Coffeehouse Thread

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How should we handle ads and promotions on C9?

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  • User profile image
    Dan

    Hey folks,

    I'd love to get your opinions on this, but every now-and-then some teams will come to us with something they want to promote, either as an ad or promotion. We turn down the vast majority of them with the exception of events since the ones we promote at least have free live streams and it's deep technical content.

    These are categories of ads/promotions we get requests for.

    • Promotions: Windows Azure platform 30-day pass. No credit card required and enough capacity (3 instances, 2dbs etc) to go deep on Azure, Office 2010 for students is now just $49.99
      Products: Download IE9
    • Tools: Download Web Matrix/Visual Studio Express
    • API: Try the Bing API for free, now with unlimited commercial use
    • Technology: Try the Silverlight Toolkit to easily beautify your Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 apps
    • Coding4Fun: Use the MJPEG Library to control your IP Web cams using Silverlight or Windows Phone 7

    Thanks in advance for any feedback Smiley

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    Why not have someone from the product team register as a C9 user and post their promo here, in the Coffeehouse? Fresh faces are always welcome.

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Charles

    @JoshRoss: We do that, too. Smiley
    C

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    I think you should get charles in a teal checked sports jacket introducing each offer. With big wow graphics showing the money off Big Smile

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    (more seriously maybe a sticky thread of limited life, rather than on every page?)

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    @Dan:

    That's a tough question.  There's such a fine line between abusing the audience you've gained, and promoting that which we all feel is beneficial.  I know, especially since you're asking the opinions of 'niners, that you don't want to take advantage of the audience.  I just don't know where the line is.  It's obscure.  I think promotion of new MS tech/tools/events is perfectly reasonable, but I don't want to be bombarded.  You already promote good stuff on Ping and TWC9 etc..., and I think that's the best way to do it; but I understand the pressure to promote more.  I want to know about stuff that makes me better at my job, my life easier and gets me home on time ... but I don't want to see many ads on Channel9.   I think you've done a great job so far.  I wouldn't like to see a drastic change.  Perplexed  It's a tough one.  I think you might be better off just trying to roll more promos into the beginning (very quick) and end (a little more extensive is ok) of the videos, and try to make sure they are related to the topic at hand in some way.  Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @JoshRoss: +1

    If the teams posted their annoucements in the coffeehouse and were willing to follow up on the inevitable discussion (which is guaranteed to derail from the obscure points of "30 days @49.99$"), that could add a lot of value.

  • User profile image
    Dan

    Thanks everyone, good feedback, keep it coming!

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    , Richard.Hein wrote

    *snip*

     You already promote good stuff on Ping and TWC9 etc..., and I think that's the best way to do it; but I understand the pressure to promote more.  I want to know about stuff that makes me better at my job, my life easier and gets me home on time ... but I don't want to see many ads on Channel9.   I think you've done a great job so far.  I wouldn't like to see a drastic change.  Perplexed  It's a tough one.  I think you might be better off just trying to roll more promos into the beginning (very quick) and end (a little more extensive is ok) of the videos, and try to make sure they are related to the topic at hand in some way.

    ++

    TWC9 and Ping are good places for this.  Plus you could blackmail groups into providing more in-depth videos ("Yes, you can promote your offer on C9, I'll just bring my camera over and you can spend 45 minutes telling me all about it.").

    Herbie

     

     

  • User profile image
    intelman

    A separate area of C9 should be developed to showcase Microsoft's products. Aggregate what is great about the product via video and stuff, then download links and promotions.

    If it looked slick, and had great content, it could be a good resource.

    For instance you would have a link to a products area. There you'd find IE9. In that section you'd see a what is great video maybe a tips and tricks video and even a how was this developed video. Same for Office 2010 and so on. There you can effectively link to the product download or promotion.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @Dan:Like pretty much everyone, I despise advertising, but being in the business of promoting the business I don't think you have any choice in the matter. I don't mind it on stackoverflow as much, because that is a great resource and they do need a way to keep the site running. At the moment, with the nineys advert, I have to go nearly 2/3 of the way down to select the first forum post as there is just too much space wasted with the banner that is too wide, and space wasting above and below.

    The only request I have is for you to fight as much as possible for the smallest possible banner sizes, and to always err on the side of subtelty rather than being overt. In some ways I wish you had never had the meetings with the people you did, but this is the thin end of the wedge with this thread being more of a warning than anything else.

    If it manages to generate revenue and some of it is used to go back into the site, then great, because channel 9 has always been seperate from other Microsoft sites, with Jeff managing to carve out a seperate identity. Just don't get suckered into the powers that be just thinking channel 9 is part of their adverstising web portfolio, so in a year or two's time you have lost complete control of what is displayed and we end up with the Redgate/Reflector scene, where some marketing and advertising director at Microsoft has clearly had his or her sights on Jeffs portfolio for some time, and bit by bit you start to lose control of the site. Please do not relinquish any control over who decides on content, because you don't want people saying this new software flopped because Dan decided that he did not want to advertise it enough. Those advertising people are very powerful, and can make you start to look incompetent if you don't bow down to their demainds.

     As ever, just my own 2 pennies

  • User profile image
    Ian2

    How about just adding a 'promotions' forum - each thread is a promotion and we all get to comment on it underneath (should we so desire).

    Moderator gets the job of expiring threads as required.

    That way the promos are accessible but not in our faces. 

  • User profile image
    Bas

    , Dr Herbie wrote

    *snip*

    ++

    TWC9 and Ping are good places for this.  Plus you could blackmail groups into providing more in-depth videos ("Yes, you can promote your offer on C9, I'll just bring my camera over and you can spend 45 minutes telling me all about it.").

    Herbie

    I have to side with Richard and Herbie. I'd also appreciate something where niners can ask questions, either by forum thread as suggested earlier or via some Q&A.

    Also I'd definitely keep the audience in mind. Don't tell us why your recently launched streetside photos in a map app are so useful; we know, we've been using them elsewhere for years. Don't fire your standard marketing mesage at us.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    A seperate forum with seperate RSS means those that don't want it don't have to see it. I'd also suggest most of them be a bit more than a drive by "hey, we have a promo going". Include content not found elsewhere (video interview with the devs behind the product, for instance). That will keep the quality higher than most promo sites. Do this, and I'll follow the RSS faithfully. Smiley

  • User profile image
    CKurt

    @Bas: I agree. There must be a place at C9 to promote Microsoft software. But I also agree standards must be set.

    # Followup on promotion is vital as is communcation (as mentioned above). When somebody whats to put a link to there promo somewhere ( before a video begins or a link somewhere) there must a a thread in the coffeehouse (or sepperate forum) to ask questions directly. And interact with people from the team.

    # A video explaining what they did en why and what they hope to accomplish would be better then a static link of banner somewhere.

    # The followup could be easier if the 'notifications' feature is implemented in C9.

    # A sepperate forum might not get enough visablity. Why not create a page that shows the top 10 threads in the CoffeeHouse and the top 10 threads of the 'Promo House'. Only Microsoft employees can create new threads in the 'Promo House' forum.

     

  • User profile image
    Minh

    Can other companies post ads and promotions for developer products & services?

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @Minh: Yeah, it's called spam! People do it here all the time. The best part is that it doesn't clutter up the Coffeehouse. When it enough people see it, it magically disappears. 

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Minh

    @JoshRoss: So it's not spam if it's from Microsoft?

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