Friday, August 12, 2005

Losing our deposit

Well, that didn't take long.

Emma has marched across to demand that we don't just comment, but actually do something about it. Deposits, that is. So I immediately reached across to my phone to dial... er... them.

So while that aspect of the hunt gathers pace, I can but do the only things I have been able to do for a while, namely write a blog first and then rope all and sundry in to figure out how to make things actually work. Well, at least we do have a website.

Emma has merely confirmed for the current yoof end of the market what I had remembered of mine, namely that instead of a bunch of over-subsidised schemes telling kids to do the right thing, her brothers used to do it because they got rewarded. One-munchkin search, collection, separation and delivery systems all in shorts and grazed knees.

So.. great. Now I have another task to fill my otherwise empty day, nights and weekends.

I'm thinking to start we need a poll, and possibly one using our localisation facility, so we can get some meaningful data to take to them when the time comes.

And on the not-too-unlikely assumption they remain under their rocks, maybe if it proves popular enough we'll just ignore them and just get on and sort out something ourselves. Which will show.. them and serve... them right.

You know, this is not so much a blog, but turning more and more into the job sheet.

On the hunt of them

With much gulping (which is also a small hamlet just down the road) we recently committed to a paid subscription.

Materials Recycling Week is pretty high on the 'does what it says on the tin' list of titles, so I won't waste much effort on what they cover, save to say a largish wadge is in areas we'll politely note and pass over (though as an ex CivEng some of those waste munching machines look way cool - I'm thinking of doing a Tomorrow's World type 'how it works’ - with cutaway - on the site).

But we did deem them worth staying abreast of as they also get first dibs on a lot of re-stuff in the consumer domain. Plus they were nice enough to write about us a while ago, so I don't feel the pain of the outward funds so keenly. It seems a worthy read: , to repay the compliment.

Opening my first edition, I was confronted by a very interesting article by their editor, Paul Sanderson, essentially posing various re-related consumer questions, such as why there were no longer any deposits on pop bottles any more. As it is one we at have been asked, and still don't know, I rang him to see if he'd had an answer. Seems not. And this is from the heart of the UK recycling universe!

Between us the best that we could come up with was that 'they' had said/decided that a) it wasn't practical, b) it wasn't financially feasible or c) the consumers didn't want it.

Now, especially on the latter, I have yet to meet a consumer who didn't see merit in it.

And frankly, we at see it as a great way to build something in that not only gets people to bring things back to regain the deposit, but as they are making the trip also get rewarded.

Now all I have to do is find 'them'.

If you have any hints where to start… much appreciated (which is just across the river from much gulping) :)

All the news that's fit... well fit

It's always a good sign when anyone comes to see us here for business. We're a tad in the boonies, and not so easy to get to, so when they make the trip we really appreciate it. And it almost always heralds the start of a beautiful relationship, because at worst it shows they like what we're up to and would like to help, and at best it shows that they can see the potential of what we're up to and the value of being part... and hence want to help. We don’t mind a little bit of mercenary forward-thinking when it endorses our concept.

So yesterday was a big day for us. Because we were meeting to discuss all sorts of issues surrounding our imminent dedicated daily news feed, with the lovely folks who will be providing us with it, Adfero (

The partnership now seems the most logical thing you could imagine, but the irony is that it almost never happened. They had a booth at both the recent Online Marketing Show and Internet World shows. So did we. In slack moments they popped by to see what we were up to. We reciprocated. But at no point did either side say 'you know, we could work together!' (Of course, that may be down to the communications standards on our respective stands).

It was only a few weeks later that I sat wading through a bunch of material we'd gleaned from the net that day, getting frustrated that we didn't have the copyright to reproduce it or the time to get in touch with the protagonists to rewrite it on Then it sunk in. So I called. And they came. And we exchanged a lot of stuff. And they came again. And soon, very soon, we will have our very own homepage daily news, crafted to our audiences. Plus an ever-growing searchable archive on specific topics.

So a few mad panics this end in the next few weeks re-jigging the site design... again.

But it gets better, though, naturally, more complex. It hadn't really sunk in ('til Tom of Adfero mentioned it) that by doing this we were becoming even more valuable a resource. We'd be coming up with stuff in an area that's not very well covered, and in a style which is, well, pretty unique. This will attract an audience. So while WE are daily signing up for, receiving, reading and gleaning nuggets from countless sites and feeds on all sorts of topics, pretty soon we're going to be one too and have all sorts of folks doing the same for us.

Which means that on top of trying to get to grips with blogs, pods and whatever, I now have to grasp and master a whole new raft of initials like RSS and XML. Only this time there may even be money it, so I'm all eyes.