Our friend to the north, Marcus Nelson (the guy behind such things as hyperlocal site Citizen Wausau, and co-working space Citizen Desk) is involved in the launch of a new product/site, it’s called UserVoice.

UserVoice The idea behind UserVoice is that trying to talk to your customers and users to find out what they want is too difficult to manage using things like email and forums, so why not leverage the idea of a collaborative site where users vote, similar to Digg, so that the common and popular issues float to the top.

They have an example site at you can look at to get an idea how it works, or even better, take a look at and see how they are eating their own dog food.

If you’re dealing with user feedback right now using a forum, or trying to manage email requests, this thing looks like an ideal replacement that would be 10 times better for all parties involved.

See Also: Mashable had a good writeup a few weeks back: UserVoice: Vote for Features You Wanna See


The Blogging Effect

I’ve been thinking about the effects of blogging, specifically on business. There’s a reason for this…

Last year we went camping at Bark River Campground. It sucked. I wanted to let people know this, because I didn’t want other people to have the experience I did, so I did what any self respecting blogger would do… I blogged about it.

The result was: Bark River Campground: Worst Campground Ever, which described my experience. I sort of knew where things were headed. Their site sucks and within a few days, my post was the second result in a search for “Bark River Campground” I was slightly pleased.

Fast forward 9 months, and I get a phone call. It took me a number of “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” to get to the part where I heard “internet” and “post” and “worst campground ever” and I then realized who I was talking to. Yup, they called.

I talked to the folks at Bark River Campgrounds. The man I talked to said he understood that I had the right to say what I wanted, but he also said they try very hard to make things nice at the campground. I wasn’t convinced of that, but I did thank him for opening a dialog about the issue. I did get the idea that he didn’t actually read the post because he asked me questions that would have been answered if he had read it. But then again, bloggers tend to think everyone reads their posts…

So, what is the responsibility of a blogger? What is the effect of what we write? On businesses? On people? Like I said, I knew what I was doing, and I had some clue what the effect would be. I honestly did not expect to hear from them, but was pleasantly surprised by them saying that I had every right to say it, and they didn’t expect me to take it down.