I love 37signals and their work. I love their philosophy and I strongly admire many of their employees, founder Jason Fried not in the least. That is also exactly why I subscribed to their product blog, their “news, talk, opinions, tips and tricks about our entire product line. All in one place”. And so did 10.000 others.
Well, untill yesterday, when 37signals announced “We’re retiring the Product Blog“ because, they say, “We’re looking to simplify. That means retiring the Product Blog. We also hope to explore a better format for this information down the road” and more precisely “Case studies/stories often get lost in the stream of product announcements. Stories published last year are as relevant as they are today, yet are difficult to find in the blog format”.
Additionaly, they do the math: “There are 3 disparate places to get 37signals news: the Product Blog, Signal Vs. Noise(our company blog), and our Twitter feed. The Product Blog has only 10,000 subscribers versus the 50,000+ that follow us on Twitter and the 100,000+ on our company blog. It doesn’t make sense for us to maintain 3 different news sources.”
Yes, of course 37signals always has the liberty to discontinue a channel and stop communicating. But I have been a loyal follower for quite some time now and I really feel 37signals is saying ‘sorry, we don’t think you’re important enough’ or ‘we don’t think 10,000 people are important enough’. That hurts.
I try hard, but I don’t understand.
- Permission marketing There is a reason I subscribed to their product blog specifically. I don’t care about all 37signals updates, I loved their product-related updates. THAT is the content I want to receive. Forcing me (and 10,000 others) to follow their twitter stream forces me to consume content I don’t want to read. Forcing me to follow their twitter stream forces me to use a channel I might not even want to use to follow 37signals. I just don’t have an alternative …
- Digital Embassy / Home Base Chris Brogan calls it the “Home Base” and Rubel calls it the Digital Embassy. Whatever you call it, it’s the place where you do the most interaction with your community, i.e. Twitter, Facebook and even your branded blog. You need to store your digital content somewhere. To be able to link to it from twitter. So why can’t you maintain a product blog to link to?
- Engagement Every channel has different communication possibilities. I am very strict in RSS subscriptions. I follow a limited amount of blogs and I read most of the content I subscribe to. In contrast to twitter. Most tweets just drown in the sheer volume of tweets. Read my post on how twitter forces gradual engagement for more on that subject. I have the feeling they trade a strong RSS-relationship (and possibility to convert people to other channels) for a loose twitter connection.
- Efforts Really, what is the effort in typing a blogpost when the return is that over 10,000 people see it for sure? Isn’t 10,000 enough?