Optus myZoo Beta

Martin Dalgleish of PBL was chatting on at CBD Hotel the other night. He recommended we go have a look at beta.optuszoo.com.au – the JV between Optus and NineMSN. In lieu of anything else to do – well, I have to cook some sausages, but they can wait – I’m over there right now. Multitasking…

Martin Dalgleish of PBL was chatting on at CBD Hotel the other night. He recommended we go have a look at beta.optuszoo.com.au – the JV between Optus and NineMSN. In lieu of anything else to do – well, I have to cook some sausages, but they can wait – I’m over there right now. Multitasking as it were, one screen here, one there.

First, there is no login. I’m out of my comfort zone when there is no login. I can personalise – and I’ll get to that in a minute – but mantra # 2 is PROFILE is everything. Build your community and dialogue around the profile. But there is no profile. When I personalise the page – I chose PINK – thats it, in the cookie, nothing more. And it’s only that page, it doesn’t carry over. Too bad if two kids are sharing the ‘net connection right? I don’t have a brother but if I did, we would definitely come to blows. And I would win. So right, PINK it is.

Until tonight. when ZoneAlarm sweeps all cookies. So I have to reset it ALL tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow or else set an exception. I actually like the host site remembering my preferences – I can log into Yahoo! from anywhere in the world (and often do) and there is my personalisation. YAHOO! in PINK. Again with the pink. It’s beta, surely that will be fixed. From the Personalisation Help page:

To set your Personalisation preferences back to the default for myZOO BETA you will need to delete the browser cookies. There are two options:
You can delete just the myZOO BETA cookies if you wish to retain cookies for
other sites, OR
You can delete all of your browser cookies.

To delete just the BETA Portal cookies go to the cookies folder of Internet Explorer and delete the files that include the names: msnportal, ninemsn.com and optuszoo.prod.ninemsn.com.

Sweet, that will also delete my NineMSN cookies. Are they sure they want to do that? There’s a reason why there are profiles and login and logout and it has to do both with personalisation and ease-of-use. From beta to gold they had better integrate at one standard login covering personalisation, for email, for account details (yes a second password is ok) and so on. Multiple logins is a pain. Profile is king. Ask Google – calendear, aggegrator, email, and so on all integrated.

Personalisation fails in a couple of other areas for me. One is the whopping great big piece of real estate in the top left corner that means scrolling down and around it to get to the personalised content:

The only module that cannot be personalised is the main feature module, on the top left of the homepage. This contains links to current news, information and entertainment features as well as information about the latest Optus offers, competitions and important info that we think you won’t want to miss.

It was completely useless to me, banner advertising on steroids. “I was a Banner Ad but NOW I’M A BLOCK AD AND I’M GONNA EAT YOUR PAGE”, but heigh ho, perhaps there will be more useful info in the block, once its out of beta. It just felt like 90’s “we got you trapped here so now you have to look at our crap”. Which of course is wrong. Sorry to sound harsh, maybe I should go cook and eat some of those sausages…. in a minute. Irrespective of my blood sugar levels, you go look at the page and ask this question: do they care about the customer or the advertising? That’s not a question that should ever even come up on a *personalised* page. No I’m not niaive – this is the change, and Optus/NineMSN doesn’t get it. Remember, Google fills your personalised page with little quizzes and bits and bobs. Not banner ads taking over your page.

Newsfeeds were full of sport and no technology. But then again I’m a girl so I shouldn’t want to read about Sport OR Technology. Right? Thank God for the horoscopes section and entertainment, I guess. Also thank god for being an Aries, everyone else has to arrow over each time. Again, you can’t set up your zodiac sign if the profile is non-existent.

I attempted to add the URL for the RSS feed for this dearly beloved little blog. It wasn’t accepted. So I did a search on RSS feeds for both SilkCharm and Laurel Papworth. It found the RSS for both this blog and my severely neglected website http://world.com.au. But even though it found the atom thingie, it wouldn’t add it.

I am a Optus Mobile user but not an Optus Net user. However there is nothing but an empty box for Mobile (yes yes, I know its beta) and of course, as there is no profile, nowhere for me to enter that number. Stock quotes – Aussie and NZ. I guess Nassie and Dowie just aren’t important to Optus customers. Maybe out of beta?

There is a customer feedback form, but no community, no forums, no buy-in from the consumer, no founding member badge cos I got into Beta and tested it for them. Nothing. The whole concept of building social networks and having your customer participate has passed this telco (media agency? content distributor? content creator? portal?) by. I suppose even one little poll empowering us to give some feedback was too much to ask? Yeah, guessed so.

To end on a positive note, cos I hate being negative. The 3 or 4 bits you can personalise are slickly done. Out of the 3 colours in beta, one is Pink the other two are blue. Or maybe its blue and blue-grey. I DO like the world clock – I mean, let’s face it, I’m an international time addict – I run Simmtime locally and timeanddate.com have a great personal clock site. A girl can never have enough pixel clocks. (I don’t wear a watch – I have a mobile!!).

Sausages are beckoning…

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