Is there a point to NZEdge?

I struggle with NZEdge. They mean well for New Zealand, but I often feel they are disconnected from reality.

It’s owned/run by Brian Sweeney and Kevin Roberts, but it seems to be operated as a one man band by Brian. Both Brian and Kevin are in the advertising and communications game, and this effort is a very poor advertisement for their services.

The NZEdge emails are unreadable – basically a long list of stuff we either already know or don’t care about. It’s a late laundry list of news that we all follow online or offline, and it is formatted soo poorly that it is painful to read or parse.

I forget how I ever subscribed, but I just unsubscribed (and easily – thanks).

Actually I wanted to link through to the email on the website, but all I got when clicking the “Having trouble reading this email? click here” link was this:

So the emails are sent using some sort of marketing tool (constant contact), and the unsubscribe page allows to to subscribe or unsubscribe to both the NZEdge and some newsletter from Kevin Roberts.

Let’s turn to the website. Turn your volume down before clicking that link – there is a very loud loop track “Come to the place you know is home” that does not appear to have any off button. That’s poor etiquette and pretty much going to make sure I never return. I guess it does encourage to to click on something, anything, to stop the music, but that something is going to be whatever it is you need to close the window.

Then there is the explanation about what NZEdge Aims to do. It’s clearly not aimed at geeks:

  • Introduce metaphors and contemporary frameworks for NZers to articulate who we are (positively hammer some boundary poles of the self into the whenua).
  • Articulate and leverage our difference through the edge proposal (landscape, location, attitude, history, Maori, Pacific, character, fringe innovation).
  • Increase the prosperity of the country, in spirit and in pocket, by spreading the edge DNA thickly over the culture.
  • ..

Whatever. There is plenty more of that sort of guff on their about page, under the headings of, wait for it, Story Telling Compatriation (sic), and Index.

There’s a blog – but it’s over at blogspot and not integrated into the site.

The last update was on the 4th of December, the previous one a month before and the text of the posts is identical to that of the emails. So why does the link to “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here” not point to the blog? Well – the last post in fact is several weeks before the last email – so they are not even in sync. So basically the blog is not a blog, but an out of date repository for the old emails. Of course there are no comments on the blog.

They advertise a Twitter account on the blog – “Follow the nzedge.com headlines twice a day on Twitter. Register for updates at http://twitter.com/nzedge” but the last update was on December 28th and the writer is not following people back and engaging in conversations.

No comments on the blog, a handful (relatively) of Twitter followers and no facebook presence. There is no community associated with NZEdge – it is just an email list, and I would guess that very very few people actually read those emails.

Overall

NZEdge feels dead – an initiative started by a couple of guys with a “good idea” back in the day, but one that never moved beyond basic marketing sloganism and email spam. There is zero evidence of community involvement, and it is all one way traffic.

I would even question whether it is having a positive or negative effect on New Zealand.

But that’s me – what do you think? Does anyone find NZEdge useful? Is there a point?

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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5 Responses to Is there a point to NZEdge?

  1. Kat says:

    Your points are valid, I agree with you, however, being fair – it does have an ‘off’ button for the music – I can even see it in your screenshot. Bottom right hand corner of the central image.

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  2. matt says:

    I don’t think it deserves the criticism, frankly. From what I understand, it’s not a commercial exercise: it’s two senior comms guys with an idea (guys with top jobs, true, but so what) and a desire to share that idea with as many people as possible. I don’t think the aim is to make money off it, and no one is paying for it except the guys in question. It’s a bit like knocking someone who’s set up a My Little Pony meets Transformers fan-fic website. Someone’s obviously passionate about it, and if they’re not hurting anyone, well, it’s just kind of mean-spirited to pick on them.

    You might not agree with the idea, or with the rhetoric they use to describe it: but I happen to think there is value in what they’re doing. Whoever’s looking after it is combing international media (print and online) looking for the overseas successes of our countrymen and women, and they catalogue this for posterity. I’m not aware of anyone else doing this, and I think it’s a really nice thing to be doing. If you’ve got international ambitions it’s quite inspiring to take a look through the profiles of New Zealand’s heroes, historic and current, to see how New Zealand is making its mark on the world from a media perspective.

    Design-wise, yes, it could be done better. And I happen to agree with your points on community: it is a primarily a mailing list and an archive and some other bits and pieces. But if I’m right, and it’s not a commercial exercise* and more of a hobby, then there’s no impetus for them to do things any differently unless they want to. They don’t have customers per se. It’s not like they have a responsibility to explain design decisions to them. Or to you.

    Disclaimer: I’ve worked for Brian in the distant past, though not on this. I do know, however, that when it comes to NZ Edge, his heart is definitely in the right place.

    *Yes there’s a shop, but it’s an addendum; it’s not the primary aim of the site.

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  3. elliot says:

    Have also personally struggled with this site. Unsubscribed a long time ago.

    Is anyone else doing any better? What’s the real purpose of these sites? Surely to make a dollar.

    http://www.madefromnewzealand.com – they had a good start, but after one year the hype disappeared.

    http://www.keanewzealand.com – not working for me, twitter seems an easier quicker way to connect with kiwi’s. Hard to not to go on about the lame usability.

    All good intentions, who’s next in the patriotic game?

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