In what is very welcome news, it seems that TiVo and/or their PR firm has killed the PayPerPost marketing effort that I savaged them for last night. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy today so I haven’t had a chance to try to contact TiVo yet, but Dave Zatz beat me to it. He just dropped me an email to say he’d contacted TiVo and their PR firm, and while they have no comment it is clear the program is dead. And to confirm that, just an hour ago posts started appearing in the PPP forum that posters have been asked to pull down their posts and videos. It looks like the coverage here, Davis Freeberg’s article posted in his blog, Seeking Alpha, and ZatzNotFunny, as well as coverage at Read/Write Web, and Valleywag (and perhaps more) got to someone sane.
TiVo – Thank you.
It seems this may have been a simple misunderstanding – maybe TiVo got some bad advice from a marketing company and didn’t understand the kind of reputation PayPerPost and astroturfing have in the blogosphere. A lot of companies have made missteps trying to market online, I’m just glad that TiVo pulled the plug on this one so quickly. That seems to indicate someone in control over there gets it and realized what a blunder it was. Of course, now every time I see some funny TiVo-related video on YouTube some part of me is going to wonder if it is genuine or some cynical viral marketing campaign, and that’s a little bit depressing. The bell cannot be un-rung.
This just reinforces what I’ve said before – TiVo needs to appoint, or hire, someone to be in charge of online communication. Just as Sling Media hired Dave Zatz to be their blog liaison. TiVo needs someone who is responsible for communicating with bloggers, who knows the online communities and markets, knows what behaviors are acceptable in the social environment online, etc. Stop treating bloggers like second-class citizens – embrace them like Sling has. Clue us in on announcements *before* they hit the wire, just as you do for the mainstream press. Have someone responsible for fielding questions, so we don’t have to bug people who have other jobs to do. Get someone to update your blog with real news – or, failing that, just take it down. The abandoned blog is just sad. In other words – just find someone who ‘gets it’, and get out of their way.
TiVo, you have an amazing resource in the form of your user base, advocates, and fans. Don’t squander that. And don’t callously exploit it either – it is a depletable resource. Work with and nurture the community. You’ll find it can be a very constructive relationship.