Thursday, October 23, 2008

Case Study: Website Worst Case Scenario

There's story in this issue of Wired which should catch the attention of anyone who either runs a website, or plans to. Here's a summary of the story:

  1. was a premier web destination for parents
  2. They got purchased by CNET
  3. CNET made tweaks to the site
  4. The users were angry because they did not like said tweaks
  5. A week later, launches
  6. Significant amount of traffic defects to the new site
  7. CNET loses

Can you imagine investing in a site, only to have it's traffic jump ship? Like I said, I think this is the Website Worst Case Scenario.

I think there's bad news and good news here.

Bad News: Yes, this can happen. Just because you're a well respected, top site, doesn't mean that you are always going to stay that way. This means that you can't just make changes to the site that aren't in your user's best interest. It also means you can't just let the site stagnate. If you do either of these, it can and will come back to bite you. Every service business knows this already - but the effect is magnified on the internet, where the cost of switching sites can be so low.

Good News: The good news is, while won this battle, they don't need to win the war. There's nothing stopping from not only putting the site back to the way it was, but making it even better than This, plus a sincere: "we were wrong, we're officially kicking the suites out..." message would probably go along way to fixing this.

This all goes back to a concept mentioned in The Dip: the fact that the market can shift quickly for you, can work just as much in your favor as it works against you. Just be better than your competition, and you'll be all set.

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