In this day and age we are bombarded with messages from IT Vendors saying that we need to be closer to the customer and “wow them”. We have to make sure we don’t annoy anyone, because the masses will bring the pitchforks to social media and our brand will be ruined. It would be great that a business would come along and instead of trying to be great, instead admitted they were mediocre at best? Imagine this refreshing change of pace that would result in a more honest conversation with their customers. Amazingly enough there a few brave souls trying to do just that.
Mediocre Labatories is a venture that performing experiments in e-commerce founded by the same folks that created woot.com at the expense of our free cash. The current project meh.com is a deal a day site with a community aspect that also offers a unique twist. You can actually downvote or say “meh” on the item that is sold each day for sale. In addition to that there are the original old woot like features such as snarky narratives, shipping using the cheapest and slowest method possible, and deeply discounted junk for sale. The site also offers a subscription service where instead of a being a “VIP”, you are instead a very mediocre person.
If those were the only things that set the site apart then it would be unique enough but what’s even greater the site chooses to ignore social media and e-mail. The FAQ says like your friends and family and not businesses on social media. They only offer e-mail support, because it’s cheap and you should be talking to someone who really wants to listen to you instead. It’s a great point on why do businesses need to be “my friends” anyway. However despite that message, there are forums and crazy stuff posted not really selling anything to make you want to come back and hangout every day. This concept even has an analogue with how record stores have transformed from a transactional space to a community gathering space.
The question will be can a site like meh.com or the other experiments of mediocre labs be successful? I must admit I’m already hooked and look forward to the next offering, regardless of whether I buy or not. Is it possible for us to take the concepts from meh.com and use those wisely in our social interactions with customers?
I think even SAP could benefit by perhaps selling less in their communities(worry less about the transactions), allow for more polite negativity(downvote option please) instead of having trying to promote utopia, and let there be more playfulness. In the spirit of being simple perhaps switching back to format that gives a community commons and less spaces/divisions to wade through. You know instead of trying to have 300+ mini communities separated just try to build a single not so perfect community each day.