{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Seth Godin is taking a lot of heat for Squidoo's new service, Brands in Public. To many, Brands in Public is little more than a brandjacking service. As my colleague Meghan Keane put it: "Give Squidoo $400 a month. Or your brand gets it."

In my opinion, the criticism being leveled at Brands in Public is justified but it has far more to do with value than brandjacking.

In short, Brands in Public offers no value for the $400/month Squidoo is asking brands to fork up. Here's why:

  • Brands in Public is a mediocre reputation monitoring tool. The content on each brand's Brands in Public page is pulled from a handful of sources, including Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere. There's also data pulled from Google Search Trends and Quantcast. There's nothing sophisticated about the aggregation and compared to most of the commercial reputation monitoring tools out there, Brands in Public is not much to write home about. As Lisa Barone puts it, "...Brands in Public is nothing more than a 5k a year public Google Alert".
  • There's no SEO value or threat. Why would a brand want to pay $400/month to "curate" its Brands in Public page? Clearly, the idea is that these public pages might show up in a search. And if there's something 'bad' on the page, the brand should be scared (so the logic goes).

    The immediate problem is that none of these pages have top SERPs and for generic searches like "Walmart" or "Home Depot", they're not likely to ever rank where it matters (read: first page). Long-term, even if Brand in Public pages do achieve decent ranks, none of these major brands is realistically going to gain or lose customers because a page with a hodgepodge of aggregated user-generated content has something negative on it. Just ask Walmart; there is already plenty of "Walmart sucks" content with top SERPs and the company still manages to get by.

  • Brands can curate but they can't censor. If somebody says something nasty about you on Twitter and it shows up on your Brands in Public page, you may very well be able to "curate" it away on the Brands in Public page, but there's no way to remove the comment on the source website or from stopping the comment on the source website from being indexed by search engines. So it's really hard to see how removing something from a Brands in Public page is achieving anything. More importantly, brands that want to engage with critics and customers aren't going to do it through a Brands in Public page -- they're going to do it at the source. Places like Twitter and Facebook, where, by the way, outside of time, it doesn't cost anything to participate.
  • The pricing is crazy. Why does a Brands in Public page cost $400/month to "claim"? As far as I can gather, the price was pulled out of thin air. As Barone points out, brands can get a basic reputation monitoring solution at Trakur for as little as $18/month.

The only reason Brands in Public has attracted attention is because of Seth Godin. I'm sure his personal brand is going to generate sales (it apparently already has), although some question whether he's hurting that personal brand in the long run with this service.

Godin-driven publicity aside, howver, the reality is that there's nothing special about Brands in Public as far as the product goes. If you or I was to launch something like this, it wouldn't get an ounce of attention because there's almost no value. The visceral reactions to Brands in Public have more to do with the lack of value/high price tag than they do with 'brandjacking'. If Squidoo was offering a product that nobody questioned was providing $400/month of value to brands, nobody would raise an eyebrow.

The lesson in all this: no matter what you're selling, you need to sell value.

Patricio Robles

Published 25 September, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2429 more posts from this author

Comments (10)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Riaz Kanani

Riaz Kanani, CEO at Profusion

It really is an astonishing move from someone who espouses techniques that are the polar opposite of how this "service" has launched and positioned. 

It will be interesting to see what Seth's response will be to this. Pity there is no possibility of a more direct conversation via Twitter on this.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

seth godin

Thanks for reading, but I fear that the logic is twisted. You're correct, that if our goal is 'brandjacking', we're doing a very poor job of it. But what if that's not our goal? What if the goal is to let major brands (those with little time, no real IT support and the desire to try out this medium) have a place where they can respond to the discussions going on? My post is clear that this is something you can build on your own, but if you don't want to, if you need a salesforce and support and tools and leverage, well, here it is. (My post is also clear that this isn't a monitoring tool at all... in fact I point to one). The easiest thing a brand can do if they don't like it is not to buy it, right?

