Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bike industry blogging

It's interesting to observe how the bicycle industry approaches BLOGs and forums. This is a great BLOG with a bike industry view
Just Riding Along.

And of course there is Masi Guy

On the forums you rarely see bicycle industry input. Years ago Edmund from SRAM posted a lot at mtbr, and his tech adivce was like gold. The Iron Horse guys and Dave Weagle of DW link fame also post quite actively.

A few others but on the whole the bicycle industry is pretty silent in the public forums and blog world.

It's sad. On one hand you can't blame them. In the forum world you take your life into your own hands, and idiotic flame wars and total loss of control are the norms. It is so easy to misunderstand something in an email or a forum. It would be quite easy for something to spin negatively for a bicycle industry poster. So it's easy to understand why they might have a blanket policy for no posting in public forums or blogs.

But my opinion is that when you go public on the forums or the blogs you are putting your money where your mouth is. You've got someone like Dave Weagle who posts actively on the highly technical subject of rear suspension. And the more technical it is the more hack-arm chair engineering-psuedo science you are going to see come across the forums. Yet he posts. And you know what, I really respect that and the end result is that I've got brand recognition for that product.

Sure opinions are like a**holes, and we've all got one. But the bicycle industry has no clue how word of mouth and the blogsphere affects brand recognition, otherwise they would be out here with the masses.

The PR rep from Kryptonite said at Naked Conversation in response to why they don't have a BLOG, "At first we decided against it because why would anyone really want to hear about locks all the time?"

Um Duh, who the hell wants to read about a Married with children, Full time Job, No genetic talent want to be mountain bike racer? Well at least a few people do.

That's what BLOGs are. ramblings about things you'd think no one would want to hear about.


At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Gary Stein said...

Good post. You bring up all the right points: fear and a lack of understanding prevent too many companies from participating in forums where they would be welcome with open arms.

I am an analyst at Jupiter Research, covering this space (as well as a Cat3 Roadie ;-). You totally nailed the issue.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

It is really hard to list all the reasons why more of us on the inside of the industry are not blogging. I have been thrilled with what has been happening thanks to my blog, but so few others have the "courage" (I'm not saying I'm brave) to take the step. More importantly many are afraid that they can't do it, that they don't have the skill to do it. I know my lack of technical savvy kept me on the outside looking in for a while. Now... now I feel guilty if I don't post every day.

The bike industry as a whole, and this is part of what I talked about before on Business Week's online blogging column (Blogspotting), is just really slow to accept change. An industry that touts technology and change is deathly afraid of it.

Another thing I think contributes to the problem is that many of these companies don't feel that they have a very good "voice". Meaning, they don't know what to say or how to say it. There are a lot of really dynamic personalities in this industry who tell great stories and are a lot of fun... but they can't exactly spell and have poor grammar skills. Sounds stupid, I know, but that is the feedback I have gotten from a few folks I have been trying to entice out into the blogosphere.

Luckily, just today, I found out that VooDoo is blogging now. I stopped by and posted a couple of supportive comments. Hopefully others will follow them. I have been working with Jonathan Maus at JRA trying to get more people to join in this great new dynamic of conversation. It is my sincere hope that more poeple will get blogging. I whole-heartedly believe it will be good for the industry.

Tim Jackson "Masiguy"
Brand Manager
Masi Bicycles

At 7:12 PM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

Totally agree Gary. Bicycle industry insiders would be welcome with open arms. As long as they are not spamming/advertisinig with their posts it's almost as if the forum readers put them on a pedastal and hang on every word. And it's just cool to here why they named a certain product what they did, or why they chose a certain color. Nothing earth shattering just info. And Tim, tell your cohorts that they don't need to spell. Most will figure it out.

There is no right or wrong in blog world. The only real kiss of death is not posting regularly and maybe not posting pictures (unless you are gwadzilla!)


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