What Dell's Doing Wrong

If you've been anywhere near the blogosphere this morning, you've no doubt seen the fuss about Dell's new corporate blog, One2One. Dell litters the blog with video clips discussing their new products and services, quick del.icio.us and digg bookmark links (which is getting really old btw) and the ugliest blog design since that kid down the street started blogging.

Back to the 2U example, the latest Dell 2U, the PowerEdge 2950 with the Intel 5100 series processor, delivers more than double the overall performance but requires 25% less power at maximum load.

No you're not reading a technical whitepaper, that is an actual excerpt from a post on One2One. Instead of using the blog as a forum for active discussion of stories and topics that people can't find out from a Dell review on Tom's Hardware, Dell decides to use the blog as an avenue for advertising products and services. Bad idea Dell, bad idea. Steve Rubel states that the blog's failure comes from Dell's strategy to avoid hot topics that could be safely discussed. Things like the recent news of that exploding laptop or Jeff Jarvis, who has more than a few quips with the computer giant.

Another thing Dell's doing wrong is fostering discussion. They have inadequately trained comment moderators who are not letting any comments through. I have left several constructive and fairly well-mannered comments but they have yet to appear on the blog. With all the traffic they must be getting, I can only imagine they are being flooded with comments, but hastily deleting them is a wrong move. Now there are guidelines for what types of comments to immediately delete - comments with profanity, spam or off-topic jargon. Everything else should be fair game. On a corporate blog, such comment censorship is a reviled tactic.

One last thing... as if spamming the blog with product advertisements and videos wasn't enough, Dell's videos aren't even embedded. They are streaming Windows Media Video, which means they open externally in WMP. Unknowingly, Dell just e-slapped every single Mac/Linux/Alternative OS user on the web. The corporate blog is a fantastic idea for companies and can foster a productive pedestal of user interaction and put a face and personality on an otherwise bland establishment. Unless they completely turn it around (and redesign that hideous thing), Dell messed up their one shot to reclaim a fan base.