profrv at nex.net.au
Fri May 7 07:46:02 PDT 1999
Co-opting the Underground
On the TiVo Community Forum (see Online Resources), people literally obsess
about TiVo, the personal video recorder. The site carries discussions on
everything from tech support, to general chit chat, to the TiVo
Underground, where hackers post about what they've learned by opening up
their TiVo boxes and mucking with the insides.
When the folks at TiVo discovered this forum (it started independently),
they could have called in the lawyers. Instead, they sponsored the site,
offered TiVo branding elements, and linked to it from the official TiVo site.
Richard Bullwinkle was the Webmaster for the TiVo corporate site at the
time, and he saw the site's power. He worked closely with the forum's
creator, David Bott, to make it better, and answer questions from the
official TiVo perspective.
Is TiVo happy with everything that goes on there? Of course not. "Every now
and then some executive says, what is this?" says Bullwinkle. "My response
is: What part of the Internet don't you understand?"
Postings may be hard to take sometimes, but TiVo is gaining incredible
insight into its users. When users have a problem, TiVo is the first to
know. In time, the forum will help TiVo make a better product. And when
forum users begin to see that their suggestions make it into future product
versions, they'll feel intimately connected with TiVoa bond that won't be
Things have worked out well for Bullwinkle, too. After the TiVo community's
success, he was promoted to Chief Evangelist. Everyone in the forums still
knows him simply by his login: "TiVolutionary."
Interesting thread at...
My fave? Infoshop.
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