Eniro is lost in translation
For quite some time I’ve been annoyed by the Swedish catalogue company Eniro (basically the Swedish Yellow pages), mainly because they continuously fail to understand the medium they operate in. Hence they’ll have to act as an example of a company that rather heavily relies on internet revenue (30% of total revenues in 2007) but still manage to not understand how the internet works.
Most of the online revenue is coming from advertising, so attention is kind of a big deal. What they have understood is that comments and reviews are attention worthy and bring a good amount of value to the site. So the problem they see How can we get users to contribute with more reviews?
Thinking as a traditional company from the 1950’s they of course went for a full fledged advertising campaign to collect reviews from users. The result can be viewed below:
Basically it says that everyone benefit from reviews so why don’t you just go to eniro.se and write one!
They have failed in understanding the social currencies that make people engaged contributors. Their philosophy is that it’s only awareness that drive people to write reviews. If they know they can do it, they will do it. For understanding the underlying factors of contribution Joshua Porter has a good introduction, embedded below.
To use an example of a site that has been successful and based their value proposition solely on user participation and reviews we’ll take a short look on Yelp.
Yelp was founded in 2004 as a fun place to review local establishments such as restaurants, bars or just any local establishment. Yelp also started out very local, engaging people through parties and events; the Yelp parties quickly became infamous and widely talked about. This helped them slowly build an audience and a very distinct group of members that turns to Yelp to review every local bar, hairdresser, restaurant and so on. Yelp connected with outgoing people, who often act as influencers in their social group. The key for Yelp was to, city by city, find these influencers and get a engaged locally in every new city they expanded to.
They also highlight the most active users through making them part of the so-called Yelp Elite (Again, Joshua Porter has a good write up about it). Being part of this get you a symbol next to your username which gives them a social status within the Yelp community. These users also get invited to special gatherings where they get recognized; as a special “thank you-note from Yelp.
Eniro should look at examples like this and see if they have the DNA to serve users this way, if so they need to rethink some of their decisions. Or if they rather should look for partners that are doing this better than they are.
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