Train Wreck-norati

My experience with Technorati has been anything but pleasant. As a matter of fact every experience I’ve had on that site has been a disaster.

It’s totally UN user-friendly, the pages are busy and confusing, and the blog claiming process is a complete mess. I finally managed to get the original juntopia blog claimed (I don’t even know how) and now I’ve been struggling for a month with getting the Grouvia blog claimed with no luck and absolutely no help from their support.

Let me show you the sequence of this excruciating process, I promise I’ll make this concise and completely factual without any commentary or diatribe. [Update: I kinda lied here.]

Shortly after I moved my blog from to I attempted to do the technorati claim process. I received an error about my URL being invalid, and managed to enter a support ticket of “other” because none of their choices matched their error message. I received an auto-responder message stating they received my ticket and assigned a number to it. I got nothing after that.

A week or so later I remembered I still needed to do this and decided to try again. I entered the blog url and this time I got a different message. Now the site told me that the claim was “in progress”. You can see this screen here:

This seemed relatively normal and so I waited an hour and the same message was still there. I saw the button that says “Complete the Claim” so I thought “Oh, I have to click that button.” So I did and got this message:

To really appreciate this, you have to see it within the context of the rest of the screen. Look at this screenshot:

Holy cow! (Oops, sorry, that was commentary.) Just pause for a second and look at this screen and ask yourself… what would YOU do next? I tried pretty much everything. I finally decided to contact support because I was getting angry and frustrated. So I clicked on the link in the middle of the error message, the green link that you can barely see, yeah that one. (Oops sorry, I did it again.) And I got this screen:

After selecting “Claiming”, I got this screen:

Uhhh…. Hm. None of those seem to fit do they? So I just blindly picked one and sent a description about my problem, and crossed my fingers that the right person would get it. You don’t even want to see the email I got back from them – oy vay! (If you do, just email me and I’ll be happy to forward it to you.)

By the way this was on June 21st. It is now July 16th (actually I wrote this post on July 11th) and finally got back to this again and the same thing happened, and I sent another support ticket in.


One question I have is this: how does this ultra-popular web application survive with this complete train wreck of a web site??? Am I the only one baffled by this? Is it because all the other ones are even worse??? I shudder to think.

In the meantime, my now-defunct juntopia blog is like number 3,245,761 on the popularity list, or the authority list or whatever the heck that ranking thing is they do. Since Grouvia has little hope of ever getting listed, I might as well just leave the old juntopia one up there and hope a few people stumble upon it. No reference to that OTHER web site intended. Let’s just not go there.

[Another technorati claim code: mpvbjge7hd]

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Are you my buyer?

I read a book last month by David Meerman Scott called The New Rules of Marketing and PR.  It came out a few months ago and is very relevant to Web 2.0 and New Media and all the current marketing topics.  This guy is very smart and has a lot of brilliant things to say.

One thing that has been gnawing at me is his suggestion to create buyer personas.  Basically this is kind of a Living Breathing Avatar who represents one user community, and you create one for each of your different types of users.  The reason it’s gnawing at me is because I believe juntopia will have many *many* different types of user communities.  Sports enthusiasts, nuclear families, extended families, professionals, lobbyists, churches, hobbyists, activists, political action committees, recovering addicts, you name it.

Any kind of group will be able to take advantage of Juntopia’s features.  That’s the beauty of it.

That’s also part of the complexity of the marketing plan.  How do you target all these people?  Well, I have to start somewhere, and from all I hear — the narrower the better.  So let’s say I choose a handful of active outdoor types that fit into a particular demographic.  These would be golfers, runners, skiers (both kinds), cyclists, mountain bikers, hikers, and mountain climbers, just to name a few (although there are probably about a dozen of these that I could include).  The demographic is broad but definable – health-conscious adults 25-55 with disposable income, a competitive personality, and spare time to devote to their sport.

I can even narrow it down further to include only, say, cyclists and golfers.  This would shift the age group up a bit, bring up the average income level, and skew it toward men.  Is this a narrow enough demographic to start with?  I could go either way — narrow it further to only one sport, which might skew my results (maybe golfers have no use for online groups) or I could broaden it out to include more club types – and then have to manage the tracking of all the resulting data.

I wonder what others have done in similar situations that worked for them?  Maybe I need to go back to my books on this.  I have to nail this down before I can complete my marketing plan.  And I need to complete my marketing plan before I can do a lot of other stuff.

One more thing…  Read that book I mentioned earlier, David Scott’s new one.  I highly recommend it if you have anything to do with marketing for your organization, and even if you don’t you’ll still get something interesting out of it.

Just Get the Train on the Tracks

My Dad has this analogy about starting big projects — just get the train on the tracks and get it moving and then you can start adding the seats and windows and lettering and whistle and all the other stuff it needs.

I have a chronic case of analysis paralysis.  Of course every large project starts with research.  The thing is… I don’t know when to stop.  When do I have enough data?  Every new finding generates more questions that need to be answered.  It feeds itself and becomes a project in and of itself.  At dinner the other night, I was telling some friends about this — how I am stuck in research mode and can’t get out.  They both encouraged me (strongly!) to just pick the most important feature and get it out there.

Yeah, good point.  Duh.  I knew that.It was already pretty clear that the Event Calendar would be Juntopia’s primary feature and so I started to design the database.  Doing this always gets me going in a good solid direction, and helps me put tangible-ness to an idea.  I started looking at my drawings from a month ago where I had identified all the “objects” I could think of that would make up this critical feature, and wouldn’t ya know it, I had it all done already!  So all I had to do was get it from the paper into the computer in database format.  EZ! Now, what to do with all that data we’ve been collecting?  More on that next week.  In the meantime, I’m on a roll.

Thanks Dad (and Patty and Kris).

The Amazing Disappearing Navigation Trick

Why is it that most e-commerce sites with shopping carts corner you when you get to a certain point in the checkout process?  Are they afraid you might click the wrong button and end up leaving without buying?  What benefit could it possibly have to not show the person the exit door until after they’ve forked over the cash?  Imagine yourself in a physical retail establishment where they hide the exit signs until you’ve signed your credit card receipt — how creepy would that be?

I’ve been known to abandon my shopping cart on numerous (perhaps hundreds) of occasions.  If I change my mind about my purchase, *nothing* is going to stop me from leaving.

Many times I’ve actually decided to go back and buy MORE stuff so I can get a better deal on shipping for example.  But if the navigation has disappeared, I’ve got to work that much harder.

Now, maybe I’m smarter than the average bear, but I don’t think many people are really fooled by this, nor are they discouraged from leaving without paying, if they really want to leave.

Juntopia [Grouvia] will never do this to people.  There will never ever be any feature that makes people feel cornered or lost or confused.  That is my mission.