One thing Associated Content is missing is the right ear (or in digital terms, eye) in the right place. Of course, they have their business plan and their own priorities (i.e. making money, they’re a business after all), but they have overlooked a very valuable resource: their content producers.
AC casts the CP into one, narrow role, that of a word mill. Their business model allows no mechanism to draw on the CP’s other vast talents. I’ve been impressed with the wealth of knowledge of the CP community. Some are top-notch programmers and web geeks. Others display an in depth understand on a variety of topics. I can tell that this is more than just a writer’s understanding and that many are professionals in their field who just happen to be good writers.
AC is sitting on a gold mine of knowledge outside the writing format. If they could figure out a way to give a voice and an ear to that knowledge, they could make amazing strides. The first place that comes to mind is the AC forum. Sure there are the obligatory newbie questions and some whining here and there, but there are some real gems in that thar forum. If Associated Content could figure out a way to data mine the forum or develop another feedback avenue, they’d handspring over the competition.
AC suffers from small-business syndrome. They hire just enough people to do the job at hand. They don’t have anyone innovating or working outside their very narrow job description. You can’t blame them. That’s how most companies work. “Let’s make money today. Today is the only day that matters. The quarterly report is our only goal.”
It is a constant frustration to the CP community that AC doesn’t respond to questions. Emails go unanswered. Forum post get ignored. A voiceless populous is an disgruntled body. No one is asking them to reveal their strategic plan. We’re only asking to be listened to or at least have some one nod knowingly as we voice our concerns. At the very least, they could add some way to contact their technical team with bugs. Even the most basic web sites have a way to contact the webmaster.
So a little brainstorming couldn’t hurt. What’s it take to get the most bang for your buck? How can AC really leverage the minds they have?