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User feedback drain

How (not) to deal with user feedback

I save bookmarks of bug reports I make. Have others also observed that some companies tend to simply erase complete bug trackers, feedback sites, forums and such? What a clever approach! – Since I just stumbled over such a case again, here is my good advice for companies who launch new products:

  1. Make a great announcement and tell users how committed you are.
  2. Create a new site just for user feedback, critiques, suggestions, bug reports etc..
  3. I recommend to provide this site with its own subdomain and install a nice forum or issue tracker like Jira (there you are in great company). Or you could buy a business plan from getsatisfaction.com which allows domain aliasing. It looks great to have this for instance on support.mycompany.com!
  4. Employ a few people who answer the user feedback. Though, seriously, one person should be enough. And it makes users comfortable if they know who is in charge.
  5. Replies should be appreciative and engaging, of course. Tell people what is planned. Be critical, too. Ask for details. You know the deal.
  6. robots.txt: Very important! Make sure you disallow all "User-agent"s that do archiving such as archive.org. Search engines are OK, they help the marketing. But do not allow any archiving.
  7. Finally, after a few months redirect the whole site to your main product page, or, to an FAQ page.
  8. Wait a few weeks, and *bang*, all criticism is gone! No records of unresolved bugs, no records of your stupid mistakes, painful omissions and what not. Simple and effective.

Thanks to AVOS Systems, Inc., owner of delicious.com. From them I first learned about this clever approach when they redesigned delicious.com. They had put up help.delicious.com which was run by getsatisfaction.com, now it redirects to delicious.com/help which is the FAQ page. Apparently, getsatisfaction.com also works in their favor. Even my account there doesn't show my contributions anymore.

Thanks also to Microsoft and the Skype team. They provided another confirming case. The Skype Issue Reporting Guide (accessed 2013-06-05 at http://dev.skype.com/issue-reporting-guide, gone for good as of October 2013) still explains^Hed how to "make a good bug report" on https://jira.skype.com/ – and many people sure did! But jira.skype.com now redirects to www.skype.com. (Update 2014-06-03: Hostname jira.skype.com seems to be gone since end of May 2014.)

*sigh*

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blog/130605_clever_bug_tracker_management_rant.txt · Last modified: 2017-07-03 14:56 (external edit)