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Does the world need 692 reviews of a four year old ink cartridge?

by Michael Maoz  |  November 2, 2009  |  2 Comments

All I wanted was to order a replacement cartridge for my ink-swilling HP OfficeJet 5610, standard issue. I went to the site where our company has a corporate account. Nice search feature. But I wonder how much this cartridge costs versus a competitor? Now THAT would be interesting. But 692 reviews of a product that has been on the market for years and years? And not one that says, “Don’t buy it here, it is cheaper at!”

I’ve been saying that an element of social networking is the working out of the logic of Marshall McLuhan’s “Medium is the Message” – we cannot help but interact with media. It isn’t the content. Content is the accelerant. We must look at email, SMS, Feeds, Tweets, Facebook, Salon, The Huffington Post. Resistance is futile.

I’m looking forward to a rigorous study that compares the amount of dead ending rat hole social threads, group-think, least common denominator and plain drivel on the one side with the true measurable value of the resulting ‘insight’ on the other.  Or is it going to take another million posts to discover people want to plug the hole in their coffee cups? Now there’s value.

Can anyone suggest who the best companies are at really extracting the value of networks? We have over 200 examples collected today, but they are still a small sample. And do you know of good software that helps analyze massive amounts of posts about a company that helps to detect emerging business patterns? Let me know!

Category: customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  social-crm  social-networking  social-software  twitter  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Does the world need 692 reviews of a four year old ink cartridge?

  1. Hi Michael,

    Right on about the need to extract value from this wonderful world of social media. Otherwise, all we have is much, much more noise. Which, becomes counter-productive as already stretched resources now have to deal with even more.

    You said: “Or is it going to take another million posts to discover people want to plug the hole in their coffee cups?”

    Reminds me of how airlines are making the move to social media to “engage” customers(see First thing I thought was: so, they need to hear another 10,000 times just what’s wrong with their airline? So, when were they planning on getting around to actually taking action? What’s the magic number that’ll convince them that customers hate delays?

    As far as Analytics(absolutely KEY!) I can think of:
    – Networked Insights
    – Lithium
    – Techrigy’s SM2
    I don’t find any of the above truly comprehensive but together with a hodgepodge of traditional Web 2.0 analytical tools you can put something together to get you started on the path to insights(and action).

    Esteban Kolsky(@ekolsky) has been leading discussion of the need for analytics, specifically. Might be a good person to get in touch with.

    Seattle, WA

  2. Michael,

    It is not fair to bring real business problems to an over-hyped and under-delivered “solution”.

    You have hit the nail in the head, the problem is not the collecting of data or the listening – even the monitoring — the problem is the understanding of the collected data and drawing value out of it (actionable insights) and using it to further the business purpose.

    Nice example to showcase the shortcomings of SCRM to date.


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