jeff gardner.

This is why I love the Internet

Every now and then something happens that reminds me why I love the Internet so much, and why I love working in the web industry. Yeah, it’s a little geeky but it’s also full of real people doing real things and having real conversations — which sometimes get quite heated.

Point in case: Jason Fried from 37signals posted this blasting of Get Satisfaction on Signal vs. Noise, 37signal’s massive soap box company blog. The comments on the post quickly ran into the hundreds with people on both sides of the issue, though comments siding with Jason clearly outnumbered those sticking up for Get Satisfaction.

But the amazing part comes next. The guys and gals over at Get Satisfaction first responded in the comments,

Gosh, we messed up on the wording of that badge and are changing it pronto. The wording on that badge was actually intended to explicitly state that the space was NOT OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED by the company, but that doesn’t come off at all. The idea is to encourage openness, and provide a badge for companies that want to be associated with it. This was just unfortunate phrasing (one small part of an ongoing redesign effort), and doesn’t reflect our values, as I think many, many people and companies who’ve used our service can attest. Gus* Thor Muller, Get Satisfaction

Then, within just a few hours they had arranged a live video cast, with the sole purpose of answering questions from the public. Anyone could sign in and ask a question and get live, on-screen answers. After that, they penned two thoughtful responses to the situation and posted them on their blog, an Open Letter to Jason Fried and a post to their blog, talk plainly about the whole affair and what they planning to do to address the problems that Jason pointed out.

Name me one other industry and prides itself on transparency so much that the founders of a company would come out and say, multiple times, in no uncertain terms, that they were wrong. Not misunderstood, just flat out wrong. It actually seemed, as Garrett Dimon pointed out, that the Get Satisfaction employees were fighting amongst themselves to take the blame on this one. What?! Fighting to take blame? What the hell are these guys smoking?

Finally, today, Jason Fried posted again on Signal vs. Noise, noting that Get Satisfaction had begun addressing some of his concerns and giving, what I would characterize as, an explanation of why he was so annoyed with Get Satisfaction in the first place. Customer Experience. Two companies, both with very large online audiences, having a very heated and very public discussion because they are both doing their best to stick up for the customer (albeit in slightly different ways).

So, yeah — the internet might be a little geeky and I’ll be the first to admit that I spend way too much time in front of the screen, but every now and then stuff like this reminds me that it’s not a faceless, empty void that I’m sinking hundreds and hundreds of hours into; it’s a vibrant, opinionated and very real forum full of real people. And I like that.

  • Oops, I wonder who Gus Muller is and why his name was in my head.  Thanks for the comment Thor and the correction, sorry about that.

Tagged: internet, blogs, web apps, customer experience, 37signals, get satisfaction, and web industry
02 April 2009

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