A Bold Move from Ford


We haven’t had time to weigh in on this earlier this week, but, wow, what Ford is doing with its FordBoldMoves.com site and video documentary is really bold. In the video, the company acknowledges losing touch with the consumer, being in mortal danger of “going down,” and desperately needing to turn itself around. It’s really energizing to see a company commit to opening the kimono (perhaps an unfortunate choice of language consider who Ford is competing with) and engaging in dialogue with its customers… or the customers it has lost.

They’re doing a lot of things right. Comments are enabled. Though one has to register to comment, only an e-mail address and password are required. Users can paste Javascript code into their blogs (which I’ve done here) to distribute the video and comment upon it. There are feeds, both outgoing and incoming. The site has a feed from Yahoo News showing the latest news about Ford. At this writing it’s about a credit downgrade and how the CEO is ruling out a bankruptcy filing. Someone’s gotta be gritting their teeth.

That said, a number of details screw up the online execution:

  1. You are supposed to register and confirm your e-mail address (by clicking on a link in an e-mail you’ve received) before you can access community features on the site. I tried it, and the confirmation e-mail just never came. Not good. I was able to log in anyway, though.
  2. No autodiscovery of RSS feeds. I tried to use the “Subscribe with Bloglines” feature, but it told me the site had no feeds. (It worked the more manual way, though.)
  3. I tried to watch the video full screen, after having watched a little bit, but it required that I start all over from the very beginning. Not a good user experience.
  4. The comments feature is all screwed up. The interface tells me there are 75 comments on the video, but when I click on it, I can only get to three. In some cases, the comments are clearly cut off.

Will this be the online destination to watch Ford’s spectacular flame-out, where you can see a 100-plus-year-old company die before your eyes? Could be, but the seeming candor and good intentions behind the site make me, at least, root for Ford.

(full disclosure: I own a Ford vehicle, but I swear it was my husband’s decision.)

UPDATE: Forgot to say we first wrote about this documentary plan here.

UPDATE2: The e-mail confirmation finally arrived, and I’ve determined that inability to see comments is a Firefox issue, as it looks OK in IE.

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