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Are forums like JoS good marketing vehicles?

Does Joel sell more copies of FogCreek and CityDesk because of this Forum?

Are the people who pluck down real cash for his products different from the OpenSource cheapies who typically hangout at slashdot and other tech forums?

I suspect people who pay cash for fogcreek (instead of using bugzilla) will not spend time on the forum. And these people probably go to the JoS'ing/slashdotting techies for advice on what to buy.

cccp
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I think the FogCreek software is FogBugz :)

And yes it does add value. As I posted in a similar thread earlier, read some chapters from Phil Greenspun's book. The first three especially talk about the business benefits of an online commmunity as well as (skip the tech bits) how to build a successful one. Plus, it's all free on the internet.

http://philip.greenspun.com/panda/suck
http://philip.greenspun.com/panda/money
http://philip.greenspun.com/panda/community

Tapiwa
Tuesday, April 27, 2004


No question about it:  This forum builds awareness for Joel, his company, and their products.

However, the trick is to remember that there are still lots and lots of people who are not reached by this kind of awareness-building effort.

SourceGear had a booth on the tradeshow floor at PDC last fall.  Lots of people asked us about integration of Vault with bug-tracking products.  We told every one of them that FogBUGZ is the only bug-tracking tool we currently support.

And none of them (those people who asked) had ever heard of FogBUGZ.  Not one.

I was shocked.  Lesson learned:  Communities are great, but the world outside the community is large.

Eric Sink
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Eric, if I may ask you a question then, why integrate first with FogBugz?

I realize it's partly a loaded question, but I'm curious.

Edward
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"I was shocked.  Lesson learned:  Communities are great, but the world outside the community is large."

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=126347

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Edward asks why we integrated Vault with FogBUGZ.

Answer:  Because our customers asked for it.

That's what made the informal PDC survey so weird.  FogBUGZ integration was a very common user request, so we did it.  But the folks walking the PDC floor were apparently a very different crowd.

Eric Sink
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Marketing through this forum is effective but not COST effective.  Joel's time should be worth around $70+ per hour. I know my time is worth at least that and I think his company is more profitable them my little sw company.


He would be much better served (for MARKETING purposes) spending that money on Google Adwords.

HOWEVER, I think the REAL benefit isn't us exposed to HIM, it's getting him exposed to US.

I.e., one-on-one marketing like this is valuable because you get a lot of feedback from your target audience. (This is more helpful for FogBugz than for CityDesk.

MANY companies lose touch with thier customers. They ont' understand what features the customer wants, so they do things like Delphi's Kylix or (now) Delphi for .net.

Mr. Analogy
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Mr Analogy: "HOWEVER, I think the REAL benefit isn't us exposed to HIM, it's getting him exposed to US."

I think that's right on the money.

I'm sure a few people on this forum have bought Joel's products (myself included), but I doubt that those sales are sufficient to maintain the cash burn rate of Joel's office upgrades, let alone salaries ;^)

There must be some other channel at work.

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Eric,

those folks at the PDC were they aware of Vault before they saw the booth? My guess is that both you and Joel are part of the same online culture, so it wouldn't surprize me to find a large overlap in the people that had heard of one product and those that had heard of the other.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Isn't there a bias ?
I guess people who knew FogBugz simply didn't ask. They already knew the answer.

Pakter
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I think the answer is a resounding "Yes!". Therefore, I will start a new Web site called, "Pookie on Software (PoS)".

Pookie
Thursday, April 29, 2004

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