DaedTech

Stories about Software

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Reputation Suicide, and Why I’m Quitting Disqus

I’m going to be switching comment engines soon.  Right now, I use disqus, but I received the email below from them recently.  The email served as the last straw for me with disqus.

This, in and of itself, might not seem overly objectionable.  Sure, it insults the intelligence of anyone reading, but that’s hardly unique.  So let me take you on a brief journey to demonstrate why I find them signing their emails “Disqus Publisher Success” to be a big, fat, middle finger of irony.

Disqus: Comments in Exchange for Disqusting Ads

Years ago, I grew tired of fighting the good fight against comment spam.  I installed a handful of WordPress plugins that aimed to curtail the spam, but as my popularity with readers grew, so too did my popularity with people peddling mail order brides.  I can recall the endless annoyance I felt at waking up to see that someone had sneaked past the spam filters to pepper my comment section at 3:46 AM.

And then I found Disqus.  I recall hesitating at first because it replaced the standard comment section instead of just working with it.  But, at wits end, I signed on anyway.  And I felt happy because it pretty much solved my spam problem.  It also added some cool features around promoting my blog in other places, and authenticating commenters.  Awesome!

I also saw that I could make a bit of money with ads if I so chose.  At the time, I had no interest in monetizing my blog and I didn’t care for the ads, so I passed.  As you can see if you look to the right, I have no qualms about ads.  I’d just want them relevant to my readers and tasteful.

So imagine my surprise a few years later, when I learned that disqus had, at some point unknown to me, turned them back on as part of some update.  My readers at the time found themselves treated to things like this.

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If You Build It, They Won’t Come

About a month ago, I made a post here announcing a kickstarter.  I created a character that has some popularity in the software development community and hypothesized that people might enjoy related merchandise.  My wife had some time and an interest in exploring entrepreneurial ventures, so she created the kickstarter.

We didn’t necessarily think we had a great shot at raising such an ambitious funding goal, but you never know until you try.  So, we tried.  And, unfortunately, we fell considerably short.

Before going further, I’d like to offer sincere thanks to those who backed the campaign and to those who participated in the giveaways.  We had some fun, learned a bit about crowdsourcing, and some readers got Expert Beginner swag.  While we won’t be stocked with a year of inventory and operating a shopify store, we did learn a good bit.

Product Launches by Those Who Don’t Launch Products

In the last year or so, I’ve learned a lot about business in various forms.  I listen to podcasts about freelancing, consulting, and entrepreneurship.  As I mentioned recently, I’m also participating in a mastermind group, wherein we discuss business ventures and operations.  I’m also exploring different business models and branching more into productized services.  Add that to the ongoing learning of running my business, and you wind up with a lot of inbound information.

Among all of this information comes a good bit about product launches.  If you view the world the way I’ve spent most of my life viewing it, you probably think that this means tying a bow on it, shipping it, kicking back, and waiting to profit.  For instance, you might spend a few months building a killer app for Android and/or iPhone.  When finished, you ship it to the app store, slap a price on it, and wait for users to discover it and put money in your pocket.

Sure, you’d do a bit more than that.  You’d tell you friends and family, resulting in your mom buying one to show other members of your family how proud she was of her little entrepreneur.  You’d tweet about it once or twice, probably resulting in no sales.  And then you’d surrender yourself to the mercy of the app store.

Product Launches Done Right

Most of my life, that was how I imagined product launches would go.  I even daydreamed this narrative from time to time.  Someday, I’d write a book or build a piece of software that would magically go viral, and I’d find myself on easy street.  (After all, what fun are daydreams involving the messy business of self promotion?)

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