Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - PR Fiasco, What You Can Learn from the Six Apart Announcement


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Valeria, From a PR perspective, I agree with one point that Six Apart seemed to have neglected as part of their preparations - anticipating all the questions they will receive from the media and customers, but also their users.

By focusing on two parts of the triangle (media and customers) they are risking (already risked?) losing the very people that will ultimately make their business successful.

And by saying that the "main focus is ... in those that hope to build media businesses, rather than regular people who write a blog for fun," Say Media is forgetting that what initially starts out as fun can quickly becomes a passion and business attracting hundreds and thousands of followers.

@Kelly - it's been really instructive to witness how little this company listens to its customers, both publicly and personally. They have rolled out features that compete with other social networks without having the scale or usability they have, and have not taken the steps to improve the tool for bloggers... all TypePad users should make contingency plans. What I've heard and seen so far are not encouraging.

@Justin - indeed, we have been ignored for years while the WP tool and plug ins have made quantum leaps to help those users with SEO, for example. TypePad always refused to sync domain and blog URL by maintaining a separate .typepad URL and taking more than 150 posts hostage...

@Sjkato - there is a fundamental disconnect between business ethics and direction in many organizations old and new, which is what we keep witnessing with so many ending up with an unsustainable model, no matter how much they charge, or how little they care about customers.

@Eric - they have thousands of long term users for TypePad, which is also what this blog uses. Six to four years ago, this was a really good tool if you didn't want to self host. WP required more front end work and had fewer advantages than it has today (I use both now). I'm not sure I follow your thread on video. As a reader, I dislike blogs cluttered with ads and interruption banners. that includes mainstream media publications. If that's where Say Media plans to take this tool, they can do it without me.

@Gabriele - propaganda.

@Chris - the problem from a communications standpoint is that we and the business community have no idea what they are thinking, nor if there is a plan. It's puzzling to me how little accountability organizations are allowed to have. Making money in the short term is not a viable business solution. I wish investors stopped believing it and started connecting the dots on what being commercial means.


Maybe you should forward them one of your blog posts discussing the responsibilities of their message. I concur that it isn't what they said but what they didn't say. For those of us who have been around a few years sees this entirely as a either a short-term, profit taking endeavor or a myopic hiccup that will have a profound impact on their business viability. The former is where I would put my money (sorry, couldn't resist the metaphor!).

If their true intent is the latter, they are also in trouble. They will be crucified by the Social Media. They know better. There are hundreds of alternatives to their TypePad solution in the wings that could/would replace their platform in a matter of minutes with more functionality.

In light of the confusing messaging, I could very easily see an alternative go viral and cut the legs right out from under TypePad. The market, the great equalizer, could make their strategy decisions for them without a conscience and create their brand for them to boot.

Like you, I write about things in my area of focus. I feel like I have an obligation to share what I have been blessed to experience and learn. People who do things because they want to have a passion that transcends any paycheck. It's called having "heart."

A company that has no heart will do what TypePad is doing. For the sake of the company they are to become, they have a corporate responsibility to the users of their product to be honest with their intentions. Do they think we are that ignorant to shrug our shoulders and fly around the airport like it's they only game in town?

The net effect is whatever comes next will be met with suspicion. They were better off not saying a word!

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