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Friday, November 21, 2008

No More Little Sandwiches

End of the week and end of a little weirdness. At the start of the week, I found PBWiki Putting Image Over My Images - at least they were cute little sandwiches. But as someone commented, it is a little weird to have a sandwich floating over your head. I had spoken to the Founder of PBWiki in the past and had very nice conversations. I must admit that I felt a little surprised by the sudden change with no notification.

I created my post and immediately felt remorse when Mark Oehlert immediately (via Twitter) asked, "Did you contact them?" That would have been the smarter thing to do in hindsight, but this has been a learning week for me (euphamism for making lots of mistakes).

PBWiki's Founder and Chairman, David Weekly, explained -
Here's what happened

1) You were comp'ed a premium version of the service a year ago as a way of saying thanks for past feedback.
Being nice to me - their first mistake - and this is starting to feel like I'm not going to look very good at the end of this story.
2) This premium comp expired.
He was too nice to say that likely I received a notice about that which I may have ignored.
3) Our product places the sandwich in the corner of third-party-hosted images for free wikis as a general way of gently deterring people from using us as free image hosting. There were quite a few wikis that were using us to host very large images on MySpace a year or so ago.

4) To fix this problem, we've reupped your wiki to the paid version.
Yeah, I don't look particularly good in this story. Sorry, David and the PBWiki team. I felt blindsided, but the reality is that likely I got a notice telling me that my premium account was expiring. I assumed that didn't mean any changes as I pretty much only use the basics on PBWiki. So, I ignored it. Whoops.

David also said something along the lines of - "owing to your influence" - "appreciate if you'd alert us of problems" - this is a bit of a mind shift for me. I don't think of myself as "influential" - I'm one of a lot of signals out there.

I've been a PBWiki fan and saying what I said was more of a factor of surprise. At the same time, this is the second time in a couple of months that someone has told me something similar (that I said something not flattering and it may/did have a negative impact). So, I think I need to factor that in a bit as I post. I don't want to gate myself too much, but I definitely should have handle this differently. Again, apologies David and team.

The other thing he said was "I think you'll find our support is speedy and helpful and you'll be able to quickly resolve your issues." In fact, several people had already said that to me independent of David. Certainly they were very responsive in this case. And I don't think it was because I'm "influential." My sense is that they are responsive.

So, bottom line - I learned something in this process. Little sandwiches are gone for me, but will be there if you use PBWiki for image hosting (display on external sites). And, I'm going to stick with PBWiki.

What's that old axiom about customers who have had a difficulty that gets resolved are more attached than those that never have had any issue?

Oh, and I'll try to pay attention to messages a bit better. Ah, who am I kidding, if it didn't say that little sandwiches are about to appear on top of all of your images in the subject line, I probably still wouldn't catch that the expiration of premium would do that.

Now, maybe I need to go back through my posts and figure out who else I may have said bad things about. For example, Twitter. And at the start of my story when I mentioned that Mark suggested to contact them. That was through Twitter. Hmmm ...


Anonymous said...

Because you are influential, Tony, your learning journey this week has been an educational experience for all of us. We appreciate your candor. Thanks for sharing. :)

Damon Regan said...

Yes, thanks for sharing the story. It is nice to see things resolved in appropriate ways. Quite refreshing.

Sarah Stewart said...

I have a post in my head about how honest and open you should be in your blog when you're looking for a job ie if I say that I have made mistakes or am trying to develop my skillls in a particular area,, will that put off a future employer or prevent me getting promotion.

This post, in a way, has just answered my question for me. You have put out there that you made a mistake, but I have learned from it and respect you for being so honest - thanks for sharing the story. But....will someone like myself who hasn't got the same "standing" be able to "survive" disclosing in the same way?