MyBlogLog, What’s Wrong With You?

For some, it’s the glory; for others it’s the danger. Still for others it’s the way members of the opposite sex find them a little more appealing.

After reading the above sentence, and you can all enjoy more pearls like this on the Help section at MyBlogLog, I couldn’t help but drawing a few possible conclusions:

MyBlogLog will not save Yahoo!

  • I lost my sense of humor or I lack the language versatility to grasp the deep meanings hidden in this sentence
  • MyBlogLog’s writers have the strange feeling that the MyBlogLog community is one of teenagers who find this kind of language “neat”.
  • Whoever wrote that phrase, and some of the other answers on the same Help page, was drunk or even worse.

I wonder how many users have actually read the Help page and how many smiled reading it. My first impression was a “WTF” type of reaction. Hidden among the General Help question, MyBlogLog even answers the eternal question: “What is the meaning of life?”


UPDATE: Friday, 29 – the quote below, was deleted from MBL’s help section. Ian’s explanation on Phil Butler’s blog.

What we’ve come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One, people are not wearing enough hats. Two, Matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields, which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source, which act upon a person’s soul. However, this soul does not exist automatically, as orthodox Christianity teaches, but has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved due to mankind’s unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.

Do I need to comment on this? I don’t think so, but I suppose some orthodox Christians will. MyBlogLog played safe on this one, but Imagine what would have happened if the authors made another choice and made a referral to one of the Islamic beliefs. Personally I am offended and I am not so thin skinned as to become so easily.

The Help page at MyBlogLog is just one of the many examples that clarify why this once popular network is doomed to fail. MyBlogLog’s page views have dropped considerably in the past 3 months, and so has their Alexa ranking. Some might argue that Alexa is not very reliable – and I have to agree, but reliable or not, as a user, I know that there’s something wrong with MyBlogLog because the quality of the service is now lower than ever before.

MyBlogLog Alexa Stats.

I don’t think MyBlogLog is actually aware of these problems – and I doubt that these issues will ever be addressed, because the people who should listen to user concerns and suggestions are primadonas in disguise. Phil Butler in his entry Social Network Identity and Why StumbleUpon Rules has mentioned some of the factors that lead to MyBlogLog’s decline, and I have to repeat his idea here. It simply makes sense. He says:

MBL’s only real value is as a base that people can view their blogs from and a “loose” communication point.

I see no other value for MyBlogLog as in its current form either. The value however, used to be there, back in the days when sending more than 15 massages to community members was a real tool that helped you, a community leader, announce the news to the members or send them a “Merry Xmas” wish. What is the point in joining a community if you cannot be an active member? What is the point in having endless lists of “friends” if only 15 per day can hear from you? Let’s face it, Facebook is far more advanced when it comes to this aspect, and even StumbleUpon shows more value than poor old-fashioned MyBlogLog.

A MyBlogLog representative, Ian, replied to Phil’s commentary by implying that “MyBlogLog is essentially a directory…” He also said:

We’re a different kind of community in that most of the activity actually takes place off the site on the open web.

I really need someone to expand that thought, because I don’t understand how this imagined community works. If Ian considers a widget the main ingredient of a community, “I beg to differ.”

Now MyBlogLog’s pride and most recent buzz generator is the “New with Me” API. I remember when I first got the email announcing this addition to the tools and widgets available for MyBlogLog members.

A part of it sounded like:

In a couple weeks, we’ll be launching a new feature called “New with Me”. This feature will use the URLs on the Services tab of your MyBlogLog profile to aggregate your latest activity on sites such as Twitter, Last.fm, Digg, and YouTube. As a result, your profile page will look different – publicly available updates from the services you have listed will be merged with your existing information. Your latest Flickr photos, Last.fm tracks, and YouTube videos, will all be in one place.

There’s nothing wrong with that if you are not familiar with Yahoo’s most recent struggles. I always considered that Yahoo!, which has the most popular website on the Web and still is a strong brand, deserved to be at least as successful financially as Google. Yahoo’s shares have lost their value partly because of strategic mistakes similar to the email announcing new features for MyBlogLog. Instead of using the opportunity to promote its own services, Yahoo! sent out a message which promotes Google’s YouTube. How many of you are aware of the fact that Yahoo! owns a video sharing site called Jumpcut? Again if we use Alexa to compare the sites we must weep for Yahoo!

Jumpcut and YouTube comparison.

Why are Yahoo!’s services declining?

It’s not about quality. Yahoo! has some of the best services available – including Yahoo! Mail, Instant Messenger, Flickr, Games, GeoCities etc. Yahoo! fails because of its inability to listen to its users. As I said above, we are dealing with primadonas in disguise. Customer support at Yahoo! is merely a figure of speech, and don’t bother to send feedback because you’ll get a “thanks for reaching out” type of message.

Yahoo!’s inability to listen to customer feedback is probably the main issue that needs to be solved as fast as possible. Every day at least one blog publishes an article that debates some of Yahoo!’s services and features. Every day a user expresses a thought, a possible solution to a problem, an advice that comes from the heart. Someone up there in Yahoo!’s seventh heaven doesn’t look down on the Yahoo! employees hired to monitor and respond to customer feedback. When the response comes it’s almost always in the form of “I beg to differ.”

So here is what Yahoo! needs to address and understand:

  • Customer feedback, even in the form of critique, should be appreciated, welcomed and addressed. The logic is simple: if your traffic stats are low (dear MyBlogLog) and a user says that is something wrong with you, you should probably listen and let the defense aside. Defense will not help you do better, it will piss off the user, the readers and lower even more your reach. No widget in the world will help when this happens.
  • Before ignoring advice from a user or customer learn who that person is. It’s back to you dear MyBlogLog – and it’s a general sad reality at Yahoo!. MyBlogLog, you always respond to praise and that’s wonderful – we all like a pat on the shoulder. But don’t respond to people in a language suitable for five years olds. What are professionals doing at MyBlogLog? Obviously trying the impossible: to create real networks of dedicated users.
  • Stop investing money in the wrong applications. (I elaborated that in Google and the Lilliputians)

I am perfectly aware that MyBlogLog’s employees will come to defend the system. I personally would like them to start with an apology for trashing, even in the form of a joke, my Orthodox beliefs.

Comments

  1. Bah. What do you expect from a site that has an “Okdork” feature?

  2. Wow, I never noticed that, and now I’m not sure what to make of it. That’s really strange.

  3. I totally agree with about “Yahoo!’s inability to listen to customer feedback is probably the main issue that needs to be solved as fast as possible” . A company that does not pay attention to its customers will suffer is some form or another. Also a company needs to listen to is employee’s suggestions as well starting from the lowest person on the totem poll.

    Thanks for the excellent post !

  4. MBL is toast pure and simple

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