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Barton

Ive said it on other discussions and I'm totally with Seth on this one.

This is turning into a bit of a witchhunt in the industry I fear.

I wrote this on another commentators blog..again I dont profess to have all the answers but I offer this opinion...

"The main point is that Seths page is like a mirror – nothing more – if you dont like what you see… then you know what you have to do to change it…and it certainly doesnt start with paying Seth (brands in public) for his page."

Its an agreggator not a platform. The conversation is already happening.

I say fair play to Seth.mc

J

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

fook tien

A mirror of what? It is so arrogant to say that companies need an intermediary hoping to exploit their customer relationship and make some money for themselves. To sort a problem, talk to the company not some middleman who says talk to me I'm a mirror.

about 7 years ago

Riaz Kanani

Riaz Kanani, CEO at Profusion

One thing is for sure, external facing communication for the product has not been successfully achieved - mirror or not. The original post did come across aggressive towards companies controlling their pages:

Squidoo has built several hundred pages, each one about a major brand. More are on the way. We'll keep going until we have thousands of important brands, each on its own page (and we'll happily add one for you if you like).

and

If your brand wants to be in charge of developing this page, it will cost you $400 a month.

BUT Seth has responded (not just here). On his blog, Seth has confirmed the example brand pages are being removed.

Overall, if you dont control the page it still feels like a mirror - albeit one you can control through reputation management techniques (as Seth mentions) elsewhere.

Still the original post itself is not clear to me (and I havent seen the product itself only the example pages). It seems like responses to conversations online are entered on a sidebar on the page and not inline where the original conversation takes place. My own take is that it is better to respond in the place where the original conversation is happening not centrally where the individual involved will not see it. It would be like you complained on the telephone and the only way you can see a response would be to go to a specific web page.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sidney Gilfillan

We want this service because we are a small company that has a lot going on in terms of building our social media presence.  We just don't have the staff nor the time to sift through everything. Whoever thinks $400 a month is too much, should look at what social media companies are charging businesses on an hourly basis for their marketing services.  I think any brand that doesn't want to be included is afraid of having all their laundry aired in one spot. My only issue is that some of what is included in the RSS feeds doesn't actually pertain to that brand.  Corporations spend so much money on their marketing and advertising budgets and don't want their "example" page included. Whatever happened to all publicity is good publicity?  What a bunch of babies!      

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

selina howells

$400 or $4,000 it all gets passed on to the customer. What does the customer want, cheaper prices or paying for Seth? The internet is about connecting direct, cutting out the middleman, using a virtually free, worldwide business model to slash prices for your customers, not pay for a new breed of marketing. Seth won't agree.

about 7 years ago

Riaz Kanani

Riaz Kanani, CEO at Profusion

the internet is a big place and tools are definitely needed to monitor conversations - you can't be everywhere all the time and so there is definitely value to having one tool to monitor them all rather than many. People will pay something for that - time will tell if that price point is $400/month.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Barton

Fook, not to sound off, but do you know how seths page is working?

Its not original content. its an aggregator of conversations already happening in the Social Landscape. Hense my mirror metaphor.

Theres nothing arrogant about offering a tool/service. You buy it or you dont. Simple.

If a marketeer is clued up on the space they will know that purchasing the service wont do an awful lot for your brand anyway. You have to engage externally to change the reflection of seths page or any other social media monitoring service out there. Good or bad.

I suppose my main point is that this is that people are over-reacting to this whole thing.

about 7 years ago

Steve  Gorney

Steve Gorney, Owner at s-go Consulting

I believe that anyone has the right to leverage their own brand, including Seth. The irony is that when I first staring reading Seth's writing, I believe it was around permission marketing. Is this an example of that?

Utlimately everything boils down to value for sure. If this is a good concept that is accepted by the marketplace and provides a perceived value, someone will offer a competing solution for way less money, and with less of a "brand jacking" feel about it. Then it will be game on.

about 7 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.