In through the outfield blog

02 April 2009

I was an April fool, but it’s no joke for SlideShare have always been a fan of April fool stories. My previous job included producing a daily press cuttings service for my organisation, and I used to look forward to trying to find all the April 1  ‘news stories’ for inclusion. One of my all time favourites was from the Daily Mirror announcing that the Channel tunnel diggers had struck gold half-way to France.

The big ’story’ from today has been the Guardian newspaper letting its loyal readers know that it would shortly be giving up on old fashioned ink and paper. Instead they would switch to Twitter for all future news coverage. The Twitter switch for Guardian article has some lovely touches about the benefits of reducing all news to 140 characters. Even going back intto their archives to ‘re-write’ history;

Major stories already completed include:

“1832 Reform Act gives voting rights to one in five adult males yay!!!”;

“OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see×6e for more”;

and “JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?”

slideshare logo

On a less amusing note I received an email today from SlideShare (a free service I blogged about in 2007).

Hi infield,
We’ve noticed that your slideshow on SlideShare has been getting a LOT of views in the last 24 hours. Great job … you must be doing something right. ;-)
Why don’t you tweet or blog this? Use the hashtag #bestofslideshare so we can track the conversation.
Congratulations,  SlideShare Team

I checked my three presentations and sure enough one of them had rocketed to 751 views. This was something of a surprise and perhaps I should have been suspicious. However, it took a blog post from Phil Bradley (Slideshare April Fool joke goes disastrously wrong), before I realised I had been conned.

As Phil points out, SlideShare have made ,”a huge error”;
I don’t appreciate anyone manipulating data on my content. That SlideShare are so relaxed about this, and feel they can do what they like is really sending entirely the wrong message about how they view users and content.

To be fair to the authors of this ‘prank’ have confessed their sins on Phil’s blog, and apologised to their customers;

My sincere, personal apologies. Its just an April Fool’s prank. I understand why you are upset, however, we did not mean to offend our users who we love. But I can see your perspective.
Rashmi, CEO & Cofounder, SlideShare

I think I can  forgive them this time, but fear many of their customers may move to rival services as a result.


I have to confess that I missed the Guardian's April 1st twitter foolery but enjoyed reading about it here.
I suspect the bigger problem for SlideShare - highlighted by their faux pas - is that they profoundly misunderstand their audience.
Could it transpire that SlideShare's April Fool own goal could signal their demise giving SlideRocket the market that it (IMHO) deserves!

Wow! It looks absolutely beautiful. Especially when compared to SlideShare. Web apps are really moving on at an incredible pace.

On the music front I have just discovered Spotify, which does the same thing to iTunes.

The comments to this entry are closed.