Yesterday we mentioned Dells IdeaStorm. Now it’s time to see what this wonderfully titled really has to offer. Is it a gimmick or a savvy piece of innovative genius from Dell? So, the facts: IdeaStorm is a website launched by Dell on February 16, 2007. The official corporate PR line was that it would allow Dell “to gauge which ideas are most important and most relevant to” the public. Registration enables users to add articles and promote, demote and comment on them. Promoting an article increases its score, which allows Dell to rank suggestions and requests by their importance to the sites users. There is also a page which demonstrates how Dell is putting these suggestions to good use – with the word ‘implemented’ signalling the ideas move into reality. What type of ideas does the IdeaStorm produce, I hear you asking in bated breath… They range from everyday type issues: Requests that Dell’s technical support lines are operated in the specific countries in which Dell computers are sold, thus avoiding unneeded breakdowns in communication – we’ve all been left confused at some stage, whilst on one of those pesky and often premium rate helplines. There have also been numerous requests for specific parts of the Dell website to be improved. Then there are the more technical requests: Users have asked for inclusions of free software to their existing packages and for updates to operating systems. In fact, you would think some people that post on IdeaStorm are computer geniuses themselves. There is a serious amount of knowledge bandied about on the site – ideas on processor specs, aspect ratios and all types of jargon that could baffle your average computer user. So a good tool for Dell. A nice bit of customer relations management and a good way of gaiging the response of the people that matter most to Dell – the people that buy their products. But the pièce de résistance of IdeaStorm is really in the small print… According to the Terms of Services: ‘A posted idea will grant Dell royalty free license to use and implement it without compensation to the originator. Participants should be aware of this before posting any ideas.’ So essentially, Dell ask their customers to come up with the ideas and then they take all the credit for them, without any money going to the person that actually came up with it. Nice work Dell!
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