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Aug 4
Dell Corporate Blog Reboots: Credibility Lost?
Beloved business blogging bloghers and brethren - behold:

"Thou shalt not launch thy corporate blog until thou hast Googled thy prospective blog name, lest thou stumble, and thine enemies fall upon thee, and mock thee, and cast thee to the ravens of the blogosphere."
 - Eastonians 3:16 (Corporate Blogging Gospel, Volume I)

Yesterday, computer maker/seller giant
Dell, Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) changed the URL of its one-month-old corporate blog from DellOne2One.com to Direct2Dell.com in order to avoid confusion and embarrassment caused by the similarity of the former URL to a pornographic website also called One2One.  The blog's title is now Direct2Dell (but the subtitle still remains "one-2-one communications with Dell").

logo43.gifIn the post announcing the blog's reboot, Dell Digital Media Manager Lionel Menchaca promised, "We’re focused on the conversation and we’re just getting warmed up."  Those attempting to visit "dellone2one.com" will be automatically redirected to the new URL.

Dell haters will note that Lionel apologizes for the unexpected change: "Sorry for the inconvenience—we look forward to continuing the conversation."  I think that's appropriate.

I initially rated the Dell one2one corporate blog a 4 out of 10; then a 4.5; and now I inch that count up to a 5.  Despite the awkwardness of Dell's poor initial URL choice and subsequent shift to a less controversial locale, I think the move is wise.  When a corporate blog gets stuck in the mire, whether inadvertently as in Dell's case or perhaps through intentional ignorance, the best course of action is swift repentance.  Dell's clearly working to scrub the mire off the face of what is looking more and more to me like a mature, robust, conversational business blog.

But for many, the damage has already been done.  As a huge company specializing in the production and sales of TECH products, Dell was expected to launch a problem-free, tech-infused blog.  While its naming mistake was unintended, Dell should have at least Googled "one2one" (and checked out the top result!) before launching a blog by that name and with that phrase in its URL.  (Hence the powerful scripture I quoted at this post's outset.)

I still think the Dell blog's design is boring; I just don't get excited about Dell or even get a quick sense of what the company (or the blog) is about.  Perhaps some pictures of computers and smiling (but not fake-looking) Dell employees would spruce up the blog and make it easier for first-time visitors to understand its purpose and to feel welcome.

I think that as corporate blogging gains popularity, it will become more important for businesses to design their blogs carefully.  You're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but people do anyway - and a blog makes a perfect cover by which to judge a company, at least in the minds of many consumers.

03.jpgOne more observation - a little rant-tinged this time.  Why is hardly anyone else blogging about the evolution of Dell's company blog?  Mark White at Better Business Blogging is the only person to publish an in-depth article on yesterday's name change, at least that I've found.  The world needs more bloggers who will persistently follow stories like this long after the initial buzz dies down (as it did about three weeks ago when word spread like puffball mushroom spores that Dell had a new blog).

Now then.  Do you think Dell's blog URL and name change is a wise move?  Why or why not?  Do you think it's an important story to know about?  I just think that large companies with struggling new blogs are destined to be influential toward future corporate blogs in serving either as examples to follow or warnings to avoid emulating.

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