I got an e-mail this afternoon, pointing me in the direction of the Shared Spaces blog. The matter at hand concerned Foldera, the self-confessed Outlook-killer (more like competitor, but hey, we’re all for litigious The Sun-inspired phrases) I’ve mentioned earlier. I’ve even discussed it with the Foldera CEO, Richard Lusk, which, at closer inspection, isn’t the seldom honor I first assumed it would be. Richard’s all over the block.
The Shared Spaces author contemplates whether or not the apparent number of 650,000 “total requests” is the actual number of sign-ups, or if it was simply the accumulated number of workers employed at the companies related to the person that signed up.
He puts it like this:
I wonder what exactly that number [650,000] represents, however: is it:
(a) the number of individuals who have visited the Foldera home page and filled out the sign-up form; or
(b) the number of individuals who have visited the Foldera home page and filled out the sign-up form MULTIPLIED by the number of employees they say work at their firm.
Ah, but what do you know. Good ol’ Richard is lusking around the corner (again, Web 2.0 not only allows me, it ENCOURAGES me to make up words. Especially in relation with extremely bad puns) and sheds some much-needed light:
The answer is B.
The press release is very clear about how we arrive at the overall number-it says:
“based on the number of registrants and the number of employees they indicated in their organizations”
OK, fair enough. But why would you want to cause this kind of speculation? Later on, he compares the actual numbers―correctly assumed by the Shared Spaces blog entry author as approximately 6500―to those of Microsoft Office Live, which in addition has been open for registrants for four months longer than Foldera.
Why not put this in the press release? Unless it contradicts press release etiquette, wouldn’t this look better than releasing a rather OTT, hard-to-believe sign-up figure that is backed up by vague sentences (“based on the number of registrants and the number of employees they indicated in their organizations”) and no comparisons at all?
6500 is a great figure, a fact made expressively clear when compared to those of MS Live Office. 650,000 is unrealistic, misleading and delusive―and I don’t see how it does Foldera any good. The people that read their press release are probably well-versed in the industry and has a basic idea about what such a figure should be.
So why not make it as clear as possible? It probably won’t lose them credibility, but avoiding vague, delusive numbers would at least prevent the risk of it. And, in my opinion, the actual number is no less impressive, but much more feasible.
I wonder how wide-spread this is. I can imagine, in other instances, that figures such as this one in connexions that are far more critical are also far more difficult to expose as incorrect, delusive, maybe even flat-out lies.
Press releases so vague and generic that it’s nigh-on impossible to notice.
It may not be very important, and it may be common practice in several industries. It still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.