I recently became loyal to two websites for the same reason, so I thought it worthy of sharing.
The first is a site called Crap, I Missed It! The concept is something I wrote about in the blog a long time ago: a service that reminds you when your favorite band is coming out with a CD or concert tour, as well as television premieres and Amazon.com bestseller updates. It sends you timely e-mails so you don’t end up saying, “Crap, I missed it!”
I discovered this free service about a month ago and signed up. However, it was lacking an aspect that’s really important to me: an author-specific book reminder. So if I want to be reminded when the next Wally Lamb book comes out, I enter Wally Lamb in the system, and in a few years I’ll get an e-mail informing me.
I e-mailed the owner of the site with this suggestion, and he promptly replied with a note saying that he had gotten the same feedback from several people and was working on it. He could have just left it at that, but today I got an e-mail telling me that the service is now up and running. Isn’t that cool? That site has just gained my official loyalty.
The second is the website of author David Anthony Durham. I recently finished his novel Acacia and was awestruck by the breadth, depth, and vision of the book. He has a background writing historical nonfiction, and it’s clear that he used that foundation to build a completely believable alternate world.
I went to his website after finishing the book to find out when the next book in the series comes out, and I found that he has an entertaining blog that he updates almost every day (I really like subscribing to author blogs–as I’ve noticed in the past, every author should have a blog to stay in touch with his/her fans). However, it was to my chagrin that I discovered that I couldn’t subscribe to a feed of his blog. There was no feed.
So on a whim, I e-mailed Mr. Durham, told him I loved his work, and asked if he wouldn’t mind adding an RSS feed to his website. Much to my surprise, he replied to my e-mail and told me that he would work on the feed in a week or so. About a week later, he sent me an e-mail telling me he had installed the feed (he even asked me to test it–this plays into a future Management Tactic: Asking for Favors [psychologically, people will like you more if you ask for favors]). I subscribed to the feed, and Mr. Durham has my official loyalty.
It’s not just that these two people/websites replied to my queries–they acted on them, and they followed up. Not every website owner I contact is going to like my idea, and that’s cool. But for the most part, I’m not going to write to someone if I don’t think my suggestion will help them get in better touch with the general public. So I appreciate these ideas being taken to heart.
In the end, it’s the personal contact that matters. The Internet can be an extremely impersonal, anonymous place, so a little personal contact every now and then goes a long way.
(I’d feel bad here if I didn’t mention Kallow. It’s another cool website whose owners responded to my suggestions and improved their site. It’s a really cool site that only takes a few seconds to visit. Check it out.)