1. I’ve been working with CHOICE magazine on this very issue — members or non-members and interaction strategy.

    As you’ve alluded to, the key is not to put up barriers to becoming involved, to encourage individuals to participate in any form — whether through commenting, contributing, bookmarking, joining, etc — before they will understand what the value proposition of membership means to them.

    I’ll be interested to follow Woolworths’ endeavor to see if it actually works.



  2. Interesting how you have jumped to conclusions about content without visiting 😉

    Members sign up/on primarily to keep track of their fuel discounts online and receive extra benefits in the store.

    The blog is on the same site and is a place where customers exchange their own ideas and vote on the ideas of other customers.

    Its a customers’ idea exchange so Woolworths can hear what is important to them.

    There are also Woolworths authored posts in a separate section of the site.

    I recommend you take a look.


    Interest declared: I do some marketing work for Woolworths.

  3. i didn’t bother even looking at the site – i bothered leaving a comment here saying that
    go figure?
    woolworths dont get it obviously – or mire likely there lawyers made them do it…

  4. well I can’t bloody take a look because I don’t have one of those cards with the barcode on the back.

    anyway, I don’t have a problem with the concept of an “exclusive” blog. There is no rule out there which says that all blogs have to be open to everyone. The idea could work best for “premium” clients, for example.

  5. @Tim/Resonate. The image in the blog comes from a screenshot that I took when I visited the site. So obviously I did visit. I couldn’t get any further to view the site. Which is why I wrote what I wrote. Capisce?

    We join online communities where we can align our Purpose/Values, view the Discussions, evaluate the Tools, peruse the Profiles and Identities, and view the Content.

    @anonymous Locked down sites are a walled garden only for Customers, not Leads. Anyone who might be interested is excommunicated. *shrugs* Unless the content is so compelling that people are willing to sign their life away to get access to it, for Gawd’s sake, set it free! Read Only until they sign up, then Read/Write. Them’s the rulez – in general. I guess if I was Paris Hilton or Amy Winehouse I might insist in registration and/or payment for premium content. And get it!! But I still wouldn’t get the numbers or the sort of readership/good marketing/branding I could get if the content was open and free and RSS’d.

    To the rest of you. I’m locking down the blog unless you send me your email address. Oh ok, I’m joking 😛

  6. Laurel you are a gem, you find such good content. jvesmith you are on the money, this is another one for fail.org 🙂

  7. @julian cole I was just saying what everyone was thinking. No need for an essay from me too 😉

  8. lauren –
    I am in PR (not with woolies) and wonder if you can suggest a way to see which PR articles have been taken/downloaded/referenced by media or bloggers (in order to track coverage) without some kind of registration by those accessing it which clearly seems combative or obstructive to you.
    Perhaps woollies was simply trying to track where their info went?? And that doesn’t seem too wrong to me…like I said, I am looking at it through PR goggles though.

  9. Hi Fiona – it’s Laurel by the way 🙂

    A customer registering on a site doesn’t mean they blog about it and… *sighs* forcing potential customers to register to get advertising material is not the way to do social media monitoring! If social currency is time and information, registering is a high cost to simply READ ONLY press releases and marketing information! Woolies have heaps of ways of tracking where their information went – even a link:http:// search in Google will give basics. And blogsearch.google.com searches social media sites by date/time. And Google Alerts sends out a media alert every time your brand keywords are mentioned online and… well you get the picture.

    Woolies needs to weigh up two strategies that they have somehow managed to get competing – 1) the need to grow the database with names and email addresses and 2) promotion of the everyday awards program. Currently they may get a small increase in names and addresses – which they would have got anyway through the fuel card thingie – but lose on being able to use the blog as a promotional one-to-many channel.

    In short hand – if the mandate is to get the information out via a blog, and the consumer has to register, the consumer says ‘no thanks’ and goes on their merry way.

    I recommend giving the blog a public airing so that visitors can read about it, make up their mind, quote it elsewhere and do free advertising on their blogs. Encourage customers to sign up to a)leave comments or b)use the everyday awards program. But insisting on signups to grow the marketing contact list just pushes us offside and doesn’t achieve ANY of it’s aims!

  10. laurel,

    i admire your patience, after a p.r person who should know better than to get your name wrong when commenting on a blog with your name on it, asks you for advice on blogging, and you give a nice detailed answer.


  11. the idea of any blog or forum site that u are required to be a registered member to is so that if they dont like what u are saying or they feel that your feedback is negative or not appropriate they can simply ban u from the site, in no way am i implying this happens at the woolworths blog site, 2 ways of looking at it, maybe it limits true freedom of speech or maybe it is to help maintain a healthy balanced forum for feedback.

    i could be wrong but thats just how i see it

  12. in my previous reply i forgot to state the fact that i do work for the woolworths (11 yrs) and what i have said is merely my own personal thoughts,

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