Sun blogs and marketing

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I just received a newsletter from Sun marketing advertising the release of Open Solaris and I noticed the following bit at the end (emphasis is mine):

You can find out more at http://sun.com/opensolaris, or if you're interested in participating in the OpenSolaris community, http://opensolaris.org. And, for the week of June 14th, we'll be talking about OpenSolaris at http://blogs.sun.com. Please check it out and let us know what you think. And, if you're as excited about this as we are, please help to spread the word!

And indeed, if you check what used to be the laundry list of Sun blogs, they've revamped it to put the focus on their main marketing event for one week (click to zoom):

This is very clever. If you encourage your employees to blog, then you'd be silly not to draw the spotlight on their thoughts during big events like this. I can hear some folks there saying "Now guys, quit complaining that marketing is deserving your work, because you're doing the marketing now!"

Another interesting addition is a Technorati ranking of the top Sun bloggers:

sunTranking.gif

See how Tim Bray and Jonathan Schwartz are far ahead, and how quickly it drops below ten links. They fall at zero links starting from the 38th blog. You may wonder why they did replace their previous ranking based on the received traffic per blog, which didn't expose that most of those blogs are not receiving much inbound links. I think it's actually good because it put an incentive on their bloggers to get links (including links between Sun blogs). All of this is subjective, but I value inbound links over traffic and their ranking allows you to browse those links. As with the previous version, blogs.sun.com gather stats for Sun-hosted blogs only, so they're missing a lot of their prominent early bloggers who are hosted on their own.

Sun blogs are ramping up in an interesting way, and this is a very interesting example of how blogs can be used for marketing purposes at very little cost. If you think of it, they probably just had to revamp a few pages, make a smart search over blogs.sun.com to extract the posts about Open Solaris (tags, keywords, categories, I don't know but it's surely not a big problem), use the Technorati API to produce the rankings and encourage their people to blog. Getting marketing agree on a web banner would probably take more time ;-).

Update: don't miss Tim Bray's OpenSolaris Blogs Oh My post, with a lot more insight (obviously, he's their top blogger) on the communications and culture shift, comparison with the mailing-lists culture of Linux kernel developers, personalization, and my favorite: "hey, my boss blogs better than your boss, nyah nyah"!