Back in July, I received a media release from Tick Yes Pty Ltd crowing about the new online social network they had created for Bayer's period pain medication Naprogesic called A Pampered Life (I am not even going to link to it!!). At the time, I intended to blog, commenting why such a site must surely be doomed to failure, but… basically, I had more important things to do at the time. I mean, pleaseeeee! I can't possibly imagine how Tick Yes managed to convince Bayer to part with their dollars.
Unlike most authentic online social networks, A Pampered Life does not tell you how many members it has or how many people are currently online. When you click on 'Your Stories' most posts look suspiciously like they've been posted by 'pretend' people at Tick Yes. There, you will find such riveting stuff as "I had a button fall off a shoe a few weeks ago". The only useful thing I can see on the site is a period planner but, no, you won't catch me signing up.
I was reminded of this appalling use of technology when I received a "newsletter" (sic) yesterday from Australia Post. Titled "Out of the Box" it is apparently the "newsletter" for post office box holders. Being a happy post office box holder, I couldn't wait to read the stories in the "newsletter". Alas, all it did was tell me to make sure I used my PO Box on my business stationery (d'oh!) and let me know about two 10% discounts for bulk purchases of Express Post envelopes and Parcel Post. Geez, I am glad I found out this enthralling "news", not.
Here's a few tips for Australia Post:
1. Don't tell me it's news when it's really marketing
2. It might be worth doing some market research with PO Box holders about what they'd like to read in a PO Box newsletter and employing a couple of real journalists to write the stories – or not publishing it all. ANZ's In Business, for example, is actually useful.
3. Why reinvent the wheel? You might be better of sponsoring an existing high quality newsletter that reaches the same target audience (such as the Flying Solo
newsletter for sole traders).
It just goes to show that technology, in the wrong hands, can be a dull (if not necessarily dangerous) thing.