Dancer said...

Very good article. Clearly they need to find their direction.


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