GoErie…still the same site.

GoErieIt’s been exactly one month since my follow up post, Go Erie: One Month Later, to my original evaluation of the GoErie site in Web 2.0 terms, Brief GoErie Web 2.0 Evaluation. Now, just to review, this first evaluation stirred quite a bit of discussion about Web 2.0 and what it should be on websites, as well as comments by people agreeing with me, as well as comments by those who are slightly in charge of the GoErie upkeep.

My second post highlighted any changes that had been made in response to that first post (very few, if any), and included screen shots of what the site looked like at the time for your reference, as well as mine. This second post resulted in a very friendly and encouraging comment by Kristin Lynch, Interactive Brand Manager of CyberInk and manager of GoErie.com. In this comment, Kristin said:

“I won’t make excuses for anywhere we’ve fallen short, because I hold the site to even more stringent standards than any site visitor possibly could imagine. I could probably list (but won’t!) lots of shortcomings a visitor or consultant would never even notice. But it’s a work in progress and our goal is to keep building on what is essentially a great web site and work hard to make it better. And I’m confident it keeps getting better. Some of the suggestions you mention here are already on my tick list, and some others are worth adding now.”

Now, Kristen, it’s been a month since I’ve received this comment, and I still see zero changes made to GoErie’s homepage. In fact, I find the ads and videos flashing at me a little bit distracting and annoying.

The Text Alerts application, which I was pleased and surprised to realize was included in their site, is still hidden quite a ways below the fold. The recognizable RSS feed logo is still nonexistent on the home page, although the tiny, size 5 or 6 RSS Feed link, located on the very top of the page is available. Once clicked on, the user is asked which of the 9 GoErie feeds the user would like to click on (Isn’t this a little excessive when the user just wants to hear about Erie?) The RSS feed hiding on the page is NOT helping GoErie increase its RSS subscribers, therefore NOT helping increase its reach! I’m sorry GoErie, you only have 15 subscribers to your GoErie Top Stories blog on Google Reader, and the others aren’t even found when you do a search on it within Google Reader. Any type of search NOT finding your items is a bad thing.

I’ve made these and other suggestions already, so I won’t continue with what I think should change, especially since my comments and opinions about the site have already been acknowledged and praised by a GoErie representative (which I do appreciate very much, by the way). My question is, why hasn’t anything changed? If it takes a small, locally based website one month to make small changes to their website, and multi-million dollar corporations, like Google, about five minutes to make an online change, is that not a hint that things need to be changed?

Recognize the changing need of users. Listen when users are telling you something. Acknowledge that your users are being heard. And do something about it. It’s nice that you like your site the way it is. But your site doesn’t exist without its users.

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9 thoughts on “GoErie…still the same site.

  1. Erica,
    You are too kind.
    GoErie and it’s parent, Erir Times are not going to be a part of the future. You do not understand that they DO NOT want to change. When forced (as in no one is subscribing to the paper, now what?) they will tweak a small, nay…very small, avenue and trumpet the news galore.

    But survival depends on adaptation and change.
    So it is reasonable to ask “Why would GoErie / ETN resist change, and adapt, if their very survival depends on it”?

    You now enter the area of “Can Not”.
    This is a family operation. Have you ever known a family with EVERY member having a business savvy flair?

    Sister, CyberInk, is filled with delusional hubris.
    To that end, I was surprised in Lynch’s comments myself.
    I would not want to be publicly identified as the producer of that mess. For years, the online version of Erie Times has been an embarrassment to the community.

    In going outside the family (a recognition that they do not know what the heck is going on), GoErie/ ETN has ramped up its quality potential by grabbing on to an outside source for us to imitate…..the Pocono Record.

    Check THEM out online.
    Now, you would think Erie’s 3rd, no …make that 4th largest town, would seek a higher plain. And you would think Stroudsburg/Pocono a podunk of the first order.
    But you would be wrong.

    2006 Newspaper in Cybespace has a list of winners in several categories. The GoErie site grabbed zero categories. (Note you never hear them rage on how good they are in these contests).

    The Pocono Record comes in First Place in one category:
    Ease of Navigation.

    Here is the link for all 9 categories in PA papers online:

    pa-newspaper.org/core/…/PDFs/Contests/2006CyberspaceWinners.pdf

    I was unable to get it from the Pocono Record, but the York Dispatch waved at the world in THEIR categories.
    (York really needs to work on page setup as you will see when you look at the lack of organization to the profile).

    So the GoErie folks bring in a brilliant mind from the Pocono Record. His claim to fame SHOULD logically be Ease of Navigation, eh? Help your sister tie her shoes.

    On Saturday, December 1, 2007 (yesterday), he posted an article on technology keeping folks together. It is a Good Morning article and he posts every Saturday. He ends his comments with the wonderful news that he keeps contact with his fiance every day…..by telephone.
    Oh my. What next? Smoke signals?

    My biggest fear if they take your advise and try to improve.
    They blow up again. GoErie has repeatedly (under the Lynch administration) gone blank and wiped all previous archives in several categories with each upgrade. Any attempt to wipe spam and viruses out leads to clear-cut of the forest every time.
    Can we chance that again?

    My all time favorite description of truth on these folks came from a member within. Said member told me:
    “When it comes to CyberInk, they talk the talk, but they cannot walk the walk”. Everyone inside thinks CyberInk is a bunch of boobs. The stories are incredible. I doubt they will see print. (Family secrets).

    They are inept and have no clue whatsoever what they are doing. But, they have a related client that keeps the money flowing to their pitiful coffers.

    Proof? You gave them FREE advise.
    And they did WHAT with it?

    Check out the Pocono Record on Google and spin lower to the PA Newspaper Excellence Awards for 2006.
    They list the areas that are observed as critical criteria.
    GoErie is not in existence on any list.

  2. In all fairness Erica, to expect any kind of turnaround in 1 month from GoErie is a bit unrealistic. I can imagine there is a lot of red tape and channels to go through before any real change can be done. Heck, at ErieBlogs.com we’ve been sitting on a redesign for over a month now due to a number of underlying issues we need to address before we go live.

    Despite this, your critique of GoErie in general is fair and merited. At the very least this entry reminds those in charge that their readers (i.e., customers) really do take notice and want more.

    While I’m at it, I’ll add something to the list of things that GoErie is behind on. They really, really need to add an RSS feed JUST for local news entries. World news, even state-wide news, is sought after elsewhere. Their niche is the local news by far. Also add a series of RSS feeds for the individual authors/reporters and the articles they write.

    And one suggestion for your site Erica. A “Preview Comment” button.

  3. Actually, Erica wrote of GoErie two months ago and re-entered the review stage a month later. Only then, was she acknowledged by Lynch. Another month has passed now.

    There was also no commitment given to change anything.
    Probably because there is no intention to change anything.

    Richard is correct in 2 things:
    1) He has a cute little tyke on his hands
    2) things like change take time.

    Think of GoErie change as occuring in “football time”.
    The entire game is 4 quarters of 15 minutes,
    or 1 hour in regular time.
    But, “football time” is 3 hours, with gusts to 4 or 5 hours.

    GoErie measures with a different clock too.
    It is called decades.
    Erica, kindly do your next review any time
    (the world lives there).
    But, expect the next change at Goerie in 2017 or 2018 since we are closing in on a change of year here.

    I have previously submitted my choices for change at this site privately. Some are done; some are a work in progress.
    Keep tinkering.

  4. In response to these posts in GoErie’s defense, discussing how it takes time to change things, forming committees and holding meetings…this is how things USED to be. Today, the internet is instant! I’m not asking for a complete web site revamp YET. I understand that that takes months. But, how about the small changes that can be made? itty bitty changes. Should that really take 3 months to change? Even if the change needed approved, it should only take a week to change, and a week to get approved and posted, at most! Big, successful corporations do it. Why can’t small?

  5. I did not read the whole thing because Kevin wrote it.
    Safe to say, I have read it 400 times before.
    However, I would add that this is perhaps the 2nd time in human history that I agree with Dennis.
    Oh my God.

    Let’s have a moment of silence on that.

    (MOMENT)

    I have a hunch this whole revolution of Showcase would have dragged another 2 to 6 years but for one change.
    Roseanne Cheeseman took over on October 1, 2007. She likely remained quiet for a month just to observe who is deadwood and needs axed out.

    In the following month, SHAZAMMM. Something got done.
    Dennis will insert the tune to Mission Impossible here:____
    Light the fuse……………………….

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