Penguin Customer Service just told me to check out this thread (that must mean I'm in the marketing department :-).
Lawboy is the man! These are awesome suggestions. We've always felt like we've got the best customers in the world, and this is more proof of that fact.
This thread deserves responses and it deserves action. The responses are easy. Making the changes happen is the harder part, but we've got a great team that can do it.
Here are responses to each suggestion from Lawboy:
1) Bring out Penguin 2.0.
Response: Penguin 2.0 is our top priority too. We're making steady progress. It's a huge task, and we're doing it right--no shortcuts. We're building the foundation that the Penguin Magic of the next 10 years will be built upon. Once we make the switch we'll be able to add new features and iterate much more quickly. It's just building the foundation and getting all of the integration points right that is taking so much time.
2) If 2.0 still requires some work, tell us. Tell us accurately where you are with producing it and when it's expected to arrive.
Response: It's impossible for me to give an accurate estimate. I wish I could, but I just don't have enough experience with programming projects of this scale. Obviously we're behind schedule, but we're VERY close. One thing I do know for sure is that once we're ready to start beta testing we'll be asking you guys to help take the new site for a test drive.
3) Start the "Take My Job" contest.
Response: I'm not sure what the status is with this. I'll talk with Noblezada. We either need to start the contest or take it down.
4) Restore the ability to have avatars.
Response: Totally! This is a must.
5) Judge the MagicHistorian logo contest.
Response: We would like to judge the contest, but we didn't get any logos that we thought we right for the site. So, we're still searching for the right logo.
6) Update the free tricks.
Response: Totally agree. I really like some of the ideas brought up in this thread about doing user submitted free tricks. I think that's the key. We need to build that into Penguin 2.0.
7) Add a wishlist.
Response: Already done in Penguin 2.0 (I wrote the code myself).
8) Add advanced searching (e.g. by price, category).
Response: Coming in Penguin 2.0.
9) Scrap the News forum and replace it with two separate forums: a forum especially for discussing the company (e.g. suggestions/comments, order malfunctions, news) and one for FAQs (how to add an avatar, what acronyms mean, how to access PO forums, etc.).
Response: This is a great idea. I'll discuss it with Acar, and assuming he agrees we'll make the switch.
10) Spend more time on the forums, engaging with customers.
Response: This is great advice for any company, and obviously it's something we struggle with. Our constant challenge is figuring out how our limited time can be best spent to add value to our customers lives. For me, participating on the forums isn't usually my best use of time (with the exception of a topic like this one). You guys are better off if I'm busy programming on the new site or shooting a new DVD. But, it definitely does make sense to have Penguin employees on the discussion boards participating and contributing. We've just got to figure out a way to find the right balance.
11) Have contests. These can be contests where the aim is to suggest an improvement to the company, and the best idea wins a gift certificate. Another internet forum has contests where the prize is a custom forum status.
Response: Good suggestion. We have some cool contests planned. We're especially excited about contests involving user submitted video.
12) Change the censorship from "[edited]" to something that distinguishes what the original word was. A friend said that every time someone sees "edited", he thinks of the rival magic company, because both words get changed to the same thing.
Response: This is a good idea. Honestly, I don't like the censorship at all. In 2007 everybody knows who your competitors are. It's not a secret. Who cares if somebody mentions them. People choose Penguin for a thousand different reasons... but I don't think anybody chooses Penguin because they didn't know of anywhere else to shop for magic.
13) Close down the UK site.
Response: For anyone who hasn't heard the news, we've stopped shipping orders from Penguin UK because most of our UK and Europe customers prefer to shop from the US (because of lower prices and taxes). Every page of the old Penguin UK site currently links to Penguin USA. We will remove all old Penguin UK pages completely when we launch Penguin 2.0. We are keeping them up now because they get a lot of traffic which is then brought to the Penguin USA site, and we don't want to lose that traffic.
14) Have a way to ensure people are aware of the rules before they can begin posting. Also, I think that Penguin should highlight what sort of questions should be asked, when they should be asked, the importance of doing your own research and searching before making a new thread, the importance of writing well in order to get good answers, etc.
Response: Great ideas. We should definitely implement them.
15) Make sure all products in the catalogue have product descriptions. In addition to the Take My Job contest, there could also be one for writing product descriptions.
Response: Good idea. We are very wary of paying users to participate because it kills the spirit of a community site by making everything "about the money". But, contests are cool. Penguin 2.0 has a "Click here to suggest an improvement to this product description" button. We're excited to see how that works.
16) Don't use YouTube as a way to broadcast videos. It looks unprofessional since it's the same broadcasting method that the public uses. Revver is also pretty bad because it has advertising. Use Google Video, or go back to what you did before â€“ normal QuickTime and Windows Media files.
Response: I agree. We've been experimenting with YouTube to supplement our own media servers. We're going to move away from using YouTube.
17) Change the forum statuses so that they do not draw a comparison between a user's post count and how skilled they are at performing. It only promotes spamming and pointless threads.
Response: I'd love to hear suggestions from the group for what forum statuses you'd like to see.
18) Get Tarbell's Complete Course in Magic in stock.
Response: Good idea. I'll pass this along to purchasing.
19) Mod Wildheart.
Response: I'll pass this along to Acar.
20) Read this thread or the other nineteen points are useless.
Response: OK :-)