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The Icon Bar: News and features: Advertising in the RISC OS community

Advertising in the RISC OS community

Posted by Tim Fountain on 16:24, 9/12/2000 | , ,
Yesterday I posted an editorial to our sister site Acorn Arcade about how a lot of RISC OS companies are shooting themselves in the foot by not utilising all the (mostly free) advertising routes open to them. Although it's written from a gaming perspective, and from my experiences as AA webmaster, most of the things in the article apply not just to the gaming market but to the RISC OS community as a whole.

It'll probably raise a few eyebrows, but I think it needs to be said. You can read the whole thing here. As with all the articles on AA and TIB, the more feedback we get the better, so post your comments to the AA forums.

  Advertising in the RISC OS community
  (18:26 13/12/2000)
  Liam Creighton (17:03 15/12/2000)
    Nathan (07:18 19/12/2000)
      Richard Goodwin (09:45 20/12/2000)
        David Bradforth (12:16 21/12/2000)
          Realist (00:44 22/12/2000)
            Al Cleminson (11:29 22/12/2000)
              David Bradforth (19:34 14/1/2001)
Chris Williams Message #88203, posted at 18:26, 13/12/2000
Unregistered user As news editor of the Drobe portal, I fully agree with Tim here. I have spent the past ten minutes thinking on how to word this, but I can't put it any better: Both the Iconbar.com and Drobe are visited by the majority of internet-enabled RISC OS users. For absolutely no cost, other than the time it takes to prepare an email and post it, your product release can be broadcasted to the platform. Companies like Surftec, Cerilica, RISC OS ltd., Sincronia and various independant software writers, (notably Dave Daniels and the VOTI crew), are happy to do this.
But hey, I shouldn't tell you how to run your organisation although RISC OS users are thinking with their browsers these days. Have a very merry Christmas.
(Speaking very personally here)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Liam Creighton Message #88204, posted at 17:03, 15/12/2000, in reply to message #88203
Unregistered user I get the feeling a lot of RISC-OS developers feel that they don't have the time to publicise their products. It's not a question of dedication to the market, though, it's a question of understanding and being able to use advertising. Advertising is a very subtle and complicated game to play. So many very good products don't receieve the promotion they deserve mostly because the people who develop software are exactly that - developers. They're not communicators. One example is David Pilling, who produces a range of fine products, from SparkFS to ImageMaster, to what I regard as his finest achievement, OvationPro, which I use almost every day. The support he offers is second to none but I - and many other OvationPro users - don't think he gets the sales he deserves. There are still people using Impression Publisher, which has now been well outdated by OvationPro, who are not well enough aware of the product to take the plunge and buy it.
I guess the way to resolve the problem is for current users, if they enjoy using a program, to write reviews and submit them to sites like the Icon Bar - do the publicity work that hard-working programmers can't do - as a favour, both to the developers for their support and to the rest of the RISC-OS community as a whole. Perhaps then there will be a RISC-OS market rather than just a RISC-OS community, because at the moment, that is what it is.
Whilst the 'community' nature of RISC-OS is at times very pleasant and I always like to boast about being able to contact the programmer at times when I have a problem, it also means that people are more likely to do things as favours to fellow users and are more likely to take offence when people criticise. I doubt, for example, games developers for the PlayStation take it personally when they receive comments from playtesters accusing the game they're working on of having an incoherent menu structure. They just buckle down and sort it out because the better the interface, the better the sales. Sure, they're being paid handsomely to do it, but your customers, in large or small numbers, are still going to pay for the product.
I agree with earlier comments about the need for more information to be posted to websites like this one. It's free, and can only be a good thing. Any publicity is better than no publicity. The one thing that makes people hesitant - in any situation - is lack of knowledge. Wait until you can provide accurate knowledge, and then make you broadcast it as far and wide as possible. People want to know.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Nathan Message #88205, posted at 07:18, 19/12/2000, in reply to message #88204
Unregistered user I'm certain that in RISC OS, any publicity isn't good publicity. Only good publicity is good publicity.

Re: Games
Playstation developers aren't bothered about criticism because:
1) They are big teams supported by big companies. RISC OS is frequented by loners.
2) In a small market/community people are more likely to hear you complain and this does more damage.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Richard Goodwin Message #88206, posted at 09:45, 20/12/2000, in reply to message #88205
Unregistered user Companies may only want good publicity - who doesn't - but no publicity at all is just a little short sighted.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
David Bradforth Message #88207, posted at 12:16, 21/12/2000, in reply to message #88206
Unregistered user But there's every chance that a review copy will end up with somebody who doesn't like that form of game; or a news story will go through the mill because of a typo.

It's very easy to decide a target market, and make promotion towards that area of a market only.

It works too...

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Realist Message #88208, posted at 00:44, 22/12/2000, in reply to message #88207
Unregistered user Says a man who sold 6 books. Please get real. In my country we judge people's opinions on things by how good they are.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Al Cleminson Message #88209, posted at 11:29, 22/12/2000, in reply to message #88208
Unregistered user And so the problem with advertising, criticism et al is crystallised into one paragraph.

There are several personalities in the RISC OS world which either will never get along with one another, or, when facing the rest of the computing world throw off this aura of all-knowing arrogance. The argument Rob Kendrick had re:Web Servers is a prime example of many people in our little group who will just argue for the sake of it. I've seen Mr Kendrick work himself into a fit, verciferously arguing the case for RISC OS and ARM with Wintel users who weren't particularly listening.

The c.s.a.* NGs seem to be a catylist for backbiting and fruitless arguement, they are also the place where these robust and quick to criticise persinalities come up against people who are not quite so headstrong and prove easier to offend, in one way or another. It seems most of the software producing/promoting RISC OS users are in the latter group, and while the Kendricks and Haughtons probably need to temper their outbursts and realise what they're saying, or how they're saying it, will upset people, the others need to thicken their skin and, as has been said before, not take criticisms of their work as personal attacks. In my experience criticisms which are thinly vield personal attacks rarely contain anything of worth.

BTW the names mentioned are only used as examples, I hold no grudges with these people.

Spelling/grammatical errors all my own. :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
David Bradforth Message #88210, posted at 19:34, 14/1/2001, in reply to message #88209
Unregistered user As I did explain before, I do know what sort of sales to expect. Sometimes it goes in excess of our expectations, others it's about what we expect.

To give you a story, at Acorn World 1997 - around the time that they were keen on their reader offer things - Acorn User were offered a bundle of games (all of which were quite current at the time) for a reader offer.

The fact remained that they didn't expect to sell enough of the games to make it worth their while. Experience and all that.

'Realist' seems to have forgotten that the books were mentioned on the Acorn Arcade website. Even with that there, we had some two further responses. The number of people reading Acorn Arcade who would be interested in a book as such is, quite clearly, minimal. Why? If you want it, you can look for it in your own resources, or on the internet. It's not difficult.

We put it out as a taster, and got it drawn into a long war in which I had to take time out to reply repeatedly. Therefore, the book was at the end of the day not worth the effort.

The two CD-ROMs, however...

David Bradforth
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Advertising in the RISC OS